Lonesome Dove began life as a Larry McMurtry screenplay written for the big screen, with John Wayne, James Stewart, and Henry Fonda in mind for the roles of aging Texas Rangers Gus McCrae, Woodrow Call, and Jake Spoon. Tha... more »t too-good-to-be-true project never happened, and McMurtry shelved the story for some years and then revived it as a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. The latter was subsequently adapted for the glorious 1989 television miniseries starring Robert Duvall as Gus, one of the most endearing and heroic figures to come out of Old West mythology, Tommy Lee Jones as the equally noble but taciturn Woodrow, and Robert Urich as their fallen comrade, Jake. Set in the late 19th century in a sleepy Texas town, we meet Gus and Woodrow long after they put their days of settling the West behind them. Busy as cattle ranchers yet spiritually idle, the two head out on one last great adventure to set down new stakes in Montana, a journey that is fraught with terrible dangers, reunions with old loves, and unexpected collisions with destiny. An exemplary and moving Western drama with magnificent performances from Duvall and Jones (and great support from Anjelica Huston, Rick Schroder, Danny Glover, and Diane Lane), Lonesome Dove paved the way for three sequels, two of which are in this collection. Streets of Laredo features James Garner this time as Woodrow Call, who is hired by a railroad company to track down a young criminal and comes face to face with his own past. The other is Dead Man's Walk, a powerful prequel in which we meet Gus (David Arquette) and Woodrow (Jonny Lee Miller) as young men and Rangers recruits, facing their first challenges together. The jewel in the crown of this collection is the original film, but the other titles are highly enjoyable and bring a sense of sweeping narrative to the proceedings. --Tom Keogh« less
Erik Morton | Carmel, CA United States | 08/12/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"LONESOME DOVE ~ This may be the greatest movie ever made. Both Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones give the performances of their careers as retired U.S. Marshals Gus McRae and Woodrow Call, and the rest of the star-studded cast shine, as well. The unique scenery of the film is absolutely breathtaking to behold. And the music . . . . . . . Basil Poledouris composes what may very well be the greatest film score of all time!! (In my opinion, the works of Mozart and Beethoven don't compare to this!) Director Simon Wincer went on to helm such fantastic Westerns as QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER, CROSSFIRE TRAIL, and MONTE WALSH. I could go on forever praising this gem of a film, but there are two other movies to review. So I'll sum it up in four words: sheer and utter perfection.STREETS OF LAREDO ~ Though it can't possibly compare to it's predecessor, this makes for enjoyable Western fare. James Garner does a great job as Captain Call, though he can't quite fill in Tommy Lee Jones' shoes. The cast is above average here, too: Sam Shepard is awesome as Pee-Eye, and no matter how brief Randy Quaid's screen time, you can't take your eyes off him. However, I found Sissy Spacek to be whiney and quite annoying. I just recently found a similarity between this and the first film, plotwise: both update old, cliched Western plots (the cattle-drive in LONESOME DOVE and the bounty-hunter-gone-after-vicious-killer here) and update them with fine form. But this sequal doesn't do it nearly as well as the first. Oh, and that whole relationship between Call and that little girl was just weird and extremely out of place.DEAD MAN'S WALK ~ Here's an idea: make a prequal to the Emmy Award-winning LONESOME DOVE. While this may work on paper, it doesn't on film. Mainly because you'd have to find actors who could successfully portray younger versions of Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones. David Arquette and Johnny Lee Millar just can't do that. While their performances are decent, you just can't manage to firmly believe that these two boys are Gus McRae and Woodrow Call. And who the hell made the casting decision for the younger Clara (excellently played by Angelica Huston in the first film)? She ... like few actors I have ever had to watch. Funny, though; all the lead actors are sub-par, but the supporting cast rules; F. Murray Abraham, Brian Dennehy (who is killed off far, far too quickly), and Edward James Olmos included. Though the music in this movie is good, it feels out of place. But by far the worst thing about this film is the ending; the last twenty minutes may be the most godawful I have ever seen. It totally ruins the whole dramatic impact of the actual Dead Man's Walk scene that takes place before it. This scene is without a doubt the best part of the movie, and is one of the best, most powerful I've ever seen. They should've just ended the movie after this scene, right before that final twenty minutes or so. It would've been a much better movie.In the end, it might be a good idea to just pick up a copy of LONESOME DOVE (be sure to buy the two-disc edition, which has far better picture quality than the single-disc flipper) rather than this entire boxed set. On the other hand, it looks great on your shelf, and comes with a free copy of the soundtrack to LONESOME DOVE.LONESOME DOVE: * * * * *
STREETS OF LAREDO: * * * 1/2
DEAD MAN'S WALK: * * 1/2"
Truly, the stuff of legends
Robert Morris | Dallas, Texas | 04/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For whatever reasons, many of those who compile a list of their favorite westerns omit this one. Perhaps because it first appeared as a mini-series on television. In any event, the omission is regrettable because (in my opinion) this film offers superior acting under Simon Wincer's capable direction, within a compelling narrative of epic scale and theme, with seamless coordination of Douglas Milsome's cinematography with Basil Poledouris' musical score. The mini-series was based on Larry McMurtry's novel, initially with a running time of 384 minutes and later reappeared in a 240-minute version now available on DVD. Either in the full or abbreviated version, it is unsurpassed by any other western and only a few come within a day's ride of it. Opinions obviously vary but I would include Shane, My Darling Clementine, The Outlaw Josey Wales, and Fort Apache among the "few" on my own list. The primary narrative involves two former, retired, elderly but still vital Texas Rangers, Woodrow F. Call (Tommy Lee Jones) and Augustus McRae (Robert Duvall), who decide to embark on one last great adventure: Accompanying about 1,000 head of cattle on a 3,000 mile drive to Montana. Of course, they