A Few Words About A few words about...™ Tombstone -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Being aware of at the least the basics that went on during the production of Tombstone, I've always considered George Cosmatos' "name above he title" credit with a bit of an English "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" perspective. If one considered his other works, it seemed implausible at best that this was totally his work.

    Once more information came to light, and with Mr. Cosmatos' passing, the film along with numerous details, begin to make sense. I've always been a fan of the film, but was never able to place it in a "great" category. The story has been told many times -- the most immediate comparison being to Wyatt Earp, which arrived shortly after Tombstone, and is a very different film which is also worth viewing.

    Rather than go into detail, one need only visit Bill Hunt's Digital Bits, here, under the 4/15 graphs:

    http://www.thedigitalbits.com/#mytwocents

    You'll also find a link to Kevin Jarre's original screenplay at the Bits, and this should be required reading.

    With all of this as preface, and after having screened Disney's new Blu-ray of Kurt Russell's Tombstone, I'm thrilled by the final result. Cinematographer William Fraker's cinematography is beautifully represented. Audio is in DTS-HD Master format.

    The version released is the theatrical cut, some four minutes shorter than the previous "Director's Cut" DVD, but I wouldn't allow that to prevent a purchase. One of the interesting things that I noticed while viewing, was the apparent cleanliness of the old west in this film. This in comparison to possibly newer and more accurate takes on the subject such as in Deadwood, where clean clothes are hard to find, and many of the characters can almost be perceptively smelled as they enter screen.

    There is one performance in the film that shines above all others, and that would be Val Kilmer's "Doc" Holliday. His work here is a great treat to experience.

    If one is new to westerns and the gunfighter ethic, there is no better film to spend a very quick 85 minutes with, than Henry King's 1950 The Gunfighter, in which Gregory Peck plays Jimmy Ringo. This also makes an interesting comparison with Ringo as seen in Tombstone. It appears that we know little about the reality of Ring's demise. While we have various incarnations of reel, there seem to be major questions about real. Go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Ringo

    A final thought. Mr. Russell has been in the industry for 53 years. He knows what he's doing. I'd love to see his take on this film with his own cut should he be able to find the time.

    Recommended...

    especially once the viewer is up on the back story.

    RAH
     
  2. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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  3. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    There is probably a good book or documentary in all this, if even most of the people are willing to discuss freely. I would surmise that a reasonable amount of Rashomon effect might come into play.
     
  4. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Backstory and historical accuracy issues aside, Tombstone is a very enjoyable film that has never seen a decent release on home video. Val Kilmer's wonderful performance as Doc Holliday and, to a lesser extent, Michael Biehn's Johnny Ringo elevate it to a level that would otherwise be rather mediocre IMO. Personally I'm overjoyed that we're finally getting a high definition release that by all reports actually looks like film! Of course I'd rather have both cuts of the movie available on this Blu-ray but it's not a deal-breaker for me. I can finally ditch the travesty that is the Vista Series Director's Cut DVD.

    Thanks Mr. Harris for your (as usual) informative and insightful impressions!
     
  5. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Great to hear this one is worth owning. Thanks, RAH.

    Doug,

    I was wondering if I should still keep my copy of the Vista Series DC DVD, which I never got around to watching, and am curious why you call it a "travesty".


    Do you just not like the DC itself (especially considering RAH's comments) or the PQ/AQ is really awful (or both)?

    I've only ever watched the theatrical version, so am not sure what you find so bad about the DC DVD. But I suppose I could always google about it and see if that's a rather common opinion of it.

    I'm asking right now partly because the wife and the kids want to do a "stoop sale" shortly today (ie. our neighborhood's tightly spaced version of a garage sale) and will include a batch of DVDs, so I don't have much time to do my own homework on this or to watch the DVD for myself. I suppose I can always just hold off on ditching the DVD since the BD apparently doesn't offer everything from that DC DVD.

    And oh, from the sound of it, I guess it's safe to assume the DC version on the old DVD is *not* Kurt Russell's cut of the film.

    Thanks for any info/help w/ that.

    _Man_
     
  6. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    It's not the DC that's the problem Man, it's the transfer and it's pretty horrible. EE galore and what looks like DNR used in excess. It's long been known as a problematic release.
     
  7. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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  8. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    I received Tombstone from Amazon a few days ago and was able to watch it the other night. While it's not perfect, this Blu-ray release is a H-U-G-E improvement over the DVD transfer. Not only was it a pleasure to view this film in high definition, it was a new experience for me to not be distracted at almost every turn by a substandard video presentation. Thank you Disney for finally getting it mostly right!

    "You're a daisy if ya do..."
     
  9. DavidJ

    DavidJ Producer
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    Wow, I did not know all of the backstory. What an interesting story and I'm sure there is more to it. I'd love for it to have a proper telling sometime. Glad to hear that this is a solid release, but I wish it was a more extensive edition.
     
  10. sark28

    sark28 Auditioning

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    I found the transfer to be a disappointment. Sharpness and color are fine, but most scenes are too dark and muddy. Often the characters appear as dark silhouettes against a blown-out white sky.
     
  11. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder 映画ファン

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    So Kurt Russell directed this but was uncredited. ?


    I didn't know that, i did watch the excellent The Gunfighter a few months back on television, Gregory Peck was very good in the main part and it's a film i would buy on blu ray, i'd also love to buy The Big Country should it get a great transfer. ( i'd even settle for a good transfer )


    If Kurt did direct then i would love for him to sit down and do his cut of the movie, although perhaps the theatrical cut is his version.
     
  12. QuickKick12

    QuickKick12 Auditioning

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    I liked Val Kilmer's performance as Doc Holiday in the Tombstone. I liked the scene in the bar where he spun the shot glass like a gun and when he was involved in the "draw" where they were rotating about a foot apart.
    Now that you were talking about it, the transfer was indeed disturbingly dark. I wish to see the blu-ray version.
     
  13. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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    I watched this a few nights ago and thought the PQ was excellent. I did not notice it being too dark. IMO it's looks and sounds fantastic.
     
  14. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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    Apparently there was lots of footage left the cutting room floor. The question is whether it was put in the trash or saved somewhere. I think Disney has a better record of saving stuff like that than most studios, but I'm not sure...


    Russell called it a Godfather like epic in the West in the original version...
     
  15. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder 映画ファン

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    I found this interview online, apparently Kurt has the footage and maybe one day we'll see his version.


    http://blogfiles.truewestmagazine.com/archives/westerns/2006/western-russell_godfather_10_06.htm
     

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