BluRay/DVD Reviews

WAY OF A GAUCHO

By • Jul 12th, 2012 •

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This film demands, begs, and screams for CinemaScope, 20th Century Fox’s TV-combative aspect-ratio format that would debut the following year. A shame, because from what I can gather all the 2nd unit cinematography and possibly some of the first unit cinematography was done on location in Argentina, and those vistas just aren’t done justice in a 1.33:1 frame.

A fast-paced, well-researched picaresque about the Gaucho culture of Argentina, its protagonist is limitedly essayed by Rory Calhoun, with beautiful (as in physical and facial attributes, not magnitude of performance) support by Gene Tierney. Hugh Marlowe is…well, hardly remembered by the time it is over. Thank goodness for Richard Boone, as an ambivalent quasi-villain – the Javert of the piece, relentlessly pursuing our protagonist after he kills, robs, kills some more, but all in the cause of the Gaucho ethic.

I liked it, even hampered as it was on the casting level. Tourneur’s hand can be felt, and his feeling for pacing is particularly noteworthy. The internet archive release DVD has a Technicolor look, which is often intentionally soft, but still shows off the natural landscapes of the Pampas. There is some damage – soft vertical blue streaks, etc., but they don’t last long.

The film was written and produced by Philip (THE GHOST AND MRS MUIR; PINKY; HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY) Dunne. The original music by Sol (NIAGRA) Kaplan, under the musical direction of Alfred Newman, is rousing. It is basically a western, with the socio-political overlay of another culture superimposed on the genre. An interesting piece.

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