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Dakota Blu-ray Review

Dakota

“Dakota” is a forgettable John Wayne vehicle.

After getting hitched to the daughter (Sandy) of a railroad businessman, gambler John Devlin and his new wife head to North Dakota with the intention of buying up land to sell to the railroad. Unfortunately, their trip does not go as planned as they butt heads with two criminals (Bender and Collins) who are essentially scheming and destroying the livelihood of farmers. Things get even worse for John and Sandy when their money is stolen by Bender’s minions. Can John get his money back and save Fargo from the clutches of Bender?

In the first 20 or so minutes, I was actually on board with “Dakota.” Not only did it look and feel different from the usual John Wayne film, but it was a different sort of western if you will. Unfortunately, shortly after that time period, the movie starts to fall apart and never quite recovers.

The reason you probably don’t hear “Dakota” mentioned as much as say “The Searchers” is that the movie just isn’t very memorable. The story feels like it’s on auto-pilot, scenes drag on (namely Walter Brennan’s character Captain Bounce’s entrance and John trying to get eggs), some of the sequences are repetitive, John Wayne doesn’t engage in too much action, and, worst of all, there’s some downright offensive and racist scenes involving the character of Nicodemus.

On the plus side, the cast is largely good here. The chemistry between John Wayne (John) and Vera Ralston (Sandy) carries the film and the always reliable Ward Bond (perhaps best known for “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “The Searchers”) is a good slimy villain. These 3 certainly elevate the otherwise pedestrian material.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.33:1 1080p. How does it look? The B&W film transfer has some dirt specs and scratches, but overall, the image is quite clean for a 1945 film.

Presentation: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? In a word, solid. No more, no less.

Extras:
* Trailers for “Man of the West,” “Barquero,” “The Wonderful Country,” “More Dead Than Alive,” and “The Gunfight At Dodge City.”
* Another informative commentary by western film historian Toby Roan.

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May 26, 2017 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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