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on July 27, 2011
I agree completely with every word the previous reviewer,Wayne,said about The Comancheros Blu-ray,this is a reference disc for the blu-ray format!!!!!! STUNNING/PRISTINE Picture Quality,and Audio too.
I have a fair collection of blu-ray films,and the "modern" films are excellent Picture Quality,as you would expect,however,it,s what blu-ray does to the "older" films,especially westerns,that is so amazing.
The Searchers/How The West Was Won/Zulu/The Outlaw Josey Wales are a joy to behold,Home Cinema of the highest calibre,A+++++,well,The Comancheros Blu-ray joins that List,REFERENCE DISCS FOR BLU-RAY!!!!!
I say this as somebody who watched The Comancheros when it was first released at the Cinema,I must have been 10 years old,but that did not prepare me for the absolute pleasure of watching this Duke western on blu-ray,simply put,FABULOUS!!!!!!
Davy Cairns,Scotland.
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on June 23, 2003
The Comancheros is another great John Wayne western with a great supporting cast. The story follows Captain Jake Cutter, a Texas ranger, and his efforts to capture a prisoner, and then to infiltrate a group of gunrunners and bandits, the Comancheros. This group has been supplying the Comanches with repeating rifles who then wreak havoc on the area. There is plenty of action here with numerous shootouts, and also plenty of great characters. At parts during this movie, I wondered why the Duke never took more comedic roles since he is very funny in several scenes.
John Wayne plays Captain Jake Cutter, the big, brawling Texas Ranger who attempts to bring in a prisoner who keeps escaping his grasp, "Monsoor" Paul Regret, played by Stuart Whitman very well. Another notable performance is Lee Marvin's Crow, the contact between Cutter and the Comancheros. He doesn't have a very big part, but what is there is very good. The film also stars Ina Balin, Nehemiah Persoff, Michael Ansara, Patrick Wayne, Bruce Cabot, and Joan O'Brien. Elmer Bernstein also turns in another excellent score that has elements of the Sons of Katie Elder and The Great Escape. The DVD offers a widescreen presentation which looks very good, two trailers(one in Spanish), and also Movie Tone News about an award presented involving the movie. More John Wayne movies should be put out like this, and I give credit to the companies putting out so many new ones recently. A very exciting, enjoyable Duke western that all his fans will love!
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on May 24, 2000
You can see by the title that I am a John Wayne fan, and this rip-roaring Western is one of the reasons why. With equal portions of rousing action, humor, and drama, this film keeps your interest and, like the Duke's performance, never loses its authenticity. It's said that John Wayne took over direction of some of the action sequences, and they're great. There are well-drawn, clear differences between the good guys and bad guys, but the characters are human and developed enough for the actors to sink their teeth into, which all do with gusto. By this time in his career, the Duke only had to show up on screen to be the authentic Western hero, but as usual he goes 'way beyond that, giving a colorful, humorous, absolutely real and terrific performance as the Texas Ranger who helps a man on the wrong side of the law redeem himself and find the woman he loves--as well as stopping a motley, dangerous bunch of white renegades (Comancheros) who are selling weapons to warring Comanche Indians. It's great movie-making and a great couple of hours with the Duke, so check it out!
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on May 24, 2000
John Wayne rules in this big, sprawling western adventure film. The screenplay, co-written by western novelist Clair Huffaker, struggles with the historical accuracy of Texas in the 1840s and the rifles seem a little advanced for 1843, but, nit-picking aside, this is an entertaining film. Texas Ranger Jake Cutter (Wayne) and sometime gambler Paul Regret (Stuart Whitman) go under cover after a vicious army of outlaw raiders known as "Comancheros," led by the diabolical Graile (Nehemiah Persoff). Hard-hitting, large scale action sequences deftly directed by Michael Curtiz, who directd some of Errol Flynn's better adventure films, will please action-adventure fans. The movie includes a comfortable blend of action, suspense, and humor with occasional serious overtones of duty, friendship, and the love of a good woman. Taken within the context of the film that isn't as corny as it might sound. Great outdoor color photography adds to the appeal. A pulse-pounding musical score by Elmer Bernstein matches the excitement. Lee Marvin makes the most of his costarring role as Tully Crow, one of the West's wildest bad men. Watch for the hilarious vignette featuring Edgar Buchanan as a judge of dubious integrity. Ditto the comic relief segment with Guinn "Big Boy" Williams as a seemingly bewildered gunrunner. There is nothing intellectual or artistic to say of this movie, but it's good old fashioned fun. Recommended viewing.
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on June 17, 2003
Wayne as in any of his other great movies is larger than life. As a Texas Ranger his methods are not to be denied. Lee Marvin although only having a brief part plays it to the hilt as Crow, a hard as nails gun trader. Stuart Whittman is excellent as Monseur Paul Regret. We can understand why he was chosen to play in the TV series Cimarron Strip. He plays a credible Louisianan of class. Ina Balin does a fine job as the daughter of a wealthy outlaw. Several cameos including Patrick Wayne, the dukes son. The story, cast, and music add up to a sprawling western well worth owning. The DVD picture quality and sound are superb. I especially noticed how sharp the red credits are on the DVD since on most VHS or TV viewings they bleed like the bad guys.
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The Comancheros may not be a classic Western, but it's certainly one of John Wayne's most entertaining star vehicles and hides the scars of its troubled production well. Director Michael Curtiz was dying during the shoot, with the Duke standing in for him behind the camera uncredited on the days he was too ill to work, and for the most part the joins never show. It's impressively staged with the kind of lavish production values that the dying studio system could still bring to the screen, boasting the kind of old-school professionalism that pleased producers and cinemagoers alike and plays well to its stars' strengths. The Duke's straight-talking Texas Ranger who lives by his word makes a surprisingly good double-act with Stuart Whitman's cultured riverboat gambler on the run from a murder charge - and, for much of the first half of the film, Wayne - after killing a judge's son in a duel. Naturally the mismatched pair end up on the same side tracking down the Comancheros who are raiding and indiscriminately killing their way through the countryside, but thanks to some witty writing, good plotting and some especially good action sequences courtesy of Cliff Lyons there's a lot of fun to be had en route to its foregone conclusion happy ending.

