|Year Released||1992||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||125:20 Minutes||Other Extras||Cast & Crew Biographies
Warner Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Dolby Digital||5.1|
|16x9 Enhancement||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)|
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The film begins with an angry cowboy slashing up a young prostitute from Greely's Billiards who dared to giggle at his appendage in a fit of forgetfulness, and the local Sheriff, "Little" Bill Daggett (Gene Hackman) letting him and his comrades go with a mere slap on the hand. The angry prostitutes offer a reward of a thousand dollars to the man or men who will kill the young cowboy, and word travels fast through the States of this bounty being offered. Daggett is less than impressed, and decides to put in place a policy that all weaponry must be handed in to the local law enforcement by any visitors to the town.
William Munny (Clint Eastwood) once had a reputation as a violent, despicable mercenary, but this all changed when he married a young woman and started a family. Sadly, that woman died, not at his hands as was expected by her mother, but from smallpox, a disease that killed many a person in those troubling times. As the story begins, Bill is in need of cash to continue supporting his children and living out his life on the farm. As a result, he decides to take this one last job, taking his old partner, Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) along for the ride. Along the way, they pick up a rather shifty third man known The Schofield Kid (Jaimz Woolvett), who they soon discover to have a shooting ability limited by poor vision. Their arguments about sharing the profits from this excursion seemed somewhat forced and clichéd to me, but the manner in which this argument is finally resolved makes the lead-up worthwhile. Meanwhile, English Bob (Richard Harris), a flamboyantly monarchist mercenary, becomes the first to learn the consequences of ignoring the embargo on weaponry that Daggett has imposed. All the while, the prostitutes watch with the grim expectation that nobody will eventually come and heed their call for justice. Eventually, things in the town of Big Whiskey come to boiling point as Daggett employs an increasing amount of violence to keep the mercenaries out of his town.
To state any more of the plot would ruin it for those of you who haven't seen the film yet, but don't expect any wild plot twists, as this is one area where Clint Eastwood remains faithful to the style of the film which made him famous. Instead, one must marvel at the manner in which it took Hollywood thirty-two years to catch up to the Italian filmmakers in their portrayal of what the Wild West was more than likely really like. Still, the merits of this film as a piece of entertainment are not to be underestimated. This film sits easily alongside films such as A Fistful Of Dollars as a classic, and it is a worthy addition to your collection where the plot's quality is concerned.
The colour saturation was muted, but this is only explained by the artistic choices to a certain degree. During night-time scenes, there is little or no definition to the colour at all, with Morgan Freeman becoming completely impossible to discern from his surroundings in one camping scene due to the colour saturation and the shadow detail both being so ordinary. MPEG artefacts were not noticed at any point in the transfer, but it would not surprise me to learn that the roaming specks of colour in certain areas of the landscape were actually compression-related. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of a noticeable degree of shimmering on the edges of gun barrels and blinds, but this artefact was far less noticeable than the speckled look of skylines. Film artefacts were noticed from time to time, but this was not a major concern in the context of the rest of the transfer, either. I think it is reasonable to say that this disc would have looked a great deal better if it had been RSDL formatted, as there is simply too much picture information in this film to be compressed to one layer, with most of the artefacts coming straight from the film being starved for bits.
The score music in this film was provided by Lennie Niehaus, a name I have never heard before or since. I would certainly have preferred to see what Ennio Morricone would have done with this film, as the story would have provided him with a lot of background to build themes upon. In any case, the score music was well constructed and enhanced the overall mood of the film without calling any specific attention to itself.
The surround channels were used to support the sound effects and the music, with many ambient sounds making their way into the rears and providing the viewer with a noticeable, but not entirely immersive surround field. The film is mostly driven by dialogue, so the surround field isn't quite a total loss. I feel, however, that more attention should have been paid to building a bigger surround experience. In any case, those who have seen the film before will not be too disappointed with the surround presence. The subwoofer was called upon with moderate frequency to support the sounds of combat, such as men falling under their horses, and it did so without calling any special sort of attention to itself. Overall, it was very well integrated into the mix.
The video quality is sub-standard, and looks similar to a current-generation VHS tape.
The audio quality is good, but is nothing to write home about.
Considering how much interesting commentary Clint Eastwood could have provided for this film by himself, the extras we do get are pathetic.
© Dean McIntosh (my
bio sucks... read it anyway)
June 19, 2000
|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)|
|Speakers||Panasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Philips PH931SSS Rear Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Subwoofer|