The Cowboys (1972)

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    There are 184 replies in this Thread. The last Post () by lasbugas.

    • Hi Keith

      Reading the reviews of the Region 1 version I think some of the extra minutes are made up a collage of trailers.



      DVD Features:
      Region 1
      Snap Case
      Dual Layer
      Dolby Digital Surround - English
      Dolby Mono - French
      Additional Release Material:
      13 Theatrical Trailers of John Wayne Movies From the 30s Through the 70s
      Interactive Features:
      Interactive Menus
      Scene Access
      Text/Photo Galleries:
      Production Notes

      "Dusty Trails." That's what the digital transfer of "The Cowboys" looks like. Delivered in the film's original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio, the transfer is a mess. It's grainy, the colors are muted and somber, and there are compression artifacts around every bend. I was so disappointed. At first I tried to pretend that the picture wasn't so bad, but it just got more irritating as the film continued. Some scenes look like they were shot through gauze, while others just fall apart. The blacks are an embarrassment, almost dissolving to dark gray in some scenes. John Wayne's corduroy jacket causes strobing during one early scene. The colors are dreary. The blue skies are washed out, the flesh tones look pale, and the earth tones seem lifeless. It looks like the original negative wasn't in the best condition. The images look sharper once the disc switches over to the second layer, but it's still not acceptable. It's watch-able, but it's not nearly up to the high standards one comes to expect from Warner Home Video DVD.

      "The Cowboys" DVD features a newly remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack in English and a French language mono soundtrack. The 5.1 Soundtrack is okay but no overly expressive. The rear speakers are under utilized, and only come alive with the occasional strain of John William's score or some low level ambient noise. The dialogue mix is strong, but the sound range isn't dynamic enough to discuss. I wasn't expecting much from the soundtrack, so I was pleased with the results.

      Closed Captions in English and subtitles in French.

      First and foremost, let me say that I love coming attraction trailers. I'd probably buy this DVD just for the thirteen theatrical trailers included that cover John Wayne's career at Warner Brothers. Aside from the original "The Cowboys" trailer, you get "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon," "Rio Bravo," "Stagecoach," "Blood Alley," "The Green Berets," "The Searchers" and many more. It's a John Wayne coming attraction film festival, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The DVD also features a behind-the-scenes documentary "The Breaking of Boys and the Making of Men." It's a short yet fascinating exploration of the process director Mark Rydell used to turn actors into cowboys and cowboys into actors. I especially liked the scene where Rydell lets one of the actors know he has gotten the part. It's a real, honest moment. There's also a brief history lesson on the cowboy, his place in history and film, plus star and crew production notes and bios, and handsome main and scene access menus. A nice package of extras for a DVD that isn't a "special edition."
    • Mike, I agree,
      This is always a problem,
      It's difficult to know, if they're listing the total running time of the DVD
      or the movie running time!!
      However, it seems before this new release, the official view,as we said,
      is a movie time of, 128 mins,
      Best Wishes
      London- England
    • Hi Popol

      It is a different release from my original DVD from but it not a new release. I think it based on the Region 1 release which has the same artwork.

      The only difference is the slightly longer running time which I think is the collage of 13 trailers plus this extra scene.

      It's a shame they have not remastered the picture or got it from a better source. It a bit steep to pay £14.99 for essentially the same movie.

      As I have said before in previous posts I was disappointed with film in terms of picture quality especially when projected as it looks washed out and has signs of wear. I would be keen to rebuy if it was enhanced.

      The only reason I would buy (if price is reduced) is in the hope that it will be better than the copy I have now plus the extra scene and trailers.

      Sometimes the transfer to PAL format is morse successful than NSTC transfer.

      I really think if film companies are going to repackage they should at least give the fans something extra for rebuying the same title

      They have done that with a number of JW Paramount movies recently which are now available in widescreen instead of academy format but are essentially the same.


    • Hi all,
      What interests me - that episode were Duke, trying to hold the young horse take her ear in his mouth. Is it really helps? My horse stand very bad all veterinary vactination and I'm thinking what can I do about that?
      Senta :rolleyes:
    • Now here's a RUMOR (I repeat, RUMOR) that I find a little hard to believe, but perhaps someone here knows what it's all about.

      I heard a story this morning, from a good friend, that in the movie The Cowboys, when it was released in Russia, that John Wayne ends up NOT dying in the movie. Where he heard that rumor I have no idea, and I can't imagine how that plot twist would even work, or how it could have been missed by this group of expert John Wayne buffs :D . Since we have at least one member over in Russia, possibly some light might be shed on this story.

      Or if anyone else knows some other story that might have been mistaken for The Cowboys . . . we would certainly happy to hear about it.

      Chester :newyear:
    • The Cowboys (Mark Rydell, 1972) is definitely one of Wayne's best and most solidly developed late Westerns. We discuss the film (and its potential political implications) in great detail here:

      Also, does anyone know if John Ford made any contributions to the picture? Check out the following photographs:
    • The Cowboys is one of the finest movies I have seen. These children set out boys, but come home men. They learned of integrity, hardwork, betrayal, loyalty, the pain of losing a friend and losing a mentor, and the good and bad of human nature. These men took it upon themselves to right a wrong facing bad men and bad odds. Loved every minute of it.
    • The Cowboys

      Pretty good movie, though I think it's a little hard to believe that a rancher would take boys that young on a drive. I can see the older kids going, but some of them...

