1053 The Gunfighter

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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DarkImbecile
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1053 The Gunfighter

#1 Post by DarkImbecile » Wed Jul 15, 2020 12:43 pm

1053 The Gunfighter

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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 Gunfighter forgoes rough-and-tumble action in favor of an elegiac exploration of guilt and regret that speaks to the anxious soul of postwar America.

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

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domino harvey
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Re: 1053 The Gunfighter

#2 Post by domino harvey » Wed Jul 15, 2020 12:45 pm

Interesting that all of the extras focus on Henry King and editor Barbara McLean for one of the most archetypal studies of specific western motifs in the history of the genre. I think those extras will be really cool and welcome, but man, Criterion is just not comfortable with genres like this

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knives
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Re: 1053 The Gunfighter

#3 Post by knives » Wed Jul 15, 2020 1:08 pm

Criterion definitely sits with people which is unfortunate though given how underloved King is I can't be mad. Maybe this will lead to a small revival of Fox's Michael Curtiz.

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Re: 1053 The Gunfighter

#4 Post by Big Ben » Wed Jul 15, 2020 1:10 pm

I remember really liking this when I saw it over a year ago. But I'm pleased to see more people like the film too.

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Re: 1053 The Gunfighter

#5 Post by domino harvey » Wed Jul 15, 2020 1:13 pm

It's the best study of the weight of infamy and reputation. It is a perfect tragedy, and the ending punchline is a brilliant coup fourré and was probably thought up first and the rest worked out backwards from there

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Re: 1053 The Gunfighter

#6 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Jul 15, 2020 1:40 pm

A longtime underseen favorite, glad more people will have the opportunity to discover this one. My writeup from the 50s thread:
therewillbeblus wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 1:29 am
The Gunfighter: This ironic tale of karmic fate has always been a strong western entry for its dissection of the archetype and questioning of morals in defending oneself from the plagues of reputation. Consequences spruce up constantly and the relativist perspective of killing in self-defense as an exponential condition of killing in the first place. Peck wonders in the first scene why someone starts trouble with him everywhere he goes but all signs point to him creating his own nightmare swallowing him up through working as a death machine poisoning the world as leaving behind tar tracks that are bleeding tattoos on his feet forever. It’s a realistic and relatable composite, for we can not outrun our pasts or right our wrongs, and suffer the consequences of our actions for the rest of time.

Peck’s likeability works in his favor here and yet his acting strikes a perfect shade of vague where we sense that by surrendering his moral compass long ago this post-Faustian lifetime will be the first time he’s awoken to his responsibility as an agent that affects the world, only because that world now affects him and won’t let him lose sobriety to that fact. I love the conversation towards the end between Jimmy and Mark where they reminisce on their dumb choices as kids haunting them, and the moments of clarity that sparked change. It reminds me of the alcoholic reeking havoc and the person in recovery trying to cope while looking back in hindsight, able to rehabilitate but not achieve redemption.
SpoilerShow
Change is possible for the self but not beyond, and this narrative goes to great lengths to find resolve in this fact, an acceptance of which he finally finds in a bizarre kind of happy ending that appears to be devastating until we think of the bound soul that could only be freed one way in this social context. The bliss that comes before the storm is all Ringo ever could have dreamed of, and the actual ending reverses the reputation of dishonor to presenting a crowd of people show up to honor, the curse lifted and a life’s worthiness cemented and validated with equality.

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Re: 1053 The Gunfighter

#7 Post by Rayon Vert » Wed Jul 15, 2020 1:53 pm

So Fox is not dead?

I was just about to order the German blu, so nice timing...

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domino harvey
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Re: 1053 The Gunfighter

#8 Post by domino harvey » Wed Jul 15, 2020 1:54 pm

This is obviously a title they licensed before the Disney purchase

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Re: 1053 The Gunfighter

#9 Post by cdnchris » Wed Jul 15, 2020 2:13 pm

I'm going with the assumption they licensed a bunch pre-Disney and Fox was like "fuck it, take what you want" and they're now sitting on a bunch. I assume they have a few years with them but they're pumping them out at a good rate so far (2 this month).

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Re: 1053 The Gunfighter

#10 Post by domino harvey » Wed Jul 15, 2020 2:14 pm

I bet they’ve had this for a while, because no way would KL Studio Classics have passed on releasing this

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Re: 1053 The Gunfighter

#11 Post by Ribs » Wed Jul 15, 2020 2:21 pm

It seems like they signed a new deal a few years back (as there were no Fox titles in a long stretch) and this has resulted in these titles:

(The Tree of Life) - who knows if the Terence Malick of it all plus that the new cut had been made over years made it a separate deal
Forty Guns
Cluny Brown
All About Eve
The Story of Temple Drake
Leave Her To Heaven
(The Grand Budapest Hotel) - who knows if the Wes Anderson of it all made it a separate deal or something
An Unmarried Woman
The Gunfighter
Claudine

One would hope that it was a deal for 15 or 20 titles if not more (one would hope some of the Fox archive staff might have made it clear it was a bit of a fire sale, get it while you can situation and tried to license out as many as possible) and not just 10 but it's also completely possible that this will be it.

