King shot his night-time scenes through a blue filter and here they look astonishing. Depth is carefully retained and blacks add immeasurable atmospherics with lovely deep shadow play across the town and the jail. Edges are crisp and remarkably unbothered by excessive enhancement. Print damage has been almost entirely eradicated with no grain whatsoever. Some early scene-changes suffer a slight colour jiggle but this lasts for only a split-second and shouldn't hamper viewing pleasure. And the odd tiny little hair occasionally intrudes - how is it that with all the fantastic technology available today to restore movies to their original glory, they still fail to remove those flickering stray follicles? I'm just nit-picking. This is a scintillating transfer. See it and be amazed.
There is also a strange blip that occurs during a pivotal scene towards the end of the film when a certain character's voice abruptly drops into a mono-trough for a sentence or two. This is an unusual and curious little encoding error that may only exist on the check disc but if you do have it on the retail disc it will be hugely noticeable and disappointing in an otherwise enthusiastic and tremendous track.
This is an immensely enjoyable movie that is well worth picking up. Peck fans can rejoice in his marvellously gritty and embittered performance and western fans can sit back and enjoy the movie that, quite possibly, started the vogue for more character-driven horse-operas that delved much deeper into the tortured psyche of life on the frontier. At times dark and surreal, at others twisted and morally debatable, The Bravados richly deserves reappraisal now with its R2 release. A good companion piece to The Gunfighter and, in my opinion, a far meatier slice of the Old West.
The disc may be desolate of extras but with a transfer this awesome - the film, itself, is the attraction. Well recommended.
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