A marshal tries to bring the son of an old friend, an autocratic cattle baron, to justice for his role in the rape and murder of the marshal's Native American wife. Ralph Potts reviews Last Train from Gun Hill from Paramount Home Entertainment.


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The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:


Extras:


Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

90



Details:

Studio and Year: Paramount - 1959
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 94 minutes
Genre: Western

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English Mono Dolby TrueHD, French Mono Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French
Starring: Kirk Douglas, Anthon Quinn, Carolyn Jones, Earl Holliman
Directed by: John Sturges
Music by: Dimitri Tiomkin
Written by: James Poe
Region Code: A

Release Date: June 15, 2021


"Each Owed the Other His Life. Now is the Moment of Reckoning"


Synopsis:

A marshal tries to bring the son of an old friend, an autocratic cattle baron, to justice for his role in the rape and murder of the marshal's Native American wife. – Paramount Home Entertainment.


My Take:

Last Train from Gun Hill follows U.S. Marshal Matt Morgan (Kirk Douglas) on the trail of his wife’s killer. Adding a dark twist to the tale, the suspect's father is Morgan's longtime friend, cattle baron Craig Beldon (Anthony Quinn). Morgan is determined to capture the killer and take him away by the 9:00 train, against all odds.

I am a fan of Last Train from Gun Hill and have been since first seeing it on the Saturday afternoon movie of the week on TV when I was growing up. I love the gritty, determination of the main characters in Matt and Craig and the handling of how their past as friends is brought full circle in the story. There’s a simplicity to the plot but, there’s no question that the themes explored in it are meaningful. The memorable ending has remained with me and revisiting it now still has much the same impact. Kirk Douglas is just so much fun to watch and while I find his performance to be the one that solidifies the film, it doesn’t work without Anthony Quinn’s terrific turn as Craig Belden. Both Earl Holliman and Carolyn Jones are also excellent in their supporting roles.

I am so glad that Last Train to Gun Hill was selected for release as part of the Paramount Presents series. Watching it after so many years felt like revisiting an old friend.

The limited-edition Blu-ray Disc™ includes a new Filmmaker Focus with film historian Leonard Maltin, access to a digital copy of the film, as well as original theatrical trailers for Last Train from Gun Hill, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, The Furies, and The Black Orchid. The Blu-ray comes in collectible packaging featuring a foldout image of the film’s theatrical poster and an interior spread with key movie moments.

Replay Value:



Parental Guide:

This film contains thematic material, including a sexual assault, and western violence.


AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.



Audio: 80
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)



    • Dynamics:
    • Low frequency effects:
    • Surround Sound presentation:
    • Clarity/Detail:
    • Dialog Reproduction:
    • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA


Video: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)



    • Resolution/Clarity:
    • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
    • Color Reproduction:
    • Fleshtones:
    • Compression:


Last Train from Gun Hill comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless Dolby TrueHD Mono sound.

Originally released in 1959, Last Train from Gun Hill was shot in Paramount’s trademark “VistaVision” widescreen format, capturing a grander scope of information on the film negative. For this new restoration, the original negative was scanned at 6K.

The restoration is a success that delivers marvelous video quality. Images onscreen have excellent depth with rendering that draws out plenty of delineation. The level of visible detail in facial features, hair and clothing during close-ups is noteworthy. Wide angle shots vary in terms of visual depth but, most reveal subtle degrees of refinement and fidelity is never in question.

Resolution is excellent as interior shots of the various locations/dwellings/sets featured in the story offer clarity, detail and dimension that belie the film’s 62-year-old age. Colors are exquisitely reproduced. Blacks are noise free, stable and fairly deep. Contrast and brightness are balanced well which enliven bright scenes while maintaining an appreciable level of visibility and dimension during darker segments. With the exception of a few instances where it takes on more emphasis, grain is presented in even layers that provide a satisfyingly filmic texture. This wonderful cinematic gem looks terrific thanks to a well-executed restoration. Kudos to Paramount.

The monaural soundtrack is presented in Dolby TrueHD lossless and I found it rendered the components of the original recording beautifully. The auditory is clean and free of unwanted clicks, pops or background hiss. Dialogue intelligibility is excellent as it is never lost amidst the other sounds coming through the central channel. Purists will appreciate the time and effort that went into maintaining the integrity of this great film’s original elements while restoring it. The result will allow those seeing it for the first time to experience it looking and sounding better than it ever has in the home environment.


Bonus Features:
  • Filmmaker Focus: Leonard Maltin on Last Train from Gun Hill
  • Trailers
  • Digital Code






Final Thoughts:

Last Train from Gun Hill is a bygone era film that remains just as entertaining today thanks to a great cast, staunch direction and the talents of co-stars Kirk Douglas and Anthony Quinn. This latest addition to the Paramount Presents line from Paramount Home Entertainment features newly re-mastered/restored elements that positively reflect upon this wonderful film. I am pleased to add it to my collection and highly recommend it for fans/film enthusiasts.







Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman color calibration software and Portrait Displays C6 HDR2000 colorimeter from Portrait.com)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7706 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Oppo BDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/Roomie Remote V6 Universal Remote Control
SVS Ultra Tower Speakers (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Center Channel (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Niles Audio In-Ceiling/In-Wall Series Speakers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems