Written by: Carroll Jenkins on February 8th, 2018
BluRay released: February 27th, 2018
Approximate running times: 116 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
BluRay Release: Kino Lorber
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.95
Synopsis: Billy the Kid steals Doc Holliday’s horse, even so, the two develop a close friendship. This doesn’t sit well with Pat Garrett, who has a hissy fit.
The strawberry roan is more important to the story than Rio (Jane Russell), but it is Russell’s sultry appearance and ample cleavage that make this horse opera an icon of American cinema. It was filmed in early ’41, but didn’t see release until two years later due to censorship problems. It’s not a good film, but is a strangely compelling experience.
The score is terrible and better suited to a Looney Toons cartoon than a feature film. There is hardly any action, but there’s lots of talk. The ludicrous dialog is akin to something Ed Wood, Jr. would write. The sets are small, the back projection is horrible, and it looks like the second unit might have filmed some Indians from away off, but you can’t really tell for certain.
But, like an Ed Wood film, there are intriguing aspects that make the whole mess not only bearable, but even memorable. Walter Huston was one of the screen’s greatest character actors. He plays the part straight but with a twinkle in his eye that says, “can you believe this thing?”. Jane Russell scowls and pouts throughout, and Mimi Aguglia steals every scene as Aunt Guadalupe. Jack Buetel is adequate as Billy the Kid, and Thomas Mitchell hams it up as a histrionic Pat Garrett.
Just like the chicken that wants to peck Billy’s eyes out while Aunt Guadalupe laughs, you know you should leave this one alone, but it’s morbidly fascinating. After the first viewing, when you discover that nothing ever happens throughout the entire film, then you are free to marvel at this one-of-a-kind relic.
Note: The Blu-ray portion of this review was written by Michael Den Boer
The Outlaw comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. This release has been flagged for progressive playback and the film is presented in its intended 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The transfer for this release has been sourced from a brand new 2k restoration. Black and contrast levels remain strong throughout, the image looks crisp and grain looks natural.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English. Dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary include, composer Victor Young / the score, how Howard Hawks was the original director and why he was replaced, Howard Hughes, Pat Garett / Billy the Kid / Doc Holiday and films that featured these characters, cinematographer Gregg Toland / the visuals, the cast, the shooting script verses what ended up onscreen, background information about the film and his thoughts about the film.
Overall Kino Lorber gives The Outlaw its best home video release to date.