The Quick And The Dead
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Details At A Glance
||Yes, 1 - 1.33:1, Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround
(Not 105 Minutes as per packaging)
Cast & Crew
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio
||English (Dolby Digital 2.0 )
English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 )
French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio
|Annoying Product Placement
|Action In or After Credits
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
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.
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.
Production Notes (these are instead printed on the inside of the cover
of the Region 4 version)
Pan & Scan Version
The Quick And The Dead.
directed it, and you get to see Leonardo DiCRAPrio die in it. Need
I say more?
The video quality is reference material, through
The audio quality is reference material, and one
of the best in its class.
The extras are very limited, but presented well.
© Dean McIntosh (my bio
sucks... read it anyway)
April 10, 2000.
||Grundig GDV 100 D, using composite output; Toshiba SD-2109,
using S-video output
||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
||Built In (Amplifier)
||Panasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Sharp CP-303A Back
Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Subwoofer