While the Western was already falling from favor when it came out in 1961, it's a surprisingly forward-looking style of action picture with its mixture of action, wit (be it the Duke mispronouncing French or the villain extolling his ugliness as a sign of character) and sadism for all the family. The buddy movie template may already have been in place but in many ways the plot is almost a blueprint for the subsequent Bond films, pre-title sequence and all, with our heroes going through a series of colourful adventures before infiltrating their way into the villain's fortress, uncovering his dastardly plot and then fighting their way out. Indeed, Nehemiah Persoff's wheelchair-bound mastermind could almost be Ernst Stavro Blofeld as he deals with lackeys who have transgressed the rules of his criminal society as if he were at a S.P.E.C.T.R.E. board meeting, with Ina Balin's sexually liberated femme fatale - introduced in a casino scene - the obligatory Bond villainess who changes sides after a roll in the hay (thankfully with Whitman, not Wayne). It even uses music in much the same way as the early Bond films, trotting out the exciting and expansive main theme not so much for the action scenes but to pep up some of the slower travelling sequences just as the Bond theme used to be used for checking in at airports or hotels. And what a score it is, one of Elmer Bernstein's very best for a Western, and one he obviously had great affection for too: when I saw the film on the big screen in a revival house, he was in the audience as a paying customer.

There's a good supporting cast too - Lee Marvin as a half-scalped gunrunner with an attitude problem, Michael Ansara as the obligatory villain's henchman, Joan O'Brien as romantic interest for Wayne, Bruce Cabot and Patrick Wayne among the Texas Rangers and assorted thugs with ugly mugs like Jack Elam and Guinn `Big Boy' Williams (getting a good sendoff in his final film with a juicy cameo as the `real' Ed McBain) as well as finding room for the likes of Edgar Buchanan and Henry Daniell. It's an audience picture writ large, and half a century on it still works.

