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'Bonanza - The Official Eighth Season Value Pack'
(Michael Landon, Bill Clark, Lorne Greene, Victor Sen Yung, Pernell Roberts, et al / 9-DVD / NR / 2015 / CBS - Paramount)

Overview: The adventures of Ben Cartwright and his sons continues ever onwards here in the eighth season as they run and defend their ranch while helping the surrounding community.

DVD Verdict: Feature film makers have many lessons to learn from this classic western serial. Although each episode was made on a small budget when compared to the Hollywood "A" features of today, all of the production values of great classic movies of the golden age -- painterly composition and design, emotionally effective acting, lyrical music, suspenseful storytelling, beautiful timing, strong dramatic dialogue, elegantly choreographed action, powerful themes, colorful period costumes, folksy comic relief -- all of these values were at a consistently high level from show to show, with never an awkward effect or a misfit scene.

Each of the featured characters was drawn in a unique and stylish way, suggesting the storybook characterization that distinguishes the best of the Hollywood golden age. Every one of the episodes stands well as a feature length movie in its own right and would look as good on the big screen as on TV. There's plenty of feeling, no padding or softness, and no mindless experimentation with technique or vulgarity such as has ruined so many westerns made since 1970.

Here in the Official Eighth Season, stars Lorne Greene, Dan Blocker and Michael Landon return to the Ponderosa for a monumental season of outstanding adventures. Featuring 34 memorable episodes, each digitally remastered and restored from original 35mm film elements for superior sound and picture, you can now enjoy the spectacular scenery of Lone Pine in the thought provoking, feature length drama, "The Pursued," the troubled troubadours in "Ballad of the Ponderosa" and "A Christmas Story," and swindlers trying to pass off a "Horse of a Different Hue."

Taking a serious look at contemporary issues through a period lens, the Cartwright men come to the aid of "A Man Without Land," back up a new "Amigo" facing deadly bigotry, and stand up for a family of immigrants in "The Deed and the Dilemma." On the lighter side, "Maestro Hoss" takes up the violin and "Joe Cartwright, Detective" is on the case when detective novels have him suspicious of strangers in Virginia City. Bring home this must-have 9-disc DVD set for collectors and newcomers alike and visit with the Cartwrights! You won't be disappointed. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with Original Music and other Special Features.

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