6 Steve McQueen classic movies are now available in one giftset -- THE ESSENTIAL STEVE McQUEEN COLLECTION! BULLITT TWO DISC-SPECIAL EDITION: Buckle up for gritty police procedure and a wild, trend-setting chase over Frisco... more »'s hills with THE GETAWAY DELUXE EDITION A heist gone wrong is dead-right in the hands of McQueen and director Sam Peckinpah. THE CINCINNATI KID McQueen and Edward G. Robinson ante up. Norman Jewison guides the big-time poker flick. NEVER SO FEW Commando action in World War II Burma! McQueen's first big-budget film. Frank Sinatra stars. PAPILLON Can McQueen and Dustin Hoffman escape Devil's Island? From the director of Patton. TOM HORN True to the cowboy way! McQueen rides tall in a star-packed elegy to a changing West. Titles also available separately.« less
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 06/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You could call him the quiet one. McQueen had a talent for portraying quite a lot with minimal dialog and that's the way he liked it. He has maybe 75 lines off dialog in "The Magnificent Seven" yet his presence is equal to that of star Yul Brynner. You'd be forgiven for being confused about which Steve McQueen boxed set to purchase. MGM has recently released "The Steve McQueen Collection" which features four McQueen classics that have previously been available on DVD; "The Thomas Crown Affair", "The Magnificent Seven", "Junior Bonner" and "The Great Escape".
"The Essential Steve McQueen Collection" is a different beast entirely; it does feature 1 title that is no different than the previously issued version -"Papillon". All the rest have either never been issued or, in the case of "Bullitt", are now in two disc deluxe editions that make this set a worthwhile addition to any collection.
The crown jewel of this set is the new deluxe edition of "Bullitt". McQueen plays San Francisco detective Frank Bullitt. He's been assigned to protect a witness for a major trial. The witness, though, is murdered. Before the post-mortem has begun, Bullitt hunts for the killers and plans on nailing them. Featuring an amazing high speed chase through the streets of San Francisco and shot entirely on location, "Bullitt" was Peter Yates' first major US film and it crackles with energy.
"Papillon" tells the story of a thief nick-named Papillon for the large butterfly tattooed on his chest. (McQueen) framed for murder in France and sent to Devil's Island for life. From the moment he steps on the boat headed to the prison he's planning his escape. He agrees to protect a financial thief Louis Dega (Dustin Hoffman). Schaffner's film portrays Papillon's attempt to survive on Devil's Island until he can figure out an escape plan. Although this isn't Schaffner's best film, it has a number of powerful moments that equal his classic films "Patton", "Planet of the Apes" and "The War Lord". McQueen more than holds his own with method actor Hoffman.
"The Cincinnati Kid" features McQueen as Eric Stoner a poke playing ace who challenges the best gambler around "the Man" Lancey Howard (Edward G. Robinson). A terrific performance by Edward G. Robinson allows Robinson to almost steal the picture under McQueen's nose. With a terrific supporting cast, "The Cincinnati Kid" would be one of the most memorable films about gambling until "Rounders" three decades later.
"Never So Few" features McQueen in the third billed role of Bill Ringa a member of the O.S.S. fighting the Japanese during World War II in Burma. Ringa and his Captain Tom Reynolds (Frank Sinatra) are in Burma to train the Kachin natives in how to fight the Japanese. Reynolds fights dirty when Chinese rebels cross over to Burma to kill and loot the American soldiers stationed there. Although it's not one of director John Sturges ("The Magnificent Seven". "Ice Station Zebra") best films, "Never So Few" provides McQueen with a role that continued his breakthrough as a actor. It also inspired Sturges to cast McQueen in "The Magnificent Seven".
"The Getaway" almost got away without being made. Originally Peter Bogdanovich was to direct with his girlfriend actress Cybil Shepherd in the lead. When she dropped out so did Bogdanovich. Luckily director Sam Peckinpah stepped in and the rewritten script by Walter Hill was tooled for McQueen. Scandal broke out on the set when McQueen became involved with his co-star Ali McGraw (who was then married to Paramount head Robert Evans). McQueen plays thief Doc McCoy who has been paroled. The only problem is that Sheriff Beynon (Ben Johnson) expects him to do a big robbery for him. He plans on killing McCoy afterward but things don't quite work out the way that Beynon intended.
"Tom Horn" (McQueen) a tracker and "enforcer" who dispensed justice in the old west takes a job to stop cattle thieves. When things get messy and Horn has to kill some of the rustlers, the ranchers who hired him want Horn stopped. He's put on trial for the murder of a 15 year old boy. The next to last film McQueen made before he died in 1980, is a surprisingly powerful and great western. The screenplay by novelist/screenwriter Thomas McGuane ("The Missouri Breaks", "92 in the Shade", "Rancho Deluxe") and Bub Shrake ("Nightwing", "J.W. Coop", "Songwriter") portrays a character out of time; Horn's style of dispensing justice faces the gray world of corruption and politics. McQueen gives one of his best nuanced performances in a film that didn't do all that well at the box office. It's a pity as it's a great movie that deserves a wider audience. Luckily, for those who buy the boxed set they'll finally get a chance to see this classic western.
