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The Life And Times Of Judge Roy Bean Blu-ray Review


“The Life And Times Of Judge Roy Bean” is a cartoony western.

In 1972’s “The Life And Times Of Judge Roy Bean,” the story begins with the titular character (a wanted man) being robbed and nearly killed at a West Texas small-town brothel. After surviving, he not only gets his revenges but decides to become the self-appointed Law/Judge of the town. From there on out, the movie is more or less a collection of moments involving a bear, a love interest (Maria), Roy’s crush (an entertainer named Lillie Langtry that he has never met), 5 men that are appointed Court Marshalls, a run-in with an albino killer named Bad Bob, Grizzly Adams, a heartbreaking series of events and more.

Directed by the usually reliable John Huston, “The Life And Times Of Judge Roy Bean” is a rough watch. While the weird cult western deserves points for originality, it’s a meandering mess of a movie. Had it been more focused on the actual man (this is VERY loosely based on the man) or explored concepts such as lawlessness, the end of the western era, dreams, and a man out of time, the movie might have been more accessible. As is, it’s a veritable cartoon filled with quirky characters and cheap sight gags (a bear on a swing!). Tonally, the movie is also all over the place as it can be dark and violent, goofy, and even tragic. That may certainly be intentional in showcasing the life of this man, but none of it meshes well together as it feels like you’re watching different movies at times.

On the plus side, the movie is a whose who of Hollywood. Viewers can expect to see the likes of Tab Hunter, John Huston, Stacy Keach, Anthony Perkins, Ava Gardner, Ned Beatty, Victoria Principal Jacqueline Bisset, and, of course, star Paul Newman. The roles of these cast members greatly vary in size. Obviously, Paul Newman has the most to do here with his hard drinking, tough, grouchy Roy Bean. He really tries his best to carry this thing, but not even he can make it work. The biggest surprise here is Victoria Principal who plays Maria. She was charming all the way through and it’s even more impressive that this was her feature film debut.


Presentation: 1.78:1 1080p. How does it look? Not the most attractive of transfers. Granted, some shots look pretty crisp, but overall, it’s a little fuzzy and underwhelming.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? The track does come to life at times (especially during action oriented scenes), but it’s a bit soft for my liking.

The lone extra is a trailer for “The Life And Times Of Judge Roy Bean.”

September 20, 2018 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

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