Custer of the West

Overview

Robert Shaw is the star as the title character in Custer of the West. The 1968 Western arrives on DVD for the first time with a widescreen transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The English soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital Mono. English, Spanish, and French subtitles are accessible. Although there are no supplemental materials of any consequence, genre enthusiasts and fans of director Robert Siodmak should find this reasonably priced DVD ...
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Overview

Robert Shaw is the star as the title character in Custer of the West. The 1968 Western arrives on DVD for the first time with a widescreen transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The English soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital Mono. English, Spanish, and French subtitles are accessible. Although there are no supplemental materials of any consequence, genre enthusiasts and fans of director Robert Siodmak should find this reasonably priced DVD worthwhile.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; [None specified]
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
One of the many attempts to dramatize the life and career of George Armstrong Custer, Robert Siodmak's Custer Of The West is no more devoted to historical accuracy than the others, but it is interesting in ways that many of the others aren't. It is filled with good actors (and performances), who are intrinsically fascinating to watch, and it was also the first film to bring a modern political sensibilities to the story of the man's career -- that should come as no surprise, since the screenplay is the work of ex-Hollywood blacklistees Bernard Gordon and Julian Halevy. It might not be the first movie to ascribe plain institutional greed to the policies that sent Custer out west after the War Between The States, but it was the first to place that motivation in center stage, right up front at the outset of the movie. Stylistically, the movie is a mess, one of those sprawling international productions put together by writer/producer Philip Yordan, with a cast and crew from two continents and an over-reliance at times of obvious screen conventions -- there are enough hokey shots of Native Americans watching oncoming soldiers from atop a hill as ominous music comes up on the soundtrack, to make one want to laugh; but there are more than enough visually stunning sequences of soldiers and Native American warriors stalking across the plains and the desert to more than offset those conventional moments. The massacre of a group of townspeople in the midst of their Independence Day celebration, and the aftermath of the massacre, are especially well staged and filmed; an attack on an Indian village (seemingly based on the Sand Creek Massacre, an action in which Custer didn't play a hand) is presented in startling savagery; and one extended sequence, involving an Indian attack on a logging camp and a railroad, is worth the price of admission. Strangely enough, given that this was his first western, Robert Siodmak does a good job despite a somewhat choppy script -- he was suffering from what eventually proved to be terminal cancer at the time, but the drama flows well within the limitations of the script, and meshes well with the killer action sequences. There are problems, to be sure -- even the 141 minute version of the movie (a 120 minute version exists as well) seems choppy at times, as though some scenes were left unshot or excised from the final cut of the film, and highly inventive and exciting scenes are interspersed with dull, predictable shots. Among the movie's virtues, in addition to the acting, Cecilio Paniagua's cinematography, in Super Technirama-70, makes use of every part of the widescreen frame, and the music, by Bernardo Segall is appropriate to the size and scope of the subject, even as it works in some very interesting and engaging elements of modernistic dissonance.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/25/2004
  • UPC: 027616905802
  • Original Release: 1968
  • Rating:

  • Source: Mgm (Video & Dvd)
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Theatre Wide-Screen (1.85.1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Language: English
  • Time: 2:21:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Robert Shaw Gen. George Custer
Mary Ure Elizabeth Custer
Jeffrey Hunter Lt. Benteen
Ty Hardin Major Marcus Reno
Charles Stalnaker Lt. Howells
Kieron Moore Cheyenne Chief
Lawrence Tierney Gen. Philip Sheridan
Robert Hall Sgt. Buckley
Marc Lawrence Goldminer
Robert Ryan Mulligan
Technical Credits
Irving Lerner Director, Executive Producer
Robert Siodmak Director
Jean D'Eaubonne Art Director
Laure de Zarate Costumes/Costume Designer
Louis Dolivet Producer
Bernard Gordon Screenwriter
Julian Halevy Screenwriter
Will Holt Songwriter
Eugène Lourié Art Director
Antonio Mateos Set Decoration/Design
Julio Molina Art Director
Cecilio Paniagua Cinematographer
Maurice Rootes Editor
Julian Ruiz Makeup
Bernardo Segall Score Composer, Songwriter
Julio Segall Score Composer
Robert Shaw Songwriter
Philip Yordan Producer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Main Title/Action [12:16]
2. New Command [7:21]
3. Epidemic [9:16]
4. Chasing Cheyenne [14:30]
5. Victory for Votes [11:12]
6. No Negotiating [3:59]
7. Gold Diggers [2:37]
8. Facts and Berries [7:26]
9. The Railroad Issue [7:49]
10. Indian Attack [3:05]
11. Testimony [1:42]
12. The Future of War [10:50]
13. Glory-Hunting [5:20]
14. Soldier to Soldier [4:31]
15. March to Battle [10:10]
16. Little Big Horn [2:12]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Movie
   Scene Selections
   Subtitles
      English
      Français
      Español
      None
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