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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Blu-ray Review: Bad Man's River

Bad Man's River, like Captain Apache was released by Scotia International and filmed mainly near Madrid.  Watch both of these movies back to back and you will notice the exact same sets for both the western towns and Mexican forts as both were filmed at E70 Studios (see also The Stranger and The Gunfighter).  I'll have a location report from there posted here soon.
To me Bad Man's River was always the movie with the horrible score and that stupid bowler hat.  Having recently rewatched it, my opinion of the quality of the film has not changed.  This is one of the most uneven movies ever made.  How do you screw up a western with LVC, and includes such Spaghetti Western legends as Gianni Garko, Eduardo Fajardo, and friggin' Aldo Sambrell?
Regarding the music by Waldo de los Rios, the film starts with a barbershop quartet score that is truly awful for the first 20 minutes complete with jarring freeze frames of the action.  The film then settles into a more traditional if not whimsical score, before hitting us with a rock song in the middle of the film!  The rock song "Bad Man's River" by Jade Warrior is actually a straight up remake (just different lyrics) of one of their other songs "Too Many Heroes".  The group have disowned their Bad Man's River version.
Kino Lorber, who primarily releases MGM catalog titles (such as Sabata and Barquero), has obtained HD US prints of both Captain Apache and Bad Man's River, which to me was surprising as neither have ever been available or transmitted in high definition here.  Divisa released the Spanish print of Bad Man's River earlier this year with mixed results (reviewed here).  The new Kino disc blows that one out of the water.
Main Menu
The overall image is great once you get past the main credits.  The picture is sharp, colors are strong, film grain is present. 
Screencaps below (click to enlarge) -


The image quality is much better than the Spanish Blu-ray released by Divisa.  Contrast is vastly improved, and there is slightly more image on either side.
Click images below to see the improvement-
US Blu-ray (Kino)
  Spanish Blu-ray (Divisa)
English 2.0.  No other languages available.  No subtitles.  Don't expect a large dynamic improvement over how you have heard this movie before.  The score still sucks.
  • Trailers for Sabata and Barquero
A great release of a not-so-great movie.  Bad Man's River has a few nice moments, but I anticipate this Blu-ray will collect dust very nicely next to the Captain Apache.
  • Cheap
  • Plays on US players 
  • No film specific extras
Full stats and ordering info- 
  • Region: A
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: NONE
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Kino Lorber
  • Run Time: 92 minutes (1:31:48)
Bad Man's River (1971) [Blu-ray]

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Aaron. I always have mixed feelings about Digital translations from other media (film or TV), as so dramatically emphasized by your Spanish vs US blu-ray comparisons: the Spanish appears bright and clean, yet the US image seems to've been filtered to bring out the worn-out, lived-in look of the peeling paint on the grimey walls -- which is something the set designer no doubt worked hard to achieve, ladling on the Old West mythos. Which of the two (if either) was closest to filmmakers' intentions? One may never know... Best, DCG.