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Sons of Katie Elder, The
Sons of Katie Elder
Sons of Katie Elder, originally released in 1965, was directed by Henry Hathaway. The film stars John Wayne (John), Dean Martin (Tom), Michael Anderson Jr. (Bud), and Earl Holliman (Matt) as the Elder brothers, along with appearances by Dennis Hopper (Dave Hastings) and Martha Hyer (Mary).
When Katie Elder dies, her four sons return to Clearwater, Texas to pay their respects. None of the four sons has seen any of the others for quite some time, so afterwards, they catch up and try to settle their mother's estate. They soon discover, however, that a lot has happened in their absence. The family's large ranch is now in the possession of Morgan Hastings, and their father died under mysterious circumstances six months earlier. The four sons then set out to discover who killed their father, and along the way, get to know each other again.
Sons of Katie Elder, while not the best western I've seen, is still a pretty good film. Wayne and Martin are terrific in their parts, as are Anderson and Holliman. I still have trouble seeing all four of them as brothers, though. The film does get a bit slow in a few places, but it mostly stays interesting. I would've liked a bit more of a mystery, however. The movie just hands you the killer at the beginning and it takes the Elder brothers to the end to confirm their suspicions.
Sons of Katie Elder is presented in the film's original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Throughout the film, there are some small white specks, one white line, and one very brief white spot/mark. For a film 36 years old, I really expected the print to be in worse shape – Paramount has really done an excellent job cleaning it up. Colors are well saturated throughout, flesh tones are accurate, and blacks are rich.
Sons of Katie Elder is presented in Dolby 2.0 Mono in English and French. The mono track stays true to the film's original presentation, and provides crisp and clean dialogue along with great music with no distortion. Optional English subtitles are also available.
The only extra is the film's original trailer.
Though I feel that the $29.99 MSRP is unreasonably high for what you get, Paramount has done a great job cleaning up the print for the film, and fans should be pleased with the presentation. For those who haven't seen the film, if you enjoy older westerns or performances from Wayne and/or Martin, definitely give it a rental. Recommended.