Bonanza: Adventures With The Cartwrights/Heroes Of
The Old West (Mill Creek DVD Sets)/Tracker
Picture: C/C/C+ Sound: C/C/C+ Extras: C-/D/D Main Programs: C+
look at some Western material that diehard fans will want to know about.
Bonanza: Adventures With The
another of the many low-budget DVD lines of the show that have flooded the
market since the VHS days, but CBS DVD has been issuing “Official” DVD sets of
the series with archive prints and extras that are better than this. While this has a very weak documentary, the
CBS set has some good extras and more of them.
For what I have to say on the show, go to this link:
has 32 episodes over 4 DVDs, but it is just not as good. Now CBS just need sot start issuing Blu-rays
of the show as their prints are that good.
Creek fares a little better with their genre compilation set simply titled Heroes Of The Old West which has more
worn Bonanza prints as well an
episode of Outlaws and 13 episodes of the Clayton Moore The Lone Ranger. The ten
films (not on Blu-ray yet for a while) include seven John Wayne films (Blue Steele, McClintock!, Sagebrush Trail,
Texas Terror, Paradise Canton, Lucky Texan
and Randy Rides Again), plus Santa Fe Trail (with Errol Flynn,
Ronald Reagan & Olivia De Havilland), Wild
Fire (with Bob Steele & Sterling Holloway) and Riders Of The Whistling Skull with Ray “Crash” Corrigan. That’s not bad, bur like the Bonanza set, the 1.33 X 1 video and
Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono audio is on the weak side, so only expect so much. This set has no extras.
leaves us with Ian Sharp’s Tracker
(2011), a British/New Zealand co-production form the journeyman director
putting character actor Ray Winstone up against Temuera Morrison (Once Were Warriors, the Star Wars prequels) as characters in a
battle of wills, with the history of racism and segregation in New Zealand when
a Maori man (Morrison) is accused of a murder he may not be guilty of. What should have been a raw, gritty film in
the Sam Peckinpah/Robert Aldrich tradition wants to have it both ways. It wants to be both ways by being seemingly
gritty, yet also being a drama with some prestige, which are contradictory
things. Mr. Sharp should have just let
loose and made this a film real battle between the men. The actors are certainly up to it, but by
being lite, maybe politically correct on some level and more worried about
awards than coming across as possible exploitation, the film ultimately does
not ring as true as it should have making it only a little above a typical TV
movie. I still liked the performances
and leads, both whom are still too underrated for our (movie fans) own good,
make the one difference that make this worth a look.
enhanced 2.35 X 1 image is a little soft throughout, which in this case is a
combination of the format and styling of the film (so it looks like it is in
the past), but it has some fine location work and the use of the scope frame by
Director of Photography Harvey Harrison, B.S.C., is more good than poor. The Dolby Digital 5.1 lossy mix is not badly
recorded, but this is a dialogue-based film and the surrounds are only so good,
which made me wonder if a lossless mix might bring out more from the
soundmaster. Extras include Cast/Crew
Interviews and a Trailer Gallery.
- Nicholas Sheffo