Taza, Son of Cochise (Directors Suite) (1954)
Featurette-Days with Sirk documentary
Trailer-Four Directors Suite trailers
|Year Of Production||1954|
|Running Time||75:55 (Case: 869)|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Douglas Sirk|
Richard H. Cutting
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
In the early 1950s Universal International produced a series of westerns that were both cheap to make and popular with American audiences. Most of these westerns do not stand out today, having been long forgotten. Their popularity attracted A-list stars though such as James Stewart, Charlton Heston and Burt Lancaster. Jeff Chandler was the first actor nominated for an Academy Award for portraying an Indian in 1950 in the film Broken Arrow. He played the part of the famous Apache chief, Cochise. He reprised the role in the 1952 film, The Battle of Apache Pass which proved to be a big hit at the box office that year. Taza, Son of Cochise is the follow-up film to The Battle of Apache Pass. Jeff Chandler did not want to play the part of Cochise again, he relented when he learnt that his character was to die early in the film and his son, Taza was to take over his legacy.
Rock Hudson plays the role of Taza, son of Cochise who agrees on Cochise's deathbed to continue the treaty of peace with the white man. His brother Naiche (played by Rex Reason) is opposed to peaceful relations with the white man, instead he wishes to fight for their land in Arizona. He is joined by the most famous Apache chief of them all, Geronimo (played by Ian MacDonald) who together conspire to revolt against United States Army who have moved the Apache people from their Chiricahua Reservation at the Apache Pass in Arizona to the San Carlos Reservation. Barbara Rush plays Taza's love interest, Oona and the 1950s contracted Universal actor, Gregg Palmer plays Captain Burnett, Taza's friend amongst the US cavalry.
The events of the film have been fictionalised for the sake of the drama. In real life Taza did try to negotiate a peace treaty for his people, but he died on his travels from Washington D.C of pneumonia. Taza was not able to unite his people as his father had done. As a result Geronimo was able to lead a faction of rebels, based in Mexico, which we don't get to see in the film. Naiche, Taza's brother did not die as depicted at the end of the film, rather he took over as chief after Taza's death.
Taza, Son of Cochise was shot in 3-D. 3-D and widescreen films were seen by the film studios in the early 1950s as a method of making cinematic films distinctive from television. Despite this, the film was released in cinemas in 1954 in 2-D. Douglas Sirk has been quoted as saying that this was his favourite film because he always wanted to do a western. Perhaps Sirk said this while he was still in the Hollywood system, when asked in 1982 what his favourite film of his was to make he stated that it was Tarnished Angels. You can view this quote for yourself on the extra on this DVD entitled Days with Sirk. The film has been presented here on DVD in a full-frame 1:33:1 transfer. Interestingly, the IMDb reference for the film states that it was originally shot in a 3-D 2:1 widescreen transfer.
The video transfer is a port of the 2008 Region 2 French Sidonis release.
The aspect ratio is 1:33:1 full-frame, not 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions. I believe that like Magnificent Obsession, this film was framed for academy ratio (1:33:1) and widescreen (2:1), although I firmly believe the film would have been shown in cinemas in a full-frame transfer as presented on this DVD.
The average bitrate is 7.2 m/b per sec. The video transfer is adequate for its age, with a little film grain present. It 's a shame that the film has not really been seen in 3-D as intended as Sirk and Russell Metty, the cinematographer framed each scene for the 3-D format. Film critic Leonard Maltin has stated, "originally filmed in 3-D; Universal's Taza, Son of Cochise played quite well in 3-D, as director Sirk and cinematographer Metty composed every shot with a foreground set-piece - from a dead tree to a wagon wheel - to lend perspective and depth to their compositions. Since the film was shot entirely on location at Arches National Park, they had spectacular scenery at their command, and made excellent use of it. Even the gimmicky shots are unusually well done. Other films have Indians throwing burning torches, but in this film the torch fills the screen, with considerable impact. Other in-your-face shots of a bullwhip and a gunshot are equally potent."
The Technicolor print highlights the outdoor on-location shooting at Arches National Park, Utah so red and brown is a dominant colour in the video transfer.
White (negative) film artefacts and lines across the screen are periodically present in the film.
There are no subtitles provided.
There is no RSDL change as the main presentation is 3.9 gb in size, taking up the first layer of a dual-layered DVD.
Taza, Son of Cochise was shot entirely on location in Utah in 1953, so I believe dialogue was dubbed in post-production. It certainly seems that way in my viewing of the film. This does not distract from the viewers enjoyment of the film however.
The main soundtrack is an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack encoded at 224 kbps.
Dialogue, despite being dubbed is clear and synchronised.
The music by Frank Skinner is more typical of the Western genre. Skinner makes much more use of brass orchestration in the score, rather than dominating the score with strings, as he usually did on Sirk's films.
There is no surround channel usage as the main soundtrack is in mono.
The subwoofer is not utilised either.
|Surround Channel Use|
This extra is director and screenwriter Pasqual Thomas and film critic Dominque Rabourdin's documentary for French film series Cinéma Cinémas. It provides retrospective comment on the interviews done with Sirk in 1982, together with the actual interviews themselves. Dispersed in-between areis restored footage from the films quoted by the interviewers and Sirk himself. Some of the interviews with Sirk contain sub-standard video work, as it was not shot with a professional cameraman and lighting crew, so please be mindful of this. As Thomas and Rabourdin state in the documentary, the main thing was get Sirk's views on his films.
I was genuinely surprised at Sirk's free expression in English, especially as he had been living in Switzerland for 23 years at the time of the interviews. He speaks openly and freely about his films. This is a wonderful film-appreciation piece on Sirk's films, a real quality extra in the Douglas Sirk King of Hollywood Melodrama Box Set. This extra has also been included on the Region 2 United Kingdom Masters of Cinema release of There's Always Tomorrow and in the Region 2 French Carlotta Douglas Sirk Collection: Vol.2 Box Set, on the second disc of All I Desire.
Taza, Son of Cochise has been released in Region 2 in barebones format, without extras, in Italy and Germany. The film has also been released in Region 2 France by Sidonis individually and as part of the Cochise: Chief of Legends Collection Box Set which also includes the Universal films Broken Arrow and The Battle of Apache Pass. The French release has an average bitrate of 8.65 m/b per sec and includes quality extras with an 8-minute interview with Patrick Brion who discusses the film in the career of Douglas Sirk and cites the book on the filmmaker, Jon Halliday and a 19-minute interview with director Bertrand Tavernier who refers to Jeff Chandler and analyses the 3-D cinematographic process. Unfortunately, these releases by Sidonis are now out of print.
The Region 4 Madman Directors Suite version of Taza, Son of Cochise is the first release of the film onto DVD in an English-speaking Region.
This may not be Douglas Sirk's most well-known work, and as a western, Taza, Son of Cochise really stands out among the melodramatic films included on the 9-disc Douglas Sirk King of Hollywood Melodrama Box Set. I suppose Madman could have easily included Has Anyone Seen My Gal? or Interlude on the Box Set as these films would fit in more with Sirk's overall film career in the 1950s, but credit must be given for bringing this unique film in Sirk's canon to DVD for the benefit of Region 4 fans.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S550 (Firmware updated Version 020), using HDMI output|
|Display||Samsung LA46A650 46 Inch LCD TV Series 6 FullHD 1080P 100Hz. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Sony STR-K1000P. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.|
|Speakers||Sony 6.2 Surround (Left, Front, Right, Surround Left, Surround Back, Surround Right, 2 subwoofers)|