DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
HD DVD / Blu-ray
International DVDs
Theatrical
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Sponsored Links
Search: For:
Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Monte Walsh (Blu-ray)
Monte Walsh (Blu-ray)
Kino // PG-13 // July 28, 2015 // Region A
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted June 21, 2015 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly
The Movie:

Monte Walsh was directed by William A. Fraker in 1970, just as the western cycle was starting to lose the boost that it'd been given by the Spaghetti Westerns being pumped out of Europe. The film has a lot in common with the same themes that Sam Peckinpah was exploring around the same time with films like The Wild Bunch and Junior Bonner, albeit without the ultra violence of that first mention.

Written by Lukas Heller and David Z. Goodman based on the novel by Jack Schaeffer, the film stars Lee Marvin as the titular Monte Walsh, an aging cowboy who hangs out with his partner, Chet, played by Jack Palance. The pair winds up taking a job at a ranch, one of the last big ranches around where guys like them can find work. Big business is moving in from the eastern side of the country and expanding into the west and so opportunities for old cowboys like Monte and Chet are quickly drying up. The day of the cowboy is coming to a close, and both Monte and Chet are quickly figuring that out. Though Chet's willing to admit it, Monte is not.

As they go about their daily routine, work which they are able to take some pride in at least, they both manage to take some comfort in the arms of a widowed woman working as a prostitute named Martine (Jeanne Moreau). Eventually, Monte, Chet and a few of their fellow ranch hands need to decide how to bring it all to a close, be it settling down, or going out in one final showdown.

Monte Walsh starts off almost like a comedy, with some wise cracking between the two male leads quickly setting the stage for the camaraderie to follow and keeping things fairly light. Once the characters are established, however, things start to get more melancholy and tragic, though never to the point where the film is bogged down with melodrama or saccharine nostalgia. Lee Marvin makes for the perfect lead in this film. His naturally weathered face very much looks the part of an aging cowboy and his gruff persona fleshes out his character well. You really feel for Monte as he goes through what is essentially his last ditch effort to hold onto what he's valued all his life. Those who know Marvin only as the tough guy he was so good at playing will enjoy seeing a slightly more sensitive, though entirely macho, side of him here. Palance is every bit his equal in the film, playing Chet with a bit more of an accepting nature than the one that Marvin affords Monte. He, too, very much looks right at home here.

The film doesn't move at the fastest of speeds but it does build nicely, spending enough time on character development that who these men are actually matters to the storyline, in fact in many ways it is the storyline. Long sweeping shots of the terrain help set the stage while the film offers up enough glimpses into the sense of brotherhood these men have felt while working on the ranch to give us a good feeling for things as they all start to unravel. Nicely shot, calmly but deliberately paced and edited and set to a solid score by John Barry (with a musical bit by Mama Cass), Monte Walsh isn't generally up at the top of the great western movie list but it's certainly one well worth seeing and reevaluating as well.

The Blu-ray:

Video:

Monte Walsh arrives on Blu-ray from Kino in its original 2.35.1 aspect ratio in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. Generally, this is a decent looking picture that, if not fully restored, is in very good shape. Minor print damage does appear but it's just small white specks and maybe a tiny bit of dirt now and again, nothing that really jumps out at you. Grain is present but never to the point where it is distracting or detrimental. Colors look great here, the blue hues of the wide open sky in certain shots really impressing, while black levels are solid. Skin tones look nice and natural and this offers a really nice visual upgrade from the previous DVD release that came out years back.

Sound:

The only audio option on this disc is a DTS-HD Mono track. It's a tiny bit flat in spots but otherwise problem free. There are no problems with any hiss or distortion and there's reasonable depth here for an older single channel mix. The theme song from Mama Cass sounds good and the levels are well balanced.

Extras:

There are no extras outside of a theatrical trailer, just a static menu with chapter stops.

Final Thoughts:

An interesting and poignant look at the later days of the Wild West, Monte Walsh gets a really nice looking Blu-ray debut in North America thanks to Kino's efforts. It could have used more extras, all that we get is the trailer, but it really does look and sound quite a bit better than the previous DVD release. Recommended.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

Find the lowest price for 'Monte Walsh (Blu-ray)'
Popular Reviews
1. Blood And Black Lace (VCI Release)
2. Bright Lights, Big City
3. The Original Christmas Specials Collection
4. Lucio Fulci's Zombie (2018 4K Remaster)
5. Sheryl Crow: Live At The Capitol Theatre
6. Made for Each Other
7. Single White Female
8. Skate Kitchen
9. Some Like It Hot
10. National Lampoon's Class Reunion


Sponsored Links
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Sponsored Links
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use