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HTF DVD REVIEW: Clint Eastwood: American Icon Collection



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#1 of 18 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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Posted February 13 2009 - 06:03 PM




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Posted Image
Studio: Universal



PLAY MISTY FOR ME

Original Release: 1971
Length: 1 hour 43 mins
Genre: Romantic Drama/Thriller

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Color/B&W: Color

Audio:
  • English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
  • French Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono


    Subtitles: English SDH
    Rating: R (Nudity, Violence)

    Starring: Clint Eastwood, Jessica Walter, Donna Mills, John Larch, James McKeachin and Don Siegel

    Screenplay by: Jo Heims and Dean Reisner (from a story by Jo Heims)
    Directed by: Clint Eastwood



    THE EIGER SANCTION

    Original Release: 1975
    Length: 2 hours 9 mins
    Genre: Thriller/Suspense

    Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
    Color/B&W: Color

    Audio:
  • English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
  • French Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono


    Subtitles: English SDH
    Rating: R (Violence)

    Starring: Clint Eastwood, George Kennedy, Vonetta McGee, Jack Cassidy

    Screenplay by: Hal Dresner, Warren B. Murphy and Rod Whitaker
    Based Upon the Novel by Trevanian
    Directed by: Clint Eastwood



    COOGAN’S BLUFF

    Original Release: 1968
    Length: 1 hour 35 mins
    Genre: Thriller/Suspense

    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
    Color/B&W: Color

    Audio:
  • English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
  • FrenchDolby Digital 2.0 Mono

    Subtitles: English SDH
    Rating: R (Violence)

    Starring: Clint Eastwood, Susan Clark, Don Stroud, Tisha Sterling, Betta Field and Lee J. Cobb

    Screenplay by: Herman Miller, Dean Reisner and Howard Rodman
    Produced and Directed by: Don Siegel



    THE BEGUILED

    Original Release: 1971
    Length: 1 hour 45 mins
    Genre: Civil War Drama/Thriller/Southern Gothic

    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
    Color/B&W: Color

    Audio:
  • English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
  • French Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono


    Subtitles: English
    Rating: R (Violence, Sexuality)

    Starring: Clint Eastwood, Geraldine Page, Elizabeth Hartman, Jo Ann Harris, Darleen Carr, Mae Mercer, Pamelyn Ferdin, Melody Thomas, Peggy Drier, Patty Mattick

    Screenplay by: John B. Sherry and Charles Grice
    Based on the Novel by Thomas Cullinan
    Produced and Directed by: Don Siegel




    Posted Image Posted Image





  • Release Date: February 10, 2009

    Rating: 3 Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

    Starring: Clint Eastwood and multiple casts

    Written by: Various
    Directed by: Clint Eastwood or Don Siegel



    Clint Eastwood: American Icon Collection is a compilation of films made for Universal with Clint Eastwood in the lead role between 1968 and 1975. There are 4 films in the set, all of which have been previously available on DVD: Play Misty for Me, The Eiger Sanction, Coogan’s Bluff and The Beguiled. In prior releases, all have been available domestically in anamorphic widescreen except for The Eiger Sanction. (I make no claims about R2 or other releases) For this compilation, all 4 films are presented in anamorphic widescreen, and according to the packaging, they’ve all been digitally remastered. All are presented with the same English and French 2.0 Mono audio mixes from the earlier releases. There are some interesting choices here: Eastwood’s first directorial outing and a mid-seventies action thriller directed by him, along with the iconic Coogan’s Bluff and the more challenging gothic period thriller The Beguiled, both of the latter choices directed by Don Siegel. The collection here is clearly intended to capitalize on the timing of the imminent release of Eastwood’s 2008 period drama Changeling, but this will be a nice opportunity for Eastwood fans to pick up these vintage gems for a good price.

    Looking at this collection, Play Misty for Me looks identical in its presentation to the 2001 release, including all the special features of that release. The other three films are presented without much fuss in anamorphic transfers but no extras aside from early DVD “Production Notes” and trailers on The Eiger Sanction and The Beguiled.

    Posted ImageVIDEO QUALITY: 3/5 Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

    Clint Eastwood: American Icon Collection presents its films in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfers, except for The Eiger Sanction, which receives a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The films look fine here, although their age is certainly showing. Some grain and dirt can be seen here and there – you can see it right off the bat in Coogan’s Bluff. But these are also satisfyingly colorful transfers, particularly Play Misty for Me and The Eiger Sanction. The latter film in particular has some lovingly rich hues on display during the various conversations/confrontations with “the Albino”. I didn’t see anything outrageous in either direction here – just a nice collection of transfers of early 70’s Eastwood material.

