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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

DVD Compare: Death Rides a Horse

For as long as I can remember Death Rides a Horse has only been available in a terrible worn out pan scan version.  This is how I originally saw the movie on VHS in the early 90's.  It wasn't until the mid-90's that I saw a much better print on US television (still pan scan however).

The film can be found easily on DVD, possibly due to the film being in the public domain.  Every cheap DVD company tends to put this one out, and it can be found in pretty much every LVC budget collection.  No real difference from the VHS copies from the 90's.

In 2005 MGM released a widescreen version of DRAH on DVD in the UK (region 2). Unfortunatly most of us in the US cannot play these discs on our home players, not to mention that we would have to import it.

Finally Wild East in 2011 released in the US a 2:35 anamorphic transfer.  Unlike some other DVD comparisons where there are subtle differences, there is no comparison here between other US discs.  Wild East hits this one out of the park and puts every other US DVD version to shame.  Even the UK version seems a bit more compressed, causing a more jagged transfer (although this could have more to do with the PAL conversion)

See comparison below.  Make sure to click on the pics to enlarge

 Common pan scan print

 2011 Wild East transfer

2005 UK transfer

The Wild East version also contains-
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Television Spots
  • Photo Gallery
  • Audio interview with John Phillip Law

What more could you ask for?  Well... Blu-ray of course... but let's not get too greedy... yet...


  1. Thanx, Aaron, for this Side-by-Side on DRaH!

    Maybe it's my monitor or something, but to *my* eye, the UK version actually looks superior to the Wild East print...and I say that reluctantly, as I'm a *big* fan of WE!

    The main thing I'm seeing is that the UK'05 disc isn't near as Dark as WE's, revealing considerably more Detail: look especially at the Shades of Grey visible on the other gent's hat, and how clear LVC's forehead and eyes are under his own hat's brim.

    But I've been bitchin' an' moanin' about the Too-Too-Black aspect of digital film/TV prints ever since they began to appear --- first spotted this in Noir transfers (starting with OUT OF THE PAST, iirc).

    Anyway, it doesn't bother lots of folx I've talked to about it...it's just one of my own Pet Peeves. ;)

    Thanks again, Aaron. Keep up the great work!

    Ciao for niao,

    1. I'll admit I noticed the black levels too between the two. That being said when actually watching the DVDs, the UK disc looked a lot worse due to compression, while the WE disc was smooth. They are both great discs compared to the pan scan crap.

  2. The only complaint I have about the Wild East disc is that the movie cuts off too fast. The "THE END" card doesn't fade out properly. It just stops. All the older prints (including the widescreen print that Turner Classic Movies aired and the fullscreen print Encore Westerns airs) had "THE END" fade out properly.

    A minor nitpick, but probably one all the noticeable to we fans.