What's new

Blu-ray Review A Few Words About A few words about…™ The Last Sunset – in Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

Archivist
Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 8, 1999
Messages
15,550
Real Name
Robert Harris
There are quite a few Robert Aldrich fans out there, as he directed some interesting projects. I've never found The Last Sunset (1961) to be one of them.

It has an odd story, based upon an odd screenplay, that never really comes together.

The photography by Ernest Laszlo is not among his better work.

And the concept of The Last Sunset, which as I understand the premise, is supposed to end with a duel at that time of evening - doesn't.

Let's give some credit where credit is due, and acknowledge one of the problems of location shooting.

While lights can be added, there is this thing called the sun - I don't recall what the Mayans called it - that has a tendency to create shadows as the time of day changes.

Films are generally not shot in continuity.

So not only do we have shadows from lights in this film, but actual shadows cast by the sun continually change and are in the wrong place. I always seem to be taken out of a film by multiple shadows, where there's no apparent light source.

But let's get to that "last sunset."

There's a sequence with Kirk Douglas and Carol Lynley on a grassy knoll that occurs at sunset, even though the color timing isn't quite in sync.

Keep in mind that original prints were Eastman Color, which means that whomever did the color timing for the video master would have done so without precise reference.

Generally, if there was to be a shift in time, there would be a dissolve or other printer function.

There is none.

What we see next is Rock Hudson heading out into the street. Various shots of Hudson, Douglas - at varying times of day (or day for night) - as shadows continuously change.

So...

I'll ask other viewers. What's the intent here? Is the color timing simply wrong, and the entire sequence should be day for night, taking place during the "last sunset?"

Or should there have been a fade out / fade in or dissolve and the showdown sequence occurs the next day at noon. Or possibly between ten and two?

As a Blu-ray, Kino's new release is fine, but nothing special. Grain (which is occasionally an added effects matte) changes throughout, but it's never a huge problem.

Audio is fine.

I just wish, especially with the actors involved, inclusive of Joseph Cotten, that it was a better film.

Image – 3.75

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD - Yes

RAH
 

Robert Crawford

Crawdaddy
Moderator
Patron
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 9, 1998
Messages
58,788
Location
Michigan
Real Name
Robert
Well, never mind as I'm just repeating myself as we clearly have different tastes in film.

As to the color and light, I never really paid that close attention to it in this film, but will keep that in mind when I watch this Kino Blu-ray.
 

lark144

Screenwriter
Joined
Feb 22, 2012
Messages
1,741
Real Name
mark gross
But let's get to that "last sunset."

There's a sequence with Kirk Douglas and Carol Lynley on a grassy knoll that occurs at sunset, even though the color timing isn't quite in sync.

Keep in mind that original prints were Eastman Color, which means that whomever did the color timing for the video master would have done so without precise reference.

Generally, if there was to be a shift in time, there would be a dissolve or other printer function.

There is none.

What we see next is Rock Hudson heading out into the street. Various shots of Hudson, Douglas - at varying times of day (or day for night) - as shadows continuously change.

So...
That's the way it looked in a theater, as well.

And I saw this a number of times.

Unlike you, I have a fondness for this film. But then, I really like many of the films by Aldrich that don't really work, like "Ten Seconds to Hell", "The Legend of Lyla Clare" & even "Hustle". The miscalculations, and confusions in those films are so personal to Aldrich's style, so eccentric and individual, I can't help but be attracted to them, even as I find fault with them.

"The Last Sunset", and the way it was filmed, was so, as you say, odd, that I kept going to see it to see if it would make sense. And though it never did, I grew to like it, to become enamored of those production mistakes and oddness in the narrative, even though I could see all sorts of things wrong with it. In a way, that oddness in the script, camera style and performances, was, at least for me, what made it worth seeing again.

There's something tender about it, surreal even, though those lighting errors probably weren't done on purpose. The whole film, in its tentativeness, allusiveness and general weirdness, has a quality I love, even though I would love it if it were better.

And I know I'm not the only person who feels this way about "The Last Sunset". A poster for "The Last Sunset" is prominently displayed in Bernardo Bertolucci's "The Spider's Stratagem." I'm not sure if it's because he liked the film, or that the theme of "The Last Sunset" fits this particular film. Maybe it was both.
 
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread

Forum Sponsors

Latest Articles

Forum statistics

Threads
351,022
Messages
4,939,336
Members
142,964
Latest member
Makototron2000
Recent bookmarks
0
Top