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Category:    Home > Reviews > Western > Large Frame Format > Last Train From Gun Hill

Last Train From Gun Hill


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



To be honest I didn’t expect what I ended up with from Last Train from Gun Hill (1959).  It turned out to be much better than expected, which I suppose my skepticism came from the fact that it was a lesser known title, and almost seemed like one of those films that Kirk Douglas just squeezed in between more important films, which in this case would probably be right around his amazing portrayal in Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory (1957) and Spartacus (1960).


Director John Sturges had just come off from Old Man and the Sea and was on his way to big success with The Magnificent Seven in 1960 and, of course, The Great Escape (1963, see that review elsewhere on this site).  Here is craft with working in the western genre is coming to near perfection as each scene properly motivates the next with more energy and ambition.  Also the acting power is matched as Anthony Quinn goes round to round with Douglas adding more fuel to the fire.  Douglas plays a sheriff in a rather peaceful town, whose wife has just been murdered/raped and he seeks out revenge.  The scene of the crime indicates through a horse left behind with a saddle that it belongs to the mogul a few towns away played by Quinn.  Of course it’s hard to get people to talk when they are afraid, but the truth will come out.  Further evidence leads that to one of the moguls son, which now he must stand between family loyalty and justice. 


This is one of those fast paced films that just works wonderfully and if you have not had the chance to see this film pick it up as soon as you can say “Best Buy” and not necessarily the store, but Paramount has issued this film very inexpensively and while it does not boast extras the quality of the picture and audio are pleasing enough to make it a nice own. 


The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 VistaVision image looks great in Technicolor and boast excellent color fidelity and clarity rarely seen on DVD.  While there are still some scenes with softness, the overall presentation looks good with deep solid blacks and well-rendered whites.  The saturation level is kept to a nice balance as well, and with the exception of a bit of grain here and there, this presentation is superb.  Paramount has been making some real progress lately with their catalog by going for quality over the quantity (in reference to the extras).  Quality of picture and Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono sound are far more important when trying to appreciate a film. 


Sadly there are no extras, but the price and the level of excellency for this DVD make it a nice purchase, plus it’s a solid film that can be enjoyed by anyone, even after all these years.



-   Nate Goss


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