require time to assemble a crew and then the herd. (In the novel, McMurtry devotes the first 85-90 pages to introducing characters, relationships, background information, current situation, issues, etc.) Call and McRae are indeed an "odd couple" and yet they now share great mutual affection and respect as well as a lengthy and colorful history, some of which is revealed in the film. The two old comrades are certainly feisty, as indicated by McRae's reaction to a discourteous bartender in San Antonio and, later, by Call's reaction to equally discourteous horse traders. They may be senior citizens but have lost little of their lethal capabilities. Space and inclination preclude identifying all of the many sub-plots, each of which is relevant to the main narrative. Two worthy of note in this brief commentary. First, Call's gradual but reluctant acceptance of son Newt (Rick Schroder), born out of wedlock to a prostitute with whom Call was briefly involved. The second focuses on Clara Allen (Anjelica Huston) with whom McRae once had a romantic relationship and of whom he remains especially fond. When he pauses to see her en route to Montana, he learns that her husband had been incapacitated (probably permanently) by an injury and Clara now manages the family's ranch while caring for her husband and raising their two daughters. McRae leaves her again, continuing on with the herd. There are so many perils along the way, several involving fatal or debilitating accidents. Many of the men are killed. It is beyond my comprehension to grasp the enormity and complexity of driving so many cattle for such a great distance under these conditions, amidst all the natural as well as human dangers. Devoting 240 or even 384 minutes suggests but hardly covers all that was involved. Nonetheless, Wincer, his cast, and his crew are to be commended for their magnificent achievement. What they had to overcome bears at least some resemblance to the epic tale they present so vividly and compellingly. While seeing Lonesome Dove again recently, observing Call and McRae's once more, I was reminded of the final lines of Tennyson's Ulysses:"Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved heaven and earth, that which we are, we are.
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.""
One Of The Best Movie Series Around!
Erik Morton | Carmel, CA United States | 01/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"LONESOME DOVE is not only the finest western ever made. It may very well be the greatest motion picture of all time. The acting is perfect, and the musical score (by my favorite composer, Basil Poledouris) is the best ever written by ANYONE at ANYTIME for ANYTHING! The scenery is beautiful, and the storyline is pure gold, holding realistic humor, suspense, and drama like you've never experienced in front of a TV screen. This is far from your average cattle-drive flick! At six hours, LONESOME DOVE is an epic masterpiece that has yet to be topped. The only other film(s) that even come close is/are THE LORD OF THE RINGS.
Rating: 5 StarsSTREETS OF LAREDO, the sequal, is nowhere near as good as its predecessor. That said, it is most definitely a good film. This time around, James Garner replaces Tommy Lee Jones as Captain Call. Though he isn't as good as Jones was (he was perfect), Garner was the best choice for taking over the role. Besides him, the rest of the cast does pretty well. One big disappoitment is the music; there is NONE! Sure, there's a soundtrack, but you won't remember one second of it (it's that bland). Westerns are supposed to have good music! The storyline is pretty good, and holds a lot of suspense. The worst of it comes near the second half with Call and that little Mexican girl. That was just weird, and had no place in this film or any other western. Plus, it stole this subplot from Clint Eastwood's superior PALE RIDER. Overall, certainly not a bad movie, but it ain't all that great, either.
Rating: 3.5 StarsThe least of the trilogy, DEAD MAN'S WALK, is a prequal to LONESOME DOVE, tracking Gus and Call's earlier days as Texas Rangers. I must say, the best actors were the ones who were on screen from anywhere from five (Brian Dennehy) to twenty minutes (F. Murray Abraham), and all of it is very disappointing that they don't get nearly enough screen time. The two leads have to carry the immeasurable burden of filling in the shoes of Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones/James Garner, and I gotta cut 'em some slack for that. But still, the whole time they're just doing impressions of their characters' older selves. And that girl who played Clara [was bad]! The plot of DEAD MAN'S WALK is for the most of it handled with mediocrity, especially the ending! The last twenty minutes are the absolute worst I've ever spent in front of a TV screen. But the one section that actually has to do with the Dead Man's Walk is, on the other hand, one of the most emotionally powrful I've ever seen. This thirty minutes almost makes up for the entire four hour mess............almost.
Rating: 3 StarsAll three DVDs are bare bones, and what is there is just plain "BLAH". Sadly, LONESOME DOVE, by far the best of all, receives the worst DVD treatment in terms of picture and sound quality. This boxed set is only really worth getting if you're a diehard western fan and insist on owning the enture series."
Erik Morton | 02/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"No doubt the best, most authentic, most realistic, most convincing western film I have ever seen in my 62 years of life. Going back that far, thats a lot of westerns under my belt. I don't know where the Texas scenes were filmed, but being born and raised among the mesquite and cactus of South Texas, I can tell you that it seemed they filmed the scenes on my grandfather's land. Great performances by everybody involved, especially Robert Duval and Tommy Lee Jones. Ricky Schroder was awesome in his character, as usual. So, if you want to be entertained by a group of professionals doing their job well on a great script, you must get this film, I highly recommend it."
Wilma Monahan | 06/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Arguably the best western ever made! An exceptional film with superb performances by all. Tommy Lee Jones, gives his best performance to date and matching him every step of the way Robert Duval, both actors equally brilliant. Watching them playing off each other is a treat! They are the main characters in this movie about two aging ex-Texas rangers on one last great adventure. Also, excellent acting by Robert Urich (as the 3rd ranger), Ricky Schroder, Danny Glover, Diane Lane and Anjelica Huston in supporting roles. This is a must see!"