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Category:    Home > Reviews > Biography > Biopic > Basketball > Sports > The Pistol - Birth Of A Legend (Rebound Edition)

The Pistol – The Birth Of A Legend (Rebound Edition)


Picture: C     Sound: C     Extras: C+     Film: C+



Made only after a few years after Hoosiers (reviewed elsewhere on this site), the independently made The Pistol – The Birth Of A Legend (1990) tells the story of “Pistol” Pete Maravich, who was at first short and young, yet was still able to become a major championship basketball player in this low-budget feature.  On the bright side, executive producer/director Frank C. Schroder does a decent directing job and writer/co-producer Darren Campbell comes up with a screenplay that does not trash the history of the character so much that the film is a hollow shell.


This is why the style and especially dated music help to sabotage the film, making its limits as a biopic all the more frustrating.  Though the film takes place in 1959, it unfortunately thinks its Footloose (1984) and it includes a sickeningly excess abundance of post-Beat It electric guitar work from hell.  Also, the film expects you to love basketball and tries far too hard to be one of the many failed “feel good” films from the 1980s.  It is not to say that this one makes you feel bad, but it is not very effective in pulling off that trick, unless you are already a giant fan.


The result is an interesting time capsule of a film that wants to be a time capsule of the late 1950s, but is much mole like the 1980s, sort of like Peter Hyams’ 2010 (1984) in reverse, which is supposed to be about the future but looks too much like the mid-1980s.  Both films suffer from the distance of the end of The Cold War and end of the USSR, though it is worse for 2010 since the “evil empire” expires 20 years before it should.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is grainy from the 35mm film stocks used, like Kodak 5294 (still clearer than 5293 for filmmakers’ reference) and the film could use some restoration work.  Randy Walsh’s camerawork is somewhere between the period and something more naturalistic, which serves as an asset to the film.  The original sound here was theatrical Ultra Stereo, a lesser version of Dolby A-type analog that had its share of distortion.  As in several cases of such films on DVD before, there are no surrounds where their would be to cut down on distortion.  This is a good-enough Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo in any event, though if the original magnetic sound masters exist, a remix (with a less dated score if possible) would be highly advised.


Extras are many, including a trailer for this and three other VCI family titles, text bios on three cast members and the two producers (Campbell and Rodney Stone) who supply a good audio commentary track, outtakes/bloopers, text trivia & facts on Pistol Pete and a making of program that is about 15 minutes and should have been longer.  All in all, this is a nice disc that families and sports fans can enjoy for starters.  Those who like independent film production should be interested as well.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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