Blu-Ray News #231: The Great Northfield, Minnesota Raid (1972).

Directed by Philip Kaufman
Starring Cliff Robertson, Robert Duvall, Luke Askew, R.G. Armstrong, Dana Elcar, Matt Clark, Elisha Cook, Royal Dan0, Paul Frees (narrator)

I don’t mean for this to sound negative, but The Great Northfield, Minnesota Raid (1972) is one of the few so-called Revisionist Westerns I really like.  From the great cast to the narration from Paul Frees to Bruce Surtees’ terrific camerawork, it’s a picture that really clicks for me.

Shout Factory’s upcoming Blu-Ray should be a real treat. The film deserves it.

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11 Comments

Filed under 1972, DVD/Blu-ray Reviews, Elisha Cook, Jr., Paul Frees, R.G. Armstrong, Shout/Scream Factory

11 responses to “Blu-Ray News #231: The Great Northfield, Minnesota Raid (1972).

  1. john k

    I hope Shout have been able to source a better master than the
    two Euro versions currently available.
    I’ve never been too happy with the tern “Revisionist Western” I prefer
    to call ’em realistic Westerns but I guess Frank Perry’s sour take on the
    Earp/Holliday legend DOC is certainly revisionist and not very good.
    I happen to enjoy lots of 70’s Westerns like THE CULPEPPER CATTLE CO
    and as in TGNMR it’s always a pleasure to see the great Royal Dano in
    anything.
    I’m hoping the now forgotten CATTLE ANNIE & LITTLE BRITCHES will
    surface from either Shout Factory or Kino-the film proves that you can make
    a gritty authentic Western without blood splattered violence.
    CATTLE ANNIE & LITTLE BRITCHES is NOT a Comedy Western which
    sadly it’s often mistakenly thought to be-a wonderful Western swan song
    for Burt Lancaster.

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  2. john k

    Off topic,but still with an “underrated 70’s” vibe……
    I know Jeff Wells’ blog Hollywood-Elsewhere is not everybody’s cup of tea;
    but I always enjoy checking in there now & again.
    I’m glad I did today,because Jeff has done a nice bit on Daryl Duke’s
    masterly 70’s thriller THE SILENT PARTNER soon to be released by
    Kino on Blu Ray.
    Jeff also is an admirer on Duke’s earlier film PAYDAY which if I’m not
    wrong has Toby among it’s fanbase. As Jeff notes PAYDAY,sadly is not
    available on DVD or Blu Ray and that’s a shame.
    Jeff has also sourced an amazing vintage pic that has Donald Trump
    hanging out with Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty.

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  3. Walter

    John K, I’ve never been too happy with the term “Revisionist Western” either. There have always been “Revisionist Westerns,” all the way back to the years of William S. Hart and Harry Carey. In 1913 some of the so-called critics of Western movies were already writing that the Western movie was dead or dying. Then along came Hart and Carey who revitalized the Western. In other words, made them more “Realistic” for that particular movie era. John Ford’s STAGECOACH(1939) can be considered a ‘Revisionist” or more “Realistic” Western for its era, and it would set the standard for what would follow.

    In my opinion the problem is in the use, or misuse of the term “Revisionist.” I think the term has been stolen and misused by the “Anti-Western” crowd. Yes, the non-traditional gang, who rode in and starting robbing the traditional stagecoaches, primarily by the 1970’s. Although, there were non-traditional Westerns made earlier(THE OUTLAW, 1943, anyone?), but what I’m referring to are the Westerns that are darker, more cynical, with focus on the lawlessness of the time period. Anti-heroes ride supreme against power and authority, these depictions favor critical views of big business, military, government, manhood, womanhood, and the Family. Anti-Westerns like Frank Perry’s DOC(1971), which was written by Pete Hamill, are so downbeat and to use your(John K) description “sour.” There are others that are just as, if more “sour.” SOLDIER BLUE(1970) is awful. I’m not going to name any more.

    These “Anti-Westerns” question many of the traditional Western’s central articles of faith, which are, the ideals which many of us still believe in commonly holding forth.

