Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 6th, 2016
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1966
Director: Joseph Pevney
Writer: Warren Douglas
Cast: Clint Walker, Martha Hyer, Keenan Wynn, Nancy Kulp, Kevin Brodie, Ellen Corby, Jack Elam, Ron Ely, Med Flory, Leo Gordon
BluRay released: October 25th, 2016
Approximate running time: 102 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Olive Films
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $39.95
Synopsis: A retired lawman moves his family to a farm located in Wyoming. What she should have been the ideal place to start a new life quickly takes a turn for the worse, when wealthy land owner wants his land. And to further complicate matters a grizzly bear named “Satan” has been killing the retired lawman’s livestock.
The Night of the Grizzly was directed by Joseph Pevney whose other notable films include, Six Bridges to Cross, The Midnight Story and Man of a Thousand Faces. Key collaborators on The Night of the Grizzly include, cinematographers Loyal Griggs (White Christmas, The Ten Commandments – 1956 version) and Harold Lipstein (Pal Joey) and composer Leith Stevens (The Wild One, The Hitch-Hiker).
Though there have been countless films that have been tailor-made for their star. One would be hard pressed to find a film more tailor-made for its star them The Night of the Grizzly.
Content wise, this film has all the ingredients one would expect from a western. And yet the end result is something that stands apart from other western films from this era. Where most westerns upped in ante when it comes to violence, the film takes an opposite approach with its more family oriented tone.
From a production standpoint, this film features a solid premise and a well-constructed narrative that gives key moments an ample amount of time to fully resonate. The characters are well defined and their motivations are never in doubt? When it comes to the visuals they take full advantage of the scenic landscapes and the action oriented moments are well executed. With this film’s most memorable moment being the scene where its protagonist faces off against bear named “Satan”.
Performance wise the entire cast are very good in their respective roles. With this film most memorable performance coming from Jack Elam (Once Upon a Time in the West) an actor who is frequently cast in the role of a bad guy going against his typecasting with a rare good guy role. Another performance of note includes, Clint Walker (“Cheyenne”) well rounded portrayal of Jim Cole, this film’s protagonist. Overall The Night of the Grizzly is a highly entertaining western that the whole family can enjoy.
The Night of the Grizzly comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The transfer for this release is sourced from brand new restoration and the end result like Olives other releases from their Signature series is marked improvement form their previous Blu-Ray release. With improved colors and image clarity being two areas where this new transfer stands out the most. Also grain looks natural and there are no issues with DNR or compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mix in English and removable English SDH subtitles have been included with this release. Quality wise the audio is a slight improvement from the previous release. With a more robust deeper sounding bass and a the more ambient sounds in the mix being well represented throughout. Dialog is always clear and everything sounds balanced.
Extras for this release include, Night of the Grizzly World Premier Footage (6 minutes 11 seconds), At Home with Clint Walker and His Home Gymnasium (12 minutes 3 seconds), an interview with actor Clint Walker titled The Legend of Big Jim Cole (26 minutes 16 seconds) and an audio commentary track with historian Tony Roan.
Night of the Grizzly World Premier Footage and At Home with Clint Walker and His Home Gymnasium are archival extras that are from the film’s original theatrical release.
Topics discussed in the interview with Clint Walker include, how he got into acting, how his own experiences helped hi shaped the Jim Cole character, how The Night of the Grizzly came about as part of a two-picture deal that he had with Paramount Pictures, the origins of The Night of the Grizzly, the Big B Bear locations featured in the film, the cast & info about them, on set memories and his first encounter with director Cecil B Demille.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary include, information about the cast & the crew, locations featured in the film, how the film began a as short story that was deleting into a film, the score for the film and other production related topics. It should be noted that there are long stretches of silence throughout this audio commentary.
Rounding out the extras is an eight page booklet with an essay titled Blood on the Claw: How Cheyenne Bodie Became a Movie Star written by C. Courtney Joyner. This extra can also be accessed on the Blu-Ray disc in the extras section. Overall Olive films gives The Night of the Grizzly gets an exceptional as part of their Signature Series.
Note: This film is also being released by Olive Films on DVD.