Blu-ray Review: BANDOLERO!

BANDOLERO! was directed by Andrew V. McLaglen from a screenplay by James Lee Barrett and stars James Stewart, Dean Martin, Raquel Welch, George Kennedy, Andrew Prine, Will Geer, Clint Ritchie, and Denver Pyle. The score is by Jerry Goldsmith.

There is little hope for bandit Dee Bishop (Dean Martin) and his gang as they wait to be hanged. But at the last second, the hangman — Dee’s brother, Mace (James Stewart), in disguise — helps them escape. After kidnapping a rancher’s wife (Raquel Welch) and with the vengeful sheriff (George Kennedy) in pursuit, they retreat to an abandoned town. Tired of their desperado life, the brothers consider going straight. But when a gang of bandoleros attacks, their chances at starting over seem dim.

Dee and his men try to rob a bank in the beginning of the movie and they’re caught red handed and sentenced to be hanged in the middle of town. Dee’s older brother Mace happens to be a master of disguises and he’s posing as the hangman, so right when it’s time for it all to go down, Dee and his men are able to escape thanks to Mace who also gets away with the money. Dee decides to take Maria Stoner as a prisoner but along the way the two really get to know each other so something nice is definitely brewing with these two. There’s also Sheriff July Johnson who’s hot on the trail and determined to deliver justice to Dee and bring back Maria because he’s also crushing on her as well.

What happens is, Mace finally catches up with Dee and his men where they start coming up with a plan to get away and start over. There’s also a little uneasiness and deception going on within the ranks of the small group of men. They end up stopping in a small abandoned town where a group of bandoleros ambush them. Dee, Mace and the rest of the gang find themselves in a fight for their lives, and even when the sheriff arrives on the scene to help the boys out, things don’t really go as planned for the brothers. This deadly gun fight between the Bishop brothers and these bandoleros unfortunately ends in heartache and tragedy.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, an image, a few quotes, and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features more artwork. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inside is a booklet from Twilight Time that includes more images from the movie, some nice words about Bandolero! by Julie Kirgo and more original artwork on the front and back. You can see the front cover of the booklet down below. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. There might be a little grain in a few of the scenes but that’s part of the movie’s charm. I didn’t have any major issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Bandolero! ended up being a really entertaining western that included some familiar faces from the golden age of Hollywood. I don’t guess I’d ever seen Dean Martin in a dramatic role like this even though I’m sure he did plenty back in the day, plus there’s the stunning Raquel Welch who’s as beautiful today as she was back in 1968. Don’t worry because there is some humor in the movie but it’s definitely more of a dramatic action western. I also liked the pairing of Martin with James Stewart as these two completely opposite brothers. When I was a kid I’d sit down and watch cinematic classics like this with my wonderful grandparents so oldies like this definitely brings back some happy memories for me. All in all, this was a fun western that features a great cast and it’s deserving of a nice high-definition release like this. Bandolero! is now available on Blu-ray and has a limited edition run of 3,000 units.

Distributor: Twilight Time

Run Time: 106 Minutes

Rated: PG-13

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1) Region Free

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 4.0 and 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: The extras include Twilight Time’s isolated score track, some audio commentary and the original theatrical trailer.

  • Isolated Music Track
  • Audio Commentary with Film Historians Tony Latino, Lee Pfeiffer, and Paul Scrabo
  • Original Theatrical Trailers
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3.5

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