Vengeance Valley/B-,C-

Roan/1951/83m/FS 1.33

     Burt Lancaster stars as Owen Daybright, the adopted son of a wealthy rancher,  pitted against the natural son, bad seed Lee Strobie, played by Robert Walker, in the 1951 Western,  Vengeance Valley.
     Vengeance Valley depends more on scenery and actors chewing up scenery than on anything original in the story. This is tried and true Western territory, enhanced by the presence of Burt Lancaster, who is never dwarfed by the magnificent wide open spaces of the West. Robert Walker is expert at exploring the dark side of characters. He performs with an ease that contrasts well with the larger style of Lancaster.

Owen and Lee before the set-up. @Roan

     Bad brother Walker wants to inherit the massive ranch his father has built, but the old man (Ray Collins), a cripple, has other ideas, and leans heavily on the shoulders of Lancaster, who runs the ranch. When Walker gets a local girl pregnant, the fireworks heat up as her big bad brothers enter the picture to defend the family honor. Owen  is accused of the deed by the brothers and after a couple of good fights they align themselves with Lee in a furtive attempt to eliminate Owen.
Joann Dru is appealing as Walker’s wife and John Ireland is convincingly nasty as the brother defending family honor. Collins is rather benign as Arch Strobie, owner of the vast ranch, and one wonders how this character was able to accumulate such rich holdings in a survival of the fittest West.
      The best thing about this transfer is the colors. Three strip Technicolor has the potential to produce rich and vibrant images. The color is appealing and color pulsing is limited to a few scene changes. The big problem is that the material looks liked it was wiped clean with excessive digital softening. The dirt and scratches I remember from the laser disc transfer are gone, but what remains is an totally unacceptable soft picture. It's nice to have this better than the run of the mill Western as an addition to the DVD catalog, but I'd would have liked to have a clear picture. The mono sound is thin but adequate.






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