The previous DVD edition of "Bullitt" looked quite good but can't compare to the newly digitally remastered transfer here. Image clarity, color and detail for "Bullitt" is superb. The sound is surprisingly spry with a nice 5.1 remix that doesn't quite use the format to its best advantage but that's not a surprise given that the film is nearly 40 years old. "Papillon" comes with the same transfer as it received in 2000. Image quality is good but the negative could use restoration and/or digital filtering to clean up the print/improve it. It does feature a recent 5.1 remix (which wasn't advertised on the box of the previous release and I don't recall if it had it or not on the 1999 release but I suspect not).The colors aren't bright and vibrant but they fit the general atmosphere of the film and are fairly true to the original theatrical exhibition if a bit faded. "The Getaway" looks terrific again considering the age of the movie. The blacks are rock solid and the colors as vivid and bright as they've ever been. There's the occasionally soft image but, on the whole, "The Getaway" looks marvelous. "Never So Few" also looks quite good particularly when you consider the age of the negative. It receives a solid transfer with bright colors and nice image clarity. "The Cincinnati Kid" also looks exceptionally good with nice color reproduction and image quality. It's clear that some digital restoration was done to the most recent releases here and "Kid" does benefit from it. "Tom Horn" looks extremely good with sharp images, bright and vivid colors. Although a tad grainy (like most of the films here) that has more to do with the stock used to shoot the films and the condition of the negative than the transfer. In most cases, the graininess adds to the character of the films. All six films feature 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround soundtracks (in addition to the 5.1 remasters for "Papillon"). All sound crisp with nice clarity to the dialog and music.
"Bullitt" gets the most attention here. Featuring two fine documentaries on the film and McQueen, we also get the original vintage featurette on the film. "The Cutting Edge" examines the the art of movie editing with a glimpse into other films during the editing process as well. "Steve McQueen: The Essence of Cool" is a terrific biography on McQueen that provides a lot of information previously unknown about the actor. There's also the original theatrical trailer included as well. "The Getaway" features the original theatrical trailer only. "Papillon" has the original promotional featurette produced for the film as part of the extras as well as the trailer. "The Cincinnati Kid", "Never So Few" and "Tom Horn" all have only the original theatrical trailer for the respective films. It's a pity that Warner chose not to do a documentary or at the very least a featurette on "Tom Horn". Since it's about a real historical figure and making the film was a passion for McQueen, it would have been appropriate and provided much needed information on the historical figure and the production of this fine overlooked film.
"Bullitt" comes with an excellent commentary by director Peter Yates. "The Getaway" features a "virtual" commentary culled from interviews of McQueen, Peckinpah and McGraw as well as a commentary by Peckinpah biographers/documentarians Nick Redman, Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons and David Weddle. "The Cincinnati Kid" has a marvelous trivia filled commentary track by director Norman Jewison.
Between this release and "The Steve McQueen Collection", McQueen fans will have most of his essential films. Although there are a few gems missing from these collections (due to contractual issues no doubt), most of the films here are among the best McQueen made. "The Getaway" and "Bullitt" receive most of the attention here with terrific commentary tracks and extras. "Papillon" probably could have used a face lift with a new digital transfer and a commentary track by a film historian (or Dustin Hoffman) but it looks like we'll have to wait for this minor classic to get its due another time. The other missed opportunity in this superb set is the lack of extras for "Tom Horn" One of McQueen's finest later films and a terrific western that presaged films like "The Unforgiven", "Open Range" and "Wyatt Earp", it's a perfect period piece about the transition of the old west into civilization and those who were lost along the way.
DON'T BE FOOLED...THIS IS THE McQUEEN BOXED SET TO GET!!!!!!
Eric | Columbus, OH | 06/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Warner Bros. obviously put a lot of work into this new Steve McQueen boxed set. I bought it today, and I'm astounded. I always loved McQueen, but I never knew "who he was". You can finally find that out by watching a great new documentary called STEVE McQUEEN:THE ESSENCE OF COOL, which is one of two superb documentaries on the remastered BULLITT 2 Disc Special Edition in this box (more on the other later...)
You also get McQueen and Dustin Hoffman in the magnificent PAPILLION, McQueen and Ali MacGraw in the controversial and enticing THE GETAWAY, which features commentaries from a slew of devotees to its director Sam Peckinpah that goes beyond the reverential and the astute. It's almost frighteningly obsessive in how much these folks live, breath, and eat Sam Peckinpah. In real life Peckinpah was not a happy person. I hope the same thing can't be said for the commentators.
