(1970/Blue Underground Blu-ray)/The
(1952/RKO/Warner Archive DVD)
B/C Sound: C+ Extras: B-/C- Films: B-/C+
is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive
series and can be ordered from the link below.
for two entries from different ideas of The West that are Westerns,
if not the usual kind...
noted in our previous DVD review, Companeros
is a title that has been often used, it turns out, but
none have the cool theme song this one has. An arms dealer (Franco
Nero) gets involved in revolution and the robbery of gold. He makes
an unholy alliance with a killer thief (Tomas Milian), though they
are not the best of friends. They also have to juggle to drug-crazed
killer (Jack Palance, who is not in the film enough, but in what was
typical of these films, would take an American actor's cameo and
pretend it was a starring role), a clever female revolutionary (Karin
Schubert), and a professor (Fernando Rey) who knows how to get the
gold. This worked better, thanks in part to an actual Morricone
score, but the film is not always as successful. It does more with
its star power, but the usual trappings of sadistic torture and women
to be beaten, humiliated and raped grows tired instantly, especially
with a predictable screenplay. Director Sergio Corbucci, who came up
with the idea and co-wrote the film with four others (one
uncredited), gives the film some energy, but cannot rise above
convention. I like the longer version better, pulling it away from
convention, but it does not make it Leone's Duck,
(reviewed elsewhere on this site) by any means.
include the shorter English-language version of the film that
is not quiet as well-rounded, then repeats an Original
and a 17-minutes-long interview segment In
The Company of Companeros
from the old DVD, then we get some more extras including TV Spots,
more trailers, a Poster & Still Gallery and a decent
feature length audio commentary track by C. Courtney Joyner and Henry
Parke that is good, but could have used even more facts and cinema
history despite how well read they are.
Ray's The Lusty Men (1952) takes place in more contemporary
times, but is enough of a genre piece as Robert Mitchum plays a
once-successful bull-rider who finds himself getting involved with
the business again when ambitious fan Arthur Kennedy decides he might
be able to do it and they meet. Wife Susan Hayward is not so
thrilled, but goes along with it when the money starts finally piling
up. Too bad it starts in interfere with their marriage and she and
Mitchum's character start to get involved.
of this is obvious and how could it be otherwise, but it is the
character interaction, the actors and Ray's reliable direction that
makes this better than it would be otherwise. Arthur Hunnicut and
Jimmie Dodd lead the rest of the cast and the Rodeo moments are
almost surreal at times. This one is worth a look.
Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra.
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Companeros
was shot in Techniscope and process In dye-transfer,
three-strip Technicolor, but these new transfers come from new HD
scans of the original camera negatives. You can sometimes see
the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to
all previous releases of the film including the older DVD, yet grain
is minimal without major manipulation. Color can be really nice in
this solid presentation, if not always looking like a Technicolor
print. This compares well with the Blu-rays of the four Leone
Spaghetti Westerns issued by MGM (The
Man With No Name Trilogy,
reviewed elsewhere on this site) and Paramount (Once
Upon A Time In The West,
which we highly recommend).
Director of Photography Alejandro Ullos (Horror
(see the Blu-ray elsewhere on this site), Night
Of The Werewolf,
is a highly underrated cameraman and this new transfer confirms what
I have known for eons.
black & white 1.33 X 1 image on Men is not bad for its age print
wise, but the transfer is just a bit softer throughout than I would
have liked. Director of Photography
Lee Garmes (Duel In The
(1932), The Desperate
Hours (1955), The
Paradine Case, Lady
In A Cage) is yet another
underrated cameraman who could get some really interesting, great
shots no matter what he did and this film is no exception.
for sound, the two films are more even with the DTS-HD MA (Master
Audio) 1.0 Mono lossless Italian and English mixes on Companeros
a little rough (I prefer the Italian for clarity of the music and
some sound effects) while the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Men
shows its age, but sounds a bit better than expected.
can order The
Warner Archive DVD by going to this link for it and many more great
web-exclusive releases at: