Quantez is an 80-minute Western Noir starring Fred MacMurray that feels like the best of Early John Carpenter. New on Blu-Ray from Kino Lorber.
There are some conceits in filmdom that are too good for some cineastes to pass up. Quantez has one that this reviewer and directors like Carpenter, Quentin Tarantino, and Ringo Lam have built careers out of.
A group of robbers is being hotly pursued by a posse. They make their way to Quantez where they hope to hide out and let the posse cool off. Enough time to make their escape to Mexico. Though Quantez is completely abandoned. The cool-headed Gentry (MacMurray), the young but impulsive Teach (John Gavin), the jumpy and egomaniacal gang leader Heller (John Larch), and the white man raised by Apaches Gato (Sydney Chaplin) are the right concoction of human frailty and issues to make the whole situation implode. That implosion may not happen as there is another force at play that wants them dead.
There is something irresistible about the one-location post robbery films when done correctly that are too good to pass up. Partially taken from the siege film but with less action. The formula dictates that the men (and women) eventually turn on one another. There isn’t anything that is particularly flashy or different about Quantez as a film. It is the fact that the film is sharply directed, adroitly scripted, and well-performed is what elevates it.
Quantez will find new fans of not only westerns but of genre films if given the chance.
The transfer provided by Universal to Kino Lorber is a beautiful representation of the Cinemascope image. The image’s color reproduction and sharpness makes this a truly handsome transfer that many will delight in.
They include the following;
- Audio Commentary by Film Historian Toby Roan
- Theatrical Trailer
The newly recorded commentary by historian Toby Roan is an informative and entertaining track. Beginning with a discussion about the Cinemascope format and production details Roan like his Horizons West gives us a solid track. Details include how the Cinemascope worked and its history, how it began with Cinerama and evolved Cinemascope, the first films in Cinemascope from Fox (e.g. The Robe, How to Marry a Millionaire), the life and career of Fred MacMurray, the life and career John Gavin including his political career and his brief casting as Bond, the life and career of Sydney Chaplin including his legendary parentage, the life and career of James Larch including his career in Baseball and late start in acting, the life and career of Dorothy Malone including her first attempt at a career and an eventual Oscar Win, the career of journeyman director Harry Keller including being the director Universal hiring him as the replacement director for Touch of Evil, the career of Michael Ansara including his TV work on Star Trek The Next Generation and Batman: The Animated Series, the career and life of Ann Edwards including her black listing and eventual career as a novelist and biographer, the career and life of screenwriter R Wright Campbell including his work with Roger Corman and an Oscar nomination, the rise of Eastman Color and the technological drawbacks, the editing style of Fred McDowell, the building of the set and filming in Apple Valley, the history and origins of Universal International Pictures, the career of producer Gordon Kay, the subgenre of single location films, the critical reception of the film, and more. As with Horizons West Roan does a great job of giving us context to the cast and crew first then discussing not only the production but the technical aspects and reception of the film.
Rounding out the special features are trailers for Quantez (2:13), Gun For A Coward (2:03), Horizons West (2:22) and Night Passage (2:33)
The Final thought
Quantez is a mean tight western noir. High recommendation!!!