In 1992 the movie western was dead. So, many thought Clint Eastwood was drinking in the Last Chance Saloon when he announced plans to direct the revisionist tale of a burned-out gunfighter. But Hollywood forgave him when "Unforgiven" turned out to be a critical and commercial hit. Ten years on and it's been given a DVD release to match, with quality documentaries that take you behind the scenes of a modern classic.
Picture This might be the 10th Anniversary DVD release, but the film looks as if it were made only yesterday, in a beautiful picture transfer.
Sound As observed in the commentary, this is a "very stormy movie". This provides a great excuse for a stunningly moody 5.1 mix with long rolling claps of thunder that rumble around the room, while rain lashes at the rear speakers. This is one of those mixes you can just lose yourself in.
Audio Commentary Richard Schickel, film critic and biographer of Clint Eastwood, provides an audio commentary studded with self-indulgent chuckles. Otherwise he's on hand to point out the few changes made from the book, and add some technical information on the shoot.
Additional Extra Features Also on disc one is a trailer, a cast and crew list, and a lengthy awards list.
Disc Two Special Features
Making "Unforgiven" Made back in 92, this original documentary follows the rainswept production shoot. Not even a Native American raindance could get the heavens to open, so an army of rain machines had to be employed.
Clint strides around looking thoughtful while his crew anticipate his every move. Most of them have been with his Malpaso production company for years and, as a result, the shoot runs like clockwork. You get to see some of the action shots being put together and, as you'll find out, dialogue exchanges on horseback are invariably shot with the actors sitting on ladders. Horses just don't stand still for long enough.
All on Accounta Pullin' a Trigger This new retrospective 22-minute documentary looks back on a film that Clint describes as, "everything I wanted to say in a western but couldn't." Despite the critical and commercial success of the movie, the script was floating around for 22 years. Clint's company originally passed on it because one of his script readers said it was too violent.
Eastwood...A Star This 16-minute featurette on the career of Clint Eastwood is the type of jazzed-up naff TV programme The Simpsons tend to parody. The presentation is jarring, with a booming voice-over that spouts drivel like ""Unforgiven" was not an easy film to make". Yeah well, this isn't an easy featurette to watch.
Eastwood on Eastwood Richard Schickel's hour-long documentary on Clint is far superior to the above featurette when it comes to objective detail. It's also notable for featuring Clint's rare early performances.
Clint apparently had no burning ambition to act during his younger years. But then that's hardly surprising when he was given silly roles in films like, "Revenge of the Creature". It was TV work that really kickstarted his career - also providing many a great clip here. Interestingly, while this programme does mention the bad as well as the good, it doesn't delve into the downright ugly. ("The Rookie" anyone?)
Maverick Episode Catch a classic episode of US TV show Maverick, featuring a young Clint.
Ratio: 2.35:1 (anamorphic)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Audio Tracks: English, French, and Italian
Subtitles: English and multiple languages
Captions: English and Italian
Menus: Static, with music
Special Features Subtitles: All of the special features come with subtitles apart from the commentary and the trailer.
This DVD was reviewed on a JVC XV-S57 DVD player.