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Re: 1053 The Gunfighter

#12 Post by yoloswegmaster » Wed Jul 15, 2020 2:51 pm

Been on a western binge the last couple of months. Is this worth a blind-buy?

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Re: 1053 The Gunfighter

#13 Post by knives » Wed Jul 15, 2020 2:52 pm

Yes.

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Re: 1053 The Gunfighter

#14 Post by black&huge » Wed Jul 15, 2020 3:25 pm

Well... you also have 3 months to watch it if you're interested in buying it.

That being said I think I'll do it up tonight.

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Re: 1053 The Gunfighter

#15 Post by domino harvey » Wed Jul 15, 2020 3:27 pm

I legit can’t imagine anyone who likes westerns not enjoying it (well, it’s pretty downbeat, maybe “enjoy” isn’t the right word)

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Re: 1053 The Gunfighter

#16 Post by knives » Wed Jul 15, 2020 3:28 pm

Appreciate?

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domino harvey
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Re: 1053 The Gunfighter

#17 Post by domino harvey » Wed Jul 15, 2020 3:30 pm

Image

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Re: 1053 The Gunfighter

#18 Post by Luke M » Wed Jul 15, 2020 3:41 pm

Just this week I was checking out the board's top voted Westerns in the lists forum. For me, it's great timing to see The Gunfighter announced. Just need someone to release Winchester '73 now!

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Re: 1053 The Gunfighter

#19 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Jul 15, 2020 4:14 pm

I would argue that it's an upbeat movie if you examine it from the angle of existentialism and the optimism of change mattering to the individual, divorced from public opinion, which seems to be a huge point of the film. A man who was once driven by ego and reputation, accruing consequences that stamped him with a scarlet letter, is able to find a way to liberate himself of such by being 'present' - accepting what he cannot control and focusing his positive energy where he most wants to place it while he can. Outcomes and tangible signifiers of worth are weights that are abandoned in favor of internal change, and the results from such freedom allow for a surprising outcome of a tangible signifier of worth in the final scene that is powerful and affirming in its irony by stressing the gifts of treating life that way. The notion that we cannot change the past but that it's never too late to change ourselves in the present is incredibly optimistic, and a worldview that has been a benchmark of my life for a number of years- hence my comparison to rehabilitation in my writeup- so it's hard for me to see this film as anything other than a celebration of life (even if I "get" the downbeat reading).

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Re: 1053 The Gunfighter

#20 Post by nitin » Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:32 am

Luke M wrote:
Wed Jul 15, 2020 3:41 pm
Just this week I was checking out the board's top voted Westerns in the lists forum. For me, it's great timing to see The Gunfighter announced. Just need someone to release Winchester '73 now!
According to the Kino Lorber Insider, Criterion have Winchester 73

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Re: 1053 The Gunfighter

#21 Post by Luke M » Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:47 am

nitin wrote:
Luke M wrote:
Wed Jul 15, 2020 3:41 pm
Just this week I was checking out the board's top voted Westerns in the lists forum. For me, it's great timing to see The Gunfighter announced. Just need someone to release Winchester '73 now!
According to the Kino Lorber Insider, Criterion have Winchester 73
Wonderful news!

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Re: 1053 The Gunfighter

#22 Post by TheKieslowskiHaze » Fri Jul 17, 2020 4:45 pm

nitin wrote:
Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:32 am
According to the Kino Lorber Insider, Criterion have Winchester 73.
Would love a blu-ray of The Naked Spur. I watched it recently on the channel's excellent Western Noir collection, but, man, is it a bad transfer.

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Re: 1053 The Gunfighter

#23 Post by Finch » Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:00 pm


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Re: 1053 The Gunfighter

#24 Post by FrauBlucher » Wed Oct 21, 2020 12:40 pm


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Re: 1053 The Gunfighter

#25 Post by Drucker » Thu Oct 29, 2020 10:31 am

This really lived up the hype that I've read about on this board. The film sets a perfect tone early on and sticks to it brilliantly. One of my other favorite Westerns is Yellow Sky but one thing that sort of turns me off is the tonal shift as Peck sort of becomes a 'good guy' towards the end. Peck is just so incredible in this movie, with this almost morose tone that permeates every scene. He's been so worn down and he wears it in every scene perfectly. There's no sense of the glory of the old west, and only a celebration of the civilization that has arrived. I was shocked to see so many women, families, and school children in this film, something that seems so absent in other westerns.

Highly, highly recommended. A fantastic film.

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