Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Western > Vigilantes (BCI Eclipse set)

The Vigilantes (BCI Eclipse Western set)


                               Picture:     Sound:     Extras:     Film:

China 9, Liberty 37       D            C              D          B-

The Gatling Gun           C-           C              D          C-

Find A Place To Die      C-           C-            D           C-

Joshua                       C            C              D           C-



BCI Eclipse is keeping the Brentwood Vigilantes DVD Westerns collection in print, in part because better copies of some of these films have not been issued, so why should they miss out on the money?  The best of the four is easily Monte Hellman’s China 9, Liberty 37 from 1978 with Warren Oates, Jenny Agutter and Fabio Testi in a test of wills where a man condemned to hangin’ (Testi) will be spared if he kills the farmer (Oates) who will not give into “progress” and sell his farm.  Of course, this is the worst of the prints, an overdigitized analog pan & scan TV copy that may have affected this critic’s reaction to a film not seen in years.  It was shot in the Technovision scope process and deserves a digital High Definition treatment.


The Gatling Gun (1973) has a print almost as bad, but in real life, this was shot in Techniscope and usually released in beautiful three-strip Technicolor prints.  Here is a film that may have just missed that release treatment.  This print has awful color and makes the film hard to watch or judge.  Again, my rating for the film is not a final one and the film stars Guy Stockwell, Woody Strode, Barbara Luna, Robert Fuller and John Carradine.


Find A Place To Die (1968) was previously issued by rival VCI on DVD in 2002 and this print is as bad as theirs.  Unless you want trailers the VCI version has, which they have on plenty of other titles, there is no difference.  This is letterboxed at 2.35 X 1 and the color is problematic, issued in EastmanColor obviously going bad here.  The film stars Jeffrey Hunter as a gunfighter who is asked to help a woman (Pascale Petit) and her husband when they find a gold mine everyone else would like to kill for.


That leaves Joshua, Fred Williamson’s 1976 production in which he plays a cowboy whose mother is killed and he seeks revenge.  Running only 75 minutes, the script spends half of its time with the criminal gang terrorizing and hauling around a prize woman (Isela Vega) who they intend to rape over and over until they figure out something else to do.  This was the era where a woman being raped or almost raped was suddenly commonplace in part due to the XXX competition in theaters and some other controversial cinematic moments (see my review on The Candy Snatchers) of the time.  It was R-rated ands somehow later PG!  Letterboxed here, the film was on of only 32 shot in the great Todd-AO 35mm anamorphic scope process and that is one of its few saving graces.  The regular CFI Color has not held up much, though.


Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is the sound throughout, with dubbed dialogue in Find A Place To Die and often location in the other cases.  If you can get this set cheap and put up with the age of the prints, they might be worth a look, but others should just wait for a better version of China 9, Liberty 37 and move on.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com