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  • 16:9 Enhanced
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  • Theatrical trailer


20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 106 mins . M15+ . PAL


John Russell (Paul Newman) was raised by Apache Indians and then theoretically adopted by a white man with the intention of domesticating him. As an adult, he is now back living amongst the Apaches when he is contacted by a friend and asked to return to civilisation, as the friend has some news. It transpires that the white man who adopted him has died and left him a boarding house. Russell decides to sell the house, leaving Jessie Brown, the woman that runs the house, without an income and no reason to stay in the town.

As coincidence would have it, Russell and the woman are passengers on a stagecoach that is leaving town, along with four other passengers and two drivers. There is Doctor Favor and his wife Audra, a young married couple, Cicero Grimes, a sinister man that intimidates everyone, the other driver and of course Russell and Jessie. The majority of the passengers are not too happy when they discover Russell’s Apache past and ask that he travel on top of the stagecoach rather than in the cabin with them. When robbers stop the stagecoach, these same people that had shunned Russell earlier, now seek his guidance for survival.

"...and you want me to show you the way, huh?"

Continuing in his “H” period of films, having previously made The Hustler, Hud, and Harper, Newman is brilliant in Hombre. He is by far the star of this film and rightly so, however the supporting cast is also very good. Although this is a western, there are very limited gunfights and action as this is primarily a dialogue driven film. Having said that though, the style of acting used is one where a look can mean so much more than the spoken word, this technique is used extremely well by Newman.

Filmed on location in Arizona, the scenery is captured well to influence the feel of the film. The viewer can really sense that it is a hard and rugged environment, not to forget the intense heat that occurs in this type of terrain. Martin Ritt works again with Newman on this film and the combination really works well. The way racism is tackled in this film is also admirable. With the lead character going from being the persecuted one to being the hero makes for a great way of tackling this subject that would have been prime in America at the time of release.

Fans of Newman will by no means rate this as one of his best films, but when you look at the standard of his work this film is still worthy of attention. Newman is great in his role of Indian lover Russell, showing great intensity and compassion. He is ultimately the hero and plays the role with class, delivering the intended message of this film to perfection. Released in 1967 at a time when having Newman as the star was a definite advantage over other films, Hombre achieves what it sets out to do. Apart from the obvious message of how Indians and white folk should get along, the primary intention of the film is to entertain, which it does easily.


Presented in its original Panavision ratio of 2.35:1 and 16x9 enhanced, this film looks surprisingly good. Due to the type of scenery, there are no bright, deep colours, instead there are many browns and paler hues which all look very natural. Picture is sharp at all times and the expected film artefacts have been cleaned up very nicely, with hardly any flecks or scratches of note. Aliasing is not a major problem, but it does occur on a couple of occasions in areas such as train tracks. Edge enhancement is not an issue and grain is hardly noticeable. For a good example of how good this transfer is, simply watch the theatrical trailer available on the disc and compare the two. There is a multitude of subtitles available and the ones viewed were fairly true to what was occurring on screen, although not exactly word for word. There is a layer change at 65:53, which is well placed and hardly noticeable.


All that is available for the audio is a Dolby Digital 2.0 track. This does sound very much like a mono track at times, but there isn’t really a need for great separation and surround use for a film of this nature. Dialogue is clear at all times and synch is never a problem and there is no hiss evident. Considering the age of this film, there was definitely an expectation of poor sound, but this is more than adequate, whilst being nothing spectacular.


All that is offered in the way of extras is a Theatrical Trailer. This is in the same format as the main feature and runs for 2:12. This extra is a great way to compare the sound and vision of the original film to the DVD release, as this is full of film artefacts and hissing.


Fans of Paul Newman should see this film if they haven’t already. It is possibly the weaker of the films in the “H” series, but is worthy of a look anyway, as the standard of this man's acting is very high. There are a lot of things in this film that will appear predictable or unoriginal, but the intention of the film is to deliver a good western story and this does just that.

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      And I quote...
    "Not his best film by any means, but Newman is of course flawless in this western that has been brought back to life looking better than ever. "
    - Adrian Turvey
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