Henry Fonda and Henry Morgan are two outsider cowhands who ride into town just as wordarrives that a popular ranchers has been killed. A posse, or, more accurately, a lynch mob, forms,and Fonda and Morgan go along. Three men (including Dana Andrews and Anthony Quinn) arefound and blamed for the crime. The mob decides to kill them, even though Fonda and a fewothers become convinced of their innocence. Though a bit heavy-handed at getting its messageacross, and resorting to u…fortunate stereotypes in its depiction of the African-Americanpreacher, The Ox-Bow Incident builds up a nice head of suspense as we get closer andcloser the possible lynching. It is also the first western to have such a dark theme and ambiguouscharacters.
As with many of the Studio Classics, the sound is in both mono and remastered 2.0. Myadvice is to stick with the mono. The stereo has almost completely indiscriminate surround, withall sounds coming in from all speakers whether this makes sense or not. Not only do we getsurround dialogue, but unimportant sounds also get blown out of all proportion. The mono hasnoticeably aged, but at least doesn’t produce these strange distortions. There is some buzz onsome gunshots too. The film has virtually no music.
Very nice black-and-white, particularly rich in the studio-shot scenes. There is some edgeenhancement and some grain, but the restoration job done on the print was pretty thorough. Thereare virtually no speckles, and the grain is pretty minimal, all things considered. The aspect is theoriginal fullscreen.
The commentary is by scholar Dick Eulain and son of the director William Wellman Jr. Thetwo men were recorded separately. Eulain is interesting, but very stilted in his deliver. Morerelaxed and natural is Wellman, and his talk is generally more engaging. The other extras aresimilar to what the more recent releases in this series have been: an A&E Biography (of HenryFonda), the trailer, a still gallery, and a restoration comparison. The menu is basic.
Not that much by way of extras, though the commentary is very informative. This isnonetheless a very important moment in the history of the Western, and it’s nice to see itlooking so good.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- A&E Biography on Henry Fonda
- Still Gallery
- Restoration Comparison
- Theatrical Trailer