Directed By: Robert Aldrich
Starring: Gary Cooper, Burt Lancaster, Cesar Romero
Disclaimer: Kino Studio Classics has provided me with a copy of this film free of charge for the purposes of review. All opinions contained within are my own honest reflections.
Despite being considered a classic and holding a respectable 7.1/10 on IMdB and making over 11 million dollars on a 1 million dollar budget the movie was not nominated for a single Oscar. Even Hollywood vet Gary Cooper giving perhaps his finest late in life career couldn't even get recognized. Hell, even Ernest Laszlo's incredibly stunning color photography or the costumes got the cold shoulder. Now, looking at the films nominated you see some stone-cold classics like On The Waterfront, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, A Star is Born etc. Still, I think this is a pretty good film that deserved more praise. Anyways at least Kino Studio Classics has given this movie the star treatment.
Robert Aldrich really made a name for himself with "tough guy movies" which focused on rugged "manly men" drinking, fighting, fighting wars, killing and of course being good with the ladies. Its why its so interesting when Aldrich would make Queer/Camp iconic films like Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1962) and The Killing of Sister George (1968). Vera Cruz is still in the tough-guy mold and, similar to The Dirty Dozen is an action film with a comedic sense. I have to say that the first half of Vera Cruz probably if I'm being honest works better than the second half. Still, the movie does a lot with its pretty simple set up and the pace is brisk coming at just over 90 minutes. It feels like an epic without having a three hour long runtime. Not to mention has some great action set pieces that is among the best of the late era of westerns.
Burt Lancaster and Gary Cooper play incredibly well off one another. Sara Montiel is beautiful and talented and can go toe to toe with Cooper and Lancaster. Also includes a great supporting cast that includes Caesar Romero and Ernest Borgnine. As a mentioned above Ernest Laszlo gives this movie just a totally breathtaking look with its vast vistas and isolated western landscapes.
A entertaining western with a hell of a good cast and Aldrich's typical attention to detail.
Picture: Vera Cruz as I mentioned in my review (several times in fact) is a stunning looking movie. I am happy to report that for the most part Kino's Blu Ray is a very solid. The colors at times truly pop and the overall picture has a nice depth and clarity. Outdoor scenes look really vivid. On the down side I will say that this is a bit on the grainy heavy side and some shots don't look at defined as they could have been. We get some moments of blurring and soft focus images. Still, thats being nick-picky and I think the overall presentation will make most fans very happy.
Sound: Vera Cruz has a nice robust and hearty sounding DTS 2.0 track. Dialogue comes through nicely, as does the score and sound designs. This is a front channel heavy presentation but does offer in my opinion some depth and full sound.
Extras: Vera Cruz includes a commentary from A. Cox, Trailer from Hell w/John Landis and trailers.