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The Stalking Moon Blu-ray Review


“The Stalking Moon” is a solid seldom seen western.

Based on the novel by T.V. Olsen, “The Stalking Moon” begins with Army Scout Sam Varner’s last day of service before retiring to a ranch in New Mexico. His plan to ride off into the sunset (so to speak) is derailed when he is confronted by Sarah (a white woman who was with a group of Apaches) and her nameless half Indian son. You see, they desperately want to leave immediately and are in need of an escort. Why? It turns out the boy’s murderous father (Salvaje) is searching for his son and is wreaking havoc trying to find him. Sam decides to take the two back to his ranch, but it soon becomes clear Salvaje will track them there.

Directed by Robert Mulligan and written by Alvin Sargent, “The Stalking Moon” starts off as a very quiet, picturesque (great cinematography), contemplative, and surprising western film. Instead of focusing on action or plot, ‘Moon’ focuses more on the 3 central characters and how they connect despite their overall lack of communication. I was also drawn into how the film explored race, family, life, and death. The film is aided by respectable performances from both Gregory Peck (Sam) and Eva Marie Saint (Sarah) who express so much via their body language rather than relying on dialogue. 

Once the last half-hour rolls around, ‘Moon’ becomes more of a thriller and it is here that the movie loses a bit of its luster. Not only are there numerous questionable character actions as Salvaje begins to hunt Sam and company, but the direction by Mulligan lets the movie down. This section of the movie could have been a really intense showdown, but, unfortunately, you can see everything coming a mile away which erases any sort of tension that could have been had. 

Another problem I had was with the whitewashing of the character of Nick. I’ve always been a fan of the late great Robert Forster, but he is woefully miscast as the half Indian scout Nick (who is also a friend of Sam). I still can’t figure out what sort of accent Forster was trying to do here, but it does not work in the slightest.


Presentation: 2.35:1 1080p. How does it look? The lush Technicolor film has never looked better.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? It does the job.

The lone extra is a trailer for “The Stalking Moon.”

March 31, 2020 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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