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Warner Home Video Western Classics Collection (Escape from Fort Bravo / Many Rivers to Cross / Cimarron 1960 / The Law and Jake Wade / Saddle the Wind / The Stalking Moon) (2008)

Richard Widmark , Robert Taylor , John Sturges  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Warner Home Video Western Classics Collection (Escape from Fort Bravo / Many Rivers to Cross / Cimarron 1960 / The Law and Jake Wade / Saddle the Wind / The Stalking Moon) + Classic Westerns, 10-Movie Collection: When Daltons Rode / The Virginian / Whispering Smith / The Spoilers / Comanche Territory / Sierra / Kansas Raiders / Tomahawk / Albuquerque / Texas Rangers Ride Again + 4 Movie Marathon: James Stewart Western Collection (Bend of the River / The Far Country / Night Passage / The Rare Breed)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Widmark, Robert Taylor, Glenn Ford, William Holden, Gregory Peck
  • Directors: John Sturges
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 26, 2008
  • Run Time: 518 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0018QAIY8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,465 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Warner Home Video Western Classics Collection (Escape from Fort Bravo / Many Rivers to Cross / Cimarron 1960 / The Law and Jake Wade / Saddle the Wind / The Stalking Moon)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Includes:
  • Escape from Fort Bravo
  • Many Rivers to Cross
  • Cimarron 1960
  • The Law and Jake Wade
  • Saddle the Wind
  • The Stalking Moon
  • Theatrical trailers

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Warner Home Video Western Classics Collection (DVD)

There's plenty in this set for Western fans to enjoy, but let's note that none of these movies rises to the classic status the box title claims. If the term "Western classic" is to mean anything--and it should--it has to be reserved for the likes of Stagecoach, The Naked Spur, Seven Men from Now, and Unforgiven. What we have here are half a dozen pictures that came out in mid–20th century, have recognizable professionals going about their business, and agreeably remind us of how they made 'em before they stopped makin' 'em the way they used to. And for a pleasant weekend's viewing, that'll do nicely. The Civil War–era Escape from Fort Bravo (1953), the first of director John Sturges's many Westerns, has flint-hard U.S. Cavalry officer William Holden riding herd on Confederate POWs in Arizona. Once Holden has fallen for his colonel's daughter's best friend Eleanor Parker, who's also secretly the fiancée of Rebel officer John Forsythe, the film itself is allowed to escape Fort Bravo and echo off the walls of some picturesque canyons well-supplied with hostile Indians. Sturges had a good eye for staging action, and the big climax involves a kind of Apache Agincourt, a patiently lethal military tactic on the part of the Mescaleros. Cameraman Robert L. Surtees was forced to abandon Technicolor for Ansco color, which has a pleasing palette for standard scenes but tends to go greenish and speckly in desert longshots. This was MGM's first production in modest widescreen (1.77:1), which your flat-screen TV may shave a mite. The other five films in the set, all full CinemaScope (2.35:1), look fine.

The Law and Jake Wade (1958) is another Sturges-Surtees picture, one of three vehicles for fading MGM star Robert Taylor. He's a reformed outlaw turned town marshal who springs former partner Richard Widmark from jail, thereby paying off an old debt. But as Widmark sees it, they still have unfinished business, best settled by dragging Taylor and fiancée Patricia Owens off to a ghost town haunted by old guilt and savage Indians. As a journey Western, the movie pales alongside the great Budd Boetticher films of the same era, but the felonious traveling companions include Henry Silva, Robert Middleton, and DeForest Kelley, and the derelict town and its Boot Hill make a memorable killing ground. The credits of Saddle the Wind (1958) feature two unlikely names to be connected with a Western: the script is by Rod Serling (pre–Twilight Zone), and the wind in need of saddling is personified by John Cassavetes, doing an 1860s variation on a 1950s juvenile delinquent. He's kid brother to Robert Taylor, an ex-gunfighter who's turned rancher with the blessing of range baron Donald Crisp. The peace of their valley is variously threatened by gunman Charles McGraw, an extended family of squatters (headed by Royal Dano in anguished righteousness mode), and most of all the volatile, gun-happy Cassavetes. Saddle the Wind turns out to be something of a discovery, thanks to Serling's metaphor-rich dialogue and intriguingly oblique direction by Robert Parrish. There's some facile '50s-TV psychologizing, but mood trumps plot, and the inevitable showdown takes a surprising turn. Plus it never hurts to have Julie London around to gaze soulfully and sing the title song.

