E. Hornaday | Lawrenceville, NJ United States | 02/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I applaud the release of any Gunsmoke-related production on DVD, including this 1987 made-for-TV reunion movie. Gunsmoke, the longest running western, or drama for that matter, in TV history, was complex and textured and dealt with mature themes with unforgettable characters that became part of our culture. I grew up watching the series, which debuted as a half-hour black and white show, then progressed to one hour and eventually was filmed in color.Gunsmoke richly deserves a serious DVD release of its episodes, not merely a release of a TV movie here or there.Few need to be told what his western depicted, it's the story of Marshall Matt Dillon (played to perfection by James Arness), who tamed the lawless Dodge City, Kansas, not only with his gun but with his courage, sense of honor, justice and irreproachable integrity behind the badge.Along the way, we meet Matt's friends, Kitty Russell (Amanda Blake), owner of the Longbranch Saloon and Matt's long-time love, Doc Adams (Milburn Stone, and Deputy Chester Goode (Dennis Weaver) and later Deputies Festus Hagen (Ken Curtis) and Newly O'Brien (Buck Taylor.) Weekly guest stars represented the cream of the acting crop for decades!While this TV-Movie reunites Arness, Blake and Taylor, much of the familiar Dodge landscape has changed: Matt has retired and lives as a mountaineer and O'Brien is Marshall. The plot centers around a continuation of a much earlier TV episode, with guest star Steve Forrest reprising his role as the villianous Will Mannon, whom Dillon had previously stopped and arrested.Now released from prison, Mannon has returned to Dodge for revenge. He holds Miss Kitty hostage to lure the retired lawman back into town to die.A suspenseful story, Arness' portrayal of Dillon in this TV movie was much less familiar than the TV version, giving Dillon a driven, haunted, almost tragic appearance of a man who had left -- or lost -- everything he had ever cared about. THis is definitely a different Matt Dillon.The TV movie weaves clips from the episode on which it is based throughout the production."
A GOOD SAMPLE OF A 20-YEAR INSTITUTION
Reginald D. Garrard | Camilla, GA USA | 08/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The "reunion" film only featured a handful of the actors who made "Gunsmoke" a staple for two decades: James Arness as stalwart hero "Matt Dillon," Amanda Blake as enigmatic and beautiful "Miss Kitty," and Buck Taylor as dependable deputy "Newly O'Brian. Flashback sequences feature Milburn Stone as cantankerous "Doc" and Ken Curtis as the always-amusing "Festus."A rousing good entertainment, the movie also stars Steve Forrest as Will Mannon, a totally conscience-free villain seeking revenge on Dillon and a sexual dalliance with "Red," as her refers to Blake's character. With exteriors filmed in Canada and a great score, "Return to Dodge" will make one pine for the days when the inhabitants of Dodge City ruled the television screens of America."
The Best Movie in Gunsmoke History!
Reginald D. Garrard | 03/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an excellent movie! It's got plenty of action and suspence and it will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time.The plot is about a man named Logan(He was in a previous "Gunsmoke" episode,I THINK, and he comes to seek revenge on Matt for stopping his gunslingingness and crime. Matt defeats Logan and tries to take him back to Dodge. However, Some bad guys bushwack Matt. Matt does a good job of beating them, but Logan stabs Matt in the back. Matt falls into a conoe and drifts away, and Logan...Well...let's just say the felas didn't like him to well. A man finds Matt and takes him to Dodge. Newly,Buck Taylor,(He's hardly changed a bit), takes Matt to Doc's old office.(Milburn Stone died before this movie was made.) Miss Kitty comes to his side, but when he's well he finds his friend, Jake Flagg is in trouble with the law for something he didn't do. Meanwhile, Will Mannon, is released from prison.(Formerly, he was an outlaw who came to Dodge to kill Matt and terrorized everyone in Dodge. If you didn't see the Episode "Mannon" you should either see it first or read my review. Mannon had a draw with Matt and shot him down, but afterwards Matt yelled Mannon's name and as Mannon turned around to shoot him, Matt got him.) In this Movie, Mannon kills the prison warden to get Jake in trouble. When Matt gets back, Mannon and Matt face each other one last time. The movie did get the plot in whicth why Kitty left wrong, but she left the show one season, before it was canceled. Nobody really aged in this film exceped Mannon, but that's okay. There are flashbacks on the past that explain things,EXCEPED MATT'S DRAW WITH MANNON! UGH! Anyway, you know enough,ENJOY(It's worth the money. Get it while you can. It won't be here forever!)"
Best of the return to GUNSMOKE movies
AbeStreet | Mayfield Heights, OH United States | 11/30/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"As only a casual fan of the original series I may not be able to compare and contrast this movie as well as some others but the producers of this tv film seem to have covered all their bases.First of all the story was very well done. By basing the movie on one of the original tv shows the viewers were given a sense of continuity that some movies that are based on previous tv shows don't have. Also, the story itself, while not all that original, was well written and suspenseful. Out of the 5 GUNSMOKE movies that were made I felt that this one was the best.Secondly, this movie did a fine job of bringing back the original cast members. Amanda Blake as "Kitty" and Buck Taylor as "Newly O'brien" helped to give this movie an authentic feel. Having said that it would have been nice if Dennis Weaver as "Chester" and or Ken Curtis as "Festus", both served as deputy under Marshall Dillon, had made an appearance in the movie.Lastly, while the movie overall was a good one it seemed to me that James Arness portrayed Matt Dillon less like the character in the original series and more like the mountain man character of "Zeb Macahon" in his other western series HOW THE WEST WAS WON. Still this movie is a good view and those who like James Arness or GUNSMOKE will appreciate it."
Critical error in the plot
AbeStreet | 03/13/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Personally, I thought they should have let everyone age a little in this film...after all, it was later in their lives. There is a critical error in the plot: The writers have confused past history; Kitty left Dodge City because Matt was shot down (again) in the street (The Badge) but returned at the end of the episode. The movie shows the shooting as a flashback and links it incorrectly to the film's story line. I love Gunsmoke. These errors matter."