68 of 69 people found the following review helpful
A 5-star Western on a 3-star transfer,
This review is from: Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove (Re-mastered)  [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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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 Sep 2011 09:06:02 BDT
Mr. Peter M. Brooker says:
This and other reviews here are misplaced. They are for the original mini-series, not the extended TV series.
In reply to an earlier post on 6 Sep 2011 11:15:24 BDT
Trevor Willsmer says:
Blame Amazon: they dump all reviews of multiple editions and sequels together regardless of how confusing that can be. The more people complain direct to Amazon about it, the more likely they are to stop doing it.
Posted on 10 Apr 2012 02:29:57 BDT
Last edited by the author on 10 Apr 2012 02:31:30 BDT
Jimmy Junkster says:
Re. the aspect ratio. Usually, I would agree that cropping is a bad thing but it does not seem to be as clear cut with Lonesome Dove. Apparently, it was shot on 35 mm film with a view to cinema screenings. Wikipedia says:
Lonesome Dove was filmed in a soft matte 1.78:1 (16:9) aspect ratio, allowing it to be cropped from the 4:3 negative.
That would mean they framed it so the top and bottom portions could be cropped without losing anything essential. Problem is, close-ups of faces end up looking hemmed in. Hmmm.... I think I'll still get it. It has to be better than the DVD I bought in 2002.
In reply to an earlier post on 10 May 2012 06:56:21 BDT
Trevor Willsmer says:
It's the close-ups where the cropping is most noticeable. I can only assume the 1.78 aspect ratio was chosen for a heavily re-edited cinema version along the lines of Shogun or The Antagonists/Masada that never materialised.
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