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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Directed by Jerry Jameson
USA 1975


Made for television, Sniper originally aired under the title The Deadly Tower. In vivid, sweat-inducing detail, the film recreates the horror of August 4, 1966, when outwardly normal student Charles Whitman climbed to the tower of the University of Texas and began firing his rifle on the passersby below. 13 people were killed and 34 wounded before Whitman himself was killed by courageous police office Ramiro Martinez. Filmed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this docudrama stars Kurt Russell as Whitman, Richard Yniguez as Ramirez, and Ned Beatty as Alan Crum, a reluctant bystander who became an equally reluctant hero when pressed into service by Ramirez. The Deadly Tower first aired October 18, 1975.


Television Premiere: October 18th, 1974

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DVD Review: Warner Home Video (Warner Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

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Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:35:00
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate:  5.73 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s  

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles None

Release Information:
Studio: Warner

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Archive Advert (:59)

DVD Release Date: January 12th, 2010

Keep Case
Chapters: 10





Intriguing but essentially hollow docu-drama. There's no doubt that there is a fascination with, even minor, introspection of horrific events like these. We get very little on the where's and why's of Russell's Whitman but it nonetheless keeps you curious and keen. The only hint at examination comes when an officer applauds all the locals aiming hunting rifles at the tower in hopes of a lucky pick-off - "I wonder what the bleeding hearts have to say about easy access to guns now". John Forsythe's character, Lieutenant Elwood Forbes, reminds him "How do you think he got all these guns in the first place?"

It's a single-layered, progressive, DVD-R that looks quite average. This was a TV movie and production value reflect the limitations in the 35mm stock used. It can get noisy and there are speckles visible but in the final estimation - it is watchable in the original 1.33 aspect ratio. Colors aren't bad considering.

As usual, no subtitles - and, unremarkable but clear 2.0 channel sound. Extras consist of the minute-long Archive advert that starts the disc presentation.

I bought this as I was interested to see the film and Russell's performance. The Deadly Tower seems to avoid the type of depth that the event demands. It could have been a 3-4 hour film if details were examined to the extent they deserved. I'd have to say 'pass' on this one. It offered no answers or... relevant discussion questions. It does far less than you could determine from reading this article and the price is exorbitant for what is offered. 

Gary W. Tooze


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Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

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