They Came to Cordura

Overview

Columbia TriStar's DVD of Robert Rossen's They Came to Cordura (1959) never made it to laserdisc, so this release is the first chance that almost anybody born after 1948 or so will have had to see it properly. A Cinemascope film shot almost entirely out-of-doors, the movie makes extensive use of the extra-wide image in framing all but a relative handful of scenes. Certainly, the letterboxed (2.35:1) image allows one to fully appreciate (and, at last, make full sense of) the foolhardy yet successful mounted ...
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Jim Bannon, Carlos Romero, Robert Keith, Dick York, Michael Callan, Richard Conte, Tab Hunter, Van Heflin, Rita Hayworth,... 07/27/2004 DVD 1959 Run time: 123. BRAND NEW, Factor ... Sealed Great Price. Read more Show Less

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DVD New in new packaging. 1959 Run time: 123.

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Overview

Columbia TriStar's DVD of Robert Rossen's They Came to Cordura (1959) never made it to laserdisc, so this release is the first chance that almost anybody born after 1948 or so will have had to see it properly. A Cinemascope film shot almost entirely out-of-doors, the movie makes extensive use of the extra-wide image in framing all but a relative handful of scenes. Certainly, the letterboxed (2.35:1) image allows one to fully appreciate (and, at last, make full sense of) the foolhardy yet successful mounted cavalry charge that becomes the movie's dramatic jumping-off point, and the opening sequences introducing Gary Cooper's character take on a somewhat different character from the pan-and-scan presentations on television, depicting his sense of isolation from his fellow soldiers. Additionally, although there are individual conflicts between Cooper's Major Thomas Thorn and each of the others in his party (with his fellow officer, played very well by Tab Hunter, proving the most untrustworthy of all), the visual and dramatic emphasis at the end is on the cavalry detail as a unit, and that is lost when the sides of the image are cropped to fit a standard television screen. Columbia Pictures appears to have taken excellent care of the movie, in terms of having fine preservation materials; there are no flaws in the new transfer and, in fact, the richness of the Southwestern locales will also delight those who have only known this movie from television showings in decades past. The movie has been issued as a two-sided disc, with the letterboxed transfer on one side and the other in full-screen (1.33:1); both look very good, though the latter is virtually worthless for serious viewing. The transfer has been done in high-definition, and the quality extends to the audio, which is mastered at a healthy volume with excellent detail, bringing out the full, subtle impact of Elie Siegmeister's score. The 12 chapters provide an adequate if limited breakdown of the 123-minute film.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; [None specified]
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
They Came To Cordura was among Gary Cooper's final films, and the aging, obviously ailing actor -- along with director Robert Rossen -- took full advantage of his deteriorating physical condition in executing his portrayal of Major Thomas Thorn, a career army officer whose moment of cowardice on the frontier with Mexico has marked him as unworthy. Cooper gives a beautifully internalized performance as a man seeking redemption by the only means left open to him, as the Awards Officer -- appointed to that post by army bureaucrats in Washington who, anticipating our involvement in the First World War then raging in Europe, and the need for heroes going into that conflict, Thorn intends to carry out his mission, to return five men worthy of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Cooper and director Rossen use the actor's obvious infirmity as a visual prop for his internal struggle, trying to bring out in these men -- all but one of whom has what he considers a compelling reason to reject the honor -- the greatness of spirit that he sees in them and their actions. Van Heflin, Tab Hunter, Richard Conte, and Michael Callan deliver some of the best work of their careers as the conflicted and ultimately mutinous soldiers, whose situation is complicated by the presence of Adelaide Geary (Rita Hayworth), and expatriate American accused of treason. Their anger -- a mixture of fear, confusion, and lust -- is palpable as the group struggles to survive the long and dangerous desert trek, each of them ultimately confronting their worst and best sides. Rossen keeps the action moving and the violence (including an attempted rape) brutal, but the acting is what carries this surprisingly psychologically-oriented outdoor drama. Also worth noting in the cast is Dick York as the youngest and least conflicted of the men chosen for the medal -- ironically, during the course of making this movie, which offered one of York's two best dramatic performances (the other being Inherit The Wind), York received an injury that left him bed-ridden for an extended time, and resulted in his addiction to the pain-killers that ultimately ended his acting career a decade later. The movie was based on a novel by Glendon Swarthout, who had earlier authored the underlying story for the similar but much less ambitious western film Seventh Cavalry.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/27/2004
  • UPC: 043396078765
  • Original Release: 1959
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 2:03:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gary Cooper Maj. Thomas Thorn
Rita Hayworth Adelaide Geary
Van Heflin Sgt. John Chawk
Tab Hunter Lt. William Fowler
Richard Conte Cpl. Milo Trubee
Michael Callan Pvt. Andrew Hetherington
Dick York Pvt. Renziehausen
Robert Keith Col. Rogers
Carlos Romero Arreaga
James Bannon Capt. Paltz
Edward Platt Col. DeRose
Maurice Jara Mexican Federate
Sam Buffington Correspondent
Arthur Hanson Correspondent
Wendell Hoyt Cavalry Soldier
Technical Credits
Robert Rossen Director, Screenwriter
Sammy Cahn Songwriter
Clay Campbell Makeup
Tom Dawson Costumes/Costume Designer
Carter De Haven Jr. Asst. Director
Milton Feldman Asst. Director
William Goetz Producer
Burnett Guffey Cinematographer
John P. Livadary Sound/Sound Designer
Jean Louis Costumes/Costume Designer
William Lyon Editor
Ivan Moffat Screenwriter
Cary O'Dell Art Director
Morris W. Stoloff Musical Direction/Supervision
Frank A. Tuttle Set Decoration/Design
Jimmy Van Heusen Songwriter
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Scene Index

Side #1 -- Widescreen
1. Start [1:12]
2. Calvary Charge [9:26]
3. Aid and Comfort [13:02]
4. Questions of Courage [7:03]
5. Difficult Prisoner [13:34]
6. Firefight [5:26]
7. Calvary Without Horses [7:57]
8. Columbus Story [3:35]
9. Sharing Histories [8:29]
10. Spitball Express [11:07]
11. The Bravest Man [11:19]
12. The Black Book [10:02]
Side #2 -- Standard Version
1. Start [1:12]
2. Calvary Charge [9:26]
3. Aid and Comfort [13:02]
4. Questions of Courage [7:03]
5. Difficult Prisoner [13:34]
6. Firefight [5:26]
7. Calvary Without Horses [7:57]
8. Columbus Story [3:35]
9. Sharing Histories [8:29]
10. Spitball Express [11:07]
11. The Bravest Man [11:19]
12. The Black Book [10:02]
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Menu

Side #1 -- Widescreen
   Play Movie
   Scene Selections
   Play Previews
   English Subtitles
   Japanese Subtitles
   Subtitles Off
Side #2 -- Standard Version
   Play Movie
   Scene Selections
   Play Previews
   English Subtitles
   Japanese Subtitles
   Subtitles Off
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