Released by: Twilight Time
Released on: September 13th 2016.
Director: Frank D. Gilroy
Cast: Charles Bronson, Jill Ireland, Douglas Fowley
Year: 1976 Purchase From Screen Archives
Written and directed by Frank T. Gilbert and based on his novel of the same name, From Noon Till Three stars Charles Bronson as bank robber named Graham Dorsey. On the way to his latest escapade, his horse’s shoe gets messed up. He leaves the other members of his gang and stops at a nearby ranch house to deal with it. Here Dorsey is instantly taken with the beautiful widow who owns the place, Amanda (Jill Ireland). It doesn’t take too long for Dorsey to work his charm on the woman. He sweet talks her and is clear in his intentions to win her over, even if she’s obviously of a much more refined background than he. Eventually she gives in.
When they find out that Dorsey’s gang has been captured, he heads out to try and spring them but is himself snagged by the law in the process. He goes to jail and she writes a bestselling romance novel about the affair that took place that afternoon. However, once he’s done his time and is once again a free man, he returns to her only to find that she doesn’t want anything to do with him anymore. She doesn’t want to tarnish the legend. With nothing else to do and really, nothing to live for at this point, Dorsey finds that he can’t even capitalize on his new found fame which leads to his inevitable downward spiral.
From Noon Till Three is not a perfect film. It takes too long to wrap up its final act and there are times where we wish the movie would focus more on the relationship between Bronson and Ireland’s respective characters than on some of the supporting players. It is, however, the rare chance to not only see Bronson play the lead in what is effectively a romantic comedy but to see him do it very well. He’s flat out charming here, and while he doesn’t move too far out of his thesping comfort zone, he shows a lot more range here than most will expect to see from the man. Obviously when you think of Bronson you think of stone faced tough guys dealing out justice from the barrel of a gun, a man of few words but strong actions. Here he’s… cute. He’s still ragged looking and tough in his way, but he and Ireland, his wife in real life, do share an undeniable chemistry in this picture that goes a long way towards making it as appealing as it is. Ireland is also quite good here. Her natural good looks and fairly smoldering screen presence make her well cast in the part, and she handles both the romantic side and the comedic side of the plot line quite well. As things take some darker twists and turns in the last half hour, her character shifts in interesting ways and she handles it, convincing us of her characters motivations and intentions.
The story is corny, a little hackneyed even, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t entertaining. The picture is also very nicely shot and features good production values. The costumes in particular are pretty cool, we get to see Bronson dressed to the nines but also strutting about in stripes while Ireland never looks less than perfect. Some nice cinematography and lighting captures all of this in camera with style and there’s a good score here too. The movie would have worked better had they chopped about fifteen minutes or so out of it, but as it stands From Noon Till Three is something a little different in Bronson’s filmography and the massive pantheons of American westerns in general.
From Noon Till Three debuts on Blu-ray framed at 1.85.1, which would seem to be the film’s proper aspect ratio. The AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer looks quite good for the most part. Mild print damage shows up here and there but it’s never more than small white specks. Grain is moderate throughout but it looks natural. There aren’t any major scratches. Colors look pretty good, the western landscape coming across as appropriately arid, while skin tones also look fine. Detail varies bit from shot to shot, with some parts of the film looking nice and crisp and other parts looking soft and a bit hazy but this would seem to be how the movie was shot. The high bit rate on the 50GB disc keeps compression artifacts out of the way and there are no issues with any obvious edge enhancement or noise reduction.
The English language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track, which comes with optional English subtitles, is also fine. The levels are nicely balanced, the dialogue is clean, clear and natural sounding and the score has good range and depth to it. There are no problems with any hiss or distortion.
In addition to the film’s original score available as an isolated track in DTS-HD format the disc also includes the film’s original theatrical trailer, menus and chapter selection. Inside the clear Blu-ray keepcase we get a color insert booklet containing liner notes from Julie Kirgo and some nice archival images including a reproduction of the original poster art used to promote the movie.
The Final Word:
From Noon Till Three may be atypical Bronson but it isn’t lesser Bronson. He’s great in the lead here, he and Ireland really make a great match and there’s easily appreciable warmth to their work together in this film. Twilight Time’s Blu-ray is light on extra features but it is a nice looking and sounding presentation of an underrated and unusual American western.
Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!