24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 16 September 2013
I have always had a weak spot for westerns and love the westerns of Clint Eastwood and as such this has always been a favourite of mine, the sub text of the supernatural setting (is he the ghost of the slain marshal or his brother) would be worked into his later work (Pale Rider)to better effect.
I am watching this while typing and I can honestly say I am very very impressed, you can see this has been remastered and not just upscaled ala Two Mules or Joe Kidd (both of which are a vast improvement over their DVD counterparts) the picture is as sharp as you would expect, the colour vibrant, the scenes set at night stand out and are pin sharp (a problem with DVDs and some Blu Rays) the sound has been remastered into 5.1, which does sound clearer than before but doesn't make any real use of the back speakers so do not buy this expecting your cinema surround system to get a work out as it will not.
what you are buying this for is the vastly improved picture quality and this delivers on all counts.
For a product being labelled as a 40th anniversary edition you will be a little disappointed with the extras, or rather the lack there off. This edition has a solitary trailer. I would like more Clint Eastwood movies to come with some outstanding extras or even a retrospective documentary or two but to be honest they have always been a little lacking in that department but as I want my movies on the best ever format with the best possible picture and sound I am more than happy with this release. I am not going to review this movie what is the point High Plains Drifter has been out there for 40 years so you would have seen it in one format or the other.
The only real question being is this worth getting again and I have to give a resounding yes put your hand in your pocket replace your old DVD or VHS you will not be disappointed, enjoy I am.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 26 July 2008
'High Plains Drifter' is my very favourite Eastwood movie (and that's saying something). I especially like the dark humour and ambiguity, but in truth, there's not much I don't like.
You just know something bad is gonna happen the minute you see him appear through the desert heat-haze in the eerie title sequence, and by the time the film ends, with the same shot in reverse (a la 'the Searchers') something bad has!
In between, we're treated to much violence, sexism, adultery, hypocrisy and general wretchedness from the Lago townsfolk, and they're the victims!
These people are dire, far worse than the actual villains, (who are gold-star nasty in a traditional sense.) they stood and watched as their sheriff, the only honest character in the film, was whipped to death in the street.
In essence, 'High Plains Drifter' is a cross between 'Witchfinder General', 'High Noon' and 'the Omen', only with lashings more unpleasantness. The main difference; there's people to cheer for in those films - there's no-one here. Even the 'hero' is a cruel, merciless killer, who is himself in no moral position to deliver salvation OR retribution to the cowering townsfolk.
And who is he? The murdered sheriff's avenging kin? His ghost? The devil? The plot leads us up all the various avenues and alleyways but in the end, it doesn't really matter. We're just glad that everyone who deserves retribution - gets it!
The doing-good-via-bad cliché is hammered home, but again we don't really care. We know right will out, however perversely (and hopefully brutally!) because Eastwood's with the programme.
Visually, the films superb. The town appears condensed, like a vacuum, especially when Eastwood demands it be painted red. It's not the traditional homely Western hamlet, which deserves to be defended by brave men for whom it's worthwhile giving their lives. It's a bleak, soul-less outpost, desperate and afraid of it's own shadowy secrets and the fact they're returning to haunt it when it thought they were buried with the sheriff.
Bruce Surtees camerawork effortlessly conveys this - and more.(let's not give Eastwood ALL the credit) We get a very real sense of the artless, cuboid structures and the creepy inhabitants deserving each other.
Performance-wise, Eastwood plays Eastwood with a twisted comic bravado (he knows he's distorting the western myth, by subverting the very iconography and legend that built it in the first place), he prowls the streets like Ann Coulter on the look-out for liberals; a cold glint as another low-life bites the dust.
Geoffrey Lewis is grotesquely brilliant as the drunken, heartless, leering chief-baddy, and the rare Verna Bloom is handsome and sassy as the rebellious wife of one of Lago's slimy conspirators.
There's blood by the bucket; roaring gun-fights; an inevitable,(but well-staged) all consuming fire; seriously nasty whippings and there's even a squalid, squeaky-voiced dwarf who, along with some 'pesky injun savages', are the only people to benefit from the 'drifter's' brief tenure.
'High Plains Drifter' is a delirious amalgam of all that's small and sleazy in our sugar-veneered world.
A cynical, yet not completely hopeless vision of mankind in general, which is as valid and relevant now as when Eastwood shot it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is screen legend 'Clint Eastwood's' second movie as a director.
in this he plays his familiar role as the gunman with no name riding
into town to raise 'HELL !'
after a long ride he arrives in 'LAGO' all he appears to want is a
quiet drink, a shave and a bath, however three gun-toting locals have
no intention of allowing the stranger to do so.
the problem is soon resolved.
the town has another issue looming, they need to hire a gun to protect
them against three gunmen they'd had put away who are now being released
from prison, the sheriff isn't up to the job, there's only one candidate,
the stranger, who unbeknown to the town folk has his own agenda.
are they are willing to agree to all his demands ?
