Nevada Smith (1966)

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Released 8-Apr-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Western None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1966
Running Time 125:28
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Henry Hathaway
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Steve McQueen
Karl Malden
Brian Keith
Arthur Kennedy
Suzanne Pleshette
Raf Vallone
Janet Margolin
Pat Hingle
Howard Da Silva
Martin Landau
Paul Fix
Gene Evans
Josephine Hutchinson
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Alfred Newman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Arabic
Bulgarian
Czech
Danish
German
Greek
Spanish
French
Hebrew
Croatian
Icelandic
Italian
Hungarian
Dutch
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Romanian
Slovenian
Serbian
Finnish
Swedish
Turkish
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Beginning credits

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

Plot Synopsis

    The film Nevada Smith is based on the characters in The Carpet Baggers, created by Harold Robbins. The on-screen story and screenplay is by John Michael Hayes. It was released back in 1965. The Carpet Baggers was released on 9th of April, 1964 and was an adaptation of Robbins' best selling soap opera set in the 1930s, loosely based on the infamous Howard Hughes. The Carpet Baggers featured an aging cowboy character by the name of Nevada Smith, played by Alan Ladd in his final screen appearance. You will need to wait well into Nevada Smith to see how the movie's title comes about and why it makes such a fitting title.

    Max Sand (Steve McQueen) is a young half-Indian, half-white man living at home with his parents, tending to his daily chores. When his parents are tortured and killed by a group of roaming thugs, he seeks revenge against the murderers; Tom Fitch (Karl Malden), Jesse Coe (Martin Landau), and Bill Bowdre (Arthur Kennedy). For the remainder of the film Max tracks down the trio and attempts to take the role of Judge, Jury and Executioner on a case-by-case basis. His journey is filled with highs and lows and he is presented with many challenges on his journey. The story evolves in parallel with the boy Max starting to shape into a man after each confrontation thrown at him by man, animal or nature. Along the way he meets many interesting characters, with his greatest guidance coming from Jonas Cord (Brian Keith), who assists young Max on his quest.

    (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) Max is so focused on catching up with all the killers that he even holds up a Bank and intentionally gets locked in the vault purely to be landed in jail where one of his parents' killers are currently being held. Now if that is not dedication to the job at hand I don't know what is.

    It was good to see that after he has taken his revenge he finally comes to grips with the reality that killing these men will not change anything in his past. The past events have surely shaped his growth from boy to man but ultimately he needs to let go of his hatred if he intends to return to a normal life.

    Nevada Smith is a marvellous production complete with solid acting, great scenery and a plot that keeps you interested until the end. You will need to look past the fact that Steve McQueen was far from the spring chicken kid he was playing in this film. Personally, I was eagerly awaiting the release of this title to DVD and it now sits proudly in my collection. People wanting a quality Western movie need look no further than this title.

    Paramount has previously confirmed that the original print was in a very poor state and an extensive level of restoration was done before this film could be released to DVD. The level of care is clearly evident in this release.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Considering its age, the film quality and resulting transfer is remarkable.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is very clear and also surprisingly sharp almost throughout the entire film. It is not until almost the end of the film at 115:19 to 115:35 that there is a section of film that is very soft and dull with an almost out-of-focus type of appearance when compared to the image quality either side of this time mark. I would speculate that there were major problems with the source footage at this point and restoration was unable to do very much with this section. This section is rather important plot-wise ,so leaving it out would not really have been an option and for this I am grateful. Other than this one section there is an incredible amount of detail that is evident in the transfer.

    Shadow detail is lacking in a few scenes, especially in the farm house after the parents are killed. This may have been intentional to hide viewers from the full horrors inside. There are a few night scenes where shadow detail is also lacking and it is hard to make out any surrounding detail except within the immediate vicinity of the actors. Again this may have been intentional but I can only speculate on this. Any further tweaking in this area may have made the black shift towards shades of grey which would have been far worse visually. There is no low level noise.

    The colours were also of high quality and I was actually expecting a lot worse. They were bold and vibrant with a good level of saturation. There has been a good palette restoration so you do get quite a realistic appearance of objects, people, scenery and so forth. The sky does tend particularly during the first half hour of the film to have more of the blue end of the spectrum added. Otherwise, if this is natural then it's one of the most remarkable sky images ever captured on film.

    There were no MPEG artefacts seen. Aliasing is almost non existent and mild when it does occur. Film artefacts are rare as well with only minor flecks on occasion. The opening credits are different, however, with considerable dust, hairs and scratches. Thankfully this does not continue once the last credit has disappeared. The quality of the footage actually helps to mask the artefacts and the casual observer will probably miss them altogether.

    A solid collection of subtitles has been bundled with this film. The English version is close to the actual spoken word.

    This disc is dual layered.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are five audio tracks on this DVD. The tracks are all Dolby Dolby Digital 2.0 and available in English, German, Spanish, French and Italian. I listened to the English version in its entirety.

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times.

    Audio sync was not a problem at all with this transfer, and was completely spot on.

    The musical score by Alfred Newman is typical of the genre and as a result it suits the movie well. The volume levels did not drown out the dialogue at any point during the movie.

    The surround channels were not utilised by this soundtrack.

    The subwoofer was not utilised by this soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     There are no extras on this disc.

Menu

    The main menu design is themed around the movie. It is 16x9 enhanced. It features a still montage image which is rather grainy and of poor quality, and certainly not comparable to the quality of the transfer itself. There is no audio.

R4 vs R1

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

    This is the same as the Region 1 release in content. The only difference is to do with NTSC/PAL formatting differences and subtitle options for the different markets. I have been unable to confirm the exact list of subtitles available on the Region 1 release because of discrepancies in Region 1 reviews that I compared against. It does appear that we have a larger list, together with a PAL transfer which is why I have rated our release as superior.

Summary

    This is a great movie given a fitting level of restoration.

    The video quality is superb with only a minor blemish towards the end.

    The audio is also of high quality considering the age of the original with not a flutter to be heard.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Peter Mellor (read my bio)
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Aconda 9381ZW. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersWhatmough Classic Series C31 (Mains); C06 (Centre); M10 (Rears); Magnat Vector Needle Sub25A Active SubWoofer

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