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 > Pale Rider (1985/Warner Blu-ray)

Pale Rider (1985/Warner Blu-ray)


Picture: B     Sound: B     Extras: C-     Film: C+



Clint Eastwood plays a mysterious pastor who believes that it is sometimes better to carry a big stick in his one-off return to the Western in the 1980s, Pale Rider.  One of his more commercial films, it is set in the 1980s “watch the crowd on the screen cheer for him because you should too” films that is far from his best film of the time or in the genre, but it is consistent enough (via the Michael Butler/Dennis Shryack screenplay) but does not do anything new either.


Once again, a tycoon and local law group have teamed up top drive good people on land that is theirs fair and square, getting violent if necessary to do so.  Enter the preacher with a different kind of philosophy and you can kiss eminent domain goodbye.  Richard Dysart, Michael Moriarty, Carrie Snodgress, John Russell, Christopher Penn and Richard Kiel make up the supporting cast and it is worth seeing once, but is only so good on repeat viewing.



The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image is…  well…  pale!  The print is inconsistent, sometimes soft, sometimes color poor, always detail challenged and comes from an old Warner Communications print that should not have been used.  Shot in real anamorphic Panavision by Eastwood’s longtime cinematographer Bruce Surtees.  His work deserves better and maybe a later Special Edition would be the occasion to do so.


The Dolby True HD 5.1 mix on the Blu-ray is pretty good for its age.  Though some records list the film as only available in Dolby A-type analog 35mm sound prints, other records indicate this was also issued in 70mm blow-up prints with a Dolby magnetic 4.1 sound mix.  Whether the prints were ever issued or not, the sound here sounds very much like it could have come from such a soundmaster.  Lennie Niehaus’ score is not bad and there is a decent soundfield here considering the film’s age.  Extras include trailers for this film and Unforgiven, but could have offered more.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com