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Canadian Pacific (1949) Dir. Edwin L. Marin
A Nat Holt production released by Twentieth Century Fox
95 min. / Cinecolor / 1.33:1
Blu-ray: Ignite Films & Kino Lorber

in the 1880s, Canada is trying to build a desperately needed transcontinental railroad through the mountains and surveyor Randolph Scott has found a pass, but his vow to retire and become a gentleman rancher with pretty Nancy Olson is interrupted by vicious trader Victor Jory, intent on stopping the railroad by hook or crook. Randy, grizzled sidekick J. Carroll Naish, and pretty doctor Jane Wyatt try to put a stop to that sort of thing as the dynamite sticks fly and the Native Americans try to figure out whose side they're on.

Well, first of all, this is a good movie, nothing brilliant but fun to watch and interesting in its side plot about whether Nancy or Jane will end up with Mr. Scott (personally, I think he chooses poorly). The big story here, though, is the scientific recreation of Cinecolor (my, what a marvelous age in which we live - the age of lasers in the jungle, as they say). There's a full hour documentary (narrator-less, you have to read a LOT of text) on the recreation of the two-strip method of original Cinecolor, which was obsolete only a couple of years later. They also lob in a one-reel condensed version of the film in B&W and a two-reel version in Crappycolor so you can see the difference; it's absolute amazing what they've done. Of course, you end up with a movie that looks like one of those "colorized" lobby cards of the 1940s, but that just makes the film look... well, different. It's lovely, I thought (Flat Top with Sterling Hayden and another Randolph Scott western, The Caribou Trail, also boast of recreated Cinecolor on Blu-ray).

I'll admit, I'm not overly familiar with the westerns of Mr. Scott, and while he strikes me as no great shakes as a thespian, I enjoy his Southern accent and he's stoic and I like how he tends to punch a man in the face first and ask questions later - which is what causes friction with Dr. Wyatt, who doesn't believe in violence (although fixin' up the survivors from the resulting carnage keeps her in those fancy dresses, seems to me).

Million-dollar Grizzled Sidekick Dialog:
"You was a good man once. When a feller like you starts goin' soft, tain't long before he shakes like jelly."

By the way, you will never in the history of movies see a hero survive a dynamite blast as large as the one Randy survives. If the guy had been riding his horse across the Death Star at the end of Star Wars, it wouldn't have been a more surprising feat of invulnerability.

I enjoyed this Blu-ray very much, particularly with the bonus material, and recommend it highly.
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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Canadian Pacific (1949) · Tumbleweed Terrace