Press Release Criterion Press Release: The Gunfighter (Blu-ray)

Ronald Epstein

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A key forerunner of the new breed of dark, brooding westerns that would cast a shadow over America’s frontier folklore, this subversive psychological saga sounds a death knell for the myth of the outlaw hero. In one of his most morally complex roles, Gregory Peck stars as Jimmy Ringo, an infamous gunslinger looking to hang up his holsters and start a new life, but whose reputation draws him inexorably into a cycle of violence and revenge from which he cannot escape. Directed with taut efficiency by the versatile studio-era craftsman Henry King, and shot in striking deep-focus style by master cinematographer Arthur C. Miller, The Gunfighterforgoes rough-and-tumble action in favor of an elegiac exploration of guilt and regret that speaks to the anxious soul of postwar America.
FILM INFO
  • Henry King
  • United States
  • 1950
  • 84 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.33:1

  • Spine #1053
SPECIAL FEATURES
  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview about director Henry King and the film with filmmaker, writer, and archivist Gina Telaroli
  • New video essay on editor Barbara McLean by film historian and author J. E. Smyth
  • Audio excerpts of interviews with King and McLean from 1970 and ’71
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • More!
  • PLUS: An essay by film critic K. Austin Collins
New illustration by Jennifer Dionisio

October 20, 2020
 

Ronald Epstein

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lark144

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I first saw THE GUNFIGHTER at a "kiddie matinee" when I was, oh, 4 or 5, and I've never forgotten it, especially the deep-focus photography of those barrooms--of course I didn't know what it was called then, but those dreamy yet seedy illuminated spaces became etched upon my brain, all those shadowy figures were more than merely shilouettes but a way of life and a sense of being and I was so disappointed when I got the DVD and saw that almost none of what I remembered was present. Yes, Peck's performance was there, that restrained yet emotionally mature presence of his allied with a kind of visual balladry in the way the film is constructed, but the images I remembered were pale reflections. So I am so looking forward to getting this Blu-Ray!
 

bujaki

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I first saw THE GUNFIGHTER at a "kiddie matinee" when I was, oh, 4 or 5, and I've never forgotten it, especially the deep-focus photography of those barrooms--of course I didn't know what it was called then, but those dreamy yet seedy illuminated spaces became etched upon my brain, all those shadowy figures were more than merely shilouettes but a way of life and a sense of being and I was so disappointed when I got the DVD and saw that almost none of what I remembered was present. Yes, Peck's performance was there, that restrained yet emotionally mature presence of his allied with a kind of visual balladry in the way the film is constructed, but the images I remembered were pale reflections. So I am so looking forward to getting this Blu-Ray!
MoMA 35mm nitrate print, perhaps during the King retrospective?
 

Richard M S

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I just re-watched this film last month; it is such a mature film - I too saw it years ago (decades actually) and it benefits from multiple viewings. It preceded High Noon (but without the box office and awards glory) but still, it is superb. Oh this is exciting news.
 

Worth

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Interesting that two Fox (Disney) releases are included in this month's announcement, Claudine and The Gunfighter. Let's hope that Disney opens up more of its Fox legacy acquisitions to Criterion and other third-party distributors.
It's only been a few months since Disney officially absorbed Fox, so there's a good chance this deal was made prior to that.
 
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Matt Hough

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I am very excited by this announcement! I love this movie; it pretty much breaks my heart every time I watch it. Can't wait to see it receive the "Criterion treatment."
 
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lark144

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MoMA 35mm nitrate print, perhaps during the King retrospective?
Didn't see it then. I think I was working or something. Only saw THE GUNFIGHTER at the Westcott, my neighborhood theater when I was little, but it left quite an impression.
 

bubuwest

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Interesting that two Fox (Disney) releases are included in this month's announcement, Claudine and The Gunfighter. Let's hope that Disney opens up more of its Fox legacy acquisitions to Criterion and other third-party distributors.
I truly hope Disney will allow Fox classics to be released.
As Worth pointed out, this deal was most likely made before Fox's absorption into Disney...

I also know of other pre-merging 4k restorians of Fox classics that have been shown at festivals or retrospectives and have yet to be released in physical format, such as Tourneur's Way of a Gaucho (1952)...let's hope we'll get some other exciting announcements like this one in the near future...
 
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