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Although not a classic, THE SONS OF KATIE ELDER ($30) is a solid and entertaining western starring genre icon John Wayne. The plot of THE SONS OF KATIE ELDER, concerns the title character's four sons, all of who have returned home to Clearwater, Texas attend their mother's funeral. While Tom (Dean Martin), Bud (Michael Anderson Jr.) and Matt (Earl Holliman) are able to attend the services, the eldest son John (John Wayne) maintains a low profile because of his reputation as a gunfighter. Unfortunately, none of Katie Elder's sons had seen their mother (or each other) in quite some time, so when they go to settle her estate they are shocked to discover that Katie was penniless and that the family ranch is now in the hands of Morgan Hastings (James Gregory). Hoping to discover how their mother wound up destitute, the Elder's decide to stay in town for a while, but quickly realize that they are as unwelcome as their questions about the family ranch. This being a horse opera, the Elder brothers soon find themselves facing overwhelming odds, as they are forced into a final showdown with a number of hired guns. The cast of THE SONS OF KATIE ELDER also includes Martha Hyer, Jeremy Slate, Paul Fix, George Kennedy and Dennis Hopper.

Paramount Home Entertainment has made THE SONS OF KATIE ELDER available on DVD in a 2.35:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. For a 1965 release, THE SONS OF KATIE ELDER truly looks terrific on DVD. Paramount has either digitally cleaned or found a nearly pristine film element for their transfer, which practically makes THE SONS OF KATIE ELDER look brand new. Blemishes are inconsequential, and there is very little appreciable film grain on the DVD. The image itself is nice and crisp, as well as offering up a fairly impressive level of detail. Colors are richly saturated, which makes this presentation reminiscent of seeing a genuine IB Technicolor print. Flesh tones are quite appealing; while none of the film's more vibrant hues display any signs of smearing. Blacks are very accurate and shadow detail seems in keeping with other studio "A" movies from the same period. Clean authoring fully disguises all traces of digital compression artifacts.

The Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack is free from background hiss and distortion. Dialogue is crisp sounding and cleanly rendered with complete intelligibility. Frequency limitations keep Elmer Bernstein's score from having a full, rich character, but the music still sounds pleasant enough. A French monaural soundtrack is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English subtitles. The basic interactive menus provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a theatrical trailer.

THE SONS OF KATIE ELDER is solid western entertainment that every John Wayne fan will want to check out. Paramount has done a great job with the presentation on the DVD, making this title worth picking up for casual viewers as well.


 The Sons of Katie Elder


DVD reviews are Copyright 2001THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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