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WARNER

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Robert Wise
Cast:
Robert Mitchum, Barbara Bel Geddes, Robert Preston
Writing Credits:
Lillie Hayward

Synopsis:
Unemployed cowhand Jim Garry is hired by his dishonest friend Tate Riling as muscle in a dispute between homesteaders and cattleman John Lufton.

MPAA:
Rated NR.

DISC DETAILS

Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 88 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 4/28/20

Bonus:
• Trailer


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

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RELATED REVIEWS


Blood on the Moon [Blu-Ray] (1948)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 6, 2020)

Given its title, one might expect 1948’s Blood on the Moon to provide a science-fiction tale. Instead, the film indulges in the Western genre.

Former rancher Jim Garry (Robert Mitchum) falls on hard times. Eager for work, he responds when his old pal Tate Riling (Robert Preston) invites him to New Mexico with the promise of employment.

Tate wants Jim to act as “muscle” to work out a dispute between homesteaders and cattle ranchers. As it happens, Tate comes with ulterior motives of his own, and those force Jim to choose between his financial concerns and his conscience.

With Moon, we find a fairly early effort from noted director Robert Wise. Of course, Wise’s initial claim to fame came as editor of 1941’s legendary Citizen Kane, but he leapt to the director’s chair in 1944 and made Moon as his eighth effort in that role.

Back in the 1940s, Wise established himself as a director of crime thrillers, so even early in his career, Moon represented a departure. It didn’t start a trend, though – as far as I can tell, Wise never made another Western.

Based on Moon, I can’t claim to view this as a negative. While not a poor movie, Moon lacks much to make it soar.

Wise simply displays little feel for the material. He can’t find a good connection to the characters or themes, so Wise seems a bit adrift with this narrative.

Not that Moon comes with an especially concise tale, as it tends to ramble somewhat. Some of this stems from the nature of the project, as it casts a semi-broad net to encompass more roles than it can handle.

Whereas the movie seems like it should primarily stick with Garry, it branches off onto tangents more often than one might expect. While Garry remains the focal point, the story veers away from him too often, and those choices ensure a less than focused experience.

Even when we do concentrate on the lead, the muddled nature of the plot becomes an issue. The film fails to explain the conflicts and motivations particularly well, so we get a tale that never grabs the viewer.

Character areas follow predictable paths. Inevitably, Garry meets a potential love interest via Amy Lufton (Barbara Bel Geddes), the daughter of main cattle rancher John Lufton (Tom Tully).

We get a good intro to their relationship, as Garry and Amy provide one of the wildest “meet cute” scenes I’ve witnessed. After that, though, their sequences seem bland and perfunctory, as if the movie includes romance out of a sense of obligation.

I do like the cast of Moon, as in addition to Mitchum, Bel Geddes and Preston, we get some notables like Phyllis Thaxter, Walter Brennan and a mix of recognizable character actors. All seem competent, but none can elevate the dull material.

And “dull” feels like a good description for Moon. It gets too bogged down in a flat overall narrative and can’t overcome its inherent flaws to muster a rousing tale.


The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio C/ Bonus D-

Blood On the Moon appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.37:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Given the film’s age, this became a pretty impressive presentation.

Sharpness usually appeared quite good, as the majority of the film showed nice clarity. Some shots occasionally came across as a bit soft, but most of the flick provided appealing delineation.

The image lacked jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes stayed absent. Moon also remained free from print flaws, as no specks, marks or debris interfered with the presentation, and with a nice layer of grain, I didn’t suspect any issues with digital noise reduction.

Blacks seemed dense and deep, and contrast offered a fine silvery sheen most of the time. Shadows offered good smoothness and definition, even though some “day for night” shots offered the inevitable thickness. Despite some nitpicks on my part, this wound up as an image that didn’t usually show its advanced age.

Unfortunately, the film’s DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack held up less well. Dialogue could be a bit tinny, and some lines felt sibilant as well.

The movie’s score sounded reasonably concise, but effects displayed a bit of distortion at times. That said, those elements remained acceptable through most of the film, so the issues with dialogue turned into the main issue. That left this as a mediocre mix, even for its era.

The disc boasts the film’s trailer and no other extras.

No one associates director Robert Wise with Westerns, and Blood on the Moon shows why. A surprisingly lifeless affair, the movie never threatens to ignite. The Blu-ray comes with very good visuals but audio shows issues and the disc lacks bonus materials. Moon deserves a look as an early effort from Wise, but it doesn’t match with his better productions.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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