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The fatal flaw with this product is that it is presented ONLY in what they ironically call "full-screen" format; chop off nearly half of what you saw on the theater screen, and you get "full-screen." This film has been tragically butchered.
The logic of producing this product in this manner utterly eludes me. Those of us who appreciate and value good films enough to lay out our money for an individual title on DVD want to experience the vision of the director who made it, and/or re-experience, as nearly as possible, what we first saw in the theater; not the "vision" of some nameless technician artlessly cropping two noses to fit into the same frame.
This is not a widely known film. Who is more likely to seek out and buy this title? Someone who appreciated it in its original form, and now wants to see it again, or watch it with others he believes could share in his appreciation of it? Or, someone who just needs something the right size and shape to fill the blank picture tube of his standard format television? I posit that ANY piece of junk will fill that empty space, and such a person is far more likely to fill it with free broadcast content than to pay to fill it with this film which they probably never heard of in the first place! I believe that anyone who is looking for this movie will be disappointed or angry that it was hacked apart; it reminds me of knocking the arms and head off from a statue to get it into a packing crate.Read more ›
Even awkwardly cropped it still holds up, managing to straddle the middle ground between the revisionist and the mythical, taking place in a landscape at once all-too real (parched Texas wilderness, ramshackle farmsteads) and stylised (the almost cave-like room where Gilbert Roland's bitter paterfamilias endlessly retells the legend of Barbarosa to each new generation who will grow up to hunt him down and die in the attempt). As the two unlikely partners caught up in pointless blood feuds with their in-laws, Willie Nelson isn't always as good as he should be and it takes a reel or two to get used to his style and Gary Busey is nobody's idea of a Western hero, but their very unlikeliness as movie icons helps sell them as closer to the reality of the old West. And the film is also blessed with one of the best endings of the 80s, as a supposed fiesta becomes almost funereal, the dead faces of the film's `victors' sapped of all purpose until... well, see it for yourself, it's worth it. Barbarosa! Barbarosa! Barbarosa!
Busey is a Texas farmhand who accidentally killed his brother-in-law--his sister's husband--and is now out on his own, pursued by his brother-in-law's two brothers for revenge. Similarly, Barbarosa is being pursued by the landowner's top gun, a fiery Mexican who vows Barbarosa's death.
The two, Nelson and Busey, meet by accident and join up for a time. During that time we get to see the West as it very likely really looked about 100 years ago (more specifically, the Southwest--i.e., southern Texas); the cinematography is magnificent. One of the critical ingredients in any great Western is great cinematography and that is very much in display here. As well, the score by Bruce Smeaton is excellent.
Nelson and Busey do a great job--their accents certainly don't hurt (both men are originally from that part of the U.S.), and so does the supporting cast. Fred Schepisi, the director, has a perfect sense of pacing and momentum that pulls the viewer along with very little tugging indeed. Armadillos figure in the mix, as do old men with guns and younger men buried up to their necks. There's a hacienda, a cantina, and an outdoor festival. The film drips with Western atmosphere, no question.
Highly recommended for fans of the genre.
And I can think of no other western, besides Walsh's "The Big Trail" which so clearly NEEDS a widescreen transfer yet, for some reason, doesn't have it!!!
Please, if someone is listening, these films deserve to be seen widescreen. The cinematography in Barbarosa (as well as "The Big Trail") is absolutely breathtaking and is integral to the story.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have this same copy of Barbarosa (2003 dvd release) and I can't believe someone somewhere cannot release the theatrical widescreen version of this great 80's western -- with some... Read morePublished 1 month ago by a walther
good movie i just wish the redheaded stranger would come out on dvdPublished 4 months ago by Anthony C.