      I think the movie has been tagged as violent just because of the subject matter, rather than what actually happens. John Wayne being shot certainly makes a lot of people think that it's worse than it is, and the fact that you see twelve year old kids killing people adds to that. However, overall I don't think that it is too violent at all.

      I have to say that I am a big fan of Roscoe Lee Browne and thought it was great to see him in this film.

      Now onto Bruce Dern. I can definitely believe that he would get death threats for his portrayal of Long Hair. But I thought the character was a little too much. He was too crazy, and not rational at all. Sure I understand that his main motive was stealing the herd and making some money, but I thought he was over the top, like some psycho Bond villain or something. However, the movie was still enjoyable. I knew that John died before I watched it so I wasn't shocked when he was cowardly gunned down. Very touching scene at the end where Cimarron tells the gravestone carver to write beloved husband and father on the tombstone.

      I found the Overture, Intermission, Entr'acte, Exit music part a little weird.
      [SIZE=3]That'll Be The Day[/SIZE]
    • Re: The Cowboys (1972)

      Has anyone had sight of the Deluxe Version?

      It appears to be 5 minutes shorter than the previous release but I wouldn't put much faith on their times stated.

      The deluxe one has a documentary on the Cowboys now and trailer.…luxe-Edition/Product.html

      My question would be is print any better?

    • Re: The Cowboys (1972)

      Hi All

      I got the Cowboys Deluxe DVD today.

      Much improved picture and sound compared to previous release.

      Extras are new documentary from Mark Rydell and the boys who starred in the movie.

      Also. included is theatrical trailer and older promo documentary The Breaking of Boys and the Making of Men.

      Much better release worth replacing older DVD.

      Detailed review attached.


      The Cowboys appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Across the board, the transfer looked great.
      Virtually no problems with sharpness occurred. The movie consistently looked crisp and well-delineated. No signs of jagged edges or shimmering materialized, and only a sliver of edge enhancement was apparent. Source flaws remained largely absent, as I noticed only a couple of small specks in this essentially clean presentation.
      As befit the western setting, colors looked low-key. They were always as full as the cinematography demanded, though, and they appeared very solid. The occasional brighter hues seemed vivid and rich within the normally arid confines. Blacks were dark and full, while shadows usually came across well. Some “day for night” shots were a little murky, but they didn’t cause substantial problems. This was a consistently strong image.
      In addition, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of The Cowboys satisfied. The scope of the soundfield didn’t dazzle but it worked much better than the average movie from 1972. Music always showed nice stereo imaging, and effects broadened matters a little. Though they didn’t boast much specificity, they opened the spectrum a bit and gave us some scope. A little localized speech cropped up through the movie. The music was the best aspect of the track, though, and the score also spread to the surrounds in an effective manner. Though the mix didn’t create a great soundfield, it seemed natural and fitting.
      Given the age of the material, audio quality seemed strong. Speech sounded fairly natural, and I noticed no distortion or problems. The music appeared lush and lively, while effects were concise and clean. They presented good range when necessary. This was a more than competent mix for a 36-year-old flick.
      A mix of supplements come to us for this “Deluxe Edition” of The Cowboys. We begin with an audio commentary from director Mark Rydell. He offers a running, screen-specific chat. Rydell discusses cast and crew, sets and locations, working with John Wayne, training the kids to be cowboys, composer John Williams, reactions to the flick, and other aspects of shooting the flick. My favorite stories involve the interaction between actor Bruce Dern and the kids as well as one about John Ford’s visit to the set.
      Rydell offers an amiable chat and parses out decent details along the way. However, at times he just seems happy to watch the movie again, so a fair amount of dead air comes out here. That factor causes some problems, but Rydell provides enough good stories along the way to make this a worthwhile listen.
      A new featurette called The Cowboys: Together Again runs 28 minutes, 33 seconds as it examines a recent reunion. Most of the material comes from a December 12, 2006 session with Rydell and actors A Martinez, Bruce Dern, Norman Howell, Jr., and Stephen Hudis. Actors Robert Carradine and Roscoe Lee Browne appear in separate interviews. Here we learn about the project’s origins, Rydell’s work as a director, casting kid actors and rodeo performers, shooting the flick and working with Wayne, acting details and various impressions of each other, locations, and other production elements.
      I like the concept of “Together” and think the show includes just enough useful information to succeed. Inevitably, some material repeats from Rydell’s commentary, and we also find a fair amount of fuzzy nostalgic happy talk we expect from this kind of retrospective. Nonetheless, the piece presents some decent notes and proves enjoyable.
      In addition to the movie’s trailer, we find a vintage featurette. The Breaking of Boys and the Making of Men goes for eight minutes, 49 seconds. We view Rydell’s casting sessions and see the boys’ training as well as a few other aspects of the shoot. The elements from the production help make this a fun piece. We get many nice glimpses of the filmmaking processes, so it adds up to more than just the usual promotional program.
      Though I went into The Cowboys with low expectations, the result proved quite enjoyable. A stark, honest look at an unusual cattle drive, the movie managed to create a memorable and emotional experience. The DVD boasted excellent picture and audio plus a mix of reasonably interesting extras. This is a good DVD for a fine film.