Vés enrere

OLD COWBOYS NEVER DIE …

       

For Hicksflicks.com, May 9, 2014

For some reason, around Memorial Day each year two genres of old movies crop up in new sets or re-released discs or just old movies returning to store shelves for a time.

One genre is World War II movies; that I understand. Memorial Day, wartime remembrances. Makes sense.

But the other genre is Westerns. That I don't get at all. Memorial Day, cowboys. Does that compute?

And the chief star whose movies show up is John Wayne, in both genres.

On May 20, Warner Home Video will release a huge box titled "John Wayne: The Epic Collection," a pricey set (retailing at $149.98) with no less than 40 movies, though many are far from classics. It's an eclectic mix of his early B-movie programmers from the 1930s to his later, genuine classics, primarily Westerns, though a couple of wartime movies are also here. Included are "Fort Apache" (1948), "Rio Bravo" (1959), "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" (1962, b/w) and "True Grit" (1969). Also here is a 20-page hardcover book and 17 artifacts, including a brass belt buckle.

And last week a much more reasonably priced slim-box collection of Wayne's Twentieth Century Fox films was released, titled simply "John Wayne Film Collection." As with the "Epic Collection," the movies here are mostly Westerns but with a few non-Westerns, recycled titles that have been available forever and which never been out of print ("The Big Trail," "The Horse Soldiers," "North to Alaska," "The Comancheros"). Except for one. Also here is "The Barbarian and the Geisha" (1958), which has never been on DVD before. It's not a great movie but fans will be interested.

                

I said the "John Wayne Collection" is reasonably priced, but not at Amazon, where the DVD set retails for $49.98 and is selling for $29.99. Shop around. I found it at Costco for $14.99!

The set is also available on Blu-ray (at a higher price, of course) but it is curiously missing three titles that are in the DVD set: "Red River," "Legend of the Lost" and "The Alamo."

Of course, the latter two are lesser films (and "Legend of the Lost" isn't a Western), and "Red River" is making its Blu-ray debut in a special set from the boutique label Criterion Collection on May 27.

So from this corner, the DVD set is by far the better buy. And all the films look great.

And one more thing, there are lots of sets titled "John Wayne Collection" out there in various forms; below are a few. Just a few; there are many more.

Some of these are good, some are not. Learn about them before buying so you get something you want, not something you'll wish you hadn't bothered with.