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Film & TV on DVD - John Doe Film News & Reviews

Greetings Film Fiends and welcome to John Doe's Film Blog. 30 years of dedicated celluloid obsession has meant that I have seen a few films. Drawing attention to some of the lesser discussed gems that I love. Cult classics, obscure curios and quality genre pictures. This blogs purpose is to translate some of my passion for these films and with luck, inspire you the reader to go check em out.

DeadWood Season 1 (2004)

Deadwood: Season 1

DVD Cover
Starring:Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker, Brad Douriff, Jefferey Jones
Created By:David Milch
Picture:Widescreen Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital

The year is 1876; Colonel Custer has just made his historic last stand at the Battle of Little Big Horn. In the centre of this brutal Indian land, is the lawless town of Deadwood. Rich gold deposits appeal to the pioneer spirit and attract criminals, corruption and blood shed.

This is a male dominated world of sex, violence, and profanity. The romance has gone and the stoic one dimensional heroes of the cinematic past abandoned. Rape is common, men are shot in the back and whoring is the best career opportunity for the fairer sex, welcome to the real old west.

The pilot episode directed by hard man Walter Hill (The Warriors, Extreme Prejudice) sets an ideal tone and atmosphere that is adhered to from beginning to end.

Created by David Milch (Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue) this exceptionally well researched series oozes authenticity. The plot and characters (Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hikcock etc) are drawn straight from real life events.

All the cast completely morph into their onscreen personas. Ian McShane (Lovejoy) is Al Sweargan, the brutal owner of the Gem saloon. Timothy Olyphant (Go) is the iron jawed Seth Bullock the reluctant sheriff who is as close to good people as you will find in this hell hole.

Supported by the likes of Molly Parker (Kissed), Jeffery Jones (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off), Brad Douriff (Lord of the Rings) and William Sanderson (Blade Runner) these are small screen performances of a standard seldom seen.

Thoughtfully framed, the cinematography is atmospheric and immersive, with a quality much more akin to the cinema screen. Memorable and immensely quotable, the crackling dialogue is tough and poetic, melding Ye Olde English with profanity that would make Lee Marvin blush.

Echoing Robert Altman’s sublime McCabe and Mrs Miller this is the wild west of the history books. There are no good guys and bad guys, just real human beings playing out the hands god dealt them. Forging the way for modern civilization, they are frontier folk that battle the wild land and fight each other.

John Doe says: 9/10
I’m absolutely hooked, riveted to every line and subtle character nuance. I’m not much of a fan of TV generally but HBO is the exception, creating smart adult programming of a high quality.

Fans of the old horsy operas may be shocked, (not that there’s anything wrong with that) by the nudity, violence and moral ambiguity but viewers looking for intelligent entertainment that will transport you back in time to a world that is now dead will relish every moment.

The DVD:
The transfer is perfection, widescreen and in 5.1. Sadly there are no real extras to speak of. Season 2 is available and equally engrossing. Season 3 is airing in the U.S, but wont screen on Showtime in Oz for a little while yet.

"Your husband and me had this talk, and I told him to head home to avoid a dark result. But I didn't say it in thunder. Ma'am, listen to the thunder.
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9 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]
1. August 22nd 2006 @ 09:37. Ian Says:
I absolutely loved the first season of Deadwood. It inspired me to learn a lot more about the real life characters in it like Wild Bill Hickok, Seth Bullock, Sol Star, Calamity Jane, Al Swearengen and E. B. Farnum. I've just finished watching the second series on DVD, and now I can't wait for the third.
2. August 22nd 2006 @ 13:13. JohnDoe Says:
Hi ian,
Great to meet another fan of the Al Sweargen experience.

A friend of mine in the US sent me the first 10 episodes of season 3 last week. Ive watched the first 4 and wasnt dissappointed. The hits keep coming.

Shame the show has been cancelled, Season 3 is the last.

******* Rumour has it there are plans for a made for cable movie after season 3. Then another for the bigscreen. Fingers crossed the tale is true.*************************

3. August 23rd 2006 @ 00:03. jon Says:
I loved the first season as well and I have one episode to go in the final season. I am *very* jealous that you have the first 10 eps of season 3!!

Along with West Wing (which I am still mourning) these have been the best TV shows in a long time.

Ian -- I think you need to ahem... order.. them and send them over
4. August 23rd 2006 @ 00:24. JohnDoe Says:
Hi Jon,

Unfortunately Season 3 isn't on DVD yet. My buddy in the US taped them off TV for me and posted em over..

It should screen on Showtime around the end of the year with any luck.

That new DVd set that just came out in Oz with Season 1&2 together looks really nice.

5. August 23rd 2006 @ 02:45. Cibbuano Says:
well, I DO like nudity and violence - maybe I'll check it out!

6. August 23rd 2006 @ 02:48. jon Says:
And the swearing is delicious
7. August 23rd 2006 @ 04:15. Ginger Snap Says:
Cocksucker !
8. August 31st 2006 @ 02:50. Leon Says:
loved the reality of it. but the swearing was sort of unneccesary mostly, some of the words they use have only been invented more recently and despite their hardships and all i dont think it is humanly possible to profane that much. Season two was a little dissappointing i thought
9. August 31st 2006 @ 06:57. JohnDoe Says:
Hi Leon,

Another of my buddies said he prefered Season 1 as well, but still digs season 2. The joy of the show really is the characters and authentic feel, he wanted some more quick drawing action like in the old days.

I loved season 1, Season 2 was even better for me. The confronations were monumental and the scope of the show just became so much vaster. Also love that they continue to follow the historical chronology as the town develops and was in fact one of the first place in the US to have telephone lines.

Which swear words have only been invented recently?

From, what Ive read most of the language is spot on for the time and society. Most cuss words have been around for centuries, and this after all is only set 150 years ago (Eg: Fuck actually stands for Fornication Under Consent of the KIng -1700's I think. Deadwood is the kind of enviroment where new insults would have been first uttered.

As for the amount of foul language, these are hard uncivilize men, its a male dominated society. My grandfather tells stories about when he was in the navy during WWII and you should here the nasties that litter his sentences when reenacting and retelling.

Glad your a fan and I hope you enjoy Season 3.

Really good news, Season 3 of Deadwood is coming sooner than expected to Showtime. Saw the advert last night and it should arrive on Foxtel in November/December.

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