The Wild and the Innocent (1959) (NTSC)

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Released 9-Oct-2019

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1959
Running Time 84:46
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Jack Sher
Studio
Distributor

ViaVision
Starring Audie Murphy
Joanne Dru
Gilbert Roland
Sandra Dee
Jim Backus
Strother Martin
Wesley Tackitt
Case ?
RPI ? Music Hans J. Salter


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     For his entire young life Yancy (Audie Murphy) has lived trapping beavers in the wild mountains with his uncle and selling the pelts at a trading post in the valley, never once visiting a town. Coming down the mountain with their latest load of pelts, Yancy’s uncle is injured by a bear so Yancy has to go the rest of the way by himself. He arrives at the trading post to find that it has been burnt to the ground accidently by Ben Stocker (Strother Martin). So Yancy must travel for two days to the town of Casper to trade his pelts, but not before he, reluctantly, takes Ben’s oldest daughter Rosalie (Sandra Dee) along with him.

     The pair arrive in Casper on the 4th of July with the carnival and celebrations in full swing. Innocents totally out of his depth they are made fun of by the locals. Yancy becomes besotted with elegant dance hall girl Marcy Howard (Joanne Dru) while sophisticated Sheriff Paul Bartell (Gilbert Roland), who pretty much owns the town including Ma Ransom’s (Wesley Tackitt) dance hall, zeroes in on the naïve and virgin Rosalie. But Rosalie only has eyes for Yancy, who is keen on Marcy, who wants Paul, who desires Rosalie; clearly, not everyone will get what they want!

     The Wild and the Innocent was directed and co-written by Jack Sher, who was perhaps better known as a writer having penned, for example, Shane (1953). It has a cast full of familiar faces. Besides Murphy, there was Peckinpah favourite Strother Martin, Mr Magoo himself Jim Backus as the general store owner in Casper and one of the few decent people in town, Sandra Dee coming off Gidget (1959), matinée idol Gilbert Roland and Joanna Dru who had been female lead in some classic westerns including Red River (1948) and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949).

     The Wild and the Innocent is, however, a strange bird. It is neither a typical western nor a typical Audie Murphy film; he never wears a holstered gun and only fires a couple of shots from his old fashioned rifle. Indeed, playing a naïve yokel does not really suit Murphy and he does not look comfortable. Instead, the film is a comedy of manners, sort of, with the humour depending on the naivety of our innocents, the respectable townspeople laughing at the yokels from the mountains while shunning and looking down on the women from the dance hall; there is a rather prolonged scene where Yancy, who knows no better, takes Marcy to a respectable dance. Indeed, much of the humour in the film is hooky and corny before, right at the end, there is a change of tone as the film becomes darker as it moves towards a resolution. There is also something distasteful about a film which ends, to my mind, with a justification of bigotry and good ol’ wholesome American values as opposed to the smarmy Latino with a moustache and a small cigar.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The Wild and the Innocent was made in Cinemascope in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio; the opening and closing credits are in this ratio but the rest of the film is cropped to 1.78:1, in NTSC, and is not 16x9 enhanced.

     This is not as bad as it could have been given that this film is almost exclusively shot on a town set and not on the open prairie or mountains of some of the other films in this Audie Murphy box set. But it is bad enough with characters speaking from out of the frame or partially cut off. Otherwise the detail, including shadow detail, is firm, with nice colours. There are some minor speckles, motion blur and some colour variation but the print still looks decent. Blacks are solid, skin tones natural.

     No subtitles are provided.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio is English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono at 192 Kbps.

     Dialogue is clear. The sounds of galloping horses, gunshots and the fireworks had some nice depth. There score is by Hans J. Salter, who in his career received 6 Oscar nominations, including for It Started with Eve (1941), without winning. His score for The Wild and the Innocent is somewhat obvious, such as the hillbilly” music at the beginning as Yancy and his uncle ride down from the mountains.

     There was no hiss or crackle.

    Lip synchronisation is fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     Nothing. The silent menu offers only “Play”.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Wild and the Innocent is not a high profile Audie Murphy title and I cannot find a listing of another DVD release in any form except as part of the Audie Murphy: Man of the West Collection , which is part of this Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection. See the summary section below.

Summary

     The Wild and the Innocent is not your usual Audie Murphy western, nor is it a particularly good film. There is little action and the humour is rather mean spirited. It may be one for those who want to complete their collection, but even then the incorrect aspect ratio makes this film difficult to recommend.

     The video is cropped, the audio is the original mono. No extras.

     The Wild and the Innocent is included in the 14 disc / 14 film set Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection. The 14 movies, made by Murphy between 1950 and 1966, are all westerns except for the army comedy Joe Butterfly. The Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection is made up from the Audie Murphy: Man of the West Collection and the Audie Murphy: Man of the West Collection II. Both of these individual Man of the West Collection packs have been released previously.

     The Audie Murphy Ultimate Western Collection was supplied for review by Via Vision Entertainment. Check out their Facebook page for the latest releases, giveaways, deals and more.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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