- Format: DVD Region 2 for the UK
- Number of Disc: 6
- Genre: Western
- Starring: Leif Erickson;Cameron Mitchell
- Studio: Shout! Factory
- Release Date: 2017
What’s it about
This is an outstanding western. For those ‘of a certain age’ I highly recommend reading production manager and producer Kent McCray’s biography, Kent McCray: The Man Behind the Most Beloved Television Shows, as a refresher course. (BTW, those ‘beloved’ being: Little House on the Prairie, Bonanza, Highway to Heaven and The High Chaparral.) To newcomers to The High Chaparral or TV westerns you are in for a real treat. This is a real western. It stars adults. It looks dusty and remote. Danger lurking everywhere; hardships abound.
The first season rates better than the others because it isn’t hindered by the anti-TV violence craze out of Washington, D.C. spawned as a result of the 1968 political assassinations. Traditional TV westerns were crippled by the mandates. As Kent McCray points out in his bio High Chaparral got hit especially hard whereas producer/creator David Dortort’s other western Bonanza could fall back on the Cartwrights’ family aspect while shying away — out of necessity — from the true, established western themes.
The realistic multi-ethnic mix of the cast plays true to Arizona in the 1870s — whites, Mexicans, Apaches. The adults’ ‘back stories’ are compelling. The family dynamics are involved; never boring.
Location filming in Old Tucson and the surrounding Sonoran desert gives the series a legitimate, realistic look. (Get it while you can; by years three and four too much of the filming was done in Burbank at Warner Bros. and southern California’s overly familiar locations.)
I can’t wait to see the quality (color, sound, sharpness) and duration (network length — a must! — or syndicated, ‘sigh’) of the discs. Dying to know what the bonus tracks are. That enthusiastic statement is said with hopes that Shout Factory puts some love and care into this set; and utilizes individuals who have a ‘history’ with ‘High Chaparral.’
One pre-current-and-post release complaint: Why didn’t Shout use the ICONIC High Chaparral lettering? Ladies and gentlemen, isn’t that packaging / marketing 101?! It’s not an oversight; it’s just plain stupid.