DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


John Ford
John Wayne, Joanne Dru, John Agar, Ben Johnson
Writing Credits:
Frank Nugent and Laurence Stalling

On the eve of retirement, Captain Nathan Brittles takes out a last patrol to stop an impending massive Indian attack. Encumbered by women who must be evacuated, Brittles finds his mission imperiled.

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
French Monaural
Latin Spanish Monaural
Castillian Spanish
Latin Spanish
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 103 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 6/7/2016

• John Ford Home Movies
• Trailer


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


She Wore a Yellow Ribbon [Blu-Ray] (1949)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 3, 2016)

With 1949’s She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, we get one of the many collaborations between director John Ford and actor John Wayne. After General George Custer’s defeat in 1876, the US Cavalry braces for even more warfare against the Indians.

Close to retirement, Calvary Captain Nathan Brittles (Wayne) receives one last assignment: to patrol for Indians near Fort Starke. As a complication, Brittles needs to escort his commanding officer’s wife Abby Allshard (Mildred Natwick) and niece Olivia Dandridge (Joanne Dru) to safety. The film follows this task as well as related complications.

The “she” in the movie’s title refers to Olivia, a young woman who dons a ribbon to signal her affection for a particular man. This seems like a pointless plot area, mainly because it’s a gratuitous stab at romance in a tale that doesn’t need it. I get that many Westerns added facets such as this to entice “the female audience”, but these moments almost always feel forced and phony.

It doesn’t help that the sporadic romantic moments don’t really go anywhere. They become an occasional distraction and not much else. Other than the fact the film would need a different title, the bits with Olivia and suitors could be lost from the movie and not missed at all.

Otherwise, Ribbon provides a reasonable Western – though not one I think excels. With Ford and Wayne, it comes with a fine pedigree, and it seems wholly professional, but it never rises above the level of basic watchability.

Part of the issue stems from the narrative, as it simply lacks much heft. The characters move on their mission in a surprisingly lethargic manner, so we welcome action as a respite from the sluggishness more than anything else.

The exception comes from the banter between Wayne and Victor McLaglen’s Sgt. Quincannon. Two old pros, they sparkle when they work together – their moments should be cliché but they add fun to the flick.

Wayne also seems better than usual as the nearly-retired soldier. Wayne played a role about 20 years past his actual age at the time, and he pulls off the demeanor of the older man well. He gives the part good gravitas and acts as one of the movie’s strengths.

Wayne can’t carry the entire film, though, and this leaves Ribbon as a pretty average effort. It does enough right to keep us with it, but it doesn’t turn into anything memorable.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B-/ Bonus D

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.37:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The movie delivered yet another Warner Archives winner.

Sharpness consistently appeared positive. Little to no softness marred the movie, so the majority of the movie demonstrated good clarity. I noticed no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement remained absent. With a nice layer of grain, digital noise reduction wasn’t a concern, and the picture lacked edge haloes. Print flaws also failed to appear in this clean transfer.

Colors were strong. Most Westerns tend toward a sandy palette, and that was the case here as well to a degree, but the elements opened up for a variety of brighter hues. These looked lush and vivid in fine Technicolor fashion.

Blacks seemed deep and dense without too much heaviness. Shadow detail worked similarly well, as dimly-lit shots were appropriately clear and thick. I found little about which to complain here and thought the Blu-ray brought the movie to life in a positive manner.

I thought the DTS-HD MA monaural audio of Ribbon was perfectly adequate for its age. It didn’t exceed expectations for a mix of its era, but the audio was more than acceptable. Speech lacked edginess. The lines weren’t exactly natural, but they seemed distinctive and without problems.

Effects were a little flat, but they showed no distortion and displayed acceptable definition. Music was pretty lively given its age, as the score sounded reasonably bright and concise. No background noise was noticeable. All together, I found the soundtrack aged pretty well.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we get four minutes, five seconds of John Ford Home Movies. This silent footage comes from a location scout to Mexico with Ford and John Wayne. Nothing fascinating appears, but it’s a decent time capsule.

As far as Westerns go, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon seems firmly average. It comes with a few good character portrayals and a modicum of action, but it drags more than I’d like. The Blu-ray offers excellent visuals and acceptable audio but lacks significant supplements. Ribbon provides moderate entertainment.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.4 Stars Number of Votes: 5
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main