Then there is a WONDERFUL commentary on the new-to-DVD CINCINNATI KID. Long overdue for release, this is a sparkling transfer for a 40 year old movie that feels quite contemporary, Director Norman Jewison gives a wonderful, insightful commentary, and it's great to see such stalwart stars as Ann Margret, Edward G. Robinson, Karl Malden & Joan Blondell. Going backward, you get John Sturges' entertaining 1959 Sinatra vehicle NEVER SO FEW, but it was McQUeen who stole the movie. He's wonderful, and so is Sinatra and his leading lady Gina Lollabrigida. Another DVD debut. Lastly is McQueen in his 2nd to last film, TOM HORN. A sturdy western that holds up very well. It's obvious McQueen was no longer his virile, youthful self, but it doesn't effect the entertainment value of the piece.
Then the cherry on the sundae. THe definitive McQueen film. BULLITT. It's been given a spanking new transfer, a commentary by its director, the ESSENCE OF COOL DOCUMENTARY, and a masterful documentary about the art of film editing called THE CUTTING EDGE.
Beautifully packaged, THIS is what a boxed set devoted to a legend ought to be...as opposed to MGM's slapped togeher reissue for four already-released films, including one that isn't even anamorphic.
Shame on MGM.
Bravo Warner Bros.!"
Long Time coming
Gerson Gordillo | 05/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If anyone deserves a box set it's Seve McQueen. The greatest of the Hollywood "Mans Man". McQueen made some great movies for Warner Brothers as he did for MGM before them, and we are lucky to get the fantastic Warner Brothers DVD treatment that they have bestowed on their recent box set.
While The GREAT ESCAPE is my personal favorite McQueen film I am happy to see BULLIT, and NEVER SO FEW in the same set. It's pretty funny seeing a movie not starring Steve McQueen in his box set. Never so few was a staring vehicle for Frank Sinatra, but because of his scene stealing co-star Sinatra went on record as calling NEVER SO FEW a McQueen film. It also had a great Director John Sturges who also made THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, and THE GREAT ESCAPE with McQueen.
PAPILLON, THE GETAWAY, THE CINCINATTI KID, and the very underated TOM HORN are also included in the awesome box set. I was not yet born when Steve McQueen passed away, but I can tell you this, I have not been on the planet for more than twenty three years, but I can safely say that there has not been a actor/stuntman cooler than Steve McQueen."
Jessup's novel becomes screen legend
Michael Ziegler | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania United States | 02/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Originally set in St. Louis in Jessup's novel and transferred by the screenwriters (wisely) to more sporting New Orleans, this production of The Cincinnati Kid scores big with any fan of card play. The cast is an assembly of veteran actors centered around the number one box office draw at the time, Steve McQueen. You could say that Edward G. Robinson and Karl Malden co-star due to the importance of their roles throughout the movie, but make no mistake, McQueen was the reason people went to see this picture.(and no doubt Ann Margaret) I'll leave the description of the plot to other reviewers who have done well here and tell you that McQueen was extremely concerned during the making of this production that Edward G. Robinson was taking over the picture! His presence on screen is "unmatched" and I say that with a twinkle in the eye because of a scene where Robinson speaks to McQueen holding a lit matchstick that is held so long you can't understand why he was not burned. It is a powerful scene and was one of the reasons McQueen raised a fuss about his amount of time in the picture. The film is serious about five card stud poker as a professional gambling game and has sub-plots that had nothing to do with the original novel.Malden's performance as 'The Shooter' is excellent but you get that "Streets of San Francisco" feeling as you watch him. Joan Blondell seems to reprise her role as Zeena from "Nightmare Alley". The "Southern-ess" of this film is a strong point and the time period is during the depression. The only other film to match the atmosphere was "Hard Times" with Charles Bronson. If you are looking for an entertaining, different locale film about an era far removed from today's pace this is a great movie to get. One of the best films about gaming and gambling ever made! With respect to the current DVD copy, I have a complaint to make regarding the scene specific commentary provided by two idiots named Phil Gordon and Dave Foley. Instead of a discussion about the scenes we are addressed on the superior card game of "Texas Hold'em" and they make BIG mistakes on what they are observing because they don't know anything about the 1930s and what the world was like back then. One was when McQueen is packing his bag. Phil and Dave comment that he is packing several decks of cards when in reality it is about 5 packs of Lucky Strike Cigarettes, which featured a green box with the red target circle. Another is when Edward G. Robinson and Mcqueen & Co. are "smelling" the packs of cards brought from the Bridge club. They are checking the smell of the celophane to see if the decks may have been opened. Norman Jewison gets this right in his commentary, but the two idiots think it is some sort of addiction by card fanatics "liking the smell". They are wrong on just about everything they see regarding play of 5 card stud and they both give themselves away as unqualified reviewers. A real downer on an otherwise excellent DVD."
The Cincinnati Kid
Leonard Hecht | United States | 02/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of my all time favorites...Steve McQueen is great in the title role of a man who wants to be the best and the only way he can do it is to beat the best...Edward G Robinson's Lancy Howard. Right up there with Rounders as the best poker movie ever made. Like all great movies the supporting acting is first rate...check out Ann Margaret and Tuesday Weld and the always good Karl Maldin. This is a must see for movie fans."