The Films 3.5/5
Andre de Toth, one of filmdom’s more recognizable directors who is mostly known for House of Wax, directs a wintery Western from 1959, Day of the Outlaw. This movie stars Robert Ryan as Blaise Starrett, a cynical Cowboy who comes to the village of Bitters to kill a rancher, Hal Crane (played by Alan Marshal) for the reason that he put up a barbed wire fence around his farm. This however is not the true reason Blaise Starrett wants to murder Hal Crane. His true intention is that Starrett wants Helen Crane (Tina Louise of Gilligan’s Island fame), Hal’s wife and is willing to kill her husband in order to do so. Before the showdown between Starrett and Hal Crane happens, along comes Captain Jack Bruhn, played by Burl Ives with his band of outlaws who disrupt everything. For those that don’t know, this is indeed the same Burl Ives who is Frosty the Snowman’s voice from the Rankin / Bass animated classic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and is known for his Christmas songs, most notably Holly Jolly Christmas.
Bruhn, and his gang of six hold hostage the entire village of Bitters while they stay for the night, as they are being chased down by a cavalry. They are being hunted down for murder and robbery. Bruhn, who wants his gang to be sober and not distracted for the journey the following morning, instructs the gang that there is to be no whiskey or fun with the ladies who live in the village (all four of them!) One of the gang members, Tex (Jack Lambert) who is the most violent and vocal of them all is extremely resistant of these instructions. Bruhn has a bullet removed from his chest from the local doctor during the stay. The doctor states that the bullet wound that Bruhn received has caused internal bleeding and will die the next morning, which works to the advantage of Starrett. The gang needs Starrett to help them escape and leads the gang onto a snowy trail where death awaits. What happens to Tex, Bruhn, the gang and Starrett shall not be spoiled in this review!
*Note that this is dual format and the blu ray image quality is being reviewed, not the DVD
Eureka presents Day of the Outlaw in a beautiful black and white 1:85:1 ratio in 1080p with an encode of MPEG-4 AVC. There is much depth, great contrast, and overall it’s a very clear, sharp picture. I was very impressed with how it looked. The audio is LPCM Audio English 2.0 and it’s also outstanding. Loud and clear are the musical numbers, gun shots and dialog. There are optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. This is a Region B blu ray release
As with many older films, it can be a challenge to have some extras but Eureka does manage to get some decent content for this release
We get a video appreciation by filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier, an isolated music and effects track, double-sided sleeve featuring alternate artwork and the usual booklet. This release has a 32 page booklet featuring a new essay by critic Glenn Kenny, a 1994 interview with De Toth, the films original press book, illustrated with archival imagery
Day of the Outlaw is a well done Western, and will appeal to not only fans of the genre but to fans of classic films in general. The release from Eureka is nothing short of outstanding. This release is the best one out there. It might not have the amount of extras that supplement fanatics crave but the film itself, along with the great audio and video quality should certainly override that.