High Plains Drifter (40th Anniversary Edition)

Featured In Issue 182, December 2013

WSR Score4
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Not Indicated
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Clint Eastwood
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DTS HD Lossless 5.1, DTS 2.0 Mono
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In "High Plains Drifter," Director Clint Eastwood stars as a mysterious stranger who emerges out of the heat waves of the desert and rides into the guilt-ridden town of Lago. After committing three murders and one rape in the first twenty minutes, The Stranger is hired by the town to protect it from three gunmen just out of jail. The Stranger then paints the entire town bright red, renames it "Hell," and supplies divine retribution in a fiery climax. (Gary Reber)

Special features include the theatrical trailer and an UltraViolet digital copy.

Last reviewed in Issue 28, this classic western appears fully restored for its 40th anniversary release on Blu-ray Disc. Previously, the non-anamorphic DVD, framed at 2.25:1, exhibited natural-looking exteriors with warm colors, accurate fleshtones, and deep blacks. Sometimes images exhibited good sharpness and detail, but at other times were wanting in definition. In this 1080p AVC rendering, the naturalness and color warmth are impressive along with deep, solid blacks and revealing shadow delineation. Fleshtones are particularly vivid and natural. Resolution exhibits fine detail during close-ups, with otherwise soft focus backgrounds. This is a vibrant picture that appears pristine and engaging throughout. (Gary Reber)

The previous Dolby® Digital soundtrack was undistinguished monaural and sounded compressed, with the mono delivered through two channels, fattening the soundstage, but imaging worse than a discrete mono source. This remastered DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is vibrant, though, essentially monaural in effect. The Dee Barton music score is terrific. The score is wide and deep and extends to the surrounds. Dialogue is consistently intelligible with decent spatial integration. Deep bass is not a factor. While dated, the sonics are effectively engaging. (Gary Reber)