Gunfight At The O.K. Corral

Gunfight At The O.K. Corral (1957)
Paramount Home Video
Cast: Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, DeForest Kelley, Dennis Hopper, LeeVan Cleef

’Gunfight At The O.K. Corral’ is John Sturges’ classic retelling of the legendary shootout between Wyatt Earp and his men and Clanton gang in the city of Tombstone. It is one of those legendary events of the Wild West that is being retold over and over again and in this version from 1957 we get to see Burt Lancaster as Wyatt Earp, Kirk Douglas as Doc Holliday, and DeForest Kelley as one of Earp’s younger brothers, among other stars, such as Lee Van Cleef, Martin Milner, Dennis Hoppers and John Ireland. The film looks and feels very much like the Golden Era of Westerns to which hit belongs. The music, the cast, the photography, all conjure up the romanticized view of the West we all got to know and love so much.

Paramount Home Entertainment is presenting ’Gunfight At The O.K. Corral’ in a widescreen presentation that is enhanced for 16×9 television sets. It is free of blemishes and speckles, but nonetheless the transfer is not without its problems. The image is overly grainy, especially in the man outdoor scenes, and throughout the film excessive edge-enhancement is evident, creating nasty – and clearly visible – halos around the dark shapes in the film. Colors are good a look slightly muted, as we get to know them from these classic 50s films. Black level is very good, creating deep blacks and solid shadows that never lose definition. Running at a high bitrate, the compression of the material has been done very well and no distracting compression artifacts are evident.

The DVD Features the movie’s original mono audio track in Dolby Digital. The track has been cleaned up and as such it is free of hiss or pops. However, given its age and the fact that is sonically untreated, the track exhibits a narrow frequency response and dynamic range. Music and dialogues sound harsh and occasionally distortion is quite audible.

Not a single supplement is provided on this DVD, not even liner notes of any sort. While I agree with Paramount’s general approach to maintain a movie’s integrity, in cases like this it is evident that it is somewhat hurtful to the overall presentation. A remastered audio track and a better video transfer, combined with some small extras would have made this a great release. As it stands, ’Gunfight At The O.K. Corral’ is an average release that will appeal only to hardcore fans of the movie.