For Hicksflicks.com, May 2, 2014

Fans of "Behold a Pale Horse" (1964, b/w) have complained for years about the Columbia (Sony) DVD release from 2005 because the print was grainy and the aspect ratio (width of the picture) was compromised.

But a new DVD release on Tuesday (May 6) promises to correct those problems in a brand-new "50th Anniversary Edition" from the budget label Mill Creek. There are not likely to be any bonus features but the picture and sound should be greatly improved and the price is under $10.

Shot on location in France, and in the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain, "Behold a Pale Horse" is a political melodrama about a Spanish guerrilla fighter (Gregory Peck) who has been in exile for two decades after the Spanish Civil War. He is lured to his dying mother's bedside by a military police officer (Anthony Quinn) hoping to ensnare him. Omar Sharif is also on hand as a priest.

In between a few action sequences the film is talky and slow, and the script could have been punched up. But it gets better as it goes along and certainly benefits from star power as well as sweeping direction by Fred Zinnemann ("High Noon," "From Here to Eternity," "A Man For All Seasons"). The stirring score by Maurice Jarre also helps.


                 Quinn (left), Peck, Sharif: 'Behold a Pale Horse'

"Behold a Pale Horse" has a strong fan base and should do well for Mill Creek, which has been releasing some prestige titles of late to supplement its usual reissued TV series and drive-in movie fare.

This title is apparently part of a back-catalog release deal Mill Creek has with Sony Home Entertainment, to include a pair of Jack Lemmon film collections, Peter O'Toole in "Lord Jim," the German wartime thriller "Das Boot," etc.

And, of course, "Behold a Pale Horse."