Westward the Women appears in an aspect ratio of 1.37:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with a positive presentation.
For the most part, sharpness worked fine. Occasional shots felt a bit on the soft side, but these stayed in the minority, so the film largely appeared accurate.
I saw no signs of jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes failed to mar the proceedings. Grain seemed light but natural, and print flaws never popped up along the way.
Blacks seemed deep and dense, while shadows appeared smooth. I wouldn’t call this a dazzling image, but it held up more than fine.
While the movie’s DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack showed its age, it still came across as more than acceptable given its age. Speech occasionally betrayed some sibilance and the lines tended to feel tinny, but they appeared perfectly intelligible.
Effects also showed somewhat metallic tones, but they lacked distortion and seemed appropriate for recordings from 1951. Little score accompanied the tale, but when it did, the music showed reasonable clarity. The audio seemed suitable for a film of this one’s vintage.
As we shift to extras, we open with an audio commentary from film historian Scott Eyman. He provides a running, screen-specific look at cast and crew, genre domains, production details and his thoughts about the film.
Don’t expect Eyman to remain particularly screen-specific. While his remarks sporadically reflect what we see, he usually ignores the film’s action.
And that works for me, as Eyman delivers an engaging view of the subject matter. He mixes basics about various participants with info about the shoot to turn this into a solid commentary.
Another audio feature, we find a December 29 1952 Lux Radio Theater version of Westward. It runs 49 minutes, 14 seconds and brings back Robert Taylor and Denise Darcel to reprise their movie roles.
Of course, the radio show cuts out a lot of the movie’s story, and we lose/diminish many characters. This works fine, especially because it spotlights the Buck/Fifi relationship in a manner that feels more organic. This becomes a pretty good adaptation.
Called Challenge of the Wilderness, a vintage circa 1951 featurette spans 10 minutes, 30 seconds. Magazine editor Pete Dailey introduces the piece and we then follow an unnamed female journalist as she reports on the movie’s shoot.
Much of this leans toward promotion for the film, of course. Nonetheless, “Challenge” gives us a pretty decent view of the production and offers a worthwhile reel.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we conclude with two animated shorts: 1950’s Texas Tom (6:44) and 1952’s The Duck Doctor (7:03). Both offer Tom and Jerry affairs.
Texas ties to Westward due to its own Western theme, but the inclusion of Doctor - in which Tom attempts to shoot birds – makes less sense. That said, Doctor offers the superior short, so I won’t complain too much.
Much of Westward the Women follows standard Western tropes. However, its unusual focus on female characters gives it a bit extra charge and offers a twist. The Blu-ray brings good picture and audio along with a nice assortment of bonus materials. Expect a perfectly decent Western.