The man with no-name demands that they prepare to welcome the gunmen and
tells them what they need to do.
but...when it comes too, have they the courage to do so ?
though not his best western it is typical in as much as he plays the
part of the stranger with a swift draw.
some gritty action sequences....a must for 'Clint Eastwood' fans.
Pleased to say that unlike many of the 'Blu-ray' transfers of his films
the picture quality is superior to many of his recent Blu-ray' releases
42 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on 19 November 2003
While HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER might not be of the high quality a "Fistful of Dollars" may be, this is surely a film you should pick up. It marks Eastwood's second film as a director and he certainly proves that he had guts enough to make this a tough western movie in the tradition of his "Man with no name" predecessors.
Once again, Eastwood plays an unnamed stranger, riding into a town that bears trouble. Quickly sucked into the local tensions, he gets hired by the town's inhabitants to track down the source of evil. Of course, how else should it be, he ends up being the avenging angel bringing very DEADLY justice to the criminals.
HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER is a serious piece of western-movie entertaining to the last minute. Eastwood shows that it doesn't need the name Leone to deliver a solid western.
The DVD itself offers decent quality and a great cover for the collector enthusiast.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 May 2008
This is a must see western. It's Clint cutting his directorial teeth on the genre after stamping his mark as the anti-hero man with no name son of a gun.
As a western it's a damned fine film, but it has a wonderfully mysterious quality to it that takes it to a much higher level. There are some truly iconic scenes on show -'a shave in the barber shop' & 'the bullwhips'. As a director Eastwood seems to live and breathe the west, as an actor he has instant believability, there's nothing 'showy' here it's gritty realism and Geoffrey Lewis.
It's gotta be watched and that's the bottom line. Adios.
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 25 July 2002
If you are a fan of the western genre then this 1973 masterpiece directed by and Starring Clint Eastwood breaks new ground.Clint re-works his character of "The man with new name" to give him a similar handle "The Stranger" but creates a new niche in this particular sphere by surrounding his star in mysticism yet creating an almost Gothic-Western with a chilling storyline.Straight from the outset the camera work is of exquisite quality following the slow horseback trail of "The Stranger" who almost floats into town to the glares and inquisitive looks of the small village of Lago.He finds himself the central character in a village with a dark secret who are in fear of attack from a gang responsible for the Horse-whipping to death of a previous marshall.After shooting dead some unsavory characters and raping a local woman the townsfolk take the unusual step of hiring the stranger to "protect their interests" in the local mine.From the off a midget (played by Billy Curtis) befriends the stranger and becomes his aide, firstly providing mundane tasks such as lighting his cigars before he is promoted to mayor later on.The Stranger uses his new position in the town to the limit and in preparation for the return of the violent gang seizes the opportunity to give the town a more chiling but appropriate new identity.The entire village is painted red, renamed "hell" before The stranger literally dissapears in a heat haze underlying the mythical and gothic elements in his character. Awaiting his imminant return the anxious villagers grow restless among themselves about their new recruit and they also begin to feel the pangs of guilt over the death of the marshall.The strangers response is clinical and justifiable on the behalf of the townsfolk and the gang who return to plunder it, but to the memory of the marshall it seems that his death albeit a savage one was not in vain.This film includes a strong cast,many of whom were to return to act alongside clint in his "Every Which Way....." series. The camera work is extremely effective and the result is a seriously watchable at times comical and overall a really classic film of its generation, including one of those famous Clint lines.....A rowdy mob confront him at the start in a saloon and tell him that "Drifters dont usually live long in lago.....they usually find life a little too quick for them"Clints response- "IM FASTER THAN YOU WILL EVER LIVE TO SEE" before shooting them one by one and walking out.Note In(your) Diary- Must see film before I Die!!!!
on 14 July 2015
I'll try to avoid spoilers here, because this movie is 40+ years old, and it's possible that a lot of folks haven't seen it. I recommend it -- it's an entertaining and unusual movie. John Wayne supposedly disliked it -- the West wasn't like that, he said. He's both right and wrong. This isn't realism -- it might come close to magical realism in visual terms, but it's probably better to see it as a pretty simple moral allegory. The issue, as I see it, is justice, and in the West, justice can't always be guaranteed by the ostensible guardians of the law. In fact, as this movie goes on, we come to realize that the action of the movie derives from a failure of the law to be supported by the very citizens that want its protection. To put it bluntly, bad things happen, and the citizens of Lago do nothing to stop them. SO -- where is justice to come from, and on whom should it be visited? Who has the authority to administer it? The answer is -- Clint Eastwood, as the un-named stranger who rides into town to find the citizenry facing a moral dilemma that results from their own collusion in earlier bad things. Basically -- this isn't giving too much away -- they made certain people take the fall for deeds that they were guilty of but which the citizenry also colluded in. Now the guys who took the fall are getting out of the territorial pen, and the citizenry is worried that they will come to Lago looking for payback -- and, as we soon learn, that just what these malefactors have in mind.
