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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Bells of Coronado
Bells of Coronado
Lionsgate Home Entertainment // Unrated // May 11, 2004
List Price: $14.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted June 4, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Roy Rogers was the king of the cowboys.  He made over 100 movies in the course of his career, and was so popular that most of the characters he played were even named "Roy Rogers."    Along with his costar Dale Evans and his horse Trigger, Roy was a staple in western movies for decades.  Republic in association with Lion's Gate has released one of Roy's later pictures, 1950's The Bells of Coronado.

The plot to this modern day westerns is fairly simple.  Someone has been stealing Uranium from a mine, and the insurance company that is covering the mine hires Rogers to see if he can find out what's happening.  Roy travels to the area posing as an out of work ranch hand and lands a job with the Coronado Power Company.  While stringing power lines across the county, Roy investigates the mine, and finds out that someone is stealing the Uranium with the purpose of selling it to an enemy power.

There isn't a lot of plot to this movie, but there is a lot of action.  Director William Witney, who is famous for all of the great serials he directed for Republic, starts the movie off with the robbery of a wagon full of Uranium and keeps up the fast pace.  There are shootouts, fistfights and horse chases.  Not to mention a few songs thrown in for good measure.

Unfortunately the script for this oater is very weak.  There's a lot that doesn't make sense if you think about it too closely.  At one point, Roy has an innocent man arrested (with his consent of course) to trick the real crooks into making a mistake.  How's that again Roy?  There are a lot of amazing coincidences too, with Roy arriving at the mine just as it's being robbed for example, but you have to expect a certain amount of that in westerns.  The one thing that I found really humorous is that everyone still rides around on horses, though cars are prevalent.  This movie takes place after WWII, but the hands stringing the power lines still ride miles out into the desert on horseback instead of taking a truck.  And apparently the Uranium mine can't afford a vehicle either since they take their ore into town by wagon.  It's all in good fun though, and this is still a somewhat enjoyable, if predictable, movie.

The DVD:


Audio:

The two channel mono soundtrack was acceptable.  It wasn't dynamic, and there was a little noise, but it wasn't too bad.  The dialog was easy to hear and understand, and the sound effects were clear.

Video:

The full frame video was a mixed bag at best.  The 'Trucolor' picture was bright and vivid, but there were many, many digital defects that really marred the film.  There was a lot of aliasing, and the background images seemed to have an outline that made them look blurry.  The worst part was the shimmering of tightly spaced lines.  Roy's shirts were especially bad.  These take on a life of their own, dancing and moving about in strange patterns even when Roy is standing still and the camera wasn't moving.  This was very distracting.  There were a lot of examples of cross coloration also, making rainbow patterns appear on shirts and some background details.  While the movie was still watchable, these defects definitely interfered with my enjoyment of the film.  For a movie that lasts a little over an hour, this is unacceptable.

The Extras:

There were not  any extras on this DVD, not even a trailer.  Since the film is very short there was plenty of room on the DVD to put another movie, or a couple of episodes of a TV western. They should have included something else.

Final Thoughts:

I like westerns as much as the next guy, but this wasn't an outstanding example, especially for 1950.  A B-picture aimed at a young audience, this film was fun to watch, but quickly fades from memory soon after Roy and Dale ride off into the sunset.  The horrible digital defects in the video, and the fact that this bare bones DVD only has a single hour-long movie means that you should Skip It.  There just wasn't a lot of value there.

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