While the old DVD release was extras-lite with an acceptable but not outstanding widescreen transfer, Fox's region-free Bluray is for the most part an excellent transfer, but there are some scenes where it's a shame they didn't use less noise reduction: while it never falls into the waxworks trap of too many over DNRed vintage titles, there's clearly been some work done to reduce the typical grain you'd get in lap dissolves and establishing matte shots every now and then that stick out like a sore thumb compared to the more natural detail elsewhere in the transfer. The 5.1 soundtrack option isn't quite as rich as it could be, particularly lacking bite in the main title sequence, but the alternate Dolby 4.0 track seems a much truer, clearer rendition and there's a surprisingly good selection of extras: a non-scene specific audio commentary by Whitman (who also provides a separate audio interview), Persoff, Michael Ansara and Patrick Wayne, an excellent featuette on the real Comancheros and the fall of the Comanche nation, a surprisingly good 40-minute documentary on the Duke's Fox films that doesn't skirt around some of the films' troubled productions or the star's falling out with studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck, original trailer, an onscreen recreation of the tie-in comicbook adaptation (which has a slightly different ending) and, for the initial copies at least, a very attractive hardcover book presentation (though someone hasn't been too careful with the picture selection, with a still of North to Alaska creeping in there!). About the only thing missing is the thankfully unused alternate title song released as a single that's to be found on FSM's limited edition CD even though the disc does include newsreel footage of Claude King and Tillman Franks receiving an award for it.
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on May 28, 2011
Wow.................this 1961 film looks fantastic on Blu-Ray, and the Elmer Bernstein score in 5.1 Master Audio blew me away................what an entertaining film!! Loved Lee Marvin as Crow..........I guess the Duke did too because he recommended him to Ford for the part of Liberty Valance , and history was made.

I have not watched all the extras yet, but the newly produced Duke at Fox was very interesting and for me educational. I did not know that John Huston and the Duke had a VERY bad time with each other and came to blows during the making of The Barbarian and the Geisha. This and many other fascinating details are in this extra. This is really worth the double dip if you have it on DVD.
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on June 10, 2011
This is a gorgeous transfer on the new Fox Blu-ray. Watched this 1961 film and a 1979 film on Blu-Ray the same night. This one blew the 1979 film's transfer away! The excellent supplements have been ported over from previous releases, and were originally produced for the Fox laserdisc in the 1990s. Some of the participants have since passed on, so it's great that Fox included these on the Blu. Any Wayne or Western genre fan should have this.
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on May 26, 2003
Finally, "The Comancheros" is released on DVD. This is one of Wayne's best, and most enjoyable westerns(that says a lot, because the Duke's westerns were always classic). The acting is superb, Stuart Whitman turning out one of his best performances, and John Wayne underrated as usual. Lee Marvin also makes a powerful, short performance. That cast alone makes for a classic. Michael Curtiz's("Casablanca"-1942) last film, he creates one of the better 1960's westerns. Several people have mentioned the guns in the film. Historical facts are often changed to create entertaining films. This film is not a history lesson, it is an example of classic hollywood at it's best. A well crafted, fun, classic western. Recommended for both fans of classic westerns, and classic films in general.
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This is a kind of movie that is not made any more. It is an action movie with a gentle heart and a happy spirit. Even the bad guys are somehow awful, but we don't hate them. One interesting thing about this movie is John Wayne's role in the movie. Yes, he is the star, whenever he is on screen anywhere he dominates it, but the story is really more about Paul Regret (wonderfully played by Stuart Whitman) and Pilar Graile (glowingly done by Ina Balin). John Wayne's role, while central, isn't the guy who gets the girl, and plays more as the protector and guide to Paul Regret, who ends up saving Jake more than once. Jake's a widower and more than friends with the widow of his best friend. Not too subtly, Melinda Marshall (the beautiful Joan O'Brien) has fences that need mending, and Paul Regret asks Jake for a good reason why he doesn't marry her.

How Paul and Jake meet each other and how they become friends is a big part of the movie and a very enjoyable part. In fact, this is really a buddy film and a darn good one, even with the wiseacre line when they are hanging by their arms and helpless in the bad guy camp, "I wonder if they know how much trouble they are in."

The head bad guy and leader of the Commancheros is Pilar's father who is also a paraplegic (superbly done by Nehemiah Persoff) and he rules his society of ne'er do wells with intelligence and a great political sense. It is his right hand henchman, Amelung, who is the most sinister character in the movie and played to a turn by Michael Ansara.

This is a movie with a plot that chugs along like the cheery Elmer Bernstein score that supports it. It has its interesting moments, but mostly it is a lot of fun. If you enjoy John Wayne, and I do, you get a good story for him with all the fine performances of the other stars plus some fire, Indian battles, and even a duel.

Not great, but a very worthwhile entertainment.
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