Quigley Down Under (1990)

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Released 9-Jun-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Western Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1990
Running Time 115:04
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (61:49) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Simon Wincer

Starring Tom Selleck
Laura San Giacomo
Alan Rickman
Chris Haywood
Ron Haddrick
Tony Bonner
Jerome Ehlers
Conor McDermottroe
Roger Ward
Ben Mendelsohn
Steve Dodd
Karen Davitt
Kylie Foster
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $19.95 Music Basil Poledouris

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    I'm Australian, and not ashamed of the fact, so parts of this film made me irritated, while other parts are upsetting. It's true that Aboriginal people were treated appallingly by some settlers, and it is depicted without sensationalism in this film, although I must point out that Australia is far from unique in this (Americans feeling superior because of this film might do well to watch The Outlaw Josey Wales or Little Big Man, among others...).

    The story is set in the 19th century. It begins with the arrival in Fremantle, Western Australia, of Matthew Quigley (Tom Selleck). His native politeness gets him into trouble when he takes exception to three men mistreating a woman they refer to as Crazy Cora (Laura San Giacomo). Cora is an annoying character. Quigley has come to Australia at the behest of Elliott Marston (Alan Rickman). Marston advertised for the greatest long-distance marksman in the world, and Quigley showed up. He has a rifle: a modified Sharp's, with a longer barrel, vernier sights, special trigger mechanism, and custom ammunition. He proves his claim, then discovers that he has not been hired to shoot dingoes (which is what he was told he would be doing) — Marston intends that he kill Aborigines. Quigley takes exception to this, and that brings these two strong-willed men into conflict...

    The arrival scene does contain footage shot in Fremantle (some of the buildings are distinctive), but that's the sum total of footage shot in Western Australia — this film was shot on location in Alice Springs, Warrnambool, and Melbourne, according to the credits. Although all the Aboriginal roles look to be played by real Aborigines, it seems likely that the scriptwriter was American, without a real understanding of Aborigines — there's one scene (you'll spot it, close to the end) that's classic Hollywood, but usually features American Indians — having such an American scene performed by Aboriginal actors looks so very fake! However, that scene excepted, this is a decent film. Alan Rickman is an excellent villain, and Tom Selleck is well suited to the role of Quigley.

    I'm not sure when this film is set, but I'm guessing earlier in the 19th century, because the revolvers they are using are loaded using separate bullet, powder, and, I think, percussion cap, rather than using pre-assembled cartridges. Doubtless someone will illuminate us on this subject...

    Even though this film was clearly made for an American audience, it doesn't play too badly to an Australian one — it might have been better to have an Australian writer, rather than an American one, but it's tolerable.

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Transfer Quality


    This transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of about 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced. That's the original aspect ratio, and that's good.

    The image shows a bit of softness, but it's clear enough. Shadow detail is reasonable. Film grain is only light where it appears. There's no visible low-level noise.

    Colour looks fine in isolation — it looks like production design makes the colours fairly drab. However, once you look at the Region 1 transfer, though, the R4 looks dull. There are no colour-related artefacts.

    There are a number of film artefacts, and they are noticeable, but not too distracting.

    There's a fair bit of minor aliasing on roof tops and weatherboards. There's no moiré to speak of. There's no shimmer (some heat haze, but no shimmer) and no MPEG artefacts.

    There are subtitles in eleven languages, including both English and German for the Hearing Impaired. I watched a fair bit of the English, and they seemed fairly accurate, well-timed, and quite legible.

    The disc is single-sided, dual-layered, formatted RSDL. The layer change comes at 61:49, and is rather good, coming at a natural pause.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The soundtrack is provided in five languages, including the original English. I only listened to the English, which is a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, surround-encoded, at 224 kbps.

    The dialogue is clear, even with the various accents. The only sign of audio sync issues is a very slight mis-sync of voices here and there — never definite.

    The score is by Basil Poledouris — there is a lot of epic Western in it, with strong echoes of The Magnificent Seven all through it. That's not a bad thing, though.

    The soundtrack makes no use of the subwoofer, because it's a 2.0 track. It makes little use of the surrounds, either.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The menu is static and silent, with a picture of Tom Selleck. It's easy to use

Theatrical Trailer (1:48)

    Ooh, look! A trailer! Don't blink — it's the only extra on this disc.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This film was released in Region 1 way back in September 2001. The disc released back then has pretty much the same artwork as the Region 4, and the same blurb (albeit in a different typeface).

    The Region 4 disc is missing:

    The Region 1 disc is missing:

    These are not really significant differences. The big difference is that the R1 transfer is rather sharper than the R4 transfer. Sharper and clearer and more colourful; however, the extra colour is taken too far in the TV spots — they're a touch oversaturated.

    This is one time when it's easy to judge between the two: the R1 is definitely better, even if it's not a huge difference.


    A decent Western set in Australia, on a fair DVD.

    The video quality is good, but the R1 is better

    The audio quality is good, but nothing special.

    The extra is rudimentary.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Sunday, October 03, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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