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The Far Country Blu-ray Review

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“The Far Country” is a bore.

In 1954’s “The Far Country,” Jeff and his partner Ben drive cattle to Dawson City where the Klondike Gold Rush is happening. While en route, they bump into a power hungry lawman named Gannon who takes the herd for himself. Jeff manages to steal it back and head to Dawson City, but Gannon and his men follow suit. Upon arriving in Dawson City, however, the town becomes a bit problematic for Jeff especially when Gannon and his men arrive to stir up trouble.

Even though “The Far Country” reunites director Anthony Mann and actor James Stewart (who made such gems as “Bend of the River” and “The Naked Spur” together), writer Borden Chase’s script leaves the movie feeling like a generic western. While the western does boast a unique mountainous, snowy setting wonderfully shot by DP William H. Daniels, that visual aspect can’t make up for a plodding tale filled with excessive scenes of traveling, shootouts, bland romance, a menacing villain who takes over a town, you get the drill. Basically, it’s all very familiar and lacking in originality.

On the plus side, there are a few notable performances here. James Stewart shines as per usual as the not so pure Jeff. The always reliable Walter Brennan scene steals even in a smaller role as Ben. John McIntire is arguably the best part of the movie as the villainous Gannon. He’s certainly putting more work into the part than Borden Chase did.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 and 2.00:1. How does it look? Viewers have the option of watching this Technicolor film in 2 different formats. Truthfully, you can’t go wrong with either version although the print itself does have shots that look better than others.

Audio: 1.0 Mono. How does it sound? This is a lively Mono track that delivers quality sound.

Extras:
* A booklet featuring credits, photos and an essay by critic Phillip Kemp.
* “The Far Country” theatrical trailer
* Production stills, art concepts and posters and lobby cards still galleries.
* “Mann Of The West”- Film Critic Kim Newman discusses the Anthony Mann westerns including “The Far Country” of course.
* “American Frontiers: Anthony Mann At Universal”- A new 33 minute documentary about director Anthony Mann’s Universal films. Film clips and interviews with experts are included.
* An informative commentary by film scholar Adrian Martin.

November 13, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , ,

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