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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - December, 2011

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"The Big Country" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Milton

movie-december-2011-big-country

Synopsis

William Wyler directs this epic Western about the clash of East and West, intellect and action. Peck stars as an Eastern sea captain who moves way out West to marry Carroll Baker and become part of the ranch owned by her father, the Major. But he discovers that daddy's top ranch hand (Heston) carries a torch for Baker and doesn't particularly like Peck stepping into his place. Peck also finds himself caught in the midst of a power struggle between Bickford and his surly neighbor, played by Ives. This long, sprawling tale works because its characters are played by movie stars who know how to command the big screen in a big story.

Specifications

  • MGM
  • 2011, Color, Rated PG-13, 2 Hr 45 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Codec: MPEG 4
  • 1080p
  • English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Charlton Heston, Gregory Peck, Burll Ives
  • Directed by William Wyler
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

With incredible scenic shots, some done in the Mojave Desert, the Big Country looks great on Blu-ray. I had my doubts when the opening credits rolled because the picture was soft with scratches and dirt specks aplenty. Fortunately, the actual movie was clean and detailed. Solid performances by Peck and Heston make this a film worth watching. Their fist fight by moon light was purposefully shot from a distance to illustrate how small men's problem seem compared to the "big country" backdrop. The cinematography is stunningly beautiful! Though the story is a little long, it is enjoyable and well paced. Truly one of the best Westerns ever put to celluloid.

Technical

As mentioned, after the opening credits, the picture quality takes off. Great color and contrast makes the picture vibrant and deep. Details abound. I could see power lines in the distance in some shots and an automobile on a highway about 5 miles beyond Peck and his gal near the very end just before the credits roll. Now that's detail! Skin tones are good and the overall picture quality has a fine grain appearence to it which preserves the film-like quality of the presentation. Only picture anomaly, the sky in many scenes had a pulsing quality to it that was a bit distracting and this showed up through most of the movie. The sound quality was very clear, presenting the wonderful score and dialog in fine 2.0 high definition sound.

Extras

Not Big on extras: Fun in the Big Country, theatrical trailers and TV spot