Shalako (1968)

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Released 15-Sep-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Western None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1968
Running Time 108:31
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Edward Dmytryk
Studio
Distributor
Palomar Pict Int
Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Sean Connery
Brigitte Bardot
Stephen Boyd
Jack Hawkins
Peter van Eyck
Honor Blackman
Woody Strode
Eric Sykes
Alexander Knox
Valerie French
Julián Mateos
Don 'Red' Barry
Rodd Redwing
Case ?
RPI $9.95 Music Robert Farnon


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    This is an attempt by a British studio to cash in on the success of the Spaghetti westerns of the 1960s, but is a failure on most counts. The story, based on a novel by prolific western writer Louis L'Amour, has a group of European aristocrats hunting game in the West. They stray onto an Indian reservation, and try to escape the hostiles with the help of Shalako (Sean Connery).

    The is filled with stock character types and situations, and is quite slow and dull. Brigitte Bardot lights up the screen whenever she is in the frame as the Countess, but you can't make a 100 minute plus film out of glamour shots. The rest of the aristocrats include Peter Van Eyck, Alexander Knox, Honor Blackman and Jack Hawkins as her husband. Hawkins had lost his voice to throat cancer by this time, and I believe he is dubbed by Charles Gray. Eric Sykes plays a servant to no good effect. Stephen Boyd also appears as the compulsory bad guy, and Woody Strode plays the darkest-skinned Indian in the West.

    Only if you are a diehard fan of one of these actors would you be interested in this dull film, poorly directed by Edward Dmytryk at the tail-end of his career.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. I believe the original was 2.35:1, and there is obvious cropping in the opening credits, with the words "Art Director" cut off at the top, just as on the Region 1 release.

    The transfer is reasonably sharp without being perfectly so. The level of detail available is satisfactory, though in the few instances where shadow detail could be a problem, it is a problem. This is especially the case in the night scenes which are shot day for night. Colour seems to vary throughout, and though most of the time flesh tones are satisfactory, the film looks faded and lacking in vibrancy with mainly drab colours. There is a yellowish tinge to the film at times. There is some colour bleeding, for example at 77:18. Blacks are mostly solid, though sometimes the darker aspects of the image have a pale sheen.

    Aliasing is also a problem, with hats, guns, shrubbery and even the terrain shimmering whenever they or the camera move. Edge enhancement is absent in some shots, and highly visible in others such as at 70:38.

    The level of film artefacts is disappointing. Throughout the running time there are white spots, flecks, scratches and dirt visible, in varying frequencies.

    The film is presented on a single-layered disc with no subtitles.

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

Audio

    The sole audio track is Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

    The audio is serviceable, with all dialogue clear and only occasional distortion and sibilance. It is however a little thin-sounding, with not much beef to the male voices or the gunfire.

    The music score is by Robert Farnon, and is a pretty nondescript standard type 1960s western score, with nothing distinctive about it.

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

Extras

    There are no extras.

R4 vs R1

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

    There are two US Region 1 releases. The Anchor Bay release has a pan and scan transfer on the reverse side of the disc as an extra, while the MGM release has optional subtitles. However, neither of these releases is 16x9 enhanced, so the Region 4 seems to be the winner.

Summary

    A dull Western with one redeeming feature, but then I am a Bardot fan.

    The video quality is below average.

    The audio quality is satisfactory.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Thursday, September 09, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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