Showdown (1963) (NTSC)

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Released 9-Oct-2019

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Western None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1963
Running Time 78:45
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By R.G. Springsteen
Studio
Distributor

ViaVision
Starring Audie Murphy
Kathleen Crowley
Charles Drake
Harold J Stone
L.Q. Jones
Strother Martin
Case ?
RPI ? Music Hans J. Salter


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Chris Foster (Audie Murphy) and Bert Pickett (Charles Drake) drift into a town that is so tiny it does not have a gaol. Instead, miscreants are chained by the neck to a post in the main street. Bert tells Chris about a girl named Estelle whom he intends to send money to, if he wins any, that is. Instead, Bert gets drunk and starts a fight in the saloon and the result is that both he and Chris are chained to the post at the same time as infamous outlaw Lavelle (Harold J Stone) and some of his gang who have just been caught by the town Marshall. Overnight, Lavelle and his men escape and Bert and Chris, still with chains around their necks, end up with the gang.

     During the escape Bert picks up bonds worth $12,000 which he tries to use as a bargaining chip with Lavelle to get free. In a rather convoluted set of circumstances, Bert manages to send the money to Estelle; Chris, with an escort of Lavelle’s men, is sent to get the money back from Estelle while Bert remains a captive. When Chris finds Estelle (Kathleen Crowley) she is not the sweet innocent depicted by Bert but a saloon girl who, with the windfall, is leaving town and has no intention of giving Chris the money. Chris needs to lose Lavelle’s man and persuade Estelle to relinquish the money to save Bert. Neither is going to be easy.

     Showdown was directed by R.G. Springsteen, a journeyman B director with 98 credits in a range of genres including war, westerns and crime. Showdown is probably an indicator of how the star status, and budget, of Audie Murphy’s films had changed in a few years; many of his previous films had been shot in Cinemascope and Technicolor, but to save money Showdown was shot in black and white in the 1.37:1 aspect ratio. It was reported that Murphy was not impressed; not that he had much choice.

     The set-up for Showdown is interesting and unusual and Murphy actually plays a character with a harder edge that usual and he does it pretty well; indeed, with scenes of men chained around the neck the film also has a harder edge than usual! However, part way through the film loses its way and the convoluted plot, the romantic elements and the transformation of the character of the saloon girl strain credibility and undermine the harder edge of the film. As well, given that this is an Audie Murphy film we know that in the end he will come through and, of course, get the girl. On a side note if you look closely in Showdown you will see Peckinpah favourites L.Q. Jones and Strother Martin in small roles.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Showdown is presented in the 1.37:1 aspect ratio, in NTSC and is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a good black and white print. Blacks and shadow detail are strong, greyscales very good. Other than a couple of tiny marks and some motion blur the print is artefact free.

     No subtitles are provided.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Showdown is presented in the 1.37:1 aspect ratio, in NTSC and is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a good black and white print. Blacks and shadow detail are strong, greyscales very good. Other than a couple of tiny marks and some motion blur the print is artefact free.

     No subtitles are available.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     Nothing. The silent menu offers only “Play”.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     There are apparently stand-alone DVDs of Showdown in European countries but at the moment I have not found a listing on sales sites. In Australia the film was part of the Audie Murphy: Man of the West Collection, which is part of this Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection. See the summary section below.

Summary

     Showdown, although it has an unusual premise and a harder edge than usual for Audie Murphy, is still a traditional western where the result is never really in doubt.

     The video and audio are good. No extras.

     Showdown is included in the 14 disc / 14 film set Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection. The 14 movies, made by Murphy between 1950 and 1966, are all westerns except for the army comedy Joe Butterfly. The Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection is made up from the Audie Murphy: Man of the West Collection and the Audie Murphy: Man of the West Collection II. Both of these individual Man of the West Collection packs have been released previously. But if you are a fan of westerns or a fan of Audie Murphy and don’t have those two earlier collections, this Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection is a good buy.

     The Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection was supplied for review by Via Vision Entertainment. Check out their Facebook page for the latest releases, giveaways, deals and more.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, November 14, 2019
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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