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(aka "Erbarmungslos" or "De nådesløse" or "The William Munny Killings (working title)" or "The Cut Whore Killings (original script title)" )

 

directed by Clint Eastwood
USA 1992

 

As the most American of genres, it is interesting to look back on the last 25 years and to see, that in that period only three great Westerns were made: Walter Hill’s ”The Long Riders” (1980), Kevin Costner’s ”Dances with Wolves” (1990) and Clint Eastwood’s ”Unforgiven” from 1992. All three revisionist approaches to the genre, all three key works of the genre. As the action and adventurous side of the genre has been overtaken by other genres in today’s cinema, the “thinking man’s” side still is left, but is rarely used, as stories who can carry the setting are rare.

Considered Eastwood’s second masterpiece, as it was the only film who could challenge his 1976 neo-classic “The Outlaw Josey Wales”, “Unforgiven” is an elegy, revisiting a dying West, where those who shaped it now have retired. Bill Daggett (Gene Hackman) is now a sheriff, English Bob (Richard Harris) is now a dime-novel hero named “The Duke of Death” and William Munny is a hog-farmer, the lowest of all.

When a whore is cut up and disfigured by a drunken cowboy, because she laughed at his small “member”, sheriff Daggett interprets the law in favour of their pimp, as the whore is a piece of property. Enraged the women pool together $500 and offer them to anyone who will kill the cowboys. Nobody accepts the contract, except William Munny, a once gunfighter, now a widower hog-farmer with two small children. Before claiming the reward, Munny has to come face to face with his past.

The greatness of the story lies in how it revisits the mythology of the West and its frontier justice. At no point in the film is justice present. “I don’t deserve this”, says Daggett when Munny is about to kill him, to which Munny says, “Deserving has nothing to do with it”. As such, “Unforgiven” suggests, that violence begets more violence, and justice is in the eye of the beholder. The irony is, that while Munny changed into a loving Christian husband and father when he married, his mother in law will never know this and will continue to believe that Munny killed her daughter, even though she died of small pox. He will forever remain unforgiven.

Winner of four Oscars, amongst them best director and best picture, “Unforgiven” stands today as one of the greatest Westerns ever made, perhaps the best revisionist Western ever made, and everything notes on personal best, especially from Hackman. A masterpiece.

Henrik Sylow

Posters

Theatrical Release: August 3, 1992 (Los Angeles)

Reviews                                                                More Reviews                                                            DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Warner (Two-Disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow for the DVD Review!

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

   

   

   

Distribution

Warner

Region 1 - NTSC

Warner Brothers
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Runtime 2:10:32 2:10:40.624 
Video

2.28:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.17 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 29,392,632,726 bytes

Feature Size: 17,973,215,232 bytes

Total Bitrate: 15.94 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray VC-1

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

Bitrate

Bitrate Blu-ray

Audio 5.1 Dolby Digital English, 5.1 Dolby Digital French (dub)

Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
DUBs:

Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround

Subtitles English, French, Spanish, None English (SDH), French, Spanish, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.28:1

Edition Details:
• Disc 1:
• Audio Commentary by Richard Schickel
• Eastwood Out West (text info)
• Trailer

Disc 2:
• 10th anniversary featurette: 'All on Accounta Pullin' a Trigger' (22:35)
• The 1992 documentary: Eastwood and Co: Making 'Unforgiven' (23:53)
• Eastwood a Star (16:08)
• Eastwood on Eastwood (1:08:30)
• Maverick: Duel at Sundown (49:04)

DVD Release Date: September 24, 2002
Digipack

Chapters 33
 

Release Information:
Studio:
Warner Archive

 

Disc Size: 29,392,632,726 bytes

Feature Size: 17,973,215,232 bytes

Total Bitrate: 15.94 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray VC-1

 

Edition Details:
• Commentary by Eastwood biographer, Richard Schickel
• 4 Documentaries:
• All on Accounta Pullin' a Trigger (22:35)
• Eastwood & Co.: Making Unforgiven (23:52)
• Eastwood…A Star (16:07)
• Eastwood on Eastwood (1:08:35)
• Classic Maverick TV episode: Duel at Sundown (49:07)
• Theatrical Trailer (1:57)

 

Blu-ray Release Date: January 3rd, 2012
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 33

 

 

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were obtained directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray March 15': An early Blu-ray that requires revisiting by Warner. Despite a modest bitrate, on the VC-1 transfer, it still looks impressive although it would probably look notably better done to the 9's. There could also be a tad of horizontal stretching (or vertical stretching on the SD.) Anyway, the film is filled with many majestic and grand landscapes and while this 1080P image is certainly superior to the flatter 2002 DVD - we suggest that it could look even better with a more robust rendering.

Unfortunately, only lossy Dolby in a decent 5.1 but surely the film deserves an uncompressed soundtrack. There are two foreign-language DUBs (also in standard Dolby.) There is nothing earth-shaking about the soundtrack. Often, it's a quiet guitar. The music, mostly by Lennie Niehaus - known for his work on Tightrope, Pale Rider, Gran Torino, Million Dollar Baby, Mystic River etc. - and one piece by Eastwood himself, is subtle, poetic, and descriptive of the emotional states of the characters. There are optional subtitles on the region FREE Blu-ray disc.

Lots of supplementary materials here, all drawn from the 2-disc Special Edition SD. No new extras unique to the hi-def medium. The two best are the work of Time Magazine film critic and Eastwood biographer, Richard Schickel, who provides a running commentary. He was on the set often and so his comments have a perspective other commentators might not. It's an informative essay, if not somewhat lazily told. Schickel also produced the 108 minute, Eastwood on Eastwood, which, unusually for such a TV documentary, eschews the usual panoply of featured actors and friends in favor of a one-on-one interview between the two men, with pertinent footage dramatizing the appropriate moments.

An early-ish Blu-ray and a transfer that requires an update - in both encode (AVC is preferable to, the present VC-1), bitrate and lossless audio - now the norm. Another fabulous film from Eastwood and an essential for many digital libraries.

Gary Tooze and Leonard Norwitz Of LensView located HERE

***

ON THE DVD: Simply an incredible beautiful DVD. Colours are perfectly balanced to give the film its murky faded dark look and with the exception of minute halos, it is basically flawless.

The 5.1 Dolby Digital mix is surprisingly effective and dynamic, considering this being mainly centre dialogue. Birds, gunfire and rain are constantly adding to the surround.

Finally, extras galore. A superb audio commentary by Eastwood biographer and historian Richard Schickel, followed by Schickels likewise superb portrait of Eastwood (Eastwood on Eastwood) and after a few standard backclapping featurettes, an episode of “Maverick” with Eastwood.

 - Henrik Sylow

 

 


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1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

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1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Warner - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Warner - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

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Box Covers

   

   

   

Distribution

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Region 1 - NTSC

Warner Brothers
Region FREE -
Blu-ray

 



 

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