Blu-ray Review: COMES A HORSEMAN

COMES A HORSEMAN was directed by Alan J. Pakula, from a screenplay by Dennis Lynton Clark, and stars Jane Fonda, James Caan, Jason Robards, George Grizzard, Richard Farnsworth, Jim Davis, and Mark Harmon. The score is by Michael Small.

Set in the American West of the 1940s, director Alan J. Pakula’s Comes a Horseman (1978) gives us a pair of little-guy ranchers (Jane Fonda, James Caan) who join forces against the depredations of a ruthless land baron (Jason Robards) determined to expand his empire at whatever cost. Shot by the incomparable Gordon Willis, with music by the great Michael Small, and featuring an indelible Oscar®-nominated performance from longtime stuntman Richard Farnsworth.

This 1978 western centers around Ella Connors (Jane Fonda) and Frank ‘Buck’ Athearn (James Caan), two small time ranchers who are fighting against sinister land barons, greedy bankers and oil executives to save their land. The biggest threat to them is J.W. Ewing (Jason Robards), a neighboring rancher/land baron who not only wants Ella’s property but the two also share an uncomfortable past together. Frank on the other hand is a loner kind of tough guy who slowly warms up to Ella after she helps him when he suffers a life threatening “accident” at the beginning of the movie, and yes, Ewing was behind this as well. Ella and Frank continuously fight to save their land while sparking a romance, but as this happens, things get even deadlier for them. The good thing is, the two are ready to fight back and ultimately put a stop to the threat. It’s a story of hardship, fighting for what you believe in, and finding love when you least expect it.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see up top and the back includes movie details, more artwork, a few quotes, and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features an image from the movie. The Blu-ray disc also features some matching artwork. Inside is a booklet from Twilight Time that includes more images from the movie, some nice words about Comes a Horseman by Julie Kirgo and some alternate artwork. 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 good considering the shape the movie was in. Twilight Time is up front about it and lets the viewer know that the movie was not in the best of shape. There are some grainy scenes, speckling and debris throughout the watch, but in my opinion, it looks and sound good. I’ve seen much worse from other distributors who didn’t give any kind of heads up or notice about something like this, so a major props goes out to the always awesome Twilight Time gang for being upfront about it. They’re even offering the movie at a reduced price. You can hit the link down below or the artwork to check it out.

Bottom line is, Comes a Horseman was another first time watch for me and it was a really entertaining movie. It was a dramatic western with elements of action and thriller added to the mix. Hey, I love me a good western! Alan J. Pakula did a really good job telling the story and bringing it all to life on screen. To compliment this is the impressive cinematography by Gordon Willis who had already worked with Pakula on several projects. You couldn’t ask for a better cast than this with Jane Fonda and James Caan in the lead when they were in their prime. Jason Robards also does a great job as the film’s antagonist and he plays a character that you love to hate. We even get to see a very young Mark Harmon who makes his acting debut. Don’t blink or you’ll miss him! This is obviously more of an obscure western from Hollywood, but it’s a movie that still deserves this ambitious and brave high-definition upgrade that Twilight Time has delivered. The Blu-ray is now available and is a limited edition of 3,000 units.

Distributor: Twilight Time

Run Time: 118 Minutes

Rated: PG

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1) Color / Region Free (A/B/C)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: There’s not much as far as the extras go but we do get the isolated track and theatrical trailer.

  • Isolated Music Track (with some effects)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (02:49)


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