    Posted ImageAUDIO QUALITY: 3/5 Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

    Clint Eastwood: American Icon Collection is presented in 2.0 English and French Mono mixes. The mixes all present the dialogue in a clear fashion, along with the appropriate music and effects. There’s nothing wrong with these mixes, but there’s nothing particularly exciting about them either.

    Posted ImageSPECIAL FEATURES: 2 ½/5 Posted Image Posted Image ½

    Clint Eastwood: American Icon Collection gets 2 stars for retaining the special features from the 2001 edition of Play Misty for Me and an additional ½ star collectively for the other three, since that consists only of the aforementioned “Production Notes” and distressed trailers for The Eiger Sanction and The Beguiled.

    On Play Misty for Me, we find the identical features from the 2001 release:

    Which is to say, there is

    -Laurent Bouzereau’s excellent non-anamorphic documentary Play It Again: A Look Back at Play Misty for Me
    -The Beguiled, Misty, Don and Clint: a brief additional featurette from Bouzereau about Eastwood and Siegel and these two films
    -Clint Eastwood on DVD, a brief but fun discussion with Clint around 2001 about DVD releases and supplements
    -Photograph Montage – a brief collection of photos of Eastwood and others during the making of Play Misty for Me
    -Clint Eastwood Directs and Acts - another collection of photos of Eastwood on the set of Play Misty for Me
    -The Evolution of a Poster - Here is a collection of posed photographs and then the advertising posters that resulted for the film. Some of the posters have the film’s original (and unfortunate) title The Slasher.
    -Theatrical Trailer - A non-anamorphic copy of the original trailer is included here, complete with the inexplicably bad music that literally caused me to blurt out “What the...” before it was finished.
    -Production Notes

    Of the other films, both The Eiger Sanction and The Beguiled contain the theatrical trailers and production notes available on their prior releases. Coogan’s Bluff is presented without any special features.

    Subtitles are available in English for the films, as well as for the special features on Play Misty for Me. Standard chapter menus are included for quick reference.



    IN THE END...

    Clint Eastwood: American Icon Collection revisits previously released DVDs of Eastwood’s early 1970’s Universal films at what will hopefully be an attractive price for fans of his. The only thing new for American consumers will be the anamorphic transfer on The Eiger Sanction, but for those who haven’t seen these films, there’s some gold to be mined here.

    Kevin Koster
    February 13, 2009.


    #2 of 18 OFFLINE   Jeff Willis

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    Posted February 14 2009 - 12:20 AM

    Kevin,

    Nice review. The anamorphic release of Eiger Sanction is enough for me to get this set although I already have the single-release of Coogan's Bluff.

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    #3 of 18 OFFLINE   Frank@N

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    Posted February 14 2009 - 03:16 PM

    I did get U's Western Icon set from a few years back, but I'm not so sure about this one.

    I love Eastwood, but having been in so many movies some are bound to be duds.

    That and I haven't even found time to watch the remaster Dirty Harry boxset yet.

    #4 of 18 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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    Posted February 14 2009 - 04:45 PM

    Frank, I believe you'll find that these are a mix. There is some great stuff in here, and some more curious material. You could think of two of these films (MISTY and BEGUILED) as the kind of thing Clint would do for artistic reasons, in between the Dirty Harry movies and the Man with No Name. And COOGAN'S BLUFF is a classic.

    #5 of 18 OFFLINE   Mr. Pacino

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    Posted February 15 2009 - 12:55 AM

    Is the picture quality in "Coogan´s Bluff" ,The Beguiled and "Play Misty for me" better than as the first DVD of those titles?

    I know "new remastered" but that doesn´t mean it´s truePosted Image

    #6 of 18 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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    Posted February 15 2009 - 07:55 AM

    I don't have the original releases to compare.

    From what I can tell, everything about Play Misty for Me is identical to the 2001 SE release. Same transfer, same 2.0 sound, same great extras. (and I mean that - Bouzereau provides a really nice documentary here)

    Coogan's Bluff and The Beguiled show a little of their age, in terms of some distress here and there, some grain here and there, etc. They certainly don't look like Lowry Digital went in and cleaned every frame. If anything, I think that Universal took the existing prints and did a fresh anamorphic transfer without much fuss. That same approach would explain the anamorphic transfer for The Eiger Sanction.

    I also note that the packaging says the films have been digitally remastered. It does NOT say "newly remastered". It's possible that the earlier transfers could themselves be considered "remastered" since they were converted to digital for the earlier releases. But that would be really dirty pool...

    #7 of 18 OFFLINE   Jeff Willis

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    Posted February 15 2009 - 08:42 AM

    Kevin,

    I think you're right about the transfers. Best guess is that they ported over the originals and converted them to anamorphic, those that weren't that way in their original releases.

    My set's on the way from Amazon. I'll post here if they were remastered for this release.

