4 for Texas (1963) (NTSC)
Main Menu Audio
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
|Year Of Production||1963|
|Running Time||115:02 (Case: 114)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4||Directed By||Robert Aldrich|
Warner Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
I have never been a great fan of Frank Sinatra. Call me what you like, but I thought the bloke could act just about as well as he could sing, which in my estimation was barely. Couple this to the fact that I also hate Westerns with a passion, and you could say that I was not really the ideal person to review this title. Still, I went in with an open mind and hoped this would be better than I was giving it initial credit for.
When two members of the rat pack get together (Dean Martin joins Frank this time round), you know more-or-less what you are going to get. Much like the original Ocean's 11, which from the information I have gathered, saw the filming of the actual movie placed second to the boys having a good time, 4 For Texas (which is a really bad title, don't you think), seems more of a chance for Deano and Frank to strut around like tough-macho western gamblers and cavort with a few gorgeous ladies (Ursula Andress included). Throw in a truly awful and contrived cameo appearance from The Three Stooges and the bar has not been set too high in terms of quality acting.
Set in the 1870s in Galveston, Texas, Frank Sinatra plays Zachary Thomas and Dean Martin plays Joe Jarrett. Both men have greedy and gambling streaks in them, and when by chance they happen across $100,000 in cash and thereby proceed to steal it from each other, a good old competitive game of one-upmanship ensues. Jarrett winds up with the loot which was originally stolen from a stage-coach bound for a corrupt bank manager, and he has to decide what to do with it before Thomas catches up with him. Jarrett decides to invest in a paddle-steamer owned by the lovely Max (Ursula Andress) and in addition to restoring the steamer and transforming it into a casino on the water, he also manages to win Max's heart. Thomas is meanwhile plotting to retrieve his cash (or take over the boat now that it has all been spent), as is the bank manager who was the original owner of the loot. He hires a renegade gunman to try and get his loot back (Charles Bronson).
Much better than I was expecting is certainly the best way to describe the video transfer on offer here, and given the fact that this is one of those somewhat dreaded NTSC transfers, I was more than surprised at this. The transfer is 16x9 enhanced and quite sharp and vivid with only marginal grain and slightly worse film artefacting to distract from what is generally a pretty pleasing video effort.
The transfer is presented in an aspect of 1.78:1 and, as mentioned, is 16x9 enhanced.
Overall, this is an above average transfer in terms of detail, particularly for the age of the source material. Sure it gets a little soft on occasions, but nothing at all to get too concerned about. There are no shadow detail problems, though grain does appear on a couple of occasions where the tacky style projected background screens are used. There is no low level noise.
The colours on display are much like the rest of the print, in that they are better than I was expecting to see. Not overly vibrant, but they offer a decent and solid saturation level. The reds of the ladies' dresses and the boat workers' jackets in particular are quite vibrant. Skin tones look perfect, and blacks are deep and solid.
I noticed no MPEG artefacts and no major film-to-video artefacts were apparent (the odd extremely minor shimmer on a couple of coats being the exception). Film artefacts were numerous in number and variety. While expected from the age of the material, they were quite noticeable and distracting at times.
Several subtitle streams are available. I sampled the English version and though they deviated from what was being spoken on the screen many times, the overall gist of of the conversations was conveyed.
This is a dual layered disc that features RSDL formatting. I was unable to detect the layer change.
There is not much on offer in the audio department, though the purists will be happy as the original mono soundtrack is in place. This is certainly not the worst mono-only track I have heard (that honour falls to another Western - Blazing Saddles). This one at least packs a reasonable dynamic range and doesn't suffer too much from that common one-dimensional tinniness that is often found in these tracks.
There are a total of two audio tracks available, these being English and French Dolby Digital 1.0 mono efforts. Naturally enough, I listened to the English track in total.
Dialogue is a bit of a mixed bag. While clear at all times, it is often delivered in a really unnatural manner so that it sounds like really poor ADR work has been done. Check out the sound during the fight scene at the end of the film for some really strange dialogue interrupting the flying-fists sound effects.
Think Western, think old-time music hall style music and that's pretty much what we get. Like much of the action on the screen, it comes across as a trifle clichéd.
Being a plain old mono soundtrack means no surround nor subwoofer use is present.
|Surround Channel Use|
The film theme playing in a loop.
Very basic selected filmographies only for the principal cast.
This was something of a revelation. Despite its short duration (only running for 7:58 minutes) and lack of live audio from the actual footage, it provides an almost documentary style (complete with 60s style voiceover) look at the filming of a couple of scenes. Video is presented as full screen with some snips from the movie at 1.78:1 widescreen. Worth a look.
In what is quite an unusual occurrence, the trailer features a better soundtrack than the main film. This long trailer (it clocks in at 3:47 minutes) is presented in an aspect of 1.78:1 and features 16x9 enhancement. It also contains a Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround encoded soundtrack that provides fairly decent quality. The trailer provides some footage that has been produced exclusively for it, with Ursula Andress introducing the film and its stars.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 disc is identical to the Region 4. The local disc would be the version of choice for price considerations alone.
A really bad title, a couple of suitably cheesy performances from Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra and several cheaply filmed action sequences are among the low-lights of this film. However, the actual DVD presentation is far better than I was expecting despite the disc only sporting a mono soundtrack.
The video is quite good, with nice solid colours and little evidence of problems.
The audio, despite being mono, does the job.
The extras are quite limited.
|DVD||Loewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output|
|Display||Loewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10|