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Film

'Once Upon a Time in the West' tops new Blu-ray releases

Doug Nye
McClatchy-Tribune News Service (MCT)

A nice herd of Western classics and a nostalgic gem lead this week's list of new Blu-ray releases.

"Once Upon a Time in the West" (Paramount, 1968, $24.99) is director Sergio Leone's visual ode to the genre he was so fascinated with while growing up. An all-star cast includes Charles Bronson, Jack Elam and Jason Robards Jr. Leone's film is a visual feast that should thrill any Western fan. Highly recommended.

"Big Jake" (Paramount, 1971, $24.99): This is one of John Wayne's best Westerns. Wayne plays a veteran gunfighter who still thinks his way of doing things is the best way. His sons (Chris Mitchum and Pat Wayne) think otherwise. Wayne's grandson is kidnapped and held for ransom and Wayne brings the bad guys to justice. Richard Boone shines as the evil leader of the outlaw gang. If ever there was a genre made for high definition it is the Western with its beautiful American vistas. "Big Jake" is a perfect example. Highly recommended.

"American Graffiti: Special Edition" (Universal, 1973, $26.98): Director George Lucas takes us back to a time of innocence when duck tales and stiff petticoats rule the high school campuses. The cast is filled with up-and-coming names such as Ron Howard, Cindy Williams, Harrison Ford, Richard Dreyfuss, Bo Hopkins, Mackenzie Phillips and Wolfman Jack, but the real star of the film is the rich music score. Highly recommended.

"The Firm" (Paramount, 1993, $12.98): Mitch McDeere (Tom Cruise) is a young man with a promising future in law. About to graduate from Harvard Law School, he is approached by Bendini, Lambert & Locke, "the Firm" of Avery Tolar (Gene Hackman), and made an offer he cannot refuse.

"A Man Called Horse" (Paramount, 1970, $24.99): Richard Harris plays a man who goes wandering in the 19th century West and discovers how native Americans lived.

"Rio Lobo" (Paramount, 1970, $24.99): John Wayne and his Union army troops are betrayed during the Civil War. As soon as the war ends Wayne and his soldiers go after the culprits.

"Tigerland" (MGM/UA, 2000, $29.99) Colin Farrell has his leadership abilities tested when he and his men are dropped off for one last training session before heading to Vietnam.

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