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The Way West Blu-ray Review

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“The Way West” really comes alive in the second half.

Set in 1843, “The Way West” focuses on a wagon train to Oregon led by the dedicated and selfish Senator Tadlock and a loner scout named Mr. Summers. The trek starts off well enough but soon becomes perilous and even tragic. Will the group reach their destination or will they ponder going somewhere else instead?

The first half of this western plays like your standard wagon train film ala “The Covered Wagon.” A group of characters set out on a journey, there’s a cheesy theme song, there’s dopey humor thrown in, there’s soap opera character drama and romantic subplots, the journey turns out to be treacherous, you get the picture. The second half, however, takes you by surprise. While there are the expected elements to be sure, the movie gets super dark and takes some risks. I’m not going to spoil what happens, but I welcomed the twists. It really benefited the story and the film as a whole. It gave it an edge.

The reason the edge partially exists is because of Kirk Douglas. Not only is the iconic actor is locked into his role here, but his character has the most depth. The character’s arc, journey, and changes revitalize an otherwise by-the-numbers western. Robert Mitchum looks a little bored and sleepy at times, but the actor is good even when he’s not at his best. Veteran actor Richard Widmark sadly doesn’t have much to do here but he still delivers a fine performance. A very young Sally Field makes an impression as the feisty Mercy.

Last, but not least, it needs to be said that the production values and location shooting are first rate. There’s an aura of authenticity to the entire production that draws you (the viewer) in.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.35:1 1080p. How does it look? A deeply impressive transfer. The colors really pop here.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? A bit soft at points but it does the job.

Extras: Trailers for “The Way West,” “The Indian Fighter,” “Young Billy Young,” “Yellow Sky,” and “The Devil’s Brigade.”

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April 7, 2018 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , ,

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