Zane Grey-Wanderer of the Wasteland/Code of the West (Double Pack 2) (1945)
|Category||Western||Menu Animation & Audio|
|Year Of Production||1945|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5||Directed By||
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|
|Subtitles||None||Smoking||Yes, Mostly Cigars|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Wanderer Of The Wasteland: Adam Larey's (James Warren) parents were killed by bandits when he was a mere boy. On that day he swore revenge on the man who committed the crime. The movie follows the events that occur when Larey eventually finds the man he has vowed to kill. Matters, however, are complicated by his feelings for the man's nephew. This is a good story that features just about the silliest declaration of love that I've ever seen in a movie.
Code Of The West: James Warren again takes the lead role here, this time as Bob Wade, a man intent on setting up a ranch in Arizona. Unfortunately for Bob, the local hotelier/financier/sleazebag (career choices were more interesting back in the old West), would prefer to do anything illegally possible to stop him. This is a much sillier movie than Wanderer, where the good guys are dressed in white and the bad guys in black, and the bad guys will do pretty much any thing other than prevent Bob from bringing them down.
All-in-all, these movies were surprising enjoyable. I have never been the world's biggest fan of Westerns, but I found myself drawn into the stories. Certainly, they won't be everyone's cup of tea, but if you're looking for a tale of High Adventure in the old West, then these could be just the thing.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. This is close enough to the films' original aspect ratios of 1.37:1.
The sharpness of the transfer is very good given the poor quality of the source material, as there is a good level of definition and clarity when the source gives the transfer a chance. Shadow detail is another matter, with the darker scenes virtually disappearing into sheets of black where it is difficult to make out any characters, let alone which ones they are. The worst example of this occurs between 22:52-23:25 in Wanderer Of The Wasteland where it is all but impossible to see anything. There is no low level noise present in this transfer.
Both the features presented here are black and white (despite coloured images on the cover of the packaging).
There is a considerable amount of posterization present in this transfer, although it is not helped by the constant level of grain. It is particularly visible on the faces of characters and over ground. There is no aliasing present in the transfer at all. Considerable wobble is present during the credit sequences, but there is a good chance that this is present in the source material. As for film artefacts, this presentation has the lot. Black and white artefacts, and artefacts of different shapes and sizes (including some that take up a good third of the frame) are constantly present in both features, although Code Of The West is affected to a much lesser degree.
There are no subtitles present on this disc.
This disc is a single layer disc, and as such there is no layer transition.
There is only one audio track for each of these features, being an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack. Interestingly enough, this track has been recorded at the higher bitrate of 224 Kb/s, which really seems quite pointless.
Dialogue is muffled and often hard to understand thanks to the combination of thick accents and poor sound. There are a number of audio drop-outs that affect dialogue as well. General pops and clicks cover the soundtrack with a similar generality to film artefacts in the video, and these also serve to make dialogue harder to understand.
Audio sync is also problematic in this transfer, with a large amount of dialogue being out of sync. The level to which the dialogue was out ranged from subtle to obvious, but the age of the features and obvious degradation of both sound and video source may also have played a role here.
The musical score by Paul Sawtell is typical Western fare, being of the orchestral variety, and featuring soaring violins for the theme, and strong use of horns for the action sequences. The transition from sequences with no score to sequences with score is not anywhere near as subtle as in most modern movies, and the effect can be quite jarring with the music suddenly announcing its presence. Despite this, and despite the overall low quality of the soundtrack, the music was quite effective, and once the shock of its introduction or cessation were overcome, it easily moved into the background.
Being a mono sound track, there was no surround activity whatsoever.
The subwoofer was not called into use at all with very little in the way of bass in the soundtrack.
|Surround Channel Use|
The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;
The video quality is bad, being covered in film artefacts and having terrible shadow detail. The only saving grace is that there is little in the way of MPEG artefacts.
The audio quality is equally bad, if not worse, than the video quality. Dialogue is out of sync and is often hard to understand, and the soundtrack is filled with constant pops and clicks.
There are no extras.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using S-Video output|
|Display||RCA 80cm. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-DS787, THX Select|
|Speakers||All matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)|