(1965/Sony/Columbia/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/She
Wore A Yellow Ribbon
(1945/MGM/Warner Archive Blu-rays)
B/B/B- Sound: B/B-/C+ Extras: B+/C/C- Films: C+
Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Twilight Time, is
limited to only 3,000 copies and can be ordered while supplies last,
Wore A Yellow Ribbon
are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive
series. All can be ordered from the links below.
you can have genres of film you are not a fan of despite being a big
fan film. In the case of this writer, westerns and war pictures were
never my favorites, but I still have a few I like in each. However,
it takes a good bit for me to really like one in either or one that
mixes both. These next three films, despite the exclusive way they
are being released, are considered key works in their genres, but I
think they all have their limits and a little can go a long way in
(1965) is a standout because it was one of the first feature films to
handle the western as a comedy. Sure, there was comedy in 'singing
cowboy' films and many child-aimed B-movies and Saturday morning
serials, but not in serious feature film releases. With the
professional western heading towards its peak, comedy as not far
behind. From the sending-up of the Columbia Pictures logo in the
opening of the film to the colorful, animated opening credits, a
pre-controversial Jane Fonda is the title character whose about to
shake up a world that is about to have some loopiness of its own.
Marvin has breakthrough work here in dual roles he handles with rare
distinction and the supporting cast (Dwayne Hickman, Michael Callan,
John Marley, Bruce Cabot, Jay C. Flippen, Arthur Hunnicut, Reginald
Denny, et all) get caught up in her scheme to avenge her father's
murderers (train company builders) by getting a gang of professionals
to avenge him with her leading the charge. Instead, a fiasco
follows, including twists, turns and deconstructive comedy with
little precedent (TV's hit Maverick
being one of the few) including Stubby Kaye and Nat King Cole dueting
and breaking the fourth wall to sing to the audience comical songs
that forward the narrative.
to say, all that is enough to make it worth a look, but if you are
not a westerns fan, you might find it trying your patience at times,
so make sure you're in the mood for it. This Twilight Time Limited
Edition Blu-ray is also loaded with extras, but more on that below.
Wore A Yellow Ribbon
(1949) is part of his Calvary
that includes Fort
though its kinship to The
is important, offering a superior use of color and takes place around
the Centennial of the U.S. itself, battling a 'dangerous Indian
tribe' as the last days of his service in the U.S. Calvary wind down,
but maybe not as down or easy as he might have hoped for. Having
survived the Civil War days, he is a bit bitter (Wayne wore aging
make up that worked enough here) and the title refers to his love
interest (Joanna Dru) wearing the title item in her hair... for
another man who is a mystery to all.
in the middle of nowhere, the film is a character study about
loyalty, aging and professionalism, though some might argue the
latter is an excuse for 'following orders' even when it might not be
the best or most legal thing to do. Nevertheless, it is one of Ford
and Wayne's more famous films and has a mix of optimism and pessimism
that would soon be supplanted by more pessimism in Ford's later
films. It looks good and the cast including Ben Johnson, John Agar,
Victor McLaughlen, George O'Brien, Arthur Shields, Mildred Natwick,
Michael Dugan, Tom Nardini, Chief John Big Tree, Tom Tyler, George
Sky Eagle and Harry Carey Jr. is obviously formidable as well as
solid casting. However, the screenplay was always my problem with
this film, more interested in its narrow narrative than character
study, making it one of Ford's oddest films as far as I'm concerned.
Nice this superior Blu-ray delivers it all so well so you can judge
clearly for yourself.
(1945) is more of an outright pro-American propaganda drama meant to
ideologically smash the Axis Powers' drive to victory, playing like a
documentary at times battling in the Philippines not long after the
horror of the Pearl Harbor attack, can the PT crew of John Wayne,
Robert Montgomery, Jack Holt and Ward Bond (et al) pull off an early
victory? Donna Reed is the female lead in this obvious gung-ho drama
that serves mostly as a time capsule that is sometimes rough to watch
(and not just because the copy here is a bit rough) because it is
part of a cycle of Hollywood WWII propaganda releases of the time
that are in a class of their own, though this is still definitely a
also get more than your share of stock footage here, but that's fine
too, model work or life-sized props or the real thing no problem. I
have to say at 135 minutes, it is a bit long in the tooth, but it is
worth a look for historical reasons if nothing else.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Cat
and 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image on Ribbon
are both originally 35mm
dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor theatrical releases and the
restored copies used for these Blu-ray discs show that off often with
few flaws and more than a few demo shot. Director of Photography
Winton C. Hoch won the Best Color Cinematography for Ribbon
and westerns & TV veteran Jack A. Marta (later on Spielberg's
and the last 2 Billy Jack films) more than holds his own on Cat.
1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image
transfer on They
can show the age of the materials used as expected and can be rough
viewing, but this is the best I've seen the film in any form and
don't expect it to look much better than on this disc.
3 films were theatrical monophonic releases, but Cat
was recorded in stereo on the set (the music was stereo in the
recording studio, more common at the time) yet (like the Bond film On
Her Majesty's Secret Service,
for instance), has been mostly available in mono over the years. The
new Blu-ray offers the film in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 and 2.0
Stereo lossless mixes that definitely are the best performers here
and debut the original sound in the highest possible fidelity.
are offered only in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless
presentations that are also about as good as they'll ever sound.
originally being an RKO Picture, it means another victory in Warner's
massive work to upgrade and save that studio's priceless catalog.
on all three releases are their respective Original Theatrical
Trailers, but Cat
adds an Isolated
Score Track of music by Frank DeVol, two feature length audio
commentary tracks (one with actors/co-stars Michael Callan and Dwayne
Hickman, the other equally fine by film historians Eddy Friedfeld,
Lee Pfeiffer & Paul Scrabo and two older featurettes: Lee
and Pamela: A Romance
biographical piece and The
Legend of Cat Ballou.
Ford Home Movies.
order the Cat
edition Blu-ray, buy it and other great exclusives while supplies
last at these links:
to order either of the Warner Archive Blu-rays, She
Wore A Yellow Ribbon
go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases