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Blu-ray Review A Few Words About A few words about...™ - 1883 -- in Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

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I've thus far found time to view the first three episodes of Paramount's 1883, a backstory of Yellowstone, and will return to it.

My head occasionally goes to odd (creative) places, and one took me to a potential interview regarding ancestry between the wonderful Henry Louis Gates III and one John Dutton.

A bit of dialogue went something like this:

Dutton: I can't thank you enough for enlightening me to my family history.

Gates: You many take that back after you turn the next page. Would you turn that page please...

(Dutton turns the page in the book)

Dutton: Appears to be an inventory.

Gates: Precisely. Can you read the transcribed heading?

Dutton: It's dated 1860, and looks to be an inventory of household... Wait...

Gates: Go on.

Dutton: Did my family own slaves?!

Gates: That's what the document tells us. Do you see the fourth column?

Dutton: Yes, of course. A number of the letter "Ns," along with two noted as "M." What am I seeing?

*****


While I've been a huge fan of Paramount's Yellowstone, heading into its fifth season in November, I'm finding 1883 even more interesting, especially as a sort of re-imagining of the white man "conquering" the west.

It follows a wagon train led by Sam Elliott and LaMonica Garrett, as Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and Isabel May join them. Interestingly, its May, a talented young actress, who offers an occasional voice over to the goings on, that works in the same way that Linda Manz' did in Days of Heaven. It's always a dangerous place to go. But thankfully this works.

McGraw plays James Dutton, a Civil War veteran, who had fought for the South, and spent several years in a camp for doing so. Born c. 1840, I'm presuming he would have been John's (the character played by Kevin Costner) great-grandfather.

While I'm accepting of the new history, my mind keeps trying to tie in to reality.

Here's the reality that I'm led to believe.

The point is made in the first episode that the folks that have hired the train leaders to guide them west, can't afford train passage, and even if they could, they had too much personal gear with them brought from their homes in Europe.

So I buy the concept of the wagon train.

By 1883 there were more than a hundred thousand miles of railroad tracks in the west, making travel from Texas to Wyoming relatively easy.

Wagon trains no longer existed, except for a few hundred miles here and there.

Even more interesting, the West had been divided into privately owned 160 acre homesteads. Only seven years later, in 1890, the U.S. government would declare that the frontier had ended.

In Wyoming in 1883, huge ranches (established just before and just after the Civil War) existed. The establishment of those ranches is the background of Lonesome Dove and The Tall Men, the Clark Gable/Raoul Walsh 1955 Cinemascope film. In the late 1880s and early 1890s, the famous range wars occurred because of the anger the big ranchers felt for incoming homesteaders - the background of Shane, Heaven’s Gate and Open Range. By 1883 it seems that the wagon train would have been fiercely resisted by big ranchers.

All of that noted, it seems that a wagon train would have also needed permission to cross barbed wire properly every 160 acres - for a thousand miles...

With what I see as reality out of the way, 1883 is a wonderfully entertaining series that seems to have a bit of a free flow as far as running times are concerned. The times fit the storyline held within, and I like that. Streaming is a good thing.

The series also caught my attention from the first frame, with it's big close up of Isabel May laying on dusty ground, which then kicks into action in a similar way to the opening of Lost.

It's a beautiful produced, directed and acted series, with gorgeous cinematography, shot with an Alexa. More on that here:


Available in Blu-ray, the projected image is extremely highly resolved, proving once again that 4k isn't always a necessity. Color and densities are beautifully rendered, along with deep rich blacks. Beautiful imagery.

An aspect ratio of 2:1 has been used, presumably referencing Universal westerns of the early wide-screen era.

Well worth your time, and a bargain at only 25 greenbacks.


Image - 5

Audio – 5 (Dolby TrueHD 5.1)

Pass / Fail – Pass

Plays nicely with projectors - Yes

Highly Recommended

RAH
 
Last edited:

B-ROLL

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I've thus far found time to view the first three episodes of Paramount's 1883, a backstory of Yellowstone, and will return to it.

My head occasionally goes to odd (creative) places, and one took me to a potential interview regarding ancestry between the wonderful Henry Louis Gates III and one John Dutton.

A bit of dialogue went something like this:

Dutton: I can't thank you enough for enlightening me to my family history.

