The Quick And The Dead

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Details At A Glance

Category Action Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - 1.33:1, Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1995 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 103:25 Minutes
(Not 105 Minutes as per packaging) 
Other Extras None
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 4 Director Sam Raimi

Columbia Tristar
Starring Sharon Stone
Gene Hackman
Russell Crowe
Leonardo DiCaprio
Roberts Blossom
Kevin Conway
Lance Henriksen
Pat Hingle
Gary Sinise
Case Brackley
RRP $34.95 Music Alan Silvestri
Pietro Scalia

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement
Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 2.0 )
English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 )
French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking Yes
Subtitles English
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    Originally, I had no interest in viewing The Quick And The Dead, but two important factors changed my mind about the film, and eventually made me decide to buy it on impulse. One is the fact that Sam Raimi directed it, and the other is that Leonardo DiCRAPrio's character dies in it. Think about that for a second: Leonardo DiCRAPrio gets his just desserts for years of pathetically, nay heinously, bad acting. Then there is the fact that his character, Kid, gets killed by his own father, Herod (Gene Hackman). To be perfectly honest with you, if I had fathered a squirmy little runt like DiCRAPrio, I would want to either shoot him or myself for what I had unleashed upon the world. The screenplay Simon Moore penned would also motivate me to make some hasty use of matches in some instances. I'd hate to tell you this, Simon, but preachers like Cort (Russell Crowe) had laws in action in colonial America that made it illegal to fire a gun without necessity, except on a native or a wolf, as anyone who can read an unbiased history of the country with their eyes and mind open can tell you. Anyway, the premise of the film is quite simple enough. It is set in a town named Redemption, where Herod has been bleeding the people dry with illegal taxes for years. Every now and then, the town holds a competition in which a pair of pistoleers face off against one another to see who is the quicker draw. The winner gets to live to the next round, and the loser gets a pine box. The most mysterious entrant to the contest is a young woman known only as Lady (Sharon Stone), and it is not until the climactic sequences that we learn through a series of flashbacks exactly what she is doing in Redemption.

    The problems with the plot are not just restricted to the obvious unwillingness to acknowledge the dark side of American history. Sharon Stone is only mildly convincing in her role at the best of times, and most of the best actors, especially Lance Henriksen, are not given enough time to develop their characters. I have a feeling that the same casting agents responsible for the mess that is Alien Resurrection worked on this film, although that doesn't explain Sharon Stone's presence (she was a producer on this film). If you blink, you will certainly miss Gary Sinise, and you probably won't recognize him even if you don't blink (I had to watch the film several times to figure out who he was - he portrays Lady's Marshall father in the flashbacks). All in all, however, this film is entertaining enough to warrant multiple viewings, thanks to Sam Raimi's frantic style of direction, and there are even some vague Evil Dead touches to the film. The cinematography by Dante Spinotti is also quite marvellous to look at, although I sometimes got the feeling that a wider ratio would have suited the film a little better. The film might not be a riveting, indispensable classic, but it will stand up well to multiple viewings.

Transfer Quality


    This is a truly magnificent DVD, with a video presentation that easily qualifies as reference quality. The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, with 16x9 enhancement and a clean, beautiful look that really makes me wish I could just crawl right into it and look at the place where they shot the film. The transfer was razor sharp from start to finish, with not a hint of graininess or foreground blurring. Shadow detail was perfect, with not so much as a hint of low-level noise in the few sequences that take place in darkness. The only complaint I really have is that some details in the background are blurred and indistinct, but this would most likely be inherent in the way the film was shot rather than any fault of the transfer. The colour saturation was spot-on, with the film's abundance of earthy tones being perfectly rendered.

    MPEG artefacts were completely absent from the transfer, in spite of the fact that the transfer rate of this film is consistently set low in order to accommodate more than a hundred minutes to the one layer. Film-to-video artefacts were also absent from the transfer, with not a single hint of aliasing coming into the picture at any given point, even during the numerous sequences involving rain. There was only one very small and trivial film artefact early in the film, and it went by without notice. This is truly a reference quality video transfer in spite of how tightly it has been compressed, and the people who authored this DVD really deserve a pat on the back.


    Matching the reference quality video transfer is a reference quality audio transfer, presented in four formats. In the original English, we have a choice between Dolby Digital 2.0 with surround encoding and Dolby Digital 5.1, with the same options being presented in French. The default is English Dolby Digital 2.0 with surround encoding, and I believe that this was the original sound format that the film was recorded in. I listened to the English dialogue in both formats, and the main difference is that the surround sound effects are more conspicuously placed in the Dolby Digital 2.0 mix, while the 5.1 mix sees the channels blended together more smoothly. The dialogue was always clear and completely intelligible, with no exceptions at any moment, even when Russell Crowe indulged his tendency to speak quite quietly, which is no mean feat given the low pitch of his voice.

    The score music is credited to Alan Silvestri and Pietro Scalia, and it was quite frequently present to add its dramatic edge to the rest of the film. Although I've never though much of Silvestri's film scores, this one is perfectly suited to the film and it does a wonderful job of bringing the viewer right into the Wild West as part of the action. It's not terribly original as far as scores for films covering the USA's colonial period go, but I would definitely rate it as being amongst the best of the best.

    The surround channels were used constantly through the movie, with not a sequence going by where there wasn't some ambient sound, gunshot, or piece of music coming out of the surrounds. Like the score music, they helped take the viewer and place them right in the camera's eye-view position in the action. This is a stunning example of how a Dolby Digital 5.1 remix should be done. The subwoofer was used to enhance the music as well as the action scenes, and it was quite superbly integrated into the soundtrack.


    Well, a theatrical trailer and a menu is not much, but at least there isn't too much strain on the compression. It would have been nice if we had been blessed with RSDL formatting and a commentary by Sam Raimi and Sharon Stone, as well as an extra audio track in Spanish, but what we have will do, given how great the other departments of the disc are!


    The menu is based upon the cover art. It is not 16x9 enhanced. The resolution looks rather limited, but it is perfectly functional and suited to its main purpose.

Theatrical Trailer

    This is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround sound. The video quality is very good considering the limited ratio and the fact that it appears to be specifically designed for television broadcast.

R4 vs R1

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     If the Region 1 version had one version of the film on a dual-layered disc, then this might add some competition to the comparison. However, given that the Region 4 version is a stunning example of an audio and video transfer done right, stick with the local version.


    The Quick And The Dead. Sam Raimi directed it, and you get to see Leonardo DiCRAPrio die in it. Need I say more?

    The video quality is reference material, through and through.

    The audio quality is reference material, and one of the best in its class.

    The extras are very limited, but presented well.

Ratings (out of 5)

© Dean McIntosh (my bio sucks... read it anyway)
April 10, 2000. 
Review Equipment
DVD Grundig GDV 100 D, using composite output; Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output
Display Panasonic TC-29R20 (68 cm), 4:3 mode, using composite input; Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm), 16:9 mode/4:3 mode, using composite and S-video inputs
Audio Decoder Built In (Amplifier)
Amplification Sony STR-DE835
Speakers Panasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Sharp CP-303A Back Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Subwoofer