The stranger early proves himself handy with a gun, so the townspeople employ him to protect them. If you're thinking "samurai," you would be wrong. The stranger's ideas about protection and how the citizens should contribute to it are unusual, to say the least. There's never really any doubt about how it all will end, but getting to that point is full of surprises. One of them involves painting the town red . . . I'll say no more and just advise you to enjoy this. Punishment IS meted out!
All I need to add is that it is a good-looking, often visually striking movie, well-shot, and economically paced. If you're a fan of "Pale Rider," this one is in the same genre, but is by no means a mere repetition of that narrative. And it's fun.
It was perhaps not surprising that, having initially resisted the 'pull of the western’ with his impressive 1971 directorial debut, Play Misty For Me, Clint Eastwood’s second 'stint in the chair’ produced this archetypal 1973 film from the man’s (hitherto) trademark genre. In fact, the opening of High Plains Drifter, as Eastwood’s 'Stranger’ emerges from the heat haze before riding through a graveyard, appears to be a direct homage to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, as (of course) does his characterisation – a bearded, cigar-chomping, anonymous 'mystery man’ from the past. The film’s look and feel is also (particularly early on) 'Leone-esque’ – including an up-front sound design (clinking spurs, howling wind, etc) and lingering close-ups – although, overall, Eastwood’s film (unsurprisingly) does not quite match the idiosyncratic detail (and brilliance) of the Italian film-maker’s finest work (probably most significantly, there’s no Morricone soundtrack, of course).
There is, however, an unusual (and intriguing) sense of ambiguity in the film’s plot – itself showing its Kurosawa/Magnificent Seven roots – as, although the Stranger is (in trademark fashion) enlisted to provide the firepower necessary to defeat an imprisoned gang of 'soon-to-be-released’ ne’er-do-wells, the town in question, Lago (and its associated shady mining business), has its own guilty past which prompts ambivalence in (and raises questions about the identity of) the interloper. Another major strength of High Plains Drifter is its casting – a talent which Eastwood was to demonstrate to even more impressive effect three years later in The Outlaw Josey Wales – peppering the film with idiosyncratic character performances from the likes of (midget) Billy Curtis’ (he of Hitch’s Saboteur circus troupe) 'assistant barber’ turned sheriff, Mordecai, William O’Connell’s nerdy barber (the same actor provided one of 'Wales’ great cameos, Sim Carstairs), Verna Bloom’s initially defiant, conscientious objector, Sarah Belding, plus a number of suitably malicious 'baddies’, including Geoffrey Lewis’ Stacy Bridges and Anthony James’ (later appearing in Eastwood’s Unforgiven) 'weasel-faced’, Cole Carlin.
Ernest Tidyman’s screenplay is (in the main) quite sharp, with much wry humour – the sequence where the Stranger attempts to train the town in sharpshooting by firing at a set of moving dummies is hilarious – and the sequence of (literally) 'painting the town red’ is particularly intriguing. The film is also notable (and atypically innovative for the genre) in maintaining to the end a sense of ambiguity in the Stranger’s retributive role.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 April 2009
An absolute classic, I think the second that Clint directed after 'Play Misty for Me'. It has action, mystery, brilliant characters. I can watch this again and again, essential for any western collection.
on 1 July 2015
Universal has advertised this new blu-ray of High plains Drifter a 40th Anniversary edition, when it's definitely not
what a load of Bulls..t
there would be new special features like new retrospect featurette with Clint eastwood himself
if it was 40th Anniversary blu-ray, Don't you think
but there isn't, there's no new extras at all, just the usual Theatrical trailer
the only special treatment been given is for the Picture quality & new Audio quality that is it.
so all i can say about this new blu-ray version of this classic western
is the High definition transfer does look excellent, very clear & sharp picture quality in 2:35:1 widescreen
a massive improvement from the old DVD version that's for sure
plus the sound quality has been boosted to a new 5.1 Master audio mix, again much better sound than the Dolby digital
but that's it, that's it, no new extras- what a surprise
i definitely would not advertise this new blu-ray as 40th Anniversary edition, very stupid decision by Universal, brainless
so this new blu-ray is only worth 5, if your paying more than that your getting ripped off
5 stars for the film of course
1-2 stars for this new blu-ray based on no new extras just trailer