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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Anthology > TV Mini-Series > Robert Altman presents "Gun" (TV Mini-Series)

Robert Altman presents ďGunĒ (TV mini-series)


Picture: C+†††† Sound: B-†††† Extras: C†††† Episodes: B-



Filmmaker Robert Altman occasionally enters the world of television, but not much.When he does, it is something different, like the Tanner saga.Some people who may have thought Gun was spin-off of Sledge Hammer! (reviewed elsewhere on this site) quickly found out otherwise when Altmanís name was attached.Done in six-parts, the mini-series is an anthology of sorts for the most part where the same gun is followed through six different tales.At first, it is interesting, but the later shows go into the wrong direction by getting too silly, choppy and predictable.


The shows are:


1)     Columbus Day stars James Gandofini as a security guard who is certain an Arab man who has entered the airport is a threat and this was 1997.He is right; the man has a gun and one of the bullets have the mark of Islam on it, in a gun that just killed a top Turkish official.Rosanna Arquette and Peter Horton co-star in this fine opening show written and directed by James Sadwith.

2)     All The Presidentís Women is Altmanís show with Daryl Hannah, Sally Kellerman, Randy Quaid, Jennifer Tilly and Sean Young as a bunch of friends who center around a country club where Quaid may finally become its president.Too bad he is making the rounds with the women, or that an abandoned and loaded gun has turned up.

3)     The Hole is the late Ted Demmeís piece from a teleplay by Sadwith, in which a young girl (Kirsten Dunst) stuck in a dysfunctional family that includes a passive mother (Carrie Fisher in great dramatic form) and two sick men: her step-father and a loner young man who might be a killer.

4)     The Shot features Daniel Stern and Kathy Baker as a couple in the middle of a holdup.He becomes vigilante and chases away the young African American, gun-toting criminals.James Foley directed the Sadwith teleplay that is possibly racist, narratively problematic and with a conclusion that is unsatisfying, out of place and sadly throws the whole series off.Too bad, because the idea that the gun can be bad and a loose one has a detrimental psychological effect on people was a great thing to do.

5)     Ricochet has Peter Horton switch to directing as a homeless man finds a gun (yes, that one) that is evidence in a murder (another one), but he keeps it instead.Tess Harper, Christopher McDonald, Nancy Travis and Martin Sheen star in a decent show that almost gets the series back on track.

6)     Father John: An Article Of Faith is the last and worse of the shows as Brooke Adams, Maria Conchita Alonzo, Fred Ward and Edward James Olmos is wasted in an awful installment over a murdered priest.Sadwith co-wrote the teleplay with Joe Cacaci, who wrote the original story.It is choppy, but the directing of hack director Jeremiah Chechik, who had just disemboweled the French classic Diabolique and was about to destroy the classic British TV series The Avengers a few years later.This is almost as much of a disaster and was the beginning of the end of Chechik as a director.Here is the first record of the damage.




I remembered the original broadcast of the series on ABC and it was not the success the network had hoped for.You can see why.There is enough good work here to justify catching the show again and skipping the latter half, but it was at least ambitious in theme, which most TV mini-series have not been since the 1980s.You can see why so many good actors participated.


The full frame 1.33 X 1 image is consistent with a program shot for TV at the time.There are detail limits, but this looks decent for its age.The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is not bad, with good Pro Logic surrounds.That includes the U2 remake of The Beatlesí classic Happiness Is A Warm Gun, which is not as impressive as it should have been, but it was a coup to get the bandís song for a TV program.The few extras include stills, a big trailer section of many other Tango Entertainment DVD releases and an 8-page booklet about the show that has limited text.



-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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