Zane Grey Collection 4

Overview

Two of the four movies in this set, The Light of Western Stars (1940) and The Fighting Westerner (1935), were originally produced by Paramount Pictures, while the The Dude Ranger (1934) was made independently by producer Sol Lesser at United Artists, and Wanderer of the Wasteland (1945) was produced at RKO. They're all together in this set, however, because at some point in their history their ownership reverted to the estate of Zane Grey, who authored the books on which each was based. But beyond the common ...
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Overview

Two of the four movies in this set, The Light of Western Stars (1940) and The Fighting Westerner (1935), were originally produced by Paramount Pictures, while the The Dude Ranger (1934) was made independently by producer Sol Lesser at United Artists, and Wanderer of the Wasteland (1945) was produced at RKO. They're all together in this set, however, because at some point in their history their ownership reverted to the estate of Zane Grey, who authored the books on which each was based. But beyond the common authorship, three of the four offer as a hook the presence of a recognizable leading man -- for established western stars, we have no less a figure than George O'Brien, John Ford's first major western leading man, in The Dude Ranger, and a very young Randolph Scott in The Fighting Westerner, while The Light of Western Stars offers a most unconventional but extraordinary leading man in Victor Jory, a theater veteran who didn't do too many westerns but was a superb actor; and Wanderers of the Wasteland gives us James Warren, a good actor whose attempts at western stardom failed through no fault of his own. With production spread around so many different venues, and across more than a decade of screen history, it's not surprising that the quality varies significantly between each of the four discs, as well as in the movies themselves. What's more, these were B-pictures, each clocking in at well under 70 minutes, so it's not as though there was a huge amount of money spent on any of them to begin with. The Fighting Westerner, although made in 1934, retains a lot of the look and feel of a silent film, and many of the scenes, as well as the acting styles employed, recall the late silent oaters of Tom Mix. None of the others seems so stylistically out-of-place with its actual origins, but the strangest aspect of this set resides in a matter of quality, and can be found in Wanderer Of The Wasteland. By far the newest of the pictures, it is in the roughest shape of any of the four films here, transferred off of a worn, scratched 16mm C&C Television print. Sad to say, it would not pass muster for most broadcast or cable outlets, and it is in such poor condition that it resembles what one expects of a movie 20 years older than it is (i.e. a silent). And it's a pity, too, because it isn't a badly made movie, and it is well written. The Light of Western Stars looks a lot better -- in fact, it looks as good as any major studio release of the late 1930's or early 1940's, with a properly preserved source print very carefully transferred. The Dude Ranger is a bit grainy but more than passable, and The Fighting Westerner has also been well-preserved. Each DVD is appended with a black-and-white video presentation by Loren Grey, the son of author Zane Grey, who introduces an extended body of documentary footage about his father's lesser-known activities as an adventurer; and each contains the same two period short documentaries on Grey and his work and travels. The movies have been given a paltry four chapters, which is hardly adequate, even at an average 64 minute running time. And all four discs open to identically-structured simple two-layer menus.
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Special Features

Closed Caption
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/19/2006
  • UPC: 012236201939
  • Rating:

  • Source: Lions Gate
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 4:20:00
  • Format: DVD

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Dude Ranger
1. Red Rock Ranch [16:26]
2. Working the Ranch [18:26]
3. Mind if I Cut In? [12:14]
4. New Boss [16:23]
Disc #2 -- The Light of Western Stars
1. Friendly Wager [18:04]
2. Woman Trouble [13:40]
3. Over the Border [12:48]
4. Gun Runners [20:02]
Disc #3 -- The Fighting Westerner
1. Investigation [16:48]
2. The New Engineer [18:30]
3. The Black Rider [13:54]
4. Case Closed [13:49]
Disc #4 -- Wanderer of the Wasteland
1. I Can Wait [16:13]
2. The Crescent J [20:38]
3. A Future With Cattle [16:17]
4. Squaring Up [14:02]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- The Dude Ranger
   Play
   Scene Selection
   True Stories of Zane Grey
      Outdoor Adventures With an Introduction by Loren Grey
      An American Legend
      Fisherman's Pluck
Disc #2 -- The Light of Western Stars
   Play
   Scene Selection
   True Stories of Zane Grey
      Outdoor Adventures With an Introduction by Loren Grey
      An American Legend
      Fisherman's Pluck
Disc #3 -- The Fighting Westerner
   Play
   Scene Selection
   True Stories of Zane Grey
      Outdoor Adventures With an Introduction by Loren Grey
      An American Legend
      Fisherman's Pluck
Disc #4 -- Wanderer of the Wasteland
   Play
   Scene Selection
   True Stories of Zane Grey
      Outdoor Adventures With an Introduction by Loren Grey
      An American Legend
      Fisherman's Pluck
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