Hour of the Gun

Overview

The MGM DVD of John Sturges' Hour of the Gun (1967) offers a choice of how to watch the movie: one side is letterboxed at 2.35:1 (with enhancement for 16 x 9 monitors), capturing the movie's original Panavision image, and the other is full-screen (1.33:1), panned-and-scanned to fill the monitor. Anyone with any sense and a monitor bigger than 18 inches will choose the letterboxed side; the pan-and-scan job on the full-screen side is done well, but it's no substitute for the proper aspect ratio and image, even if ...
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Overview

The MGM DVD of John Sturges' Hour of the Gun (1967) offers a choice of how to watch the movie: one side is letterboxed at 2.35:1 (with enhancement for 16 x 9 monitors), capturing the movie's original Panavision image, and the other is full-screen (1.33:1), panned-and-scanned to fill the monitor. Anyone with any sense and a monitor bigger than 18 inches will choose the letterboxed side; the pan-and-scan job on the full-screen side is done well, but it's no substitute for the proper aspect ratio and image, even if the main focus of this movie is characterization and not images or action. The latter is very violent, especially for the period in which this movie was made, but the real emphasis of the film is on historical accuracy (in the action and portrayals). Sturges' goal was to demythologize the personae of Wyatt Earp (James Garner) and the others involved in the struggle for control of Tombstone, AZ, in the year 1881; he succeeded, but the result is also a dark, brooding film that engages in a little too much moralizing (little of it resolved) for most Western fans to enjoy. It's interesting viewing, but it's also not half as entertaining or engrossing as Sturges' earlier, more legend-based Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957). The 101-minute film has been given 16 chapters, which is adequate, and comes with the original trailer, which makes the movie look more exciting than it is. There are optional English, French, and Spanish subtitles, but no other extras, which is a bit puzzling, considering that there is at least one promotional making-of featurette about the film in existence. The disc opens automatically on a simple, easy-to-use single-layer menu.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; [None specified]
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Director/producer John Sturges never thought much of Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), his first screen treatment of the confrontation between the Earps and the Clantons in 1881 Tombstone, AZ. In conversations during the final years of his life, he maintained that the latter film was a production that was planned, scripted, designed, and cast by its producer, Hal B. Wallis, for which he was merely hired to direct. Sturges was much prouder of Hour of the Gun, his 1967 production dealing with the same subject -- which he seems to have made almost as a response to the earlier movie. With Hour of the Gun, he attempted to do with the story of Tombstone, AZ, and the conflict between the Earps and the Clantons what he did with Sergeants 3 and The Great Escape. The movie opens with the famous showdown on October 26, 1881, and covers the story starting from that event. Where the earlier picture played off of the mythology surrounding the gunfight, Wyatt Earp, and the Clantons, the 1967 movie hews much closer to the facts, including the trumped-up trial to which the Earps and their ally Doc Holliday were subjected after the shoot-out (which resulted in their acquittal), the subsequent attack on Virgil Earp, and the murder of Morgan Earp. The script, by Edward Anhalt, is a good one, but in trying to stick so closely to historical fact, Sturges hems in his actors. James Garner tries for something very different from his usual performance here, avoiding any trace of his usual geniality in portraying a taciturn, emotionally repressed Wyatt Earp, deeply troubled and torn by the obligations and limitations of the law, in a pursuit of justice that turns to vengeance. He literally melts into the role of Earp, but the spare nature of Anhalt's script doesn't give the actor enough to work with in forming a whole character; perhaps the real Wyatt Earp was too contemptible by today's standards to flesh the role out too much in the script. Garner had played vengeful, brutal characters before (including in the Western Duel at Diablo) with some effectiveness, but here he's wasted to some degree. Only the two best actors in the cast, Jason Robards Jr., playing the most colorful character in the story, Doc Holliday, and Robert Ryan as the villain of the piece, Ike Clanton, fare well, overcoming the restrictions imposed on their roles by the straightjacket of historical accuracy. Sturges succeeds in his goal of demythologizing the subject at hand, and the historical figures represented in front of us, but fails to hold our interest dramatically for the duration of the movie's 101 minutes. Even Jerry Goldsmith's score seems dull and uninspired, and the whole movie dampened down the career momentum that Sturges had built up early in the decade with The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/17/2005
  • UPC: 027616923547
  • Original Release: 1967
  • Rating:

  • Source: Mgm (Video & Dvd)
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 1:41:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
James Garner Wyatt Earp
Jason Robards Jr. Doc Holliday
Robert Ryan Ike Clanton
Albert Salmi Octavius Roy
Charles Aidman Horace Sullivan
Steve Ihnat Andy Warshaw
Michael Tolan Pete Spence
Frank Converse Virgil Earp
Sam Melville Morgan Earp
Austin Willis Anson Safford
Richard Bull Thomas Fitch
Larry Gates John P. Clum
Karl Swenson Dr. Goodfellow
Bill Fletcher Jimmy Ryan
Robert Phillips Frank Stilwell
William Schallert Herman Spicer
Jon Voight Curly Bill Brocius
Lonny Chapman Turkey Creek Johnson
Monte Markham Sherman McMasters
William Windom Texas Jack Vermillion
Edward Anhalt Denver Doctor
Walter Gregg Billy Clanton
Jim Sheppard Tom McLowery
Jorge Russek Latigo
Technical Credits
John Sturges Director, Producer
Edward Anhalt Screenwriter
Lucien Ballard Cinematographer
Sass Bedig Special Effects
Charles Blackman Makeup
Lawrence J. Cuneo Set Decoration/Design
Victor A. Gangelin Set Decoration/Design
Jerry Goldsmith Score Composer
Ferris Webster Editor
Alfred Ybarra Art Director
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Scene Index

Side #1 -- Widescreen
1. Main Title/OK Corral [7:50]
2. Clanton Funeral [3:15]
3. On Trial [9:01]
4. Payback [7:22]
5. A Powerful Vote [2:30]
6. Train to Tucson [9:00]
7. Forced Out [8:11]
8. Assembling a Posse [4:44]
9. Two Dead Men [2:27]
10. Dealing With Spence [2:16]
11. Bumping Into Brocius [5:18]
12. Revenge [6:24]
13. Colorado [8:25]
14. Crossing Over [6:50]
15. Last But Not Least [7:53]
16. So Long/End Credits [5:14]
Side #2 -- Pan & Scan
1. Main Title/OK Corral [7:50]
2. Clanton Funeral [3:15]
3. On Trial [9:01]
4. Payback [7:22]
5. A Powerful Vote [2:30]
6. Train to Tucson [9:00]
7. Forced Out [8:11]
8. Assembling a Posse [4:44]
9. Two Dead Men [2:27]
10. Dealing With Spence [2:16]
11. Bumping Into Brocius [5:18]
12. Revenge [6:24]
13. Colorado [8:25]
14. Crossing Over [6:50]
15. Last But Not Least [7:53]
16. So Long/End Credits [5:14]
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Menu

Side #1 -- Widescreen
   Play Movie
   Scene Selections
   Theatrical Trailer
   Subtitles
      English
      Français
      Español
      None
Side #2 -- Pan & Scan
   Play Movie
   Scene Selections
   Theatrical Trailer
   Subtitles
      English
      Français
      Español
      None
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