Blu News – Duel at Diablo

It’s just come to my attention that Ralph Nelson’s gritty 1966 western Duel at Diablo is being released on Blu-ray by Koch Media in Germany at the end of March. It’s already had a US release but this is welcome news for those of us in Europe looking for a Region B version.

I remember writing about the film almost a decade ago (!) and I was ambivalent about it at the time. It’s grown on me some since then and I feel better about it now, and that Neal Hefti score.


16 thoughts on “Blu News – Duel at Diablo

  1. I have that Kino Lorber release on the shelf. Just haven’t got to it yet but that should come as no surprise. The pile never seems to lessen of unwatched titles around here. It’s the collecting that is part of the thrill.


  2. My own feelings about this film are not even ambivalent, I must say. One of the worst westerns I’ve ever seen… Pour rester poli. However, I do appreciate some Neal Hefti scores, for the Count Basie Orchestra for instance, such as “Girl Talk” or “Cute”, not to mention the whole “Atomic Basie” album (Roulette Records). But it has nothing to do with the western genre.


    • Hefti was an extremely odd choice for a western. I like the music here but I also agree that it doesn’t really have a feel one would associate with the genre – there’s that slick, urban feel to it for one thing. I wonder if the decision was consciously taken to go for something quirky and distinctive in an attempt to ride on the coattails of the burgeoning Euro western boom.


  3. A good soundtrack can surely bump a movie. Sometimes the music is better than the film. LoL!

    Not a Classic, but Diablo has some nice Star Power: Garner, Poitier, Weaver, and Anderson.
    Garner could carry most any Western all by himself.
    Westward HO … !


    • Garner does shoulder a lot of work in this one, and his presence helps keep it going when it falters. A very smooth and composed performer who made things look a lot easier than they were. I rewatched a fair bit of The Rockford Files last year and he really was very good.


  4. I hope Colin will not mind but I’m going to hi-jack
    this thread and give my (non-spoiler) impressions
    of the recently released HOSTILES.
    Scott Cooper’s film has been discussed on these pages
    before so perhaps it’s not so much of an “invasion”
    after all.

    First,let me state I feel that HOSTILES is the finest Western
    since UNFORGIVEN.
    I have seen every cinema released Western since UNFORGIVEN
    and HOSTILES is the only one that I will add to my Western movies
    collection-I will buy the Blu Ray as soon as it hits the streets.

    I have to various degrees enjoyed several post UNFORGIVEN
    Westerns ,in particular SERAPHIM FALLS
    and APPALOOSA but both,I feel fell apart at the end,especially so
    with the former.
    Cooper’s film,I feel is a winner all the way-it has a strong ending
    and the film for me has a perfect closure.

    The early stages of the film recall,on purpose,the attitudes of the
    repellent ARROWHEAD (1953) but we soon realize that the
    characters in the film are on a journey-which is certainly
    spiritual a journey of reconciliation if you will.
    In those early stages I thought I was watching the first Western of
    the “Trump Era”-this could not be further from the truth.

    The themes in HOSTILES are similar,in parts to THE OUTLAW JOSEY
    WALES-there is the odd homage here and there;Cooper even has the
    audacity to recycle one of Bill Munney’s classic lines from UNFORGIVEN
    but it works a treat and suits the tone of the film perfectly.
    Cooper like Eastwood takes his own sweet time but the film never drags,
    the often magnificent landscapes never detract from the narrative-they
    compliment it as opposed to competing with it.

    The slow pace-with occasional jarring jolts of violence build up to
    a powerful climax with a huge emotional impact.
    One of the reviews-used I might add on the UK posters- state
    “not your Daddy’s Western” -well to me the film will appeal far more
    to Eastwood followers than say Tarantino-furthermore the scant
    audience that I saw the film with were all in the “over 60” age group.
    I might add the last film that I saw at the cinema was Tarantino’s ghastly
    I’m sure,Colin-you will enjoy HOSTILES if you in fact have already
    seen it and furthermore I hope regulars Blake Lucas and Richard W
    get to see it as well-I for one would love to know what all three of
    you think and that goes for all RTHC regulars.
    As you will have gathered by now HOSTILES gets my highest recommendation,.

    Thanks Colin,for indulging me.


    • John, that;s a very welcome piece of hijacking. I haven’t seen the film yet and I’m not sure when it’s getting a release here – maybe early spring. Regardless, I was planning on seeing it when it arrives and I’m all the more enthusiastic about it now that I know it impressed you so much.


      • Colin – Would appreciate your take on Hostiles once you’ve seen it. I saw it last night and liked it so much will be seeing it again tomorrow night. It needs to be seen on a big screen.
        It is a top-tier western.


        • Tony, I’m very much looking forward to seeing the film, especially with all the good word of mouth I’ve been hearing. It seems to be due a late February release in cinemas here and I’ll definitely be attending.


    • Pleased to read you liked Hostiles John. It is on my list to see, though not certain yet whether it will be in cinema with the constant smell of hotdogs mixed with popcorn, or in comfort of my own home on blu ray, with the lovely aroma from the excellent spiced rum l had for Christmas.
      The film had a very good review from highly regarded but fussy critic Mark Kermode last week.
      Thankfully l did make the right choice by watching The Hateful Eight on blu ray, and not suffering it in a cinema, l also watched that one in two parts! I’m not knocking Quentin, l really like Django Unchained, l have seen that three times.
      Back to subject, Duel At Diablo, great tough western, great cast, and great soundtrack LP.


      • Mike, I know a lot of people share your ambivalence about cinema-going these days, and I can understand the lack of charm that the multiplex experience can sometimes have. Here in Athens, I feel fortunate that the city center cinemas I frequent are of the old-style variety – you get the usual snacks and so on sold but the overall atmosphere makes for more pleasurable viewing, and a more enjoyable outing in general.


        • Colin, you are lucky. Our nearest cinema like that is about 15 miles away, not a great distance, but on a cold winter night, I think twice about it.


          • Fair enough, Mike. In the wrong time of year that’s far enough to be too far. Yes, I am lucky, I suppose, in that I’m actually within walking distance of a few very classy cinemas. And then, come summer, there’s the outdoor variety and the regular revivals of the classics.


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