Paramount announces a trio of classic westerns

This July, Paramount Home Entertainment will present three classic westerns for the first time on DVD. Hatari!, Paint Your Wagon, and The Shootist bring more of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood to video.

Filmed in Tanganyika, “Hatari!” (1962) is an adventure-comedy starring John Wayne as Sean Mercer, a trapper who catches wild animals and sells them to zoos. With a crew of trappers that includes Hardy Krüger, Gerard Blain, Michele Girardon and Valentin de Vargas, Mercer and his team trek through Africa searching for zebras and giraffes. Just when they think their luck has run out, Anna Maria “Dallas” D’Allesandro (Elsa Martinelli) shows up and asks to tag along. Convinced that her Swiss zoo will buy the majority of the animals they catch, Mercer slowly succumbs to the charms of the pretty photographer.

A classic musical comedy set during the California Gold Rush, “Paint Your Wagon” (most likely known to many younger viewers only through an inspired parody on “The Simpsons”) stars Clint Eastwood as Pardner and Lee Marvin as Ben Rumson. Forming a partnership, the two share everything – including a wife, Elizabeth (Jean Seberg), who they bought together at an auction. In this humorous tale of the old west, Pardner and Ben cause havoc by hijacking a stage, kidnapping prostitutes and turning their mining camp into a boomtown. With Eastwood crooning the lyrics to “They Call the Wind Maria” and “Wand’rin Star,” “Paint Your Wagon” combines risqué comedy with plenty of singing, drinking and gambling to paint a humorous picture of the old west.

Finally, striking a more somber tone, in his final film, “The Shootist” (1976), John Wayne stars as John Bernard Books, the last of the legendary gunfighters, who has been diagnosed with a terminal disease. Returning to Carson City, Nevada to seek medical attention from his old friend Dr. Hostetler (Jimmy Stewart), Books resolves to find a quiet place to die. Renting a room in a boarding house run by the widow Bond Rogers (Lauren Bacall) and her son Gillom (Ron Howard), Books intends to die in peace. But when word gets out that the infamous Books has come to town and is dying, several of his old enemies resurface, hoping to settle their old scores. Featuring John Carradine as the undertaker waiting for Books to pass on, Harry Morgan as the town sheriff and Hugh O’Brian as a local gambler, “The Shootist” follows the story of an aging gunman and the concurrent decline of the Old West.

The DVDs of “Hatari!”, “Paint Your Wagon” and “The Shootist” are presented in widescreen format enhanced for 16×9 televisions. “Hatari!” and “The Shootist” are presented in Dolby Digital restored English and French Mono; “Paint Your Wagon” is presented in Dolby Digital English 5.1 presentation and Dolby Surround, as well as French Mono. All three films include their original theatrical trailers. “The Shootist” also includes cast and crew interviews with screen writer Miles Swarthout, producer Bill Self and actor Hugh O’Brian.

All three DVDs are priced at $29.99 and will be released on July 24th.

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