The final Robert Taylor item, Many Rivers to Cross (1955), is the one out-and-out clinker in the bunch, an excruciating attempt at frontier comedy largely set against painted vistas à la Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. As it happens, both films were produced by Jack Cummings, a veteran of MGM musicals--only this is no musical, and the ill-cast Taylor seems poleaxed as free-living vagabond Bushrod Gentry (a rascal role that cries out for Kirk Douglas or Burt Lancaster). Eleanor Parker is fun as the fire-haired "she-fiend" who sets her cap for Bushrod, but really only James Arness hits the right note in a too-brief appearance about an hour in. Master Western director Anthony Mann is credited with Cimarron, the 1960 remake of the 1931 Academy Award winner. However, Mann left in mid-production ("creative differences"), and the movie seems more typical of the MGM contract director who took over, Charles Walters. Edna Ferber's novel of pioneer Oklahoma offers a plethora of themes--several species of prejudice, capitalism vs. charity, sons unhappily following in fathers' footsteps, and the irreconcilable tensions between a stability-craving wife and her footloose husband--but the action is front-loaded and the husband, Glenn Ford, is offscreen for years at a time. Most of the large cast comes and goes without establishing identities, and Maria Schell's Sabra Cravat is tiresome as both ditz and pill. However, the Oklahoma land rush gives grand spectacle. That leaves The Stalking Moon (1969), an odd-film-out since it's the only non-MGM production in the set and a decade more recent than the rest. Gregory Peck plays a scout trying to protect a white woman (Eva Marie Saint) and her half-breed son from an Apache warrior, the woman's captor-husband of ten years. The mostly unseen Apache is a veritable monster of determination, cunning, and bloodthirstiness: Peck and his charges doom entire Southwest communities to extermination just by passing through the neighborhood. This fierce amalgam of Western and horror movie was the last of seven collaborations between director Robert Mulligan and producer Alan J. Pakula--a distant cousin of their To Kill a Mockingbird. As a palm-sweater it's demonically effective, and fascinating as prelude to the great paranoid trilogy Pakula went on to direct, Klute, The Parallax View, and All the President's Men. Robert Forster has an early role as a fellow, part-Indian scout. --Richard T. Jameson

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 65 people found the following review helpful
This is a pretty good collection of miscellaneous westerns by Warner Home Video. There is no word on extra features yet, but here are the details on the films themselves and my viewpoint on each one.

Escape From Ft. Bravo (1953) Directed by John Sturges. (4/5)
At the end of the Civil War, Ft. Bravo is being used to house Confederate POWs. William Holden stars as Captain Roper, a man responsible for retrieving escapees from the Fort. He is often brutal in the execution of his duties, but he feels he must be or risk even more escapes. Eleanor Parker comes as a visitor to the fort and butters up Roper. All the while she is helping enable the escape of her true love, a Confederate prisoner. Roper falls in love with Parker's character. When he finds out the truth - after the prisoners escape - he could just leave them to the Apaches. Instead he goes out to rescue and retrieve the prisoners and the girl who betrayed his trust.

Many Rivers To Cross (1955) Directed by Row Rowland. (4/5)
This is a rather unusual cross between a comedy and a western. I really didn't like it the first time I saw it, but it does grow on you. Eleanor Parker stars as a woman who is afraid she will be a spinster and sets her sights on Robert Taylor's character, Bushrod Gentry. Bushrod is an unlikely husband and an untameable frontiersman, or so it seems.

Cimarron (1960) Directed by Anthony Mann (3/5)
Maybe I was spoiled by the 1931 version - in particular the very hammy portrayal of Yancey by Richard Dix. That film won an unbelievable Best Picture Oscar and a Best Actor nomination for Dix. This movie is far superior to the original, with Glenn Ford as Yancey. It confronts head-on the issues that the original just skirts around, yet in doing this it just seems to take on too much.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice package for a nice price! July 14, 2009
By Dr. Z
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Even though I like Westerns, I can't say the movies in this package are all excellent; they range from good to maybe very good at best.

