Angel and the Badman (Force) (1947)
|Year Of Production||1947|
|Running Time||99:39 (Case: 94)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||James Edward Grant|
Beyond Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.37:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Quirt Evans (John Wayne), a gunfighter of some past notoriety whose name commands instant respect, rides into town with a bullet injury. After "obtaining" the help of a local farmer, he manages to get his telegraph off staking his land claim before falling into the arms of the beautiful daughter, Penelope Worth (Gail Russell). Nursed back to health by Penelope, with the aid of the local doctor, Quirt naturally falls for the young lady - but her being a Quaker creates some confusions for him: after all, a Quaker is the absolute antithesis of a gunfighter. Nonetheless, in the desire to please he stays around the farm and in the process gets the water flow restored to the Worth's farm, which has been stopped by a neighbour, earning the respect of the Worth family and the local Quaker community. Caught between his desire to return to his former riotous ways and his love for the Quaker woman, Quirt variously gets involved in a cattle rustle double cross, a bar fight and the suspicions of the local marshall Wistful McClintock (Harry Casey), before finally deciding that the life of a farmer with his lady is the life for him.
Like many a western before and since, the plot is not exactly the greatest story ever told - and nor do we expect it to be. Westerns are pure escapism and that's what we expect - the opportunity to switch off for a couple of hours and watch the clichés roll by. As long as the man gets the woman, everything is all right. The Quaker aspect adds an intriguing twist to this film, but this is a John Wayne vehicle like dozens of others churned out to keep his legion of fans happy. Although it is fair to say that he couldn't act to save his life, he had a presence that few actors had and it permeates the film, with basically everything else an irrelevancy. The support cast is good, if not especially memorable, and for its day the cinematography was quite good. But this is John Wayne as we remember him and just enjoy the film for that.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, but is not 16x9 enhanced.
Overall, the general transfer is not very sharp and definition at times is poor, especially earlier in the film. Clarity is quite poor early on in the film and the overall effect is very murky indeed. However, after about the 9:30 mark, the quality of the transfer improved considerably. Not the best black and white I have seen mind you, but respectable enough as the clarity and definition improves. Shadow detail early on was also quite poor but again improves as the film moves on - although obviously we are never going to talk demonstration quality here.
This is not a very vibrant black and white transfer and there is a distinct lack of depth to the black and white tones: everything is very grey rather than black or white. Nonetheless, it is not as bad as I was expecting and overall quite respectable.
There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts during the film. Video artefacts were mainly noticeable in the form of loss of focus in panned shots, but this may of course be inherent in the original print and not a mastering problem. Surprisingly, film artefacts were not that prevalent and were hardly distracting at all. Indeed, this is one of the cleaner prints I have seen for films of this sort of vintage.
There is only one soundtrack on the DVD, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, which sounds very decidedly aged mono. The reference to HiFi Stereo on the packaging is somewhat misleading, as it certainly does not appear to be stereo and is definitely LoFi. Early on the soundtrack was very poor with some noticeable distortion, some audio drop out and plenty of background noise. But after that magical 9:30 mark, it improved considerably and background noise was not a significant problem thereafter.
The dialogue was clear and easy to understand throughout.
Audio sync is not a significant problem with the transfer, although there were the usual hints of it that are almost inevitable in a soundtrack of this vintage.
The score was provided by Richard Hageman and a fairly typical western score it is too. Nothing especially memorable about it and very clichéd - but I suppose that is part of the charm of those Saturday afternoon matinee movies.
The soundtrack is very much front and centre and there is no use made of surround channels at all. Somewhat unnatural to those used to the delights of modern digital recordings, but really not that bad once you get used to the sound stage. Given the age of the soundtrack, which is from the depths of the mono era, we simply cannot expect too much, and a stereo remaster would probably have been no great improvement.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The overall video quality is acceptable for a film of this vintage.
The overall audio quality is also reasonable for a film of this vintage.
Perhaps a little more effort could have been made with the extras though.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515, using S-Video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|