• Rawhide - The Fourth Season Volume 1



    Released By: Paramount/CBS
    Released On: 06/07/2011
    Cast: Clint Eastwood, Paul Brinegar, Eric Fleming, Sheb Wooley

    The Film:

    For those of us who are fans of the almighty western, it’s hard to picture a time when you could turn on the television and see any number of shows centered around gunslingers, outlaws, loose women and itchy fingers. But from 1959 to 1963, viewers had their choice of watching Gunsmoke, Have Gun-Will Travel, The Rifleman and Rawhide, four shows that have since been labeled as classics.

    Rawhide ran for eight seasons, ending in 1966, and followed a group of cowboys (known as drovers) driving a heard of cattle from Texas to Missouri. Understandably, watching a bunch of ranch dudes rollin’ rollin’ rollin’ across the plain, wishin’ their girls were by their side would get a little boring, so it could be expected that each episode would bring some kind of excitement in the form of a troublesome nearby town, dissension in the ranks of the drovers, or some pesky injuns that would have to be dealt with and wrapped up in the one hour running time. Season 4 of the series briefly introduces ramrod Rowdy Yates’ (Clint Eastwood) father, finds trail boss Gil (Eric Fleming) handling some tough personnel issues, including a rowdy Rowdy, dealing with one of the drovers’ brothers, an aptly named, “Hanging Judge”, and trying to figure their way out of a mess with Cheyenne Indians.

    Despite the long run of the series, the writing was not always the strongest, and Rawhide easily pushed past this limitation with a solid cast. Eric Fleming as Gil is pretty much the stereotypical western gentleman, but very likable even when he’s tearing a strip off of his insubordinate crew, and Clint Eastwood is already in full-on Eastwood mode, exhibiting the mannerisms and facial expressions that would follow him through his career as The Man With No Name and Dirty Harry Callahan. A decent supporting cast doesn’t hurt, either, and the ornery cook, Wishbone (Paul Brinegar, who would later appear with Eastwood in High Plains Drifter) and drover Pete (Sheb Wooley of Purple People Eater fame) help to keep things movin’ movin’ movin’ along.

    Anyone familiar with the first three seasons of the show will know exactly what they’re in for with season four; more ropin’ and brandin’, an impressive list of guest stars, and more “White Man lead us river…then we be free” stereotypes than you can shake a stick at.


    Video/Audio/Extras:


    After a wait of almost three years since the release of Season 3, Paramount/CBS have released Rawhide-The Fourth Season:Volume 1 in a 4-disc set that contains 15 episodes. The shows are presented in their original television format aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The episodes are completely watchable, but quality varies from the decent to the downright cantankerous, which is primarily a result of the source material. Having seen how amazing these older shows can look, courtesy of The Twilight Zone sets, the quality is a bit of a disappointment; however, being that this series will probably not find its way out on another format, this is probably the best way to see it. The Dolby Digital 2.0 track is also problematic with hisses, pops, drops and every other manner of audio issues, but the dialogue is always accessible and not difficult to understand. When it comes to shows like this, some may find it preferable to not have everything cleaned up and pretty…watching it with all of the scars and scabs seems more fitting.

    There isn’t too much to speak of as far as extra features go. Five of the episodes give you the option to see the previews for it, as in a “Next week, on Rawhide” type of situation, and some sponsor spots are included on the fourth disc. Also, an episode guide with a brief synopsis is included, as the inside of the disc cover, viewable through the clear case. English subtitles for the hard of hearing are also an option.

    Overall:


    Chances are, if you’ve got the first three seasons, this release is a no-brainer. While the quality is certainly not going to impress your friends and show off your HD home theatre, this is probably the only chance you’re going to get to pick these episodes up. Quality aside, it’s a nice package at a very reasonable price.


    Comments 7 Comments
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Giddy up!
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Yah! Yah!
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      It was a fun show. when Rowdy got mad, he looked like Dirty Harry.
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Describing Rowdy as rowdy was a good move.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      I thought you'd like that.
    1. Paul L's Avatar
      Paul L -
      I bloody love RAWHIDE. I was addicted to it as a teenager, thanks to Sunday morning repeats on UK television. I'm glad that after the three year hiatus, DVDs of the series have started appearing again. I still haven't bought this set; when payday comes, I'm putting my order in asap. Thanks for the review, Mark.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      I knew that there'd be people out there waiting.....3 years? That's too long to wait! Hopefully they get...well....rollin' with the rest of them.