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Iíve always found GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL ($20) to be one of the most entertaining westerns of the 1950s. Directed by the legendary John Sturges, and featuring legendary leading men Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL is a classic retelling of one of the most legendary western stories. Lancaster and Douglas portray larger-than-life western figures Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday- men on opposite sides of the law, who form an unexpected friendship, first out of need, but deepening out of mutual respect. Both actors are in top form in GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL; Lancaster is perfectly suited to the stoic lawman, while Douglas brings to life the volatile gambler/gunslinger with his typical bravado.

As GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL opens, Wyatt Earp crosses paths with Doc Holiday, while the Marshal is trailing an outlaw to a town outside his jurisdiction. Although Earp has a genuine dislike former dentist turned gambler, he doesnít shy away from doing the right thing by saving Holiday from a lynch mob and an unscrupulous sheriff. Upon his return to Dodge City, Earp once again finds Doc Holiday thrust upon him- only this time, the gambler wants to settle his debt to the Marshal. Even after Doc Holiday settles his debt, he follows Wyatt Earp to Tombstone to help the Marshal and his brothers stave off the cattle rustling Clanton gang. The solid cast of GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL also features Rhonda Fleming, Jo Van Fleet, John Ireland, Lyle Bettger, Frank Faylen, Earl Holliman, DeForest Kelley, John Hudson, Martin Milner, Kenneth Tobey, Lee Van Cleef, Jack Elam and Dennis Hopper.

Paramount Home Entertainment has made GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. Having sat through previous broadcast and Laserdisc presentations of GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL, I can honestly say that this DVD transfer is nothing short of a revelation. Whereas the colors on previous transfers were wildly inconsistent and rarely gave one the impression of what an original IB Technicolor print might have looked like, the hues here are quite lovely and totally cohesive. The dusty tones of the old west predominate, while more intensely saturated hues occasionally accent the image. Flesh tones tend to have the homogenous quality of a makeup manís kit, but are never unappealing.

The image itself is quite sharp and very well defined, which is indicative of the larger photographic area of the VistaVision format. Blacks appear accurate, whites are clean and contrast is generally smooth. Although shadow detail isnít up to the standards of todayís film stocks, the image does produce a nice sense of depth. The film element used for the transfer displays few blemishes or scratches; however, a grain structure does become noticeable at various times during the presentation. Digital compression artifacts are always well concealed on this cleanly authored dual layer DVD.

GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL comes with a very pleasant sounding Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack. Virtually all signs of age, including background hiss and surface noise, have been digitally cleaned from the soundtrack- leaving a very crisp, precise sound. Dimitri Tiomkinís fine musical score benefits from the digital cleanup, never coming across in either a harsh or distorted manner. There are some limitations in the fidelity of these forty five year old recordings, but the music still sounds good with a bit of amplification. Dialogue reproduction is excellent, with the actorsí voice maintaining a genuine sense of presence and complete intelligibility. No other language tracks are provided on the DVD, although English subtitles are included. The basic interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features. No supplemental content has been added to the DVD.

As I stated above, I think that GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL is one of the most entertaining westerns of the 1950s. Both Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas turn in great performances, and this film is certainly a prime example of why they were a great team on the silver screen. As for the DVD, Paramount has done a terrific job with the transfer; offering the very finest home presentation of GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL that is possible to see this side of high definition. If you are a movie buff, western fan or are someone just discovering the films of Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas, this is a must own DVD.



Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2003 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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