A classic period western that is both classic and from a rich period. Hired hand Dave Nash (Joel McCrea) is pushed out of his job with Frank Ivey (Preston Foster). Why? Well local muscle (Charles Ruggles) wants no sheep eating his grass. This grass is for cattle and he ain’t gonna let no one else have this. Except maybe his daughter Connie Dickason (Veronica Lake). She wants to prove herself and will hired Dave and anyone else he can get to show them. Blood will be spilt, land will be lost and lessons will be learnt but how far will this go…
Andre De Toth can be best described as a versatile director. However this covers a multitude of film makers. Andre De Toth would be actually best described as a film maker who might not have made beautifully composed pieces but he did make films with punch. Ramrod focuses on the scheming family that rule a local town and happily destroy lives in their power plays. Simple enough. However with De Toth use of his then wife Veronica Lake ( also outside of her Paramount contract), it plays to the power of sexuality within the western. Then add in Joel McCrea as the down and up dead beat drunk, proving his worth, its an America on the march. After the war this film would have resonated with the audience. Wanting to celebrate victory and also the truths they saw around them. Sex and violence had brought us here but the real power is that finale and what that says about the road forward.
To the disc and its a mixed bag. Film transfer alone is wonderful. Its Black and white poetry. Rich shadow benefit the night shoot out. The sun scorched earth looks like it should and overall it feels respected. The commentary from Martin feels tailored but also slightly stilted. I can live with that but I cant expect everyone else to. Andre De Toth is a cinephile dream. However it lacks pretense and I like this but a lot of the film folk will be annoyed. They love verbal diarrhoea and I like De Toth who gets to the point. Stanfield appreciation is the best thing on the extras plain.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation transferred from original film elements
- Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM audio soundtrack
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Audio commentary by film scholar Adrian Martin
- Andre DeToth in Conversation with Patrick Francis, far-reaching audio-only interview conducted by the documentary filmmaker
- Newly-filmed appreciation by expert on American genre films, Peter Stanfield
- Andre DeToth Interviewed at the National Film Theatre, a career-spanning archival interview from 1994, conducted by writer and broadcaster Kevin Jackson
- Gallery of original promotional images
- wqReversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips
- FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Adrian Danks, contemporary reviews and production stories