James Stewart Western Collection (Bilingual)
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Hollywood legend James Stewart takes the law into his own hands with 6 action-packed adventures in James Stewart: The Western Collection. Celebrate this Academy Award®-winning screen icon's 100th Anniversary with some of his most daring roles ever in Destry Rides Again, Winchester '73, Bend of the River, The Far Country, Night Passage and The Rare Breed. Co-starring silver screen favorites Marlene Dietrich, Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis, Maureen O'Hara and Shelley Winters, this essential collection showcases one of Hollywood's most versatile actors at his best.
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Top Customer Reviews
winchester 73 is FANTASTIC in everyway ..... film AND new xfer.
bend of the river is also pretty fantastic, but the xfer is HORRENDOUS as it is ALMOST unwatchable .......
i bought this set on recommendation from the dvdbeaver site, which unfortunately, in the case of 'bend of the river', completely FORGOT ? to mention this image issue in their review ..... or they didn't NOTICE it ...
i just googled for more reviews ....
taken from dvd savant review of the dvd image ..... which i am in total agreement with .....
"Universal's DVD of Bend of the River has a well-compressed image that suffers only when the composite Techicolor scenes are misaligned, which is unfortunately fairly frequent, especially in outdoor footage. The picture will cut from a perfect medium shot to a grainy and indistinct wide image with the magenta register out of whack, ever so slightly. Perhaps on a small screen it's not a problem, but it's a little disappointing on a large monitor."
it frankly looks horrible because of this as MOST of the film looks soft and out of focus ....but when the image is in alignment it looks great ! ... i'm viewing on a 42inch panasonic plasma
the image captures on the dvdbeaver review seem to only show the xfer at it's best. VERY misleading, unfortunately. it does state though, that this xfer is exactly the same as the 2003 release. which is fine. i went in understanding which xfers were new 2008, and which ones were 2003. fine. BUT there was no mention about the nasty overall image of 'bend of the river' .....Read more ›
There always seems to be a lck of information in this area with you
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Destry Rides Again (1939) - NO EXTRAS
Winchester '73 (1950) - features Interview with James Stewart that is actually a commentary that runs throughout the film.
Bend Of The River (1952) - NO EXTRAS
The Far Country (1955) - NO EXTRAS
Night Passage (1957) - NO EXTRAS
The Rare Breed (1966) - NO EXTRAS
They are all already on DVD. The press release says that Universal will repackage the same content with the exception of The Far Country. Its original aspect ration is 1.85:1, but its May 2003 DVD release was in the full screen format. However, the specs for this set show The Far Country as being released in 1.85:1.
Here you get to see James Stewart evolve as a western star. In "Destry Rides Again" he plays the same old likable character we have seen throughout the 30's. It was too bad it was made in the golden year of 1939, or else the film would probably be better known. "Winchester 73" sees the beginning of Stewart's teaming with Anthony Mann. Together they made what can almost be described as film noir westerns. Here Stewart plays a much darker and more complex character than you are probably accustomed to seeing in westerns of this era. The trend continues in "Bend of the River" and "The Far Country".
"Night Passage" was supposed to be another Mann/Stewart western, but the two had such a falling out during filming that another director took over and the two didn't work together again. For whatever reason, this film isn't quite as good as the others in this set, but it is still worthwhile. Finally there is "The Rare Breed". Stewart's later comedy/western combinations didn't work as well as his earlier more complex efforts in my opinion, but star power makes this one hold up, with Maureen O'Hara and Brian Keith also featured. Plus there are some interesting plot twists involving Stewart's character.
I won't take off points for it, but this set has two drawbacks. First, the only film with any extras is "Winchester '73" with Stewart's great commentary. Second, all of these films have been released as singles before. This punishes diehard Stewart fans who bought these films when they were first available less economically. Universal has also been releasing a series of "Universal Cinema Classics" including some really great comedies (Midnight/The Major and the Minor/Easy Living). This makes me wonder if I should just wait and see if those films come out in an economical collection later on too.
