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 » Man of Conquest (Blu-ray)
Man of Conquest (Blu-ray)
Olive Films // Unrated // July 14, 2015 // Region A
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Matt Hinrichs | posted August 23, 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
Rent It
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly

Note: images are from promotional sources and do not reflect the quality of the Blu-ray under review.

The Movie:

Lumbering drama Man of Conquest stars Richard Dix (Cimarron) as the feisty, rebellious 19th century Texas lawman Sam Houston. This ambitious saga from America's distant past was the one "prestige picture" put out by b-movie factory Republic Studios in that golden year of 1939. Olive Films did right by releasing this obscurity on Blu-ray, although the end results would likely interest only the most passionate of living-history movie buffs.

Republic had a lot on the line with Man of Conquest - it was the most costly production by far for the relatively young studio known for its b-Westerns. Fittingly, the movie portrays Houston (1793-1861) as a flamboyant rabble-rouser straight out of a celluloid oater, a man who overcame adversity by sticking to his guns, digging in, and emerging triumphant. Although the movie fails to bring together all the elements of Houston's storied life into a concise, interesting plot, Dix's zesty portrayal at least makes Houston more human and less of a stock, rugged "American History" type.

Houston's journey gets a largely accurate telling in Man of Conquest. The movie traces Houston's beginnings in the 1820s as a governor for the wild state of Tennessee, his failed first marriage, and his evolution from buckskin-attired Cherokee Nation ambassador to taking hold as a decisive figure in Texas' independence from Mexico. It's a sprawling story to cram into a 99-minute motion picture - and the end result seems as patchy as can be expected from a project involving four screenwriters and two directors (while George Nicholls Jr. handled the dialogue scenes, B. Reeves "Breezy" Eason took over for the action sequences). Though it boasts a lively cast and nice, action-filled set pieces, the movie plods along like an extended version of those stodgy "living history" live-action shorts that many of Republic's bigger competitors were doing at the time. It's the kind of movie where people say things like "I've been reading about the treaty you had with the Cherokees," and it's meant to sound like the most natural thing on earth.

A particular viewer's enjoyment of Man of Conquest depends on how much you like Dix - Richard Dix. The actor's Sam Houston basically plays to what he was typed-to at the time - the rugged, no-nonsense gent with a playful side. Predictably, the same Dix known from other films (going all the way back to 1931's Cimarron) is present here. On the plus side, he handles the script's mannered, stilted dialogue pretty well. A similar assessment can be made of Gail Patrick, who plays a lovely, spirited debutante who surprises Houston by preferring the dusty vistas of Texas over her hometown of Washington, D.C. A young Joan Fontaine appears completely bored in the thankless, minuscule role of Houston's prim wife, while George Hayes (pre-"Gabby") adds some zest as Houston's salty companion, Lannie Upchurch.

Man of Conquest is definitely one of those strange old historic sagas where various famous folk come in and out of the main character's life, few with any importance on the plot as a whole. Among the personages appearing in Houston's story are President Andrew Jackson (Edward Ellis), Davy Crockett (Robert Barrat), Jim Bowie (Robert Armstrong), and Stephen Austin (Ralph Morgan). While they vary in terms of historic accuracy (apparently the Davy Crockett/Houston stuff is total bunk), the colorful figures prop up the movie's m.o. of boosting Sam Houston as an overlooked, larger-than-life figure in American history.

The Blu-ray:


Video

Olive Films' Blu-ray edition of Man Of Conquest presents the film mastered from a nicely detailed, relatively clean print. The lack of contrast in the 4:3 image is a big disappointment, however, with most scenes washed over in milky grey. The night portions look worse, with large parts of the frame consumed in darkness. The print itself sports a few instances of dust and white specks. Although the film is mostly stable, a few scenes near the end have a constant, wobbling effect every few seconds.

Audio

The disc sports the film's original mono soundtrack in an adequate mix which has the music score adjusted to higher volume levels than the dialogue track. Despite that, the track is relatively clean with few examples of pops or distortion. No subtitles are included.

Extras

Zero. The simple menu sports two options - "Play" and "Chapters."

Final Thoughts

As the iconic Texan Sam Houston, rugged Richard Dix grunts and grimaces his way through the sprawling American History saga Man of Conquest. This 1939 epic counted as a rare prestige production from the b-movie kings at Republic Studios, and their unfamiliarity with that genre showed. While it's ambitious, nicely produced and attractively cast, the movie falls just short of being a memorable - or even halfway distinctive - effort. Rent It.


Matt Hinrichs is a designer, artist, film critic and jack-of-all-trades in Phoenix, Arizona. Since 2000, he has been blogging at Scrubbles.net. 4 Color Cowboy is his repository of Western-kitsch imagery, while other films he's experienced are logged at Letterboxd. He also welcomes friends on Twitter @4colorcowboy.

Find the lowest price for 'Man of Conquest (Blu-ray)'
Popular Reviews
1. Shutter Island (10th Anniversary Edition) (4K Ultra HD)
2. Avatar: The Last Airbender The Complete Series, 15th Anniversary Limited Edition SteelBook Collection
3. The Light at the Edge of the World
4. And Hope to Die
5. Parasite
6. Je t'aime moi non plus
7. The Criminal (The Concrete Jungle)
8. Jexi
9. Jungle Fever
10. The Deadly Trap


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 2020 All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use