Gates: You many take that back after you turn the next page. Would you turn that page please...

(Dutton turns the page in the book)

Dutton: Appears to be an inventory.

Gates: Precisely. Can you read the transcribed heading?

Dutton: It's dated 1860, and looks to be an inventory of household... Wait...

Gates: Go on.

Dutton: Did my family own slaves?!

Gates: That's what the document tells us. Do you see the fourth column?

Dutton: Yes, of course. A number of the letter "Ns," along with two noted as "M." What am I seeing?

*****
I am reminded of my Dad's quote when I told him I was working his family's genealogy. "Don't look too far up the family tree - some of your relatives might be hanging from it." All I can say is members of both sides of my family tree have changed their last names for reasons so notorious theatrical films have been released about them ...

Finding Your Roots is available on PBS and Amazon Prime (Episodes air on Tuesdays. tonight's epsode is a rerun). Also Dr. Gates and I may be related ...
(I highly recommend the episode with Mia (Ronan's mother) Farrow, Anjelica Houston, and Isabella Rosellini for fans of this board)

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program ...
 

jayembee

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Despite liking the films that Taylor Sheridan wrote, I never tried Yellowstone. It just looked like a Dallas wannabe to me. But 1883 sold me just by having Sam Elliott in the cast. Loved watching it on Paramount+. So much, that I decided to try Yellowstone in spite of my misgivings. I gave up after something like four episodes. Should've listened to my gut.
 

JoeDoakes

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Ray
I've thus far found time to view the first three episodes of Paramount's 1883, a backstory of Yellowstone, and will return to it.

My head occasionally goes to odd (creative) places, and one took me to a potential interview regarding ancestry between the wonderful Henry Louis Gates III and one John Dutton.

A bit of dialogue went something like this:

Dutton: I can't thank you enough for enlightening me to my family history.

Gates: You many take that back after you turn the next page. Would you turn that page please...

(Dutton turns the page in the book)

Dutton: Appears to be an inventory.

Gates: Precisely. Can you read the transcribed heading?

Dutton: It's dated 1860, and looks to be an inventory of household... Wait...

Gates: Go on.

Dutton: Did my family own slaves?!

Gates: That's what the document tells us. Do you see the fourth column?

Dutton: Yes, of course. A number of the letter "Ns," along with two noted as "M." What am I seeing?

*****


While I've been a huge fan of Paramount's Yellowstone, heading into its fifth season in November, I'm finding 1883 even more interesting, especially as a sort of re-imagining of the white man "conquering" the west.

It follows a wagon train led by Sam Elliott and LaMonica Garrett, as Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and Isabel May join them. Interestingly, its May, a talented young actress, who offers an occasional voice over to the goings on, that works in the same way that Linda Manz' did in Days of Heaven. It's always a dangerous place to go. But thankfully this works.

McGraw plays James Dutton, a Civil War veteran, who had fought for the South, and spent several years in a camp for doing so. Born c. 1840, I'm presuming he would have been John's (the character played by Kevin Costner) great-grandfather.

While I'm accepting of the new history, my mind keeps trying to tie in to reality.

Here's the reality that I'm led to believe.

The point is made in the first episode that the folks that have hired the train leaders to guide them west, can't afford train passage, and even if they could, they had too much personal gear with them brought from their homes in Europe.

So I buy the concept of the wagon train.

By 1883 there were more than a hundred thousand miles of railroad tracks in the west, making travel from Texas to Wyoming relatively easy.

Wagon trains no longer existed, except for a few hundred miles here and there.

Even more interesting, the West had been divided into privately owned 160 acre homesteads. Only seven years later, in 1890, the U.S. government would declare that the frontier had ended.

In Wyoming in 1883, huge ranches (established just before and just after the Civil War) existed. The establishment of those ranches is the background of Lonesome Dove and The Tall Men, the Clark Gable/Raoul Walsh 1955 Cinemascope film. In the late 1880s and early 1890s, the famous range wars occurred because of the anger the big ranchers felt for incoming homesteaders - the background of Shane, Heaven’s Gate and Open Range. By 1883 it seems that the wagon train would have been fiercely resisted by big ranchers.

All of that noted, it seems that a wagon train would have also needed permission to cross barbed wire properly every 160 acres - for a thousand miles...

