The Film (3.5/5)
Single parent Vinnie Holt(Susan Hayward, I Want to Live, The Lusty Men) who gets stranded with her niece (a little toddler named Callie) at Rawhide, which is a desert stagecoach stop, where she meets employee Tom Owens ( Tyrone Power, Nightmare Alley, The Razors Edge) who takes an interest in her. To their chagrin, they get captured by four outlaws, leader Rafe Zimmerman (Hugh Marlowe, All About Eve) Yancy (Dean Jagger, X,the Unknown) Gratz( George Tobias,The Set-Up) and Tevis (legendary cult actor Jack Elam, Creature from Black Lake, Kiss Me Deadly). The four outlaws take over the station and plan to rob a gold shipment due within twenty four hours at this very stop. They hold Holt and Owens hostage and have the two do their bidding at gunpoint. Survival is the biggest challenge for the two along with the young niece as they plan to escape.
Rawhide is a hard hitting Western with some great acting, with director Hathaway being more than able to show a lot of tension on the screen between all of the main characters. As with most if not all Westerns, there is a really strong climatic shoot-out, including Tevis firing gunshots to young Callie, which was probably pretty shocking at that time. Jack Elam, as Tevis steals the show with his crazy antics and dialog. He is just over the top in practically every scene. This is quite possibly his most unforgettable performances. Fans of Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight may want to give this a view as Rawhide is said to be the film that inspired it.
Rawhide is given the blu ray treatment courtesy of Kino Lorber. The movie is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1:33:1, in 1080p with an MPEG 4 - AVC encode and the results are just outstanding. The daylight scenes are just incredible with a good black and white balance. The image is crisp and clear, with the boosted contrast you can clearly see more details on this release than the 2007 DVD release. There aren’t any really major defect issues and film grain is present. Overall this looks stunning and obviously the source materials were in great shape.
The audio quality for Rawhide is English LPCM 2.0. The dialog, songs and gunshots all come in loud and clear. It’s more than serviceable.
Supplements for Rawhide are all ported over from the Fox DVD release back in 2007: Susan Hayward: Hollywood's Straight Shooter, Shoot it in the Lone Pine, which spotlights the popular western location, nicknamed "Little Hollywood.", a restoration comparison and lastly a theatrical trailer. Nothing new but at least the older extras were ported over.
Kino Lorber has once again done an amazing job with this release. Western fans can rejoice as Rawhide can finally be enjoying in HD. The great cast, picture quality and the extras which were ported over to the delight of fans who love supplements, and would rather not keep a DVD on the shelf for the sake of watching the extras, make this release a big winner.