PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
El Dorado (1967)

El Dorado (1967)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 3-Jul-2002

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Western Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1967
Running Time 121:17
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (58:57) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Howard Hawks

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring John Wayne
Robert Mitchum
James Caan
Charlene Holt
Paul Fix
Arthur Hunnicut
Michelle Carey
Case ?
RPI $34.95 Music Nelson Riddle

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Hungarian
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   It's great to see old Westerns getting decent treatment when being transferred to DVD and El Dorado and its older brother Rio Bravo both seem to have gotten a very good deal. For most people, when you watch either of these movies, you may be overcome by a curious sense of deja vu - I know I was. Since both movies have the same lead star (John Wayne) in them, and are directed by the same director (Howard Hawks), it's easy to confuse them, especially since the plots are very, very similar. It's actually quite easy to blur the two movies together and forget who is in which, but both movies are enjoyable in their own right. If I had to pick a favourite out of the two, I'd have to opt for the original, Rio Bravo, primarily because it has Dean Martin in it. Although I've always liked Robert Mitchum, we all have our personal favourites.

   If you haven't seen either movie before, El Dorado is a small town somewhere in Texas and the local sheriff, J.P. Harrah (Robert Mitchum) is an old friend of Cole Thornton (John Wayne), a gunfighter who served with him in the Civil War. Thornton is passing through the town on his way to talk to a local businessman named Bart Jason (Ed Asner) who wants to hire Thornton to rid him of the town sheriff and help oust a family that is holding land he desperately wants. Thornton refuses the job since that would mean going head-to-head with Harrah, but on his way back into town, he inadvertently shoots a member of the MacDonald family who fires first after being asleep. Thornton attempts to help, but the boy is badly shot and while his back is turned, the boy shoots himself when the pain gets too much. Thornton then tries to do the proper thing and return the boy's body, but not everyone believes him, and whilst riding back to town again he is ambushed by Joey MacDonald (Michele Carey). Injured, but still able to ride, he sends the girl on her way and makes for the doctor.

   After being patched up, Thornton leaves and the story picks up some months later in a cantina somewhere in Texas. While enjoying a meal, four gunmen walk in and order drinks. Another young man sporting a strange-looking hat comes in and begins circling the table where the four gunmen are sitting. Picking a fight with one of the men, Mississippi (James Caan) kills the man with a knife hidden in the back of his shirt, but two of the other gunfighters take offence before Thornton intercedes and challenges them down. The fourth man, named Nelse McLeod (Christopher George), a gunfighter of repute and knowing of Thornton's reputation defuses the situation and then offers Thornton a job helping him clean up a drunk in a town called El Dorado. Sizing up the situation immediately, Thornton refuses and makes his farewells, after sending McLeod out the door first. On his way out of town back towards El Dorado, Thornton has a seizure brought on by the bullet, still lodged next to his spine, shot into him by the MacDonald girl. At that moment, Mississippi happens by and wants a chance to repay a debt (plus he has nothing else to do), so he tags along for the ride and ends up with a scatter gun. Since he can't shoot straight he's no use with a pistol, although it seems he's more danger to friend than foe with his new weapon. After getting his gun they head off back to El Dorado to try and help Thornton's friend before he gets killed by McLeod.

   El Dorado is a fun film, a typical example of the appeal of the Duke in his heyday. Naturally the West never looked this good, but that's Hollywood. With all of today's reality-type efforts, it's nice to see people 'die' in a puff of smoke and falling off their horse holding their heart without all the blood and guts of today's movies.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    Having seen this movie on a dozen or more occasions, I can honestly say that this is the best I've ever seen it look.

    The original aspect ratio of this movie was 1.85:1 which is what we are presented with here. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    Apart from the use of edge enhancement throughout the movie (eg: 7:06) the movie has a decent sharpness to it. Shadow detail is actually excellent throughout with plenty of fine detail on offer and backgrounds often brought sharply into focus for a good sense of depth. Grain is visible during most of the movie but it is neither heavy nor annoying. Low level noise was not an issue from where I sat.

    The most pleasing aspect of this transfer by far is the colour. Although heavily saturated in parts, it suffers from neither colour bleed nor chroma noise. Skin tones are very natural and the fact that the palette used was fairly drab means that the saturation actually enhances the viewing pleasure.

    There were numerous wobbles noted during the movie (eg: 4:21, 24:15) but they were only momentary. A slight jump in frame was noted at 24:49 and reel change markings were seen at 16:50, 16:58, 35:00, 35:08, 54:21, 54:28, 103:12, 103:20, 121:08 and 121:16, with a disjointed reel change noted at the 16:58 mark. Film artefacts were noticeable throughout but sprays were rarer. 16:50 was one noticeable example of flecks and spots on the print. Generally though, although noticeable, they were not that annoying. At 55:07 there is a slight blue mark on the top of the picture, and a faint black line can be seen down the centre of the picture at 55:31. Some pixelization can be seen at times, eg: 107:40 on John Wayne's shoulders.

    The subtitles are easy to read and placed about 1/4 of the way up from the bottom of the screen. They do miss out on some of the dialogue, but only rarely. Due to their elevated height, they tend to interfere with the visuals.

    The layer change occurs at 58:57 during a scene between Mitchum and Wayne. Fortunately, it is fairly painless in the grand scheme of things.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    This is listed as a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack at a bitrate of 192 kilobits per second. My system correctly decoded the dialogue into the centre channel and cut some ambience into the left and right speakers, but this is definitely a mono soundtrack. There isn't a lot for the left and right speakers to do, so you probably won't notice them too often. I certainly didn't, but then a dialogue-centric film like this doesn't lose a lot in the process. There were several other soundtracks on this disc; German, Italian, French and Spanish, all at the same bitrate in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono. Not being a native speaker of those tongues, I confined myself strictly to the English soundtrack.

    As you would expect from a movie of this type, the dialogue and sync were spot on and didn't miss a beat.

    The music is by Nelson Riddle, who seems to have been a fairly prolific composer of his time. Included in his list of notable movie soundtracks are Ocean's Eleven and Paint Your Wagon plus a swag of TV soundtracks. This is a serviceable effort overall.

    There was no surround sound nor subwoofer activity noted on this disc.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Theatrical Trailer

    With a running time of 2:58, this is slightly blurry with some artefacts but is very clean otherwise. The trailer has that 60's type voice overlay and the colours are fairly deep and saturated.

R4 vs R1

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

    From the looks of it, both the Region 1 and Region 4 discs are the same, except we get a bunch more subtitles and three extra soundtracks (German/Spanish/Italian). Given the lack of real differences, the locally produced PAL version would be my choice, unless you can find a nice cheap price somewhere else.


    El Dorado is another classic Western given a decent make-over and released on our favourite medium. It might not be to everyone's taste but it is a good example of what made John Wayne so popular from the mid 30s until his death in the 1980s. Backed up by a solid cast, a reworked storyline and good direction, this can be enjoyed again and again.

    The visual side of this transfer is good, with few problems and no complaints.

    The audio is strictly average - mono and typical of the period. No complaints but no kudos either.

    The extras are thin as usual, but the quality of the transfer is some recompense.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Carl Berry (read my bio)
Wednesday, August 14, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba SD5300, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Xelos (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderRotel RSP-976. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationRotel RB 985 MkII
SpeakersJBL TLX16s Front Speakers, Polk Audio LS fx di/bipole Rear Speakers, Polk Audio CS350-LS Centre Speaker, M&KV-75 Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE