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Robert Harris

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If one were attempting to find a classic film that played more fast and loose with facts and time, Cecil B. DeMille's The Plainsman would be a perfect example.

Based upon a series of real (and unconnected) events, and real people, it's a film that brings them together at the wrong time, involved in the wrong or totally irrelevant events, and with props, ie. guns that don't even fit in the era.

Aww, gee, Bill...

It's Mr. DeMille at his DeMilliest, creating huge set pieces, with likable characters, that after viewing, one can only scratch their heads wondering where the basic storyline came from.

Is it still a fun film?

Yup.

Unfortunately, Kino's new Blu-ray via Universal is not a pretty piece. I have no idea if better film elements survive - it would be a pity if they didn't - but this one is a bit down the dupe line with some of the problem possibly going back to an early lavender. There are a couple of nitrate prints at UCLA, along with a safety dupe. Whether that was the source, I have no idea.

The basic problem is extremely heavy contrast, along with multi-generational grain build-up of the era all built into the preservation element.

The eye does get used to it after a bit, but I wish imagery were far better.

An odd film from many perspectives, and a necessity for collectors as well as Anthony Quinn completists.

Image – 3.25

Audio – 3.5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD – Yes

Recommended


RAH
 

Billy Batson

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Yup, it sounds just like the German Blu-ray (that has slightly windowboxed titles (usually a sign of an older transfer, does this one?). It is a fun film & I used one of the spare TV screen settings to flatten out the picture & it looked pretty good, the image is very clean, as I remember (I'm very happy to have it).
 
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RobertMG

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If one were attempting to find a classic film that played more fast and loose with facts and time, Cecil B. DeMille's The Plainsman would be a perfect example.

Based upon a series of real (and unconnected) events, and real people, it's a film that brings them together at the wrong time, involved in the wrong or totally irrelevant events, and with props, ie. guns that don't even fit in the era.

Aww, gee, Bill...

It's Mr. DeMille at his DeMilliest, creating huge set pieces, with likable characters, that after viewing, one can only scratch their heads wondering where the basic storyline came from.

Is it still a fun film?

Yup.

Unfortunately, Kino's new Blu-ray via Universal is not a pretty piece. I have no idea if better film elements survive - it would be a pity if they didn't - but this one is a bit down the dupe line with some of the problem possibly going back to an early lavender. There are a couple of nitrate prints at UCLA, along with a safety dupe. Whether that was the source, I have no idea.

The basic problem is extremely heavy contrast, along with multi-generational grain build-up of the era all built into the preservation element.

The eye does get used to it after a bit, but I wish imagery were far better.

An odd film from many perspectives, and a necessity for collectors as well as Anthony Quinn completists.

Image – 3.25

Audio – 3.5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD – Yes

Recommended


RAH
Does the disc look like this quality?
 

lark144

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I think the mind-boggling historical inaccuracies of "The Plainsman" where completely unrelated people and events are all mushed together, may be what inspired that famous couplet:

"Cecil B. DeMille
(Much against his will)
Was persuaded to leave Moses
Out of the War of the Roses."

It's a very fun film and beautifully produced, though the inanity and haphazardness of the plot which unnecessarily wreaks havoc with history as well as logic has always bothered me. I don't know why, as wreaking havoc with history and logic is SOP for DeMille, and whereas I find this highly entertaining in films like "Sign of the Cross", in "The Plainsman", for some reason, it gives me pause, possibly because it's US history, and I take it personally. Anyway, this has always been a visually expressive film, as well as a very elaborate production, teeming with extras and sets that seem to stretch into infinity, and I'm sorry to hear that's an issue. I'll probably pick it up anyway.
 

Robert Crawford

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This was another Kino announcement I was concern about as I had a feeling that the video presentation was going to be less than pristine and problematic. I'm still going to buy it as it has to be an improvement over the 2004 DVD. Yes, the historical inaccuracies bother me to a degree, but like "The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral", I can look over such inaccuracies if the movie is entertaining as these two movies. It's been a favorite western of mine since childhood and I look forward to watching this Blu-ray when it's released next month.
 

Robert Harris

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Yup, it sounds just like the German Blu-ray (that has slightly windowboxed titles (usually a sign of an older transfer), does this one?). It is a fun film & I used one of the spare TV screen settings to flatten out the picture & it looked pretty good, the image is very clean, as I remember (I'm very happy to have it).
It does.
 

Billy Batson

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I'm not that bothered about historical inaccuracies in movies, all historical films have them (some more than others - I saw Braveheart last night, that has one or two!), & maybe westerns are the worst offenders - Indians never rode around circled wagon trains (& wagon trains never camped in a circle), & I'm sure half the time the wrong guns are used. For the number of inaccuracies in a film, the winner for me is, The Great Escape, probably because it was made only 19 years after it actually happened & is full of so many erors, but it's still in my top ten of all time favourite films.
 

Robert Crawford

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I wish Warner could do something with that other great Western of famous historical accuracy, Santa Fe Trail.
I know for a fact, it's because of film elements is a major issue. Also, the term should be "historical inaccuracy" which is why my feelings about Santa Fe Trail have changed over several decades.
 

Robert Crawford

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I'm not that bothered about historical inaccuracies in movies, all historical films have them (some more than others - I saw Braveheart last night, that has one or two!), & maybe westerns are the worst offenders - Indians never rode around circled wagon trains (& wagon trains never camped in a circle), & I'm sure half the time the wrong guns are used. For the number of inaccuracies in a film, the winner for me is, The Great Escape, probably because it was made only 19 years after it actually happened & is full of so many erors, but it's still in my top ten of all time favourite films.
For me, it depends on the movie as I'm more forgiving for historical inaccuracy in some films more than others.
 

Robert Crawford

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Does the Uni fire have anything to do with the quality?
I think RAH already answered that with the following quote:

I have no idea if better film elements survive - it would be a pity if they didn't - but this one is a bit down the dupe line with some of the problem possibly going back to an early lavender.
 

Billy Batson

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Doesn't the DeMille Estate have good prints. I thought that it might be an older transfer by the cheapness of the German release (11.39 euros), but as I said, I tweaked my telly & it didn't look too bad at all. I'm sure Universal, using all available film elements could produce a 5 point transfer, but how many copies would they sell?
 

David_B_K

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For me, it depends on the movie as I'm more forgiving for historical inaccuracy in some films more than others.
I really do not expect accuracy in a western movie. To me, The West is a mythic construct that probably never really existed as we imagine it. Western films based on fact often approach a historical episode the way the world of opera does or the way Shakespeare did with some of his history plays. They get a few names and incidents and then make up the rest in order to have a better narrative. If one were to read about the gunfighters and lawmen of the old west, it would likely be a sordid tale with few really memorable or dramatic moments. I guess the idea of an untamed land to the west captured people's imagination and they invented a fantasy version that was better than the real thing. A perfect example is the famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. It was over in 30 seconds and probably should not have become famous at all. It was being fictionalized almost from the time it happened.

For a western movie, I think Gunfight at the OK Corral is accurate enough if one looks at it as simply a story based on real people and events and leaves it at that. It has Earp and his brothers opposing the Clantons along with a tubercular Doc Holliday and they meet at the end for a gunfight that is far more action-packed than the real thing. I think movies like Gunfight and My Darling Clementine wanted to combine a bit of the aftermath of the gunfight without actually portraying it. Both films feature an Earp brother being killed before such an event would have happened as a motivation for the gunfight. That way, instead of continuing the story with "Wyatt Earp's Vendetta Ride (shown in the movies Hour of the Gun, Tombstone and Wyatt Earp), they wrap it all up at the O.K. Corral. I am also not bothered much about the inaccuracy of The Plainsman. It touches on a few people who knew each other at various times in history and compresses it into a short action packed narrative. For most of the (in)famous western figures, a snippet of reality is probably all we need.

I do expect at least some degree of accuracy in movies about historical events, like Patton, Cleopatra, The Alamo or Waterloo. I am bothered by the inaccuracies in They Died With Their Boots On and Santa Fe Trail because I consider them historically set films rather than westerns. With Santa Fe Trail if one ignores the historical names of JEB Stuart and Custer and thinks of them as fictional characters, it makes the movie a little more palatable.
 

fdabbott

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I really do not expect accuracy in a western movie. To me, The West is a mythic construct that probably never really existed as we imagine it. Western films based on fact often approach a historical episode the way the world of opera does or the way Shakespeare did with some of his history plays. They get a few names and incidents and then make up the rest in order to have a better narrative. If one were to read about the gunfighters and lawmen of the old west, it would likely be a sordid tale with few really memorable or dramatic moments. I guess the idea of an untamed land to the west captured people's imagination and they invented a fantasy version that was better than the real thing. A perfect example is the famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. It was over in 30 seconds and probably should not have become famous at all. It was being fictionalized almost from the time it happened.

For a western movie, I think Gunfight at the OK Corral is accurate enough if one looks at it as simply a story based on real people and events and leaves it at that. It has Earp and his brothers opposing the Clantons along with a tubercular Doc Holliday and they meet at the end for a gunfight that is far more action-packed than the real thing. I think movies like Gunfight and My Darling Clementine wanted to combine a bit of the aftermath of the gunfight without actually portraying it. Both films feature an Earp brother being killed before such an event would have happened as a motivation for the gunfight. That way, instead of continuing the story with "Wyatt Earp's Vendetta Ride (shown in the movies Hour of the Gun, Tombstone and Wyatt Earp), they wrap it all up at the O.K. Corral. I am also not bothered much about the inaccuracy of The Plainsman. It touches on a few people who knew each other at various times in history and compresses it into a short action packed narrative. For most of the (in)famous western figures, a snippet of reality is probably all we need.

I do expect at least some degree of accuracy in movies about historical events, like Patton, Cleopatra, The Alamo or Waterloo. I am bothered by the inaccuracies in They Died With Their Boots On and Santa Fe Trail because I consider them historically set films rather than westerns. With Santa Fe Trail if one ignores the historical names of JEB Stuart and Custer and thinks of them as fictional characters, it makes the movie a little more palatable.
I agree with you 100% and I love the classic westerns more than any other genre of film.
 

Robert Crawford

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I agree with you 100% and I love the classic westerns more than any other genre of film.
So do I, but at my advanced age, historical inaccuracies just bother me more today than when I was much younger. With that being said, I will watch "The Plainesman", "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" and etc. at the drop of a hat. I've watched over 70 classic westerns in the last three months alone.
 

Dan Cooper

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This is sad to read about as i am a huge Gary Cooper movie collector. It sounds to me that the dvd may be better looking than this new blu ray and i may need to cancel my pre order with kino. I am not a super huge fan of Demille films and would place all of the demille Gary Cooper films a little lower than many of Gary's other films. This would have made a total of 33 blu rays i have for Cooper with desire, Peter Ibbetson, unconqured and Now and Forever still coming. I may keep the kino order as while i still have the dvd i recently threw the case out and placed the disc in one of those 200 disc binders. I am hoping that desire and peter ibbetson come out good as they are two of my favorites from the 30s.
 

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