Unexpurgated 'Lonesome Dove' ?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by TheSixthBeatle, Mar 26, 2020.

  1. TheSixthBeatle

    TheSixthBeatle Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Moping around the house I decided to buy the Lonesome Dove blu-ray to watch. A truly fine western with great acting and great cinematography. I noticed Amazon has three blu ray options (a super expensive 2008, a 2015, and a 2019).

    On commenter said that several scenes have been deleted, perhaps for violence of for other un-PC depictions. I'm not a fan of censorship and would prefer the complete movie series if it exists. Does anyone know for sure if you can get an all-original print of Lonesome Dove?
    Michael likes this.
  2. This was a great movie adapted from an even greater book.
    The casting is spot on and this is one of Robert Duvall's finest roles.
    Wasn't aware of the deleted scenes. There was nothing extraordinarily violent about it so I can't imagine what cuts were made. There is violence of course but so what?
  3. Tim S

    Tim S Senior Member

    East Tennessee
    It ran on US prime time television, so it seems doubtful there would be anything to cut. I hope not. I would like to know, too. It's the finest thing that has ever been on television.
  4. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

  5. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    In this age of PC?

    TheSixthBeatle likes this.
  6. arley

    arley Forum Resident

    Fine book, fine miniseries--if you enjoyed them you might want to look at a book that McMurtry was familiar with, Teddy Blue's We Pointed Them North:


    It's a memoir by a cowboy on one of the last great cattle drives, told in his own words. It's a great read in and of itself. Every Western enthusiast I know who has read this thought it was terrific. I mention that McMurtry was familiar with this book because he references it a few times in his 1968 book In a Narrow Grave: Essays on Texas--also a good read.

    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020
    Karnak, Tim S, budwhite and 1 other person like this.
  7. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    For those who don't know, McMurtry wrote Lonesome Dove as a screenplay around 1974 for John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda. But Wayne was dissatisfied with the script and it was never produced. McMurtry later reworked the material into a novel.

    Which of them was to have played the one gets hanged?
    A plot device McMurtry clearly took from The Virginian, just as the ending is taken from original ending of Red River. Hell some of the character names are taken from the movie Bandolero.
    Tim S likes this.
  8. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Dvd still the best option ?
  9. Richard--W

    Richard--W Forum Resident

    The blu-rays cut off 1/5 one-fifth of the picture to make it widescreen.

    It was not a widescreen film. It was shot in the 4:3 TV ratio.

    Buy the DVD.
    The DVD is uncut, uncensored, complete, and in the correct aspect ratio.

    Throw the blu-rays out.
  10. TheSixthBeatle

    TheSixthBeatle Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Took your advice. A whopping $6.60 on the Bay.
    Tim S likes this.
  11. TheSixthBeatle

    TheSixthBeatle Forum Resident Thread Starter

  12. budwhite

    budwhite Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.

    Götaland, Sverige
    The blu-ray is just fine. I had the dvd but that became obsolete when I got the blu-ray. The upgrade in picture quality is a huge leap.
    I don't like the cropping but it's a TV show and not something framed by Bergman and his DPs.
    riverclown likes this.
  13. Gasman1003

    Gasman1003 "Mumbling Member”

    Liverpool UK
  14. Bill Hart

    Bill Hart Forum Resident

    Don't know anything about an uncut version of the mini-series, but only read the book and watched the series a few years ago as part of my "Intro to Texas 101," (mandatory for ex-New Yorkers, like me). There is a permanent collection of Bill Witliff's work at the Texas State University in San Marcos --- a relatively short drive from Austin-- that includes some material from Lonesome Dove. (Witliff wrote or co-wrote the screenplay as I recall). It's big stuff down here, part of the lore.
    FWIW, I went back and read many of the books on which John Wayne's movies were based and they were wonderful! Darker and more morally ambiguous than the films in which the Duke played the hero.
    Richard--W likes this.
  15. Richard--W

