The Quick And The Dead

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Details At A Glance

Category Western Theatrical Trailer(s) 1
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Running Time 105 minutes Commentary Tracks None
RSDL/Flipper No/No Other Extras None
Region 4    
Distributor Columbia Tristar    
RRP $34.95    

Pan & Scan/Full Frame No MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1    
Macrovision Yes    
Subtitles English 

Plot Synopsis

    The Quick And The Dead is a Western based in the town of Redemption, a town which is ruled by Herod (Gene Hackman), the quickest draw in the west, who is bleeding the town dry with illegal taxes. One day, a stranger rides into town, only known as Lady (Sharon Stone, doing her best to look macho but utterly failing) just in time for the start of the annual gun slinging contest. The prize is over $100,000 US dollars, and the contest is a kill-or-be-killed affair. The other primary character in this story is Cort (Russell Crowe), a former gunslinger who has seen the error of his ways and turned to the Lord, giving up killing. Herod is not happy about this, and insists that Cort be involved in the contest, even if it means Cort dies as a consequence of his beliefs.

    Various gunfights ensue, but the first dramatically interesting one involves Cort, where his principles are first put to the test. Cort kills his opponent, albeit somewhat unwillingly. The next interesting gunfight involves Lady versus a sleazy gunfighter who has just raped a little girl. It is clear that Lady is not a killer, but nonetheless, she dispatches the sleaze.

    Throughout the course of this film, Lady's past is slowly revealed to us in flashback sequences, but it is only towards the end of the movie that we begin to understand just what she is doing in Redemption, and in a very gruesome sequence that I won't describe, we get to fully comprehend her motivation. Herod also tries to understand what Lady is doing in town, but cannot find out.

    After several days, after most of the rest of the cast has been dispatched, only four gunfighters remain; Kid (Leonard DiCaprio), Herod, Lady and Cort. The Kid and Herod are matched up, which is a difficult match, since they are father and son. The Kid is killed.

    Next, Lady and Cort are matched up. Suffice it to say that a sneaky plan is drawn up, and Cort is matched with Herod for the final climactic showdown. Several twists await to keep you entertained, which I will not reveal.

Transfer Quality


    This is a truly wonderful DVD transfer, as good as I have ever seen. Except for a single trivial artefact, I would have to describe this transfer as perfect. The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer was absolutely razor sharp at all times. Shadow detail was perfect, with a complete absence of low level noise.

    The colour was perfectly rendered. There are a lot of earthy colours in this transfer, and they all come up brilliantly.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. No film-to-video artefacts were seen; no aliasing, nothing. Other than one very small and trivial film artefact early on, there were no artefacts to speak of at all. This was a truly exemplary transfer, and earns a reference quality rating.


    There are several audio tracks on this DVD. The default audio is English Dolby Digital 2.0 channel, surround encoded. I don't understand why Columbia Tristar persist in having this as their default audio format rather than the superior 5.1 mix. Also present on the DVD is a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack (which I listened to) and 5.1 and 2.0 tracks in French. There are no MPEG tracks at all on this DVD.

    Dialogue was always completely clear and intelligible.

    The musical score was frequently present, underscoring the action. It suited the film perfectly.

     The surround channels were used pretty much the entire time throughout the movie. They were used to create a truly superb ambient soundfield. There was almost always something going on in the surrounds, be it ambient sound effects, gunfire, or music. This soundtrack was truly enveloping.

    The .1 channel was used both to enhance the music, and to underscore the action sequences, and was excellent in doing so.

    Overall, this is one of the most enveloping and exciting soundtracks that I have had the pleasure of listening to, and earns a reference quality rating.


    The only extra on this DVD is the theatrical trailer, presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack (mixed in surround).


    I enjoyed The Quick And The Dead far more than I initially thought I would. I felt that Sharon Stone was not appropriate for her part, but given that she also co-produced this picture, I presume that there was no other choice for the female lead. Gene Hackman is very good as a multidimensional bad guy, but Russell Crowe outshines the rest of the cast by far. You can feel his torment as he makes his choices. Leonardo DiCaprio is also quite entertaining in a smaller role. There are those that say that Leonardo cannot act - I disagree completely with this. Overall, the plot, whilst slow at first, grew on me, and I was really enjoying the movie by about half-way through. The climactic finish will have you riveted to the screen.

    The video quality is essentially faultless, and of reference quality. DVD doesn't get much better than this!

    The audio quality is also superb, with a wonderful, aggressive and enveloping sound field created.

    This DVD is significantly enhanced by the faultless video and aggressive, surrounding audio which made this DVD a greater pleasure to review than most that I review. This is a DVD you can use to show off your system, but not to young children, since it earns its MA rating!

Ratings (out of 5)


Michael Demtschyna
10th November 1998

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer