Dom Robinson reviews

TombstoneEvery town has a story. Tombstone has a legend.Distributed by

Entertainment In Video


    • EDV 9028
    • Cert: 15
    • Running time: 124 minutes
    • Year: 1993
    • Pressing: 1999
    • Region(s): 2 (UK PAL)
    • Chapters: 12
    • Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0 (Dolby Surround)
    • Languages: English
    • Subtitles: None
    • Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Panavision)
    • 16:9-enhanced: No
    • Macrovision: No
    • Disc Format: DVD 9
    • Price: £15.99
    • Extras : Scene index, trailer, ‘making of’ featurette.


      George P. Cosmatos

    (Cobra, Leviathan, Shadow Conspiracy)


    James Jacks, Sean Daniel and Bob Misiodowski


    Kevin Jarre


    Bruce Broughton


    Wyatt Earp: Kurt Russell (Backdraft, Big Trouble in Little China, Breakdown, Escape From L.A., Escape From New York, Executive Decision, Overboard, Soldier, Stargate, Tango and Cash, Tequila Sunrise, The Thing, Unlawful Entry)
    Doc Holliday: Val Kilmer (Batman Forever, The Ghost and the Darkness, Heat, The Island of Dr Moreau, The Saint, Top Gun, Top Secret, True Romance)
    Curly Bill: Powers Boothe (Blue Sky, Nixon, Sudden Death, U-Turn)
    Johnny Ringo: Michael Biehn (Aliens, Crash (1995), Jade, K2, The Rock, Timebomb)
    Josephine Marcus: Dana Delany (Dead Man’s Curve, Fly Away Home, Housesitter)

Tombstoneis the name of the boom town set in 1879 after the Civil War ends and not only is lifereturning to normal, but even luxuries such as Paris fashions are being sold there.Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell) arrives in town looking to settle down with his family,but he finds himself returning to his lawman roots as a group of bandits roll into town,led by Curly Bill (Powers Boothe, who always manages to turn in a devilish performance,for example in U-Turn and Sudden Death) and his second-in-command, JohnnyRingo (Michael Biehn).

It’s not long before an old friend drifts back into Earp’s life, Doc Holliday (ValKilmer), who is slowly but surely dying of tuberculosis. The film goes about itsown way, following the lives and loves of everyone in the town, as it meanders towardsits conclusion with Earp setting out to clean up the town, stopping off part-way throughfor a gunfight at the OK Corral, not to mention his attraction to a 19th Century ‘It girl’equivalent, Josephine Marcus (Dana Delaney).

The rest of the cast includes Bill Paxton and Sam Elliot as Wyatt’s brothers,Morgan and Virgil, respectively, with back-up and cameos from Charlton Heston, JasonPriestly, Stephen Lang, Michael Rooker, Billy Zane, Frank Stallone, Billy Bob Thorntonand the late Robert Mitchum, uncredited as the narrator.

The picture quality is mostly clear of artifacts, but like a lot of Entertainment in Videotitles released, it may be in the correct widescreen ratio, this time being 2.35:1, butit isn’t anamorphically-enhanced for widescreen TVs. There is some grain present insome scenes, but less often than not and also a brief moment of ghosting it to be foundwithin the transfer at exactly 1:06:23 as Sam Elliot turns round. It affects both him andBill Paxton for one camera cut, making it look like there’s a piece of glass in front ofthem making a reflection. It looks very bizarre.

The average bitrate is a very good 7.53Mb/s, occasionally peaking at 9Mb/s.

The sound quality is fine and, like the American Region 1 release, it also containsa Dolby Digital 2.0 (Dolby Surround) soundtrack. It has its moments when there’s gunfire,but the rest of it won’t have the neighbours banging on your walls. There is a nice momentat the start though, as the opening monologue, starts off in mono, but a gunshot bringsthe opening theme into surround-land.

Extras : Chapters & Trailer :While some films have plenty of chapters, others have a meagre number. This one contains12, in comparison to the Region 1’s 25. There’s also a curious attempt to list the time atwhich each chapter kicks in, but this has only been listed for 9 of these and every singleone is anything between 60 and 63 minutes fast !?! The original theatricaltrailer is also included. Languages & Subtitles :Just one language for this disc – English in Dolby Surround – but no subtitles. ‘Making of’ featurette :A five-minute ‘making of’, which behaves more like an extended trailer. If itmakes your DVD-ROM player lock up, then it will also appear to stutter. Menu :

The menu is static and silent with a picture of the three Earp brothers and Doc standingside by side.

If you’re a die-hard fan of westerns, then Tombstone might be your bag, but Ifound it moves too slowly with not a lot of any consequence happening for too long.However, there’s not a lot to choose between this and the American release, apart fromtwice the number of chapters, but it’s a shame that an anamorphic print could not besourced.

N.B.: If you are playing this title on a Creative Dxr2 DVD-ROM player,it will lock up the player when fast-forwarding the trailer, the ‘making of’featurette and the final chapter, so you have to close the player down andstart it up again. This problem also affectsLast Man StandingandLong Kiss Goodnight,the latter only winning over the fact that it doesn’t lock up the player whenfast-forwarding the final chapter.


Review copyright © Dominic Robinson, 1999.

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