on 12 April 2013
Being a Western-novice, I sought a place to begin my Western collection after seeing The Magnificent Seven on TV; however, after doing a bit of searching on Amazon I came across this magnificent blu-ray collection. Featuring 5 remastered movies ranging from the 1950s to mid 1980s, the Westerns Collection offers a variety of Westerns fit for novices and enthusiasts alike.
Ok, so the films are spread across 5 discs in 2 blu-ray boxes which offers ease of access. Moreover, the special features are conveniently placed on each film's disc, but to access this feature you must access the films menu - something you are not immediately presented with upon starting the film (the films begin immediately and you are not taken to a menu).
With regards to quality it is nothing short of spectacular. With the oldest film lacking the visual spark of the newer ones (which can be excused as it's from the 50s), the quality is still phenomenally impressive for each film and certainly stacks among the best remastered films I've ever seen.
Now, before I end this review I'd like to inform you that if your TV isn't huge (and I mean bigger than 40 inches), then you won't be able to properly experience 'How The West Was Won'. This is because the film utilized the 'Cinerama' effect which means that the film is built up of 3 simultaneous camera shots rather than the usual one. Anyhow, it still looks fantastic regardless of looking a bit small if you don't have a huge TV.
In conclusion, I cannot recommend this set enough. Buy it. I really want second one.
on 16 November 2014
I'm completely baffled by the 3 Star and 1 Star reviews of this set that are complaining about the audio and video quality of this set.
I'd suggest that the reviewers in question either need to take a very close look at how their playback systems are set up, or they need to get their eyes and ears tested.
First of all audio quality. Melfol complains...
"Surround sound was inadequate for blu-ray on most of the movies. In fact I questioned whether the sound was even in stereo."
There's a very simple reason for that. A simple perusal of the information for the discs will reveal that "The Searchers" and "Rio Bravo" have mono soundtracks as neither film was originally shot or presented in stereo let alone a surround sound format.
"The Wild Bunch" also never had a surround soundtrack for its original theatrical showings. A high quality 5.1 track was created by Warner for this Blu Ray release so sound is mainly focused on the front three speakers with occasional ambient surround effects. Bass extension is modest, because, with very rare exceptions, that's how movies sounded in the 1960s. Again, nothing wrong with this soundtrack at all. Indeed on a good quality home cinema setup this new 5.1 mix will be an improvement on how the film would have been heard on its original cinema release
As to R. Cowie's comment...
"Totally rubbish sound quality. 150watts of surround sound turned to max (usually no more than half) and could barely hear the dialogue."
...all I can say is that on my set up the sound, dialogue included, is crystal clear and perfectly balanced. In fact if I came anywhere near playing these discs at reference levels the sound would blow my windows out.
Video quality on four of the five titles is outstanding with "The Searchers" and "How the West Was Won" being particularly stunning transfers, not only because of the quality of the transfers but due to the source materials being high quality Vista Vision and Cinerama prints. The only disc that is less than stellar is "Pale Rider", which while a decent transfer, it lacks the natural, filmic quality and picture depth of some of the other transfers, but even then it is more than adequate and a huge improvement over the DVD transfer.
Definitely gents (or ladies) look to your equipment set up or get an eye and/or hearing test.
Outstanding quality and outstanding value. Not only that two stone cold classics and three other great films. Highly recommended.
on 5 November 2013
Very good value box set of classic westerns. 4 out of 5 of these Blu-ray transfers are exellent, only Rio Bravo letting the team down slightly. How The West Was Won, Wild Bunch and Pale Rider are well presented in wide screen format and Searchers and Rio Bravo in 1 : 85 format. Searchers and HTWWW are of amazing quality ( picture & sound ) despite the inevitable distortion of the Cinerama format of HTWWW. The quality of Rio Bravo is not as good but both the acting and action make up for it.
The Wild Bunch is the best version I have ever seen with Sam Peckinpah's unmistakable style and action sequences. Pale Rider again is the best version I have seen and the mysterious Preacher reminds me of Clint Eastwood's High Plains Drifter. Eastwood drifts into the mining community, does his work in benevolent fashion to the pan handlers and devestating to the mining boss and his hired gunmen and then drifts out again!
on 9 May 2014
Warner Home Video's Westerns Collection, Feature 5 Great Films On Blu-Ray For A Great Price, A Real Bargain.
Titles Comprise: Pale Rider, The Wild Bunch, Rio Bravo, How The West Was Won & The Searchers.
This Is A Must-Have For Western Fans, As It Features Great Quality Filmmaking In Stunning 1080p Full HD Transfers.
Pale Rider (1985) - 16x9 2.4:1 Widescreen Format
The Wild Bunch: Original Director's Cut (1969) - 16x9 2.4:1 Widescreen Format
Rio Bravo (1959) - 16x9 1.85.1 Widescreen Format
How The West Was Won (1962) - 16x9 2.89:1 Original Cinemascope Format (With Join Lines Digitally Removed)
The Searchers (1956) - 16x9 1.85.1 Widescreen Format
The Best Looking Film In 1080p Is How The West Was Won Restored & Upscaled In It's Original Cinemascope Format, With The Original Join Lines Now Removed. All Films Feature Special Features The Only One Suffering From Lack Of Extras Is Pale Rider, But The Rest Feature Some Great Archival Extras Froms Previous Releases On DVD. This Is An Excellent Set That Is A Bargain (Was £15, When I Purchased), And Features Some Excellent Examples Of Filmmaking
on 1 October 2012
I agree with the good review already. This is an excellent set that could have been better with 5 slimline cases and movie artwork. Also there is no smilebox edition 2nd disc for HTWWW, disappointing as it would have cost WB next to nothing to add it, as there are 3 discs in 1 box and only 2 in the other. The disc included is marked disc 1 [as in of 2?]
on 17 October 2012
An alternative box set but using the same artwork as the Amazon collection is available elsewhere. This includes PALE RIDER, THE SEARCHERS, OUTLAW JOSEY WALES, THE WILD BUNCH, PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID. This is found on a website called Base.
Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid cannot be found on blu ray elsewhere, though TCM HD are showing it on Sky and the quality is excellent. But what's going on? We western fans are being fed mixed but overlapping choices here. Very Strange. I already have The Searchers on blu ray and the colours are astonishing. I've been to Monument Valley and in The Searchers, the place never looked better.
on 29 March 2014
A good collection of westerns, especially if you haven't watched many before. It's good for seeing if they are your sort of thing. Also the quality of them in blu ray is surprisingly good considering the age of the films. The colour looks lovely and the HD scenery is even more impressive.
on 24 October 2012
The `Western Collections' Box Set is a bargain.
`The Searchers' (1956)is possibly my favourite Western. I'll excuse the over-concentration on Monument Valley (where reality challenges script and story-line) as being Henry Ford's bow to cinematographic temptation. There is a remorseless insanity about the plot, broken up by three `curtain-calls' of an open doorway.
The key stars are John Wayne and Jeffrey Hunter but watch out for the minor characters, such as `Ol Mose', Lars Jorgensen and Charlie McCorry, to add sparkle. In many ways it's old-fashioned - women are only in subordinate roles - and yet it's also new - Ethan Edwards is an outsider brimming with prejudice and Martin Pawley the youngster who will not meekly accept `authority'. If you've never seen it, it's a must as an example of its genre.
One question for sound aficionados - why do gunshots sound so different to those in more modern Westerns such as `Unforgiven'(1992)?
I was ALMOST put off `Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid' (1973)by a poor review. Yes, there may be talking but that's called character development and plot background. There's plenty of violence in it and the two leads (James Coburn and Kris Kristofferson) are good
Bad points are an over-extended ending, a typically-Peckinpah display of voyeuristic sex, a manipulation of historical details and a failure to develop minor characters (e.g. Alias (Bob Dylan) never really emerges from the shadows). I wasn't too fond of most of Dylan's singing but then that's a question of taste. Having said all that the film is still a first-rate Western
In `Pale Rider' (1985) Clint Eastwood almost resurrects his character from `High Plains Drifter' (1973), on the whole a better production for two reasons: in that film `The Stranger' remains an enigmatic, anti-hero figure whereas in this film `The Preacher' from the start is on the side of the good and his enigmatic past only really surfaces towards the end; also in this film the odds in the final gunfight are too great, rather reminiscent of `The Good, the Bad and the Ugly' (1966). `Pale Rider' pays homage to that Western Classic `Shane' in the death scene of Spider(Doug McGrath) and the last pleas of Megan (Sydney Penny) - except she is more mature and yells, `Goodbye' while little Joey shouts, `Come back, Shane'.
In this film there are various strengths: the excellent development of the minor characters -the Wheelers (mother and child), Hull Barret, Club and even the taciturn Marshal Stockburn - plus the inner turmoil of Sarah Wheeler and the scenery. The weaknesses have been described in comparison with a better Eastwood production. Even so `Pale Rider' is a very good Western.
The other Eastwood film in the box set, `The Outlaw Josey Wales' (1976) is a rambling venture and therein lies both its strength and weakness: new characters and plotlines lie just around the corner but each strand is picked up and dropped with disconcerting brevity - the exception being Sondra Locke whom, in my opinion, Josey could well have left with the Comancheros. Eastwood plays a Confederate irregular hunted after the end of the Civil War. He's too easily recognised and too easily guns down opponents for this to be a great film. The direction, by Eastwood, has its usual high standard and the scenery is good. So, on the whole, a worthwhile experience, perhaps to be repeated every ten years or so - whereas, I reckon, you could see `The Searchers' five times in that period with profit.
The opening scene of `The Wild Bunch'(1969) with a scorpion devoured by ants for the amusement of children indicates it's the work of Sam Peckinpah, who goes in for such heavy-handed pointers. When this is followed by a battle between bank robbers and bounty-hunters which produces a massacre of the innocents you can be sure. And we're off!
Peckinpah spends excessive time on `atmosphere' (village junkets etc.). There's a lot of talking and sometimes it's hard to know who's who. Even so, when Peckinpah deals with action he does it well. I'm not just talking about still-frame and slow-motion, which he made popular. He's a fine eye for incident, a command of scenes involving lots of people and a good sense of pace. The major players perform well but the minor players remain minor and his use of individual faces is not up to those of Leone or Eastwood. However, this proved to be the film I liked the least. It's a rambling film and, like Dutch (Ernest Borgnine) at the end, I finished up asking, `Why?'
One strange quirk of this product is that the last 46 minutes of the film is on the reverse side of the disk. Why as it's only 145 minutes long? So check carefully around the central rim as to which side you're loading.
on 23 May 2013
As an American, may I say ... this was a sweet buy. A previous poster hit the nail right on the head when he commented that you get the same blu-ray of Rio Bravo with this set, as the single disc edition currently out-of-print, and wayyyyyy overpriced -- both in the UK and in the U.S. The only complaint I have with this set, is that How the West was Won only comes with the one disc, and does not include the smilebox version, which replicates the Cinerama experience. But alas, what is here is really terrific for the price. Rio Bravo, The Searchers, Pale Rider, How the West was Won, and The Wild Bunch. All of which are the same as the single disc editions. With, of course, the exception of How the West was Won, which only includes the one disc. Still well worth the cash, though. Great buy, very happy to own it.
on 13 October 2013
All the films on here are highly watchable again and again. A very well put together list of classic westerns the highlight for me being the wild bunch. Great value for money.