    It's going to be fun watching Eiger Sanction in anamorphic Posted Image I went with this set since I didn't have the original "Play Misty for Me". "Beguiled" isn't one of my favorite Eastwood films but the overall selection made this one an easy buy for me.

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    #8 of 18 OFFLINE   Mike*HTF

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    Posted February 15 2009 - 08:47 AM

    Nice review Kevin.

    I may pick this up for Eiger Sanction.

    #9 of 18 OFFLINE   Shakey67

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    Posted February 15 2009 - 01:50 PM

    I just picked this up today at Target for $13.78... and I didn't have any of these pictures before, although I've seen two of them, so I consider this a fantastic bargain. Yay, movies! Posted Image

    #10 of 18 OFFLINE   Derek Faber

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    Posted February 15 2009 - 02:06 PM

    I got this as well even though I have Coogan's Bluff already, which is easily the best in the set. Eiger Sanction is the worst, although still enjoyable in the same sense as Firefox. Beguiled, to me, is the biggest standout in terms of being an oddity in Eastwood's career. I think there is nothing even close to it in his career, even recently when he's been making masterpiece after masterpiece.

    #11 of 18 OFFLINE   Frank@N

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    Posted February 17 2009 - 06:44 AM

    So you liked 'Beguiled'?

    I've never seen it and I'm a little fuzzy on what you're suggesting.

    #12 of 18 OFFLINE   Christian Preischl

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    Posted February 28 2009 - 12:01 AM

    I just gave the new Misty DVD a spin and compared it to the old Collector's Edition release. This is definitely not just a direct port of the old transfer. On the old disc the opening credits sported a lot of dirt, on the new disc it has been cleaned up considerably.

    #13 of 18 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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    Posted February 28 2009 - 04:50 PM

    Christian,

    Thank you for the correction. Sounds like they did do a little remastering of their video transfer for Play Misty for Me. They left the rest of it the same, but apparently did some cleanup on the picture.

    #14 of 18 OFFLINE   Christian Preischl

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    Posted February 28 2009 - 09:07 PM

    Yup, that's what it looks like to me. Unfortunately I have a suspicion, that the "clean-up" process primarily consisted of running several types of filters.

    I also gave Coogan's Bluff a spin later on. What I remember from the old disc is that it was excessively grainy during the opening credits. What I noticed on the new disc was that as the picture fades up, you see the same huge amount of grain as previously, but as soon as the fade up ends the grain just miraculously... fades away. Just as if somebody has turned the DNR knob into high gear, so to speak. I guess that's also what they did with Misty, combined with some automatic dirt removal.

    So far I've only checked the discs on my laptop, I'll have to wait and see what these look like on my TV.

    #15 of 18 OFFLINE   JohnMor

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    Posted February 28 2009 - 09:55 PM

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Frank@N
    So you liked 'Beguiled'?

    I've never seen it and I'm a little fuzzy on what you're suggesting.

    I personally love The Beguiled and think it's one of Clint's best and I think it's the best of the Eastwood-Siegel collaborations. I understand why Dirty Harry entered the popular culture the way it did, but I don't think it's the work of art that The Beguiled is. Just my opinion, I realize.

    #16 of 18 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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    Posted March 01 2009 - 04:52 AM

    I noticed that same large amount of grain at the beginning of Coogan's Bluff. It's possible that someone did a bunch of DNR on that title - but if they did, why would they leave the opening sequence like that?

    To be sure, I did not find these to be bad transfers - and in the case of The Eiger Sanction, I thought this was a definite improvement over the prior US non-anamorphic transfers. It sounds like they may have run a digital pass over everything to justify the "digitally mastered" monker, while still retaining the old "Production Notes" and trailers from the earlier DVD releases.

    #17 of 18 OFFLINE   Albert_M

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    Posted May 18 2009 - 11:59 AM

    I picked this up this weekend - very reasonable price at Target.

    I just watched Eiger for the first time and had read about it being flawed etc but still enjoyable and I did enjoy it, BUT the ending was beyond bad. I can't believe how that was supposed to be plausible, even by action/thriller/popcorn standards. I am just astounded that this is supposed to make even remote sense.

    #18 of 18 OFFLINE   sestamuch

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    Posted May 18 2009 - 06:14 PM

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kevin EK
    IN THE END...

    Clint Eastwood: American Icon Collection revisits previously released DVDs of Eastwood’s early 1970’s Universal films at what will hopefully be an attractive price for fans of his. The only thing new for American consumers will be the anamorphic transfer on The Eiger Sanction, but for those who haven’t seen these films, there’s some gold to be mined here.

    Kevin Koster
    February 13, 2009.

    I tend to go straight to the conclusion and then read the rest again, thanks for this review, looks like there's some gold to be had here.