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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » The Quiet Gun (Blu-ray)
The Quiet Gun (Blu-ray)
Olive Films // Unrated // March 31, 2015 // Region A
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Adam Tyner | posted March 11, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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P R I N T
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City attorney Steven Hardy (Lewis Martin) barrels into the sheriff's office, seething with moral indignation. Sheriff Carl Brandon (Forrest Tucker) is all too quickly subjected to an earful about how a rancher by the name of Ralph Carpenter (Jim Davis) on the outskirts of town is carrying on with an underage Indian girl (Mara Corday). Carpenter is -- or maybe that was -- an old friend of the sheriff's. Gruff but restrained, the sheriff tries to settle Hardy down: the rumors are baseless, and that Indian girl is just hired help. Hell, even if there is something going on, what happens behind closed doors is a man's own business and no one else's. Hardy's being paid under the table far too well to back off that easily, marching up to Carpenter's door with both a letter of complaint from the town council and something close enough to a rifleman. It doesn't end well. Maybe Carpenter gunning down the city attorney qualifies as self-defense, and maybe it doesn't. Sheriff Brandon sets out to bring Carpenter in front of a judge so that the truth, whatever it is, can come out. The enraged townsfolk are dead certain that the sheriff is going to give his estranged friend a pass, so they form a lynch mob to take the law into their own hands. It doesn't end well then either. The sheriff is determined to see justice served, even if it pits him against the entire population of Rock River. All the while, the body count continues to rise...

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The Quiet Gun is a lean, efficient, and unrepentantly adult Western that holds up remarkably well nearly six decades after its initial release. Much of that is due to the strength of its cast. Forrest Tucker understatedly exudes authority as Sheriff Brandon, commanding the audience's respect even if the townful of weasels he's meant to serve are too dim to follow suit. Tucker seizes full advantage of a screenplay that defines many of its relationships more by body language and discomfort than by reams of dialogue. Wayne Western mainstay Hank Worden contributes some of the more effective comic relief of a B-western of this era, and he adeptly makes the transition from put-upon punching bag to deputized hero. Lee Van Cleef makes an impression as the cattle-rustling villain of the piece, searing his way into the audience's minds despite having relatively little screentime. There's not a weak link to be found in this cast. While some of the themes explored here are somewhat familiar territory -- the righteous few standing up against an army of injustice and cowardice, schemers preying on the prejudices of others to advance their own gains -- they're executed so skillfully throughout The Quiet Gun that the premise never feels like more of the same. The screenplay is teeming with well-earned plot twists that caught me off-guard. It's so well-acted and so skillfully delivers its messages that The Quiet Gun isn't diminished by its relative lack of action. It's remarkable how tense and suspenseful the film can be without relying on many of the usual genre trappings, as what little gunplay there is for the bulk of its runtime is very much meant to serve the plot. The final shootout is so perfunctory that it almost feels like an obligation it's just trying to get out of the way.

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The Quiet Gun has largely remained unseen over the years, making it that much more thrilling that Olive Films has plucked it from obscurity for a Blu-ray release this achingly gorgeous. A discovery this deeply rewarding comes very Highly Recommended.


Video
Breathtaking. I'm in awe of how startlingly crisp and detailed this high definition presentation of The Quiet Gun is. There's such a rich sense of texture that I feel as if I can discern individual fibers in the cast's wardrobe. Contrast is remarkably robust, anchored by deep, substantial black levels. This is a spectacularly filmic presentation, with its sheen of unintrusive grain rendered brilliantly and not suffering from so much as a glimmer of excessive digital manipulation. It's very much worth noting how ably the AVC encode shoulders this very fine-grained image. Though there is a good bit of speckling and wear, it's all kept within very tolerable levels and never once poses a distraction. I will admit to being puzzled by the windowboxing of the opening titles, though:

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It's even more jarring because in the middle of the opening titles, the image cuts from windowboxed scope back to filling the entire width of the screen back to being windowboxed again. Bizarrely, this isn't an issue at all with the closing title card. Considering how briefly this occurs, this should in no way be considered a dealbreaker for what is otherwise a jaw-droppingly beautiful presentation.

The Quiet Gun arrives on a single-layer Blu-ray disc at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1.


Audio
I'm thrilled to say that The Quiet Gun sounds every bit as good as it looks too. There's a very modest amount of noise lurking in the background, and a few scattered pops rear their head, but otherwise, this 16-bit, two-channel monaural DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack stands on the brink of perfection. Frequency response is exceptionally expansive, with the deep voices of both Forrest Tucker and Lee Van Cleef sounding particularly rich and full bodied. The dialogue throughout the film isn't marred by so much as a flicker of distortion or sibilance. The score by the wildly prolific Paul Dunlap is nothing memorable but is rendered as flawlessly as I could ever hope to hear. The same holds true for The Quiet Gun's sound effects, especially its cracks of gunfire that are anything but quiet. Easily ranking among the very best sounding catalog titles to pass through my hands in recent memory, I'm deeply impressed by how terrific The Quiet Gun sounds on Blu-ray.

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There are no other audio options.


Extras
Nothing.


The Final Word
Olive Films has done a phenomenal job bringing so many Westerns from yesteryear onto Blu-ray, and The Quiet Gun is yet another worthy addition to that list. Highly Recommended.
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