    Richard--W Forum Resident

    The blu-ray is not "just fine."
    All directors put a lot of thought and care into their compositions,
    and all dp's are precise in their framing. It is not an arbitrary process.
    All actors are expressive with the hands, gestures, the tilt of the head
    and their eyelines. To cut off part of the visual language that tells the
    story is to violate the film. You wouldn't trim the top and bottom off
    a painting and say it looks "just fine." Or maybe you would. Some
    people don't give a shvt about anything.
  16. VeeDub

    VeeDub Forum Resident

    Denver, CO
    However, your trite dismissals do not provide an accurate assessment of what was done specifically with Lonesome Dove. Despite an OAR of 4:3, there was additional information to the sides when filming. The blu-ray was reportedly re-framed shot-by-shot to minimize the loss of top/bottom information. Sure, there is some loss, but the blu-ray, despite some graininess, is a huge upgrade from the poor video quality of the DVD. Unfortunately, we didn't get a blu-ray transfer in 4:3, but to suggest the blu-ray be "thrown out" is absurd. For those of you buying for the first time, pick your poison.
    riverclown, Tim S and budwhite like this.
  17. captainsolo

    captainsolo Forum Resident

    Murfreesboro, TN
    The BDs are the cheapest method but the current ones are budget Mill Creek reissues. The original discs are oop but better encoded.

    The modern master is 1.78 and there is back and forth discussion among fans about 1.78 versus the original broadcast 1.33 version. I think it was likely protected for widescreen in the event of a theatrical screening but that the 1.78 framing wasn't always done the best in terms of cutting off information at times. I wish the 1.33 had been retained or been available as an alternate. They also remixed the original 2.0 audio into 5.1 and it isn't as good.

    The purist method would be to track down the original DVD releases but I picked up the Laserdisc box in a local shop and was very pleased at the transfer quality.
    Tim S likes this.

    BILLONEEG Forum Resident

    New Jersey
    After a little searching & finding multiple versiond I have to ask. How does this one rate? I got it at Walmart two weeks ago. FYI-The digital copy is only through Mill Creek's website.
  19. Richard--W

    Richard--W Forum Resident

    Again, composition and framing are carefully deliberated and no
    provision was made for widening the frame. Additional image on
    the sides is so marginal as to be irrelevant if it didn't render the
    compositions out of balance.

    Yes, I dismiss the blu-ray. Sharpness isn't everything. Everybody
    should dismiss this violation of Lonesome Dove. Have a little
    respect for this artfully made film. Throw the blu-ray out. Try to
    find the original DVD release; it looks just fine.
  20. budwhite

    budwhite Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.

    Götaland, Sverige

    Is it perfect? Nope. But it works for me.
    But going from 1.33 to 1.78 is a huge leap, why not go with something in the middle like 1.60 or something like that, I feel like that would have worked great with this show.
    Lonesome Dove - 2-Disc Collector's Edition • Blu-ray Review | Screencaps: HD vs. SD DVD

    Last edited: Mar 29, 2020
  21. captainsolo

    captainsolo Forum Resident

    Murfreesboro, TN
    I think it really could use a new master with better framing and original audio. But it's at Mill Creek now so I don't see there being anyone willing to put money into it.
    Die hard fans should get both ratios on DVD and BD.

    Best audio though is absolutely the LD boxset. I also picked up the quasi sequel Return to Lonesome Dove on LD at the same store and it's a matching boxset.
  22. ssmith3046

    ssmith3046 Forum Resident

  23. I realize YouTube isn't the best medium for watching movies but I'm watching ' Lonesome Dove ' on it right now and it looks fine....
  24. Clark V Kauffman

    Clark V Kauffman Forum Resident

    Des Moines, Iowa
    I normally hate it when 1:33 productions are cropped for widescreen. But this is one example — the only one I can think of, actually — where the cropping works. I really prefer the cropped widescreen presentation. I don’t know if the director shot it with a theatrical presentation in mind.... I know that seems highly unlikely (even though it did get a one-time promotional showing at an LA theater around the time of its premiere on television), but for whatever reason the widescreen framing works quite well, not just for the western landscapes, but even the close-ups.
    budwhite likes this.

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