Review: The Valdez Horses
Blu-ray: The Valdez Horses (1973)
Chino (Charles Bronson) is a loner who breeds horses out in the wilds of America. One day a young man appears (Jamie, played by Vincent Van Patten) whom Chino pays $10 a month to help on his small ranch.
Chino then falls in love with Catherine (Jill Ireland), who is the sister of the films ‘bad guy’ Maral (Marcel Bozzuffi) and who doesn’t approve of the relationship and wants Chino away from there by any means necessary.
This of course leads to the inevitable confrontation between Chino and Maral and his cronies.
The Valdez Horses (AKA: Chino, AKA: Valdez the Halfbreed) is a film that could have been so much better, but its duality across many parts is to its detriment.
This begins with the dual directors of John Sturges and Duilio Coletti whose visions for the direction the narrative takes seem at odds with each other. Sturges seemingly wanting to take it down a more realistic route, while the scenes handled by Colette occasionally veer more towards a Bud Spencer and Terence Hill western.
Maral being quite obviously French while his sister Catherine is blatantly British is briefly explained in a couple of lines of dialogue, but still didn’t sit right throughout the entire running time, giving a strange dynamic between them both.
Chino’s dual American/Native-American heritage is never fully realised and used more to make him an outcast to the towns citizenship, while the relationship between old (Chino) and young (Jamie) just makes for some awkward scenes.
Though the most awkward scene of all involves Chino apparently becoming so aroused at watching his prize wild stallion mount a horse, that he forces himself there and then upon Catherine!
While I enjoyed watching The Valdez Horses I was ultimately left with the feeling of “it could, and should, have been so much better”.
INDICATOR LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES
- High Definition remaster
- Original mono audio
- Alternative presentation with Italian Valdez il mezzosangue title sequence
- Audio commentary with film historian Paul Talbot, author of Bronson’s Loose! The Making of the ‘Death Wish’ Films and Bronson’s Loose Again!
- Dust and Sweat (2021, 16 mins): renowned make-up artist Giannetto De Rossi recalls his time on The Valdez Horses
- Gambling on the Horses (2021, 21 mins): uncredited screenwriter Stephen Geller shares his personal recollections of the production and crew
- Alternative titles and credits
- French theatrical trailer
- US TV spot
- Image gallery: promotional and publicity materials
- New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
- Limited edition exclusive 36-page booklet with a new essay by Roberto Curti, an archival on-set report with contributions from Charles Bronson, Jill Ireland, and John Sturges, extracts of interviews with Bronson and Ireland, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits
- UK premiere on Blu-ray
- Limited edition of 3,000 copies
The Valdez Horses is released 25th January 2021.