As someone who grew up on the ‘80s output of Charles Bronson — movies in which he usually played a grimacing cop cleaning up the streets with his own brand of justice, usually for Cannon Films — I sometimes forget that he was once a big movie star who did more than scowl while wasting punks in New York. While fans of his Golden Age work probably know him best for movies like The Dirty Dozen and Once Upon a Time in the West, I’ve been discovering some of his smaller, lesser-known efforts in recent years and realizing that Bronson had a taste for the idiosyncratic and the potential to shine in those kinds of movies. The latest title to add to that list is From Noon Till Three, a charming and offbeat comic western recently released to Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
It’s hard to describe the plot of From Noon Till Three in a way that accurately conveys the film’s pleasures. The screenplay, by writer/director Frank D. Gilroy, is based on his own novel and it feels like it: it’s a movie that continues to unfold in unpredictable ways based on who these characters are rather than establish a premise early on and follow it through in lockstep. The first act features bandits and shootouts and an outlaw taking refuge in the home of a good woman against her will — pretty standard western stuff — while the second act becomes a sweet and gentle romance. The third act…well, I don’t want to say what happens in the third act, as there’s almost no chance anyone can predict where the movie is going based on what has happened so far. When you see as many movies as I do, any movie that’s able to go to unexpected places is a welcome surprise.
Twilight Time is releasing the Blu-ray of From Noon Till Three in their usual limited run of 3,000 units. The 1080p HD transfer offers the movie in its original 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio and looks great for a film that’s 40 years old; like most westerns, the color palette is subdued (limited to a lot of earth tones) but the image is bright and clean and filled with good texture and detail. Twilight Time always puts care into the transfers on their releases and it shows even on smaller titles like this. The lossless mono track offered for the main audio option is surprisingly strong, presenting clear dialogue and some lively effects, all mixed well with composer Elmer Bernstein’s lovely and quirky score. That score is actually offered as an isolated option, as is customary for Twilight Time. The only other bonus feature offered is the original theatrical trailer.
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DTS HD 1.0 Master Audio (English)
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