Hondo: Special Collector’s Edition

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Hondo Lane (John Wayne) is a dispatch rider, one who travels through some dangerous territories. One such stretch runs through the middle of hostile Apache lands, which is where Hondo is surprised to find a young woman and her son. Her name is Angie Lowe (Geraldine Page) and she lives on an isolated ranch, one the Apaches have yet to ransack. She is determined not to leave her homestead, as she awaits the return of her brutish husband. Hondo has a run in with her husband however, one which turns vicious and Hondo is forced to kill the man in self defense. When he returns to the ranch, he is taken by the Apaches, but released when Angie insists that he is her husband. Lane agrees to save his life, but what will the consequences be when everyone learns the harsh truth?

Paramount’s John Wayne Collection continues and as before, the films in this wave have been given Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks and a nice selection of supplements. This time around, we have Hondo, available here for the first time on our beloved little discs. If you read my reviews often, then you know I am not much of a John Wayne fan. I understand his cultural impact, but to me, he isn’t a skilled actor, he just took the right roles and in most cases, those roles didn’t demand much. Hondo however was a fun movie, John Wayne doing what he does best, with a good story and good costars. So if you’re a fan, then you’re sure to love Hondo and Paramount has worked wonders with this release. Not only is the transfer good, the sound is terrific and the extras are plentiful, all for a low, low price, so Hondo is recommended.

Video: How does it look?

Hondo is presented in full frame, as intended. This movie is over six decades old, but Paramount’s transfer shines it up quite well. The print has some minor woes and one major one, but for the material involved, the print is in great condition. I found colors to be bright and consistent, which hasn’t always been the case with this film in other editions. You can still note some small color flaws, but the hues comes across well. Same is true with the contrast, which shows a couple slips, but overall has a strong presence. So fans are treated to a clean, crisp visual effort, compliments of Paramount.

Audio: How does it sound?

The audio is fine, with both the original mono soundtrack and a new Dolby Digital 5.1 option available for your enjoyment. I sampled both and while the new remix offers surround presence, the mono option seems more natural. The 5.1 track just comes off as forced at times and while those instances are minor, it can still be a distraction. I know that a lot of folks are surround sound addicts, but in this case, bypass the new track and stick with the original mono, it sounds terrific. This disc also includes English subtitles.

Supplements: What are the extras?

An audio commentary is up first, as critic Leonard Maltin and film historian Frank Thompson are joined by star Lee Aaker. As usual, Maltin taps into his vast knowledge of cinema and with Thompson also on deck, there is a great deal of insight to be offered. But having Aaker present adds a lot to the session, as he provides the insight that only someone on the inside can offer. So between the three folks involved here, we wind up with an informative, varied session. Maltin also provides an introduction, but who cares. This disc also includes a look behind the scenes, cast profiles, and the film’s theatrical trailer.

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