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“The Louis L’Amour Western Collection : “The Sacketts”, “Conagher”, “Catlow”
Reviewer:
Wayne Klein
Studio: Warner Home Video
Genre:
Western
Release Date:
6/01/10
Special Features:

Theatrical trailer

Review:

Although largely forgotten in our vampire obsessed current culture, Louis L’Amour was a writing giant from the 1950’s through the 1980’s. L’Amour who also happened to be my dad’s favorite writer embodied everything that was great about pulp fiction westerns at the time; although L’Amour didn’t have much literary flair as a writer he was best at what mattered most—telling a good story with interesting characters. L’Amour passed away in 1988 at the ripe old age of 80 and while few of his novels remain in print today or popular, the films made from his best novels are still around and entertaining a new generation of fans. We can thank TNT for keeping L’Amour’s name and stories in the limelight as they have done a series of terrific adaptations of his work since the 1990’s one of which is included here. **

This set gathers some of the better TV movies and a theatrical film made from L’Amour’s books. The first film in the set “Catlow” from 1971 features Yul Brynner, Leonard Nimoy and Richard Crenna in a tale of an outlaw, a gold heist and the various law enforcement officials that want his hide. ***

The second “The Sacketts” was a huge ratings hit in 1979 and featured Tom Selleck, Sam Elliot and Jeff Osterhage as brothers who seek their fortune in the west and, ultimately, have to back each other’s plays when the going gets tough. ***

The most recent “Conagher” from 1991 also features Elliot and Katherine Ross in a western romance of sorts with the former playing a cowhand on the ranch owned by the character of the latter. The duo battle cattle rustlers and their own emotions in this winning western. ---

Image & Sound:

Each of the TV movies look quite nice although it’s also clear that no restoration has been done to “The Sacketts” the oldest of the TV movies included here. Colors are solid throughout with nice flesh tones although detail is a bit soft at times the overall look of each TV movie is quite good. Each TV movie is presented in its original 1.33:1 full screen presentation. ***

“Catlow” the oldest project here but still looks quite nice although the film could benefit from a restoration. “Catlow” is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. ***

Audio for all three is solid throughout playing to the dialogue. There are no directional effects as each was produced either when most films were presented in limited stereo or TV shows were presented in mono. ---

Special Features:

Sadly there aren’t any to speak of beyond the “Catlow” theatrical trailer. What’s sad is that I seem to recall a number of promotional appearances and/or short featurettes being produced to advertise the TV movies in this set. The fact that they aren’t included (if my memory is solid in this area) and that Selleck, Elliot or Ross weren’t interviewed or asked to provide commentary tracks is a missed opportunity.

Final Words:

Each TV production and the theatrical film look quite nice in their DVD presentation here. This isn’t the first time that “The Sacketts”, “Conagher” have appeared on DVD and while many fans will appreciate this packaging, it would have been nice if Warner had offered something extra beyond the theatrical trailer for “Catlow”.

 

 
 
 
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