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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard Men for a Hard Land.
That durable screen legend John Wayne made two big mistakes towards the end of his career. He unsurprisingly turned down the role of Pike Bishop in "The Wild Bunch", one of the finest westerns ever made, but a far more visceral vision of the west than Wayne had ever acted in. He also spurned the opportunity to play the part of Woodrow F Call in the mooted film "The...
Published on 28 July 2009 by Bob Salter

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80 of 82 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A 5-star Western on a 3-star transfer
Conventional wisdom had it that the Western was dead when after years of false starts, Lonesome Dove finally made it to the screen. Starting life as a 1971 screenplay for John Wayne, James Stewart and Henry Fonda before becoming a best-selling Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, it was even briefly mooted as a possible vehicle for Redford and Newman as the...
Published on 1 Nov 2008 by Trevor Willsmer


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80 of 82 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A 5-star Western on a 3-star transfer, 1 Nov 2008
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove (Re-mastered) [2008] [DVD] (DVD)
Conventional wisdom had it that the Western was dead when after years of false starts, Lonesome Dove finally made it to the screen. Starting life as a 1971 screenplay for John Wayne, James Stewart and Henry Fonda before becoming a best-selling Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, it was even briefly mooted as a possible vehicle for Redford and Newman as the two former Texas Rangers who go on one last cattle drive, but was deemed too risky for the big screen. The end result was certainly worth the long wait, earning huge ratings and a well-deserved reputation as one of the finest television Westerns ever made.

True, the first episode is a bit slow as the characters mull over the wisdom of a cattle drive at their time of life, but the time spent getting to know the large ensemble pays off: by the time they leave the dead-end town of Lonesome Dove we know enough about them to genuinely care about their fate over the long and dangerous journey, giving us a Western that's not only thrilling but often genuinely touching. It's a beautifully produced saga, with fine performances from most of the cast - particularly Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones - strikingly directed, often breathtakingly shot and boasting one of Basil Poledouris' most beautiful scores.

So why only three stars? Well, unfortunately though the original DVD release needed remastering, this new edition rather botches the job. The picture quality is better, but unforgiveably the image has been cropped from its original fullframe to widescreen, making a travesty of the original framing and often losing detail in several scenes. So, for the time being at least, the choice is between a poor older edition in the right ratio or a clearer image but less of it on this new edition. A real crying shame...
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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard Men for a Hard Land., 28 July 2009
By 
Bob Salter "Captain Spindrift" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove (Re-mastered) [2008] [DVD] (DVD)
That durable screen legend John Wayne made two big mistakes towards the end of his career. He unsurprisingly turned down the role of Pike Bishop in "The Wild Bunch", one of the finest westerns ever made, but a far more visceral vision of the west than Wayne had ever acted in. He also spurned the opportunity to play the part of Woodrow F Call in the mooted film "The Streets of Laredo" based on a screenplay by Larry McMurtry. The film, to have been directed by Peter Bogdanovich, who made the very good "The Last Picture Show"(71), was also to have starred James Stewart and Henry Fonda. I recall reading of this mouthwatering prospect at the time. On Wayne's refusal the project fell apart. Instead he went on to make a number of mediocre westerns with a couple of notable exceptions. The exceptions were films where he left his comfort zone, which is exactly what "The Streets of Laredo" would have required. The very realistic portrayal of McMurty's frontier west much like "The Wild Bunch" was possibly a step too far for him. Instead, far from finished, McMurtry developed the screenplay into his glorious epic novel of the west "Lonesome Dove". It stands as perhaps the finest novel set in the old west that has ever been written. I have yet to read better. It deservedly won the Pulitzer prize for fiction in 1986. It is thought to be loosely based on the lives of two cattlemen called Goodnight and Loving who made a similar epic cattle drive. The film "Red River" is also thought to be based on their lives. The book encompasses far more than any feature film could hope to cover. At last in 1989 it was made into an expensive all star, no expense spared TV series which was able to do full justice to the book.

