|Category||Western||Theatrical Trailer-1.78:1 non-16x9,
Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
|Start Up||Language Selection then Menu|
Warner Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Dolby Digital||2.0 mono|
||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192Kb/s)
German (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192Kb/s)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||
English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
You can imagine the rest of the story, and you would be right. Clint Eastwood is sublime in his role, and whilst it was his first Hollywood picture, he was no newbie to the cinema or the television, having served 7 years on Rawhide and performing in the Dollars trilogy, beginning with A Fistful Of Dollars in 1964. This picture did nothing to harm his career, and I certainly enjoyed watching it for the first time some 32 years later.
Sharpness-wise, this is a great-looking transfer. There is plenty of detail to be found in almost every scene, and the transfer has a film-like quality to it. There were some exceptions to this, and every now and then a particular scene or shot would be quite poor in clarity and sharpness, but since they were few and far between I did not find them too bothersome. Shadow detail is very good for a movie of this vintage. There is very little low-level noise, and only a hint of film grain.
The colour palette was natural, with skin tones being a tad lighter than perfect. There were no really striking scenes, but on the whole the colour balance was very good, again especially for a movie of this age.
There were no MPEG artefacts during the movie, which is essential in providing a solid image. There was also little in the way of film-to-video artefacts, save for some minor telecine wobble here and there. The only failing of this transfer is the rather plentiful number of film artefacts which pop up all the way through the movie, and range from minor white spots to great chunks of the picture changing colour. They were quite regular; for a while there would be none at all, and then another lot would show up. I will forgive these problems since the movie is 32 years old, and they did not detract from the viewing of this film for me much at all.
This disc is RSDL
formatted, with the layer change occurring between chapters 17 and 18,
55:54. It is placed during a natural
fade to black, and is so good that I completely missed it whilst watching
the movie for the first time. You can't beat that.
Dialogue was at all times easily understood, and was presented quite well. There were no significant lip-sync problems.
The musical score is fairly typical of what you might expect from a Western-style movie, and it is not without its own charm I must say. It would have been quite nice to be able to hear the score without the incredibly bad distortion which occurs whenever the sound level rises above a certain point. The distortion is the result of the signal saturating, and it appears that the levels were set too high when this disc was pressed. It consists of very harsh crackling - not quite digital in nature, because the soundtrack can still be heard rather than being a total mess; and it occurs all too frequently. It got to the stage where I prayed there would be no more loud passages. Naturally they occurred, and I cringed all the way through. This should never have made it to release, and as far as I am concerned the disc should be remastered. It is interesting to note that this problem simply does not occur on the other soundtracks; though they sound markedly inferior in frequency response and clarity, it still beats having to put up with heavy distortion on a regular basis. It's a pity I only understand English.
It is a shame the English soundtrack is as poor as
it is, because there is plenty of weight to the sound, with excellent use
of the subwoofer when called upon. The score benefits enormously from this
|Surround Channel Use|
The video transfer has numerous film artefacts, but is still very sharp and detailed, and will please even fussy viewers in spite of those problems.
The distorted English soundtrack is an abomination, and a remaster is urgently required to bring its classic Western score back to the life this hints at.
An excellent trailer and a cursory 8-page booklet make up the extras.
© Paul Cordingley (bio)
30th August, 2000.
|DVD||Panasonic A360 (S-Video connected)|
|Display||Pioneer SD-T43W1 125cm rear-projection 16:9 Widescreen|
|Amplification||Sony STRDB-930 (Optically connected)|
|Speakers||Sony SS-CN35 100-watt (centre) , Pioneer CS-R390-K 150-watt floorstanders x 4 ( main & surrounds), Optimus 100-watt passive subwoofer|