This review refers to "The Outrage" (1964)...
"The Outrage" is Director Martin Ritt's Western version of Akira Kurosawa's classic masterpiece "Rashomon". Paul Newman stars as the ruthless Juan Carrasco. We already know that when Ritt and Newman team up for a Western/Character study ("Hombre"/"Hud") we are in for a cinematic excellence. This film is no exception.
Filmed in stark black and white, which is perfect for this story, the film opens at a gloomy railway station, in the pouring rain, while three men wait for the train. A preacher is so outraged by the events that unfolded at a murder/rape trail that he is fleeing town. Another wants to hear the story that could make a preacher run, and the third, witness to the events, begins to tell the tale.
Carrasco, who has a reputation for being the baddest of the bad, is on trial for the murder of a man(Laurence Harvey), and the rape of his wife(Claire Bloom). He says, it doesn't matter what I say,you will convict me for the crimes I have committed and even the ones you only think I have. He confesses and tells the story of how he tortured the couple. But, that's not the end, only the beginning, as there are 3 other versions of the story to be heard, each telling it through their eyes, with very different outcomes.
The viewer gets to witness these four very different but tragic stories, with the three principles taking on very different personalities in each version. One story even takes a comical turn at the events.
Ritt does an excellent job of taking the viewer through the four different scenarios. Newman, Harvey, and Bloom take on the changes impeccably. James Wong Howe's cinematography, and camera angles add greatly to the tenseness of the story. William Shatner, Edward G Robinson and Howard Da Silva round off this huge cast fabulously, as the fleeing preacher , the nosey con man and the prospector who "saw it all".
I was hoping to find a DVD edition of this wonderful film, but no luck. Hopefully it will be restored, and transfered in the original widescreen soon.
update:2/18/09 - My wish came true. I now own the DVD and here is a litle about the dvd:2/18/09 - Howe's b/w cinematography looked clean and crisp. Whites very white and the picture was clear. The railway station scenes, dark to start with seemed a little too dark at times and hard to see the faces ocassionally,but for the most part and the rest of the film, a nice sharp view in widescreen format. The rain sounded as if it was coming down right outside my window. Features: Warner Bros - you dropped the ball here. There were no special features at all.It doesnt even come with any insert. Not even a chapter menu. If you want to see a certain scene, you have to use your skip button and then fast forward or reverse till you find what you are looking for. Language is English only, but there are Subtitles in English and French only.
reviews for vhs and dvd mixed together if you are on vhs page and looking for the dvd here is the link:The Outrage
A fine film and must have for Newman fans....enjoy...Laurie
also recommended:Empire Falls (Every Small Town Has a Big Story) Vol. 1