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  4. john k

    Hi Walter,although films like SOLDIER BLUE are repulsive as well as
    being totally inept there were still good Westerns made after the “Golden
    Era” (the 50’s)
    Over at Toby’s other blog I have mentioned a couple of Universal Dean
    Martin Westerns (ROUGH NIGHT IN JERICHO and SHOWDOWN) which
    are pretty traditional,I feel,certainly not featuring the repulsive violence
    that sank films like THE LAST HARD MEN,THE HUNTING PARTY and
    THE DEADLY TRACKERS.
    I’m also a sucker for some of Universal’s later programmer Westerns
    like INCIDENT AT PHANTOM HILL and the two Tony Young/Dan Duryea
    vehicles HE RIDES TALL and TAGGART.
    Later Audie Murphy fare like ARIZONA RAIDERS is also very good,
    then we move onto the Clint and Peckinpah films and other interesting
    fare like FIRECREEK and a final Duke classic THE SHOOTIST.
    I also should mention that other fine Jesse James Western
    THE LONG RIDERS.
    Among all of this there are unfairly neglected films like THE GLORY
    GUYS. Walter,I’ve only scratched the surface,but I’m sure that you get
    my drift.
    Walter,I feel we have mentioned this before but there’s an interesting
    piece over at Hollywood-Elsewhere where Jeff feels that the much
    anticipated ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD is,among other
    things based on the Burt Reynolds/Hal Needham partnership,I feel you
    may have stated that previously.
    Finally,and how can I leave out our gracious host,except to mention that
    one of his Fave Flicks has just been featured over at Mike’s Take On
    The Movies.

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    • Walter

      John K, I like several of the more realistic Westerns of the 1970’s. Fact is I really like the obscure forgotten gem CATTLE ANNIE AND LITTLE BRITCHES(1981, filmed in 1979). I remember first reading about the movie in VARIETY magazine in 1979. As a youngster, I read about the true story of these girls. I read a lot about the History of the American West.

      Universal Pictures didn’t give CATTLE ANNIE AND LITTLE BRITCHES much of a theater release. The only time I saw it was on CBS-TV in 1983. I think it is a really good Western, which should be rediscovered, or discovered by most. There is quite a background story attached to the movie.

      Yes, when I first read about ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, which you first put me onto it, the similarities seemed obvious. I’ll go over to the HOLLYWOOD-ELSEWHERE site and take a gander.

      Like

  5. john k

    Walter, this thread of later Westerns (which is also continuing over at
    Toby’s Western blog) is most interesting. I forgot to bring ULZANA’S
    RAID into the mix,I guess it could be considered,at least as a minor classic
    these days,certainly it’s grim and downbeat and not for all tastes.
    A couple of Gregory Peck vehicles are worth mentioning too;THE STALKING
    MOON and BILLY TWO HATS.
    Glenn Ford carried on making Westerns,for as long as he could,the later
    ones do vary in quality with HEAVEN WITH A GUN possibly being the best
    of that bunch.
    Then there are those 13 A.C.Lyles Westerns that we have discussed so
    often,and it’s sad that only one of them has had a DVD release
    (JOHNNY RENO). None of the 13 are great Westerns but at least A.C.
    and Paramount were trying to keep the programmer Western alive in it’s
    last gasp days.
    Gordon Douglas who made some very good Westerns in his heyday carried
    on making them into the 60’s his STAGECOACH re-boot is pretty poor
    (mainly down to oddball casting) and CHUKA is even worse but during
    that period he did make one gem RIO CONCHOS.

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  6. Walter

    John K, well, I went over and took a look at Jeffrey Wells’ “Best Bruhs” on HOLLYWOOD-ELSEWHERE. We were discussing this very thing over 7 months ago, here on THE HANNIBAL 8. I thought then and still do that it is a sly, but obvious homage to Burt Reynolds and Hal Needham. This is somewhat typical of Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino is, first and foremost, a movie fan. It is too bad that Burt Reynolds couldn’t have lived 2 more months and been able to portray George Spahn.

