HD DVD Picture/Sound ••••
Original Extras •••••
New Extras None
John Ford's 1.78:1 VistaVision and Technicolor classic from 1956 looks as if it was shot yesterday (if only we could still shoot that well). The in-depth compositions inside the wooden houses look stunning, filled with the warm, rich colors of the timber and the golden light of sunset. The texture of bricks and beams is clearly visible, and contrast is excellent, too. John Wayne's red shirt is supersaturated without any bleeding, while the Native Americans' vivid war paint and colorfully detailed horse blankets really stand out. Chapter 38's homestead dance scene shows off the beautiful pastel dresses as well as the Reverend's inky black coat and his bright white shirt. The three-dimensional space looks real, the crags and crevices of Monument Valley standing solidly out in the backgrounds. There's hardly any excess grain and no damage or artifacts. Dialogue on the mono soundtrack is completely clear, and Max Steiner's expressive score sounds crisp and full. Extras are the same as on the recent standard-def 50th-anniversary edition. Another great commentary by movie know-it-all Peter Bogdanovich analyzes the story and the film language used to tell it and adds lots of background on Ford and Co. There are also three excellent half-hour featurettes. A poetic documentary from 1998 contains lots of behind-the-scenes and home-movie footage. In a fascinating appreciation, directors Martin Scorsese, John Milius, and Curtis Hanson share their personal experiences of this highly influential film. And period TV segments show the shooting of the film, accompanied by interviews with the stars. Like their subject, all are substantial, rewarding, and highly entertaining.
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