In "Destry," he plays Tom Destry, Jr., whose father "cleaned up Tombstone" and was shot in the back in the process; badly burned by this experience, Tom has sworn off guns, and when his father's old deputy Wash Dimsdale (Charles Winninger) sends for him to help tame Bottleneck, he tries at first to do the job without violence. Here we see Stewart's famous "aw-shucks" demeanor in what may be its first incarnation. With the help of Wash and a comic Russian character misnamed Callahan (Mischa Auer), he does better than he has a right to expect, but soon learns that when you're dealing with unscrupulous people like saloonowner Kent (Brian Donleavy), it doesn't pay to play nice.
Next comes "Winchester '73" (1950), a Mann opus and perhaps Stewart's defining Western. Here he plays Lin McAdam, a Texan trying to track down the brother (Stephen McNally) who went bad and murdered their father. His search brings him to Dodge City one Fourth of July, where he signs up for a holiday marksmanship contest with a gorgeous Winchester "One of 1000" rifle as the prize. He wins, too, but his brother steals the rifle and flees, and the rest of the film follows the weapon in its subsequent wanderings and Lin in his continued quest until both come together once again.
In "Bend of the River" (1952), another Mann film based upon a novel Bend of the Snake by Bill Gulick, his character is Glyn McLyntock, a former Border Raider in 1850's Kansas who has signed on as a guide for a party of Oregon-bound pioneers in an effort to leave that life behind. After saving Emerson Cole (Douglas Kennedy) from a lynching party and discovering that he too used to ride the Border, he gets his party safe to the valley they're bound for, but the discovery of gold in the neighborhood imperils the delivery of the supplies and cattle for which they've already paid. It's up to Glyn to get the goods out of the clutches of avaricious merchants, elude miners hungry for them, and cope with a conspiracy by his drivers and the injury of his friend, pioneer leader Jeremy Baile (Jay C. Flippen).
"The Far Country" (1954), also directed by Mann, finds him playing Jeff Webster, a cold, mercenary cattleman who drives a herd to Skagway, Alaska, during the Yukon gold rush and is swindled out of it by Skagway's crooked sheriff Gannon (John McIntire). Stealing the beef back, he gets over the border into Canada and makes it to Dawson, but his troubles have just begun as he copes with two women (saloonowner Ronda Castle (Ruth Roman) and the tomboyish French-Canadian Renee Vallon (Corinne Calvet), the insistence of his partner Ben Tatum (Walter Brennan) that he isn't really as tough as he makes out, and eventually the pursuit of Gannon.
In "Night Passage" (1957), directed by James Nielsen from a novel Night Passage by Norman A. Fox, he's Grant McLaine, a former railroad troubleshooter who was fired in disgrace after helping a young train robber known as the Utica Kid (Audie Murphy) to escape. Back in Colorado after two years as a drifting accordion player, he agrees to magnate Ben Kimball's (Flippen) plea that he carry a payroll on his person to end-of-track in hopes that Whitey Harbin (Dan Duryea) and his gang, who are prone to holding up the pay trains, won't search him. This is perhaps my favorite of the set, notable for gorgeous location scenery, lots of humor, and a long list of wonderful characters, with Duryea at his psychotic best.
The last entry is "The Rare Breed," directed by Western stalwart Andrew V. McLaglen. Here Stewart plays aging cowhand Sam "Bulldog" Burnett, who reluctantly agrees to help English widow Martha Price (Maureen O'Hara) and her daughter Hillary (Juliet Mills) deliver their polled Hereford bull, Vindicator, to the Texas rancher whose partner has purchased it for him. At first Sam thinks a "muley" bull is a freak, but the Prices' passion for improving the breed "lights a fire in him" that "goes deep," and when Alexander Bowen (Brian Keith), a redheaded Scots frontiersman with a burr as thick as a pea soup and a head harder than an anvil, expresses the idea that Vindicator can't possibly survive the Texas climate, Burnett makes him a bet that will change both their lives. This one also has a generous measure of humor and several great small parts by Western legends such as Ben Johnson, Jack Elam, and Harry Carey, Jr.
If you like Stewart's Westerns and don't have these six films on DVD, this set is the easiest and probably cheapest way to acquire them. All are thoroughly enjoyable and showcase his full range as an actor. Stewart fans, and Western fans, shouldn't miss them.
Noteably all movies are the remastered ones, the prints, quality of audio outstanding on a home theatre. Good packing and finally selection of his finest western movies I've seen Winchester 73 over 5 times since i bought this box.
A word of caution, this is only for lovers of westerns, and even more for Jimmy Stewart fans. A must under either categories.
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