With what I see as reality out of the way, 1883 is a wonderfully entertaining series that seems to have a bit of a free flow as far as running times are concerned. The times fit the storyline held within, and I like that. Streaming is a good thing.

The series also caught my attention from the first frame, with it's big close up of Isabel May laying on dusty ground, which then kicks into action in a similar way to the opening of Lost.

It's a beautiful produced, directed and acted series, with gorgeous cinematography, shot with an Alexa. More on that here:


Available in Blu-ray, the projected image is extremely highly resolved, proving once again that 4k isn't always a necessity. Color and densities are beautifully rendered, along with deep rich blacks. Beautiful imagery.

An aspect ratio of 2:1 has been used, presumably referencing Universal westerns of the early wide-screen era.

Well worth your time, and a bargain at only 25 greenbacks.


Image - 5

Audio – 5 (Dolby Digital 5.1)

Pass / Fail – Pass

Plays nicely with projectors - Yes

Highly Recommended

RAH
I suppose you’re saying that if they’d called it “1873” you would have been fine with it
 

Robert Harris

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I suppose you’re saying that if they’d called it “1873” you would have been fine with it
In 1883, what we now consider to e the Old West, the American Frontier, was almost a thing of the past.

1873 would have given them far more reach.

Nonetheless, 1883 is a wonderful series that shows the era of the wagon train for what it was - a life-threatening event for a myriad of reasons.

I’m now half way through the season. More lovely cinematography and editing that defies takes being made in an outdoor environment. The difficulty of the production can be seen through a dozen shots from different angles - and presumably different times - as the color of the sky changes. One shot goes cold. MLSs and MCUs don’t always cut together. But through it all Miss May’s make-up remains lovely and perfect. I probably would have gone with just enough to get by - an almost naked face for an actor with a natural beauty that can do without.

Another way to consider the dangers of wagon trains, is in relation to those two heroic ladies spending weeks taping together the remains of those two hacked reels of Out of the Blue.

Talk about brave. Easier to have taken that wagon train.
 
Last edited:

JoeDoakes

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Ray
I’m now half way through the season. More lovely cinematography and editing that defies takes being made in an outdoor environment. The difficulty of the production can be seen through a dozen shots from different angles - and presumably different times - as the color of the sky changes. One shot goes cold. MLSs and MCUs don’t always cut together. But through it all Miss May’s make-up remains lovely and perfect. I probably would have gone with just enough to get by - an almost naked face for an actor with a natural beauty that can do without.
Sounds like you weren't a fan of Claudette Colbert's Drums Along the Mohawk look.
 

Robert Harris

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Retracting my comments re Miss May’s make-up. Whether its a big lighter in episodes 5 & 6 I don’t know, but it seems to work. Superb cast overall, but she and Mr. Elliott shine. The young lady can have quite a future ahead of her.
 

B-ROLL

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Wal*Mart does have an exclusive ...
1662010308430.png

With their Digital Versatile Discs currently $19.96 - The Blu-ray set sans cards is $24.96 ...
 

JohnnyLancer

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Love this review, and like Mr Harris found the show to not only be well made but compelling in a way I didn't expect. Some have seen something like wagon train, and for its time it was great but it didn't show the hardships. Or cast people of diffrent dialects/cultures to hone in on the fact america was built by a multitude of diffrent people. If someone hasn't seen it I would tell them dispell any relationship you had to westerns of the past and allow the story to take you by the hand. Mr Sheridan is a gem of man and his story to getting here could be a film itself. My only problem with the series is I wish the immigrants at times weren't treated like children to the degree that they were. Other than that it's quite seamless in just about every category.
 

Robert Harris

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Gets better. Episode 8 - some wonderful (feature quality) effects, and hero Native Americans. It just works.

If I ruled the world I’d slow down the unreadable end credits, and allow people their due credit.
 

JohnnyLancer

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Kevin Taffe
Gets better. Episode 8 - some wonderful (feature quality) effects, and hero Native Americans. It just works.

If I ruled the world I’d slow down the unreadable end credits, and allow people their due credit.
Very good episode. The last shot of the train and the natives was quite something. I don't want to spoil anything. It truly moved me and I agree about the credits. Seems like that happens with quite a few shows I've noticed.
 

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