    I went over to IMDb and took a look see at the cast of ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD(2019). Thoughts just strike me sometimes and as I’m looking over the cast, I see that Tarantino is harking back to a somewhat forgotten TV Western, LANCER(1968-70). As a youngster I watched this CBS Network series on Tuesday nights and I liked it. The show had a rousing theme composed by Jerome Moross(THE BIG COUNTRY, 1958). It starred Andrew Duggan, James Stacy(Timothy Olyphant), and Wayne Maunder(Luke Perry). Also, Sam Wanamaker(Nicholas Hammon) directed the first episode of LANCER, “The High Riders,” which aired on September 24, 1968. So, are Timothy Olyphant and the late Luke Perry playing actors, playing characters on a Western TV series from the late 1960’s? Looks that way. I wonder why Tarantino chose LANCER with actors James Stacy and Wayne Maunder? Why not BONANZA, GUNSMOKE, THE VIRGINIAN, THE HIGH CHAPARRAL, DANIEL BOONE, or HERE COME THE BRIDES? Is Tarantino using LANCER as a nod to western shows of that time period, because he sees it as more hip with actors James Stacy and Wayne Maunder?

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  7. john k

    Thanks for the update Walter-according to imdb the late Luke Perry’s
    character is called Scott Lancer as a homage to Wayne Maunder.
    I think choosing LANCER is a good move,series like GUNSMOKE and
    BONANZA are too beloved whereas LANCER is a virtually forgotten show
    except among buffs.
    Furthermore James Stacy gives the project a sort of “Hollywood Babylon”
    vibe that ties in with the more sordid elements of the backstory….will
    Tarantino pull it off,let’s hope so.

    Like

    • Walter

      John K, I also think LANCER was the right pick made by Tarantino. I went back and viewed the teaser trailer. I think I can make out a scene showing Luke Perry in western garb, in the scene just before the young girl(Julia Butters) goes up to Rick Dalton(Leonardo DiCaprio).

      At the beginning of the trailer we see what looks like an interview flashback with Rick Dalton(Leonardo DiCaprio) and Cliff Booth(Brad Pitt) on the set of Dalton’s TV Western BOUNTY LAW, which is shot in black and white. This makes it look like a late 1950’s, or early 1960’s setting.

      I wonder if the reason that Luke Perry was listed as Scott Lancer in the IMDb credits is because at the time of filming Wayne Maunder was still alive and living in Vermont. There are legalities involved, such as signing a Life Rights Consent Agreement which grants to the filmmaker the right to portray a particular person’s life in whole or in part. Filming finished on November 1, 2018. Wayne Maunder died of a heart attack on November 11, 2018. Also, I wonder how much, or if any, Maunder knew about being portrayed in the movie?

      Actor James Stacy died in 2016 and despite his sordid past and prison time, he still had a cult fan base out there.

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  8. john k

    Thanks again for the info Walter.
    Yes,I loved the re-creation of a late 50’s early 60’s TV Western series,
    although the Spaghetti Western type gun-down would never have got past
    the sensor in 1959,a knowing Tarantino in joke no doubt.
    Thanks also for the name of the show BOUNTY LAW,wow! us kids would
    have loved that one in 1959.
    Moving on; but I note with interest a project that DiCaprio (producer)
    and Clint Eastwood (director) had on the back burner for at least 4 years,
    now looks as if it might actually happen.
    THE BALLAD OF RICHARD JEWELL has a script by the very prolific
    Billy Ray. I did see Billy Ray’s BREACH (2007) which he also directed,
    which I thought was outstanding,played to perfection by a choice cast.
    Most interesting that the project will be filmed at Fox/Disney,it’s the
    first time Clint has worked on a Fox project since AMBUSH AT
    CIMARRON PASS.
    Clint does seem to favour these true life projects but then again at 89 surely
    he can do what the heck he chooses too.

    Like

  9. john k

    Whoops! typo…should have read Censor….
    These days I feel that the “sensors” in my brain need replacing.

    Like

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