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Category:    Home > Reviews > Western > Large Frame Format > Tin Star

The Tin Star


Picture: B ††††Sound: B- ††††Extras: D†††Film: B



Director Anthony Mann mostly helmed stylish film noirís during the 1940ís with films like T-Men (1947) and Raw Deal (1948) being two highlights, but in the 1950ís he turned to the Western Genre and that brings us to his VistaVision-shot 1957 film The Tin Star.Like many of Mannís films, there are many underlying themes that take place, while on the surface the story is targeted towards the mass audience.


Henry Fonda plays the rugged bounty hunter, who has stumbled into a town that has just lost their sheriff and now a young replacement played by Anthony Perkins has stepped in.There is no doubt that his inexperience is overshadowed, but the young sheriff learns much from his fellow man, who was once a sheriff as well before turning to the business of killing.


The Tin Star incorporates all the themes surrounding the moral dilemma of killing and of course the right and wrong side of the law, but fashions together in a very moving and powerful film.No doubt, the strong cast and superb direction from Mann are inevitable the breath that a film like this needs.


Shot in 35mm VistaVision with a 1.85 X 1 aspect ratio, The Tin Star has been anamorphically enhanced for DVD with a very nice transfer!A good comparison might be to the original Desperate Hours (1955), also a Paramount title and reviewed on this website as well.Since the film utilizes the very clean VistaVision processing itís age has not suffered much and still sparkles with dazzling black & white cinematography by Loyal Griggs, the man responsible for lensing none other than 1954ís White Christmas and the 1956 The Ten Commandments.He paints a very neutral palette of the old west with lower contrast and the mid level lighting almost reminds me of some of the work James Wong Howe would later use in Hud (1962, another Paramount title reviewed on this site).


The transfer still has some excessive grain during certain scenes, but remains very detailed with nice black levels.Even the scenes involving more movement seem to have a nicely balanced texture that few older films can handle on DVD due to poor transfers and problems that have occurred with age.Even the soundtrack has been remixed for 5.1 and the Dolby Digital re-think of a mono based film works pretty good.The soundtrack never seems thin, although the sound is mostly generated through the front soundstage, with a few directional and musical effects being thrown into the rear channels.The restored mono soundtrack (as Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) is also available for a comparison.


No extras are available, which is a bummer, but at least the transfer and audio is as good as it will probably get and bringing a forgotten film like this to DVD is always a sheer delight.Not only that, but Paramount was smart enough to choose going with better quality versus a lot of extras, but something more would have been nice.



-†† Nate Goss


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