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Kenneth Turan's DVD Pick of the Week

The western rides again with George O'Brien, Universal collections

March 01, 2013|By Kenneth Turan

They don't make westerns like they used to; in fact they pretty much don't make them at all anymore. Which makes a pair of new DVD releases especially welcome to fans of the genre.

Riding up from the distant past is "George O'Brien," a collection of three films on one disc from the good folks at the Warner Archive Collection. O'Brien is known to serious folks as the star of F.W. Murnau's silent classic "Sunrise," but he (and his horse Mike) also turned out 1930s films like "The Marshal of Mesa City," "Legion of the Lawless" and "Triple Justice," all on view here.

Hailing from a few decades later is "Western Horizons: Universal Westerns of the 1950s," released by the Turner Classic Movies Vault Collection. These full-color films include works by big directors like Raoul Walsh, represented by "Saskatchewan," and big stars like Richard Widmark, seen along with Donna Reed in "Backlash."

For die-hard western fans, however, the treasure here is "Horizons West," directed by the legendary Budd Boetticher and starring Robert Ryan and Rock Hudson in a story of brothers adjusting to life after the Civil War. Any western with Boetticher's name on it is sure to deserve your attention.

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