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Blu-Ray : Highly Recommended
Ranking:
Sale Price: $88.49 Last Price: $ Buy now! 3rd Party 121.33 In Stock
Release Date: March 12th, 2024 Movie Release Year: 1957

Colt .45: The Complete Series - Warner Archive Collection

Overview -

Blu-ray Review By: Matthew Hartman
A piece of Television History comes home with Wayde Preston as Christopher Colt in the rousing Western series Colt .45. A loose adaptation of the 1950 classic film, the series ran for three seasons and 67 episodes in the heyday of Television Westerns. Featuring a whose-who of genre regulars and guest stars, each episode runs a brisk half-hour filled with suspense, intrigue, and plenty of action-packed shoot-outs! Warner Archive brings the series to Blu-ray with a gorgeous A/V presentation for each episode. Highly Recommended

OVERALL:
Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
10 Disc Blu-ray Set - Meticulously remastered from 4K scans of the original camera negatives
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p/AVC MPEG-4
Length:
1875
Aspect Ratio(s):
1.33:1
Audio Formats:
DTS-HD MA: 2.0
Release Date:
March 12th, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

You gotta love it when a true classic emerges from the dusty vaults, gets a nice spit and polish, and comes out looking like a newly minted penny. People today like to complain about the glut of comic book films and series out there, but turn back the clock 70 years and it was the Western that was the unavoidable genre of the day. Passed from big studios to bargain cheapies and back to prominence as a money-making genre, the Western had a long and storied path in Hollywood. But the genre didn't stick to theaters. From the mid-1950s and into the 1960s, audiences saw an incredible range of shows to keep televisions burning bright late into the night. Westerns were relatively cheap to produce with simple stories to grab an audience. One of these numerous series was Colt .45 starring Wayde Preston as our gunslinging hero Christopher Colt. 

Three seasons and 67 episodes later, Colt .45 drifted into almost complete obscurity. The show was a simple premise and at half an hour an episode, uncomplicated and entertaining. In every episode, we’d see Wayde Preston’s Christopher Colt wander into one dusty town after another. To the average folk of the town, he’s just another gun salesman peddling his family’s new Peacemaker Colt .45. Wearing a pair of the silvery six-shooters on his hips, Chris demonstrates the weapon’s capabilities. But what this unsuspecting audience doesn’t know, he’s actually an undercover government agent for the Army on a mission to stop lawlessness in the Wild West one bandit at a time.

When I say the series isn’t very complicated, I mean that in a loving way. Since each episode would barely run half an hour, you don’t have time for intricate plot setup and machinations. You have to reintroduce our hero, establish the setting, discover his allies, find the villains, set the scenario for the final gunfight, and then get ready to prime next week’s episode. There’s not a lot of time for character development and the show didn’t have a plot throughline to tag onto so it sticks to genre conventions. And Wayde Preston is terrific in the series. His mater-of-fact squared-jaw persona complete with a blazing white shirt and hat, and his two-gun holster with silver stallion medallions make him an icon of old-west law enforcement. 

And this is a lean show. Each episode is pretty gosh darn predictable and if you know any of the many character actors of the era, it’s easy to spot who our weekly bad guy is going to be. Not a lot of nuance as each episode ends in about the same way - with a hail of quick-draw bullets. While it may sound basic and not altogether exciting, the show really is a lot of fun. This is a case where simplicity works in its favor allowing maximum entertainment in a small package. Colt .45 is the kind of show you can easily imagine a family watching each episode with rapt attention while stuffing themselves with their T.V. Dinners. 

As an admitted Western junkie, I am beyond thrilled to have this long-lost out-of-circulation series at my fingertips finally. Like any great show of that era, Colt .45 was a training ground for up-and-coming talent and a place to keep wayward one-time stars employed. Names like Stacey Keech Sr., Richard Garland, Angie Dickinson, Alan Hale Jr., Leonard Nemoy, Lee Van Cleef, Charles Bronson, and Adam West all make memorable (sometimes multiple) appearances throughout the show’s run. And when you’re not playing “Spot the Star,” you can try and count how many times the same dusty Western Town was used for different locations. All told you have about 32 hours of great entertainment ahead of you - and that time flies by as fast as the quickdraw shootouts! 



Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray 
Thanks to Warner Archive Collection, all 67 episodes of Colt .45 can be enjoyed on Blu-ray! The series is spread out over ten Region Free BD-50 discs. The discs are housed in three multi-pack cases, dedicated to specific seasons. 4 discs for Season One, 2 for Season Two, and 4 discs for Season Three. All of the cases are bundled together in a nice paper-stock slipcase. Each disc loads to a static image main menu with standard navigation options. You can select each episode or you can hit a Play Now function and binge the entire disc.

Video Review

Ranking:

Warner Archive Collection continues to amaze disc collectors with their meticulous restoration efforts. The label just set a new high bar for classic television with Colt .45. Reportedly sourced from new 4K restorations of the original film elements for each episode, this is simply a gobsmackingly beautiful effort. Flawlessly preserved, you could tell me the show was shot yesterday and I’d believe you. Nary a blemish to be found, you can enjoy shot after shot of crisp clean images. Facial features, fabric textures, and all of those famous sets from other Westner shows and films are on display. A nice veneer of film grain remains without being too intrusive. The grayscale for each episode is fantastic with brilliant whites, deep blacks, and lovely shadows. Truly a fantastic restoration effort front to back for a series I'm surprised still exists. 

Audio Review

Ranking:

Each episode of Colt .45 rides in with guns blazing on DTS-HD MA 2.0. Each episode sounds pristine clean and true. Dialog is clear throughout without issue. Sound effects are well prioritized giving the big scenes plenty of dynamic atmosphere. Those shootouts in town streets or high-speed horse chases give a big active soundscape. There’s a great episode on a riverboat that has a particularly effective sound design. Scoring for each episode adds to the rousing action on screen. Free of hiss, pops, or any age-related issues, it’s another remarkable aspect of the restoration of this series.

Special Features

Ranking:

If there’s an “unfortunately” for this set, it's there are no extra features. 

Colt .45 is classic Western adventure at its finest. The show itself may not be the greatest ever made, I personally wouldn’t put it against something like Bonanza or Gunsmoke, but Wayde Preston and his cast of regular players and guest stars deliver plenty of excitement and entertainment one episode after the next. Thanks to Warner Archive Collection - this amazing series can live on in glorious 1080p. After decades in obscurity unseen by many, every episode earns an amazing A/V restoration. I wish some bonus features had been offered for the show, but as is, I’m more than happy to just enjoy the show on disc at the ready any time I need it. Fans of classic television and Westerns will absolutely want to grab a copy - Highly Recommended 

Order Your Copy of Colt .45 The Complete Series on Blu-ray