A superb cast was assembled. Tommy Lee Jones took on the part of the taciturn and tough Call and Robert Duvall played his close friend Augustus McCrae. Both actors were perfectly cast in their roles. Jones has the ready made features of the granite like Call and Duvall simply was McCrae. Duvall effortlessly played similar veteran cowboy roles in "Broken Trail"(06) and "Open Range"(04). He had come a long way since his early role as a villain in "True Grit"(69). Diane Lane took the major role of Lorena Wood the whore beloved by all, and Angelica Huston also appeared. The story is very much centred around the two veteran ex Texas rangers and their relationship. Gus extrovert and outgoing whilst Call is quiet and withdrawn, harbouring some deep secret from the past. They decide to undertake a cattle drive from Texas to Montana. It is a trip that requires tough men for the job as there are many hazards to negotiate. This includes hostile Indians and renegade Comancheros. Blue Duck the main villain of the piece is one of these, and is a villain to match any from the darkest fairy tales. Other characters are brought in, and sub plots develop when one is kidnapped. It is interesting when a sheriff and his deputy called July Johnson and Roscoe are brought into the story. McMurtry admired the film "Bandolero"(68) where there is a sheriff and his deputy of the same names. This hard land brings death and despair for many. There is action aplenty.

Having read the book I was not expecting too much of the series but I was in for a surprise. It picks up the flavour of the book perfectly and is a triumph on all fronts. The old west could be a cruel and unforgiving place. To survive you had to be as tough as the land. Call and Gus are from that mould. They are the good guys, but on the hunt for the bad guys there is steel in their eyes and they are to be reckoned with. The ending is particularly poignant, where we see Call suffer much like one of Sam Peckinpah's crucified heroes. We see him unravel and become human. He becomes his own judge and jury and stoically suffers the punishment inflicted on himself, all for love and the hope of forgiveness. This series is a towering achievement that does a magnificent book full justice. A must see. I was happy with the picture quality and did not notice any problems, but then I am happy watching dodgy old black and white VHS westerns on a creaky recorder. My apologies for a longer review than normal but this epic series deserves the full treatment. The only excuse that I can offer is that I am passionate about the subject matter.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, emotional, the best!, 7 Jan 2003
By 
Rosslock "rosslock" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
I remember seeing this on the telly for the first time in the late eighties as a teenager, and being absolutely swept away by it. I have not missed a repeat since, and have now finally added this to my collection.
Lonesome Dove is the swansong of two of the greatest characters ever invented in Western History. Ex Rangers McCrea and Call go on a last adventure which become a rollercoaster of a ride. The acting, especially of the two main actors Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall is fantastic, as is the scenery and just the feel of the whole thing.
Honestly, I can't recommend this enough. You'll laugh, you'll cry, but you'll never forget Lonesome Dove.
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shameless emotional manipulation. It's so good, who cares?, 25 Nov 2004
By 
Amazon Customer (Glendale, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Lonesome Dove [1989] [DVD] (DVD)
Playing the Texas Ranger turned cattleman, Gus McRae, this is unquestionably Robert Duval's greatest acting achievement. Had this adaptation of Larry McMurtry's award-winning novel been made for the Big Screen rather than television, it would have garnered every major Academy Award for that year. It's also every bit as good as the book, if not better.

In my opinion, this is the finest vision of the mythical American West ever put on film. It has everything: flawed good guys, horrific bad guys, Indian fights, shootouts, the hooker with a Heart of Gold, rustlers, a danger-filled cattle drive, hangings, lost loves, loyalty of friendship, cowardice, bravery, tragedy, drama, humor. The cynic will say that the film is simply a compilation of clichés. However, everything is tied together so wonderfully by Duval and a magnificent supporting cast, spectacular cinematography, authentic period costuming, and a soundtrack to knock your socks off, that it's hard to object even if you realize your emotions are being shamelessly manipulated.

I've plugged the DVD of this epic into the player more times than I can count. If you've never seen it, have a box of Kleenex handy, and indulge your senses.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 2 Mar 2007
By 
Four Violets (Hertford UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lonesome Dove [1989] [DVD] (DVD)
Sublime casting and faithful dramatisation. It was wonderful to see everything from this exciting, colourful story come alive on the screen exactly as I had imagined it. There is nothing about this not to like and if you are prejudiced against Westerns, give it a go anyway!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest westerns ever made, 25 July 2002
By 
Elmore Jaimz "bluemrblue" (Burnsville, Minnesota United States) - See all my reviews
Tommy Lee Jones, Robert Duvall, Danny Glover, Anjelica Huston, Diane Lane, D.B. Sweeney, Steve Buscemi, Chris Cooper, Frederic Forrest, Rick Schroeder, Gavin O'Herlihy, the late Robert Urich.....you've got to admire it for the cast alone.
And to think that it has some of the most memorable characters in any movie ever. Jones and Duvall were BORN to play these guys, they ARE these guys, they aren't acting at all. The interplay between the two men is absolutely fantastic. They have seen so much, have been through so much together, and they bring all of this into the performances. I love how they give each other so much grief. And yet it is obvious that they would die for one another. One man is a stoic, almost spartan in his dedication to work and duty; the other is just as firmly dedicated to drinking, cards and women. But both are good men, men of principle. People talk so much about how great "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" was, for the interaction of Newman and Redford. Lonesome Dove surpasses it. Dove is a true, sweeping epic, and originally made for and shown on American television. The fact that it was originally a TV movie, and not a hugely hyped theatrical film, has somehow made people blind to its greatness. For the characters and writing alone it can stand with the highest achievements of cinema.
And you should read the book, too, because the film follows it very, very closely. I guarantee you will laugh till you cry, and then you'll just plain cry, and you will not be able to put the book down or stop watching the movie.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shameless emotional manipulation. It's so good, who cares?, 5 Jan 2003
By 
Amazon Customer (Glendale, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Playing the Texas Ranger turned cattleman, Gus McRae, this is unquestionably Robert Duval's greatest acting achievement. Had this adaptation of Larry McMurtry's award-winning novel been made for the Big Screen rather than television, it would have garnered very major Academy Award for that year. It's also every bit as good as the book, if not better.
In my opinion, this is the finest vision of the mythical American West ever put on film. It has everything: flawed good guys, horrific bad guys, Indian fights, shootouts, the hooker with a Heart of Gold, rustlers, a danger-filled cattle drive, hangings, lost loves, loyalty of friendship, cowardice, bravery, tragedy, drama, humor. The cynic will say that the film is simply a compilation of clichés. However, everything is tied together so wonderfully by Duval and a magnificent supporting cast, spectacular cinematography, authentic period costuming, and a soundtrack to knock your socks off, that it's hard to object even if you realize your emotions are being shamelessly manipulated.
I've plugged the video tape of this epic into the VCR more times than I can count. If you've never seen it, rent it this weekend, have a box of Kleenex handy, and indulge your senses.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars lonesome dove - series of 3, 6 July 2004
By A Customer
Abrilliant western featuring an all star cast, stunning sets and superb screenplay, the story follows the often violent adventures of Captain Augustus McCrae (Robert Duvall) and the sullen Captain WoodrowF. Call (Tommy Lee Jones), two agingformer Texas Rangers, and thier epic cattle drive from the tiny Texas town of Lonesome Dove to the fertile expanse of the Montana territory.
Never has a western received such acclaim.
Lonesome Dove is the definitive Western, A tale of enduring bonds of friendship, the undying power of love and the inevitable price of the American dream.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, absolutely brilliant in every department!, 14 May 2007
This review is from: Lonesome Dove [1989] [DVD] (DVD)
I like Westerns if they're a little bit special and this one certainly gets top marks. The scenery is outstanding, the directing is spot on and the acting is the best. This film has many excellent actors and with 2 of my favourites in Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones playing each other off at every given opportunity and the very pretty and talented Diane Lane in the lead female role I couldn't ask for more.I always thought Duvall played an exceptional but under-rated part in The Godfather. In Open Range, another "old style" but equally good Western which I would recommend, he played alongside Kevin Costner.I hate the word "star" because nowadays it is over-used but I can watch almost any film any of these named are in.Superb.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars REGION FREE BLU RAY, REASONABLE TRANSFER, 19 Dec 2010
Considering its age (about 20 years old), the PQ is a reasonable-to-good HD transfer for a TV production. Very crisp during the daytime scenes, but noticeably grainy with some brightness fluctuations during the nighttime scenes - of which there are relative few anyway. It's also been remastered in its theatrical 16x9 aspect ratio - but was formatted into the regular 1.33 ratio for original transmission (according to the interview with the director).

It generally exceeded my expectations as I wasn't expecting amazing reference PQ, like The Dark Knight for instance, so I wasn't disappointed.

The main thing that let it down for me were a couple of terrible SFX shots in the first episode - it makes you realise how far SFX have come for TV productions. But they are minor niggles in the overall quality of the show - which is an epic 373 minutes of peerless melodrama with a career performance from Robert Duvall and a star-making one from Tommy Lee Jones.

Extras include:

- The making of an epic: 50-minute behind the scenes featurette
- Original interviews on the set
- A retrospective interview with the director
- Interview with the author

The best extra is that this is region free. Which is useful, as a Region B blu-ray release looks highly unlikely.
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