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Johnson County War

Overview

It's all out war in the country in the made-for-TV film Johnson County War. The movie is presented in its original 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio, sporting solid colors and dark black levels throughout. While there are a few inherent problems with this transfer (including a lack of sharpness in the image), overall this is an above-average transfer for a made-for-TV film. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround in English and aptly supports the film when needed. Viewers won't find much among this...
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Overview

It's all out war in the country in the made-for-TV film Johnson County War. The movie is presented in its original 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio, sporting solid colors and dark black levels throughout. While there are a few inherent problems with this transfer (including a lack of sharpness in the image), overall this is an above-average transfer for a made-for-TV film. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround in English and aptly supports the film when needed. Viewers won't find much among this mix to get excited about -- directional effects and surround sounds are kept to the bare minimum. However, the audio mix is completely free and clear of any hiss or distortion. No alternate subtitles or soundtracks are available on this mix. The extra features on Johnson County War are floating at the bare minimum -- all that's included on this disc is a very fluffy and short behind-the-scenes featurette, a gallery of various trailers and promos, and a small photo gallery of the stars.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; 2.0 Dolby Surround; Interactive menus; Scene selections; Photo gallery; Trailer gallery; Behind the scenes
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Tom Wiener
The Johnson County War is such a dramatically potent event that two films, both running well over three hours, have been made using its events as a backdrop. After the hash that Michael Cimino made of the war in Heaven's Gate (1981), one would hope that this second go-round might produce a more historically accurate and dramatically nuanced production. And with Frederick Manfred's well-regarded novel as the source and Larry McMurtry (of Lonesome Dove fame) as the co-writer, there was reason to believe that this film would get it right. It doesn't, and while it's not the unholy mess that Heaven's Gate was, its faults are not the overreaching ambitions of that film (which at least boasted spectacular cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond and an evocative score by David Mansfield) so much as a serious outbreak of Western clich├ęs. The script for this film demonstrates how thin the line is in this genre between quality writing (as in McMurtry's splendid novel Lonesome Dove and William Wittliff's brilliant adaptation for TV) and this festival of groaners. Aside from the by-the-numbers dramatics, the film fails to do much better with its history. Changing Manfred's title, Riders of Judgment, to the name of the actual backdrop event promises something the film doesn't care to deliver. None of the actual names of the Johnson Country War principals are employed, nor any real location names outside of Cheyenne (whose railroad station does not border a lake, as shown here). The lynching of the prostitute Queenie (Rachel Ward) and her companion Arthur (William Samples) have real-life counterparts in the murders of Cattle Kate and Jim Averill, but that episode happened several counties south of Johnson and the details of Kate's profession have recently been questioned by at least one historian. As for the bigger picture, the depiction of the county's leading cattle baron as an Englishman isn't entirely inaccurate but less likely than it would have been ten years before, and besides, Lord Peter's foppish ways aren't even good for a laugh, intended or not. The conversations among the cattle barons over how to handle the rustling problem seem forced and in dire need of context. (And in a film that runs well over three hours, that shouldn't be asking too much.) The climax, the siege of the cabin in which Cain Hammett (was this Manfred's sly tip of the ten-gallon hat to two great writers of crime fiction?) is holed up accurately reflects the details of Nate Champion's being able to hold off a small army for 12 hours. (Cimino filmed the same siege with Christopher Walken as Champion.) But the aftermath of the siege suggests that the mercenaries will pay for their crime; in truth they were not even brought to trial.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/24/2002
  • UPC: 707729126782
  • Original Release: 2002
  • Rating:

  • Source: Lions Gate
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Presentation: Pan & Scan
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Surround
  • Time: 2:58:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tom Berenger Cain Hammett
Luke Perry Harry Hammett
Michelle Forbes Rory Hammett
Adam Storke Dale Hammett
Burt Reynolds Marshal Hunt Lawton
Jack Conley Jesse Jacklin
Silas Weir Mitchell Mitch Slaughter
P. Adrien Dorval Timberline
Christopher Cazenove Lord Peter
Rachel Ward Queenie
William Samples Arthur
Kirk Jarrett Jim Albert
Thomas Heaton Sheriff Sine
Fay Masterson Clara Jager
Stephen Bridgewater Dencil Jager
Blu Mankuma Hambone
Tim Koetting Bat Waldy
Ken Pogue Wally Tascott
Jimmy Herman Sam the Wolfer
Henry Beckman Gov. Barb
Ron Hartmann Sen. Thorpe
Hal Kerbes Irv Hornsby
David LeReany Allen Stone
Paul Coeur Claybourne Rodney
Doug Lennox Texas Ike
Joe Shaw Bobby
John Dodds 2nd Horseman
Stevie Mitchell Joey
Bunk Duncan Butcherknife
Steven Warner Spade
Lyle St. Goddard Avery
John F. Parker Russell
Steve Shayler 1st Bad Cowboy
Billy Morton Ringbone
Tom Carey Texas Cowboy
Peter Strand Rumple Telegraph Operator
Shawn Orr Texas Gunman
Chris Ippolito Nightherder
J.C. Roberts Tom the Granger
Jerry Wills Skunker
Technical Credits
Dave Cass Director
Jennifer Jean Cacavas Editor
Mary Church Producer
Frank Q. Dobbs Producer
Glenn Farr Editor
Robert Halmi Jr. Executive Producer
Joanne Hansen Costumes/Costume Designer
Larry Levinson Executive Producer
Larry McMurtry Executive Producer, Screenwriter
Douglas Milsome Cinematographer
Andrew Moreau Art Director
Diana Ossana Executive Producer, Screenwriter
Ken Rempel Production Designer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Open [6:57]
2. Cattle Thieves Beware [6:39]
3. Fare Advise [5:43]
4. Blood Boils [5:36]
5. Queenie [3:48]
6. Restless [4:06]
7. A Busy Man [6:48]
8. Massacre Them [5:19]
9. A Roundup Affair [5:03]
10. I Smell Sheep [6:52]
11. The Law [6:47]
12. It's Comin' Quick [2:41]
13. Picnic's Over [8:18]
14. Dencil [4:22]
15. Kill the Hammetts [8:10]
16. We've Got Company [5:08]
17. Provoked Vengeance [1:05]
18. Yellow Bellied [5:54]
19. Cheyenne Social Club [6:05]
20. God Be With You [5:55]
21. The Plan [5:56]
22. Not About Dying [6:34]
23. Army of Our Own [3:53]
24. Good Mornin' [5:39]
25. Enjoying the War? [3:55]
26. Full of Surprises [9:03]
27. Suicide or Murder [6:48]
28. Last Chance Cain [5:04]
29. Dearest Rory [7:01]
30. End Credits [7:32]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Film
   Scene Selections
   Photo Gallery
   A Look Behind the Scenes
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