Warner does its job again and the picture quality is very nice and aspect ratios preserved. If you like actors like Robert Taylor, William Holden and Glenn Ford, and Gregory Peck, you may want to consider getting this box set since it also has a good price.

Considering everything, I gave the package 4 stars but the movies would get between 3 and 4 stars from me.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NOT BAD MOVIES......NOT BAD PRICE January 6, 2010
I've had my eye on this collection since it came out, but with a real interest in only 3 of the movies due to high cost I held off buying. Yet today at WalMart I found the entire collection of 6 DVDs for $15.00.

I watch western movies and also read many fiction and non-fiction books on the west so several of these films meet my interest. Nothing better than seeing a book you have read brought to the silver screen. Among the better ones here are THE STALKING MOON (From noted western writer T.V. Olsen's book of same name), ESCAPE FROM FORT BRAVO, and THE LAW AND JAKE WADE (Fawcett Gold Medal Book 756, Marvin H. Albert). While the other 3 DVDs are interesting the above 3 are the ones of main interest to me, and was surprised how good a movie such as SADDLE THE WIND turned out to be. I am less interested in CIMARRON (remake from 1931) and MANY RIVERS TO CROSS.

Warner Brothers seems notorious for not opening their vaults to issue many DVDs, even the acclaimed CHEYENNE series of the 1950s and 60s has seen only 1 box issued. If more are desired one must turn to the Encore Western channel for both Cheyenne and Maverick series. Quite frankly as a reader having both hardcover and softcover westerns by noted author T.V. Olsen on the shelf, wondered if THE STALKING MOON would ever appear on DVD.

The collection of western movies in this box covers the years 1953 through 1968, a fifteen year period seeing the western go from top box office draw to almost its disappearance. As more than one reviewer has mentioned the movies do not fit together much at all, but then maybe they were never meant to do so. Any collection having work by both Theodore V. Olsen and Marvin H.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Saddle Tramp October 14, 2011
I admit, I'm a western junkie. If there's a good buy on old westerns I'll jump on it. In the end, these reviews are all about personal taste, so here's mine: The Law and Jake Wade is the best of the bunch - Robert Taylor, Richard Widmark, love it. Next for me is Cimarron merely because I'm a big Glenn Ford fan. Perhaps the best movie in the bunch is Saddle the Wind - Taylor again, but I've got it 3rd because I've never been a big John Cassavettes fan. Fourth, Many Rivers to Cross, Taylor, Eleanor Parker in something that's as much a comedy as a western. Stalking Moon with Gregory Peck was a decent movie, but after watching it once, I figured probably never again so it ended up in a garage sale. Escape from Fort Bravo with William Holden - to be honest, I also sold it and can't remember much about it, so it's #6. About the only extras are subtitles and theatrical trailers. Final assessment: some good, some so so, some not so good, but for about $2.50 each, it was well worth the purchase.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great old time movies with the great old time actors, brought back a lot of memories.
Published 15 days ago by Sundance
5.0 out of 5 stars I've enjoyed all of the DVDS
I was surprised at the selections and quality. I've enjoyed all of the DVDS.
Published 1 month ago by Earnest B. Mercer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great Westerns
Published 1 month ago by Julia Goodhope
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by robin barksdale
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
We really enjoy the old time classics.
Published 3 months ago by A. Wimmer
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Selection
Very good selection of Westerns. Ranged from farce to dark revenge. Had some of the best actors in some little known roles. Well worth the money.
Published 4 months ago by Drunk Cowboy
5.0 out of 5 stars Great western collection!
We were looking for some western movies we have never heard about or never seen and found this collection.

These movies are fantastic! Read more
Published 5 months ago by Michael
5.0 out of 5 stars Super Duper Collection
Please don't pass this up - it's an amazing collection and a big plus if you are a robert taylor western fan!
Published 6 months ago by M. Qureshi
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent collection
I thoroughly enjoyed the collection. It had a lot of great actors and brought back memories of when I first saw them. I highly recommend. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Paul Gridler
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and good quality movies
Purchased the Western Classics for my husband and he is enjoying watching them. We would recommend these to those who enjoy watching westerns.
Published 9 months ago by Karen B
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