Release Date(s)1958 (September 18, 2018)
Studio(s)20th Century Fox (Twilight Time)
- Film/Program Grade: B
- Video Grade: A
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: D
One of the most talented American directors in cinema was Henry King. He had a long great career in Hollywood which began in the silent era. Later, King was one of the mainstays at 20th Century Fox, having directed over one hundred films for the studio over the course of three decades, with seven of his films being nominated for Academy Awards for Best Picture. His directorial highlights include The Song of Bernadette, Captain from Castile, Jesse James, and In Old Chicago. In 1950, he directed the western classic The Gunfighter, starring iconic screen legend Gregory Peck, which was one of six films they did together. Eight years later, they were paired together again for another classic western, The Bravados.
In this revenge-driven tale, Jim Douglass (Gregory Peck) is in the midst of chasing four outlaws, Bill Zachary (Stephen Boyd), Alfonso Parral (Lee Van Cleef), Lujan (Henry Silva), and Ed Taylor (Albert Salmi), who Jim believes were responsible for murdering his wife. He finds all four of them in a small town prison awaiting execution, and decides to stick around and watch. The four men manage to escape and flee to Mexico with a woman named Emma Steinmetz (Kathleen Gallant) as a hostage. With Sheriff Sanchez (Herbert Rudley) by his side, Jim feverishly goes after them, with the intent of bringing them to justice in his own way.
The Bravados is an enjoyable, well-done film. Gregory Peck, no stranger to the western genre, once again delivers playing an obsessive, nearly-mad cowboy. The rest of the cast, consisting of both veteran actors and future stars, including Joan Collins and Gene Evans, are all excellent in their respective roles. Even Joe DeRita, whom most will recognize as Curly Joe from The Three Stooges, plays a serious, but uncredited role in the film, something that wasn’t his usual strong point. Backed by a solid story, strong direction by Henry King, fantastic cinematography by the great Leon Shamroy (of Leave Her to Heaven, The King and I, and Daisy Kenyon fame), and a brilliant musical score courtesy of Alfred Newman, Hugo Friedhofer, and Lionel Newman, The Bravados works well and moves along at a good pace. It’s not as action-packed as many other westerns, but it’s just as entertaining.
Twilight Time presents The Bravados on Blu-ray in a superb package. The new HD transfer provided by 20th Century Fox is stunning with rich color. Browns are the most dominant, ranging from indoor and outdoor scenery to the clothes that Gregory Peck wears. Blue skies during the daytime are spectacular, while black levels are deep. Skin tones appear accurate and provide a wealth of detail from sweat to five o’clock shadow on faces. In the audio department, there are three different tracks: English 5.1, 4.0, and 2.0 DTS-HD. They all sound fairly similar, but the 2.0 track seems to be the strongest, especially during action sequences. Otherwise, dialogue, score, and sound effects are all more than serviceable on the other tracks with no real issues. Optional subtitles in English SDH are offered for this release as well.
Extras include an isolated music track, the original theatrical trailer, a scroll-through of the current Twilight Time catalogue, and an 8-page booklet with liner notes by Julie Kirgo. The extras from the previous DVD release have been ported over as well, including two Fox Movietone newsreels, the Quick Draw Lesson by Hugh O’Brien short, and the Bravados Hit NY!: Hollywood Salutes The Bravados, minus an audio track.
The Bravados is a recommended release. For those who have never seen it and have interest in westerns, it's definitely worth a spin. With excellent image quality (the best of any release of the film) and the previously-released extras, it’s a worthy upgrade.
– David Steigman