on March 6, 2002
If you made it this far, go a little further. Under "Explore this video" you will see the run time of the VHS tape is 240 minutes. The DVD run time is 360 minutes. Hmmmm....
Well, be warned, an intellectually challenged movie distributor has decided to edit 2 hours from Lonesome Dove! That is like touching up the Mona Lisa!
This miniseries was unique and may never again be equalled, at least in the Western genre. It is 6 hours of riveting televison, and trust me on this folks, you can't find 5 minutes of this former miniseries to edit out. To cut anything out was a serious diservice to anyone who has not experienced this.
Probably what I liked most was the thoroughly convincing portrayals of this cast. There were none who did not project an aura of believability, and each was so convincing that you may forget you are sitting in front of your television. I remember the time I rented this 6 hour series in 1994 not knowing what to expect. What I found was I did not get up from my couch for 6 hours. I was moved by the entire movie, and rarely does any movie elicit emotion in me. Gus McRae and Woodrow Call, backed by an absolutely fantastic supporting cast, will bring your televison to life.
Towards the end, when Woodrow is doing a favor for Gus, and doing so at the risk of his own life, the whole West hears of his exploits. In some dusty cow town somewhere, a local sees him, and reading of the story, questions Woodrow Call.
"Just why are you doing this anyway?" he asks. Call looks back and says "Because I gave him my word." The local, thinking for a second, looks back and says "I can see that you did" and walks away. It is a perfect description of the character of Woodrow Call. Maybe the best mini-series to ever grace televison. Just make sure you see all of it.
on March 2, 2004
I can't believe that the studio would crop down the original story by two hours! More importantly, there is absolutely no indication on Amazon's product page that it is not the complete and original version. Obviously we are supposed to buy first and be disappointed later. Shame on the studio for dismembering such an admirably filmed and classic western. Shame on Amazon for not letting us know that this isn't the complete film.
For those of you who had never seen the film and bought this DVD, I'm sorry to tell you that you've been snubbed out of 1/4 of the story. For those of you who loved the film and bought this DVD, don't you feel cheated?
This isn't the first time a studio has decided what is best for the viewing public. I, for one, will be demanding to know why this film was cut and how/where I can obtain a quality (this DVD quality was awful) and UNABRIDGED digital video of Lonesome Dove.
on January 4, 2004
Not too long ago, I caught the tail end of a film on the cable channel which captured more than my attention. After watching what was left of the film, it left me thirsty for more. I purchased the 4 set vhs immediately. I usually make it a rule to avoid westerns; most westerns don't hold my attention past the first ten minutes. Lonesome Dove turned out to be the exception to my rule. This 6 hour saga boasts an all-star cast, beginning with Robert Duvall as Captain Gus McCrae and Tommy Lee Jones as Captain Woodrow Call, two retired Texas Rangers hailing from a small town in south Texas, called appropriately enough, Lonesome Dove. After an unspected visit from their long absent partner, Jake Spoon, played by Robert Urich, the three round up some experienced hands and head cross country to the yet unsettled State of Montana with a herd of stolen horses and cattle in an effort to build an empire in the breeding buisiness. Several storylines unfold along the way, as Captains Call and McCrae take their treacherous trek cross country, crossing seven untamed rivers along the way. Rick Schroeder plays the illigitimate son of Captain Call who refuses to recognize him as his son, but takes on the role in rearing the boy, now on the threshold of manhood. Schroeder's performance displays a side of his talents that were never fully displayed in any of his former roles on television. I can say the same for Robert Urich who shines in his portrail as Jake Spoon. Rick Schroeder's character, Newt Dobbs, although still rough around the edges, displays deeply instilled loyalties and trust in Captain Call and the men associated with them who had a hand in raising the boy practically from birth. The issue of paternity and the lack of recognition clearly tear at the compassionate sides of both men. The loyalties and ties run deep between all of them. Danny Glover plays an experienced tracker, taking incredible risks for the sake of his comrades. His simplistic yet poignant portrayal was intense enough to bring me to tears. The movie brought out a mix of raw emotions from within me, ranging from laughing out loud at the sprinkles of dry humor to wiping tears from my eyes with the dramatic side to this movie. My favorite scene was when Captain McCrae narrowly escapes an Indian attack while scouting with Pea Eye who inquires "What kind of Indians were they?" to which the dry Captain McCrae replies "I don't know. They didn't stop to introduce themselves." There are other characters who deserve accolades but it would take alot more than this small space, for me to touch on every one of them. The storylines are gripping, the scenery breathtaking and the recreation of life in an infant America is so realistic, it gave me a hankerin' to go back in time. This is a must see, with warmth, bravado and edge of your seat tension. This film not only captured my attention, but my heart. If you are in the mood for a movie with powerful insight on what life was really like in the old west, if you want heartstopping action, adventure, vivid characters and intensity that never quits, then this is the movie for you.
on September 25, 2003
I don't think I can add anymore than what's already been said about Lonesome Dove. This is one of the best mini-series of all time. And overall probably the best Western I've ever seen.
But Lonesome Dove fans deserve a better transfer of this film to DVD. The original broadcast on CBS wasn't crystal clear with eye popping colors either but it was certainly better than this murky hazy looking print. Other studios have taken important groundbreaking mini-series like Roots (and most recently Shogun) and gave them stunning transfers that look even better than the original broadcast. And Roots and Shogun first aired more than 10 years before Lonesome Dove!! Lonesome Dove the book and the TV series has become part our collective memory of the Mythological American West. And has done as much to make us rethink Hollywood cliches about Westerns as Unforgiven or previous Westerns by Leone, Peckinpah, Hawks, or Ford.
I'm glad its at least available on DVD. But I can't help but say this series simply deserves better. Why do I care? Again, its an "important" Western. And for selfish reasons as well. I re-watch Lonesome Dove about once every year. It should look just as good as most of DVD's out there today.
on September 29, 2003
This version is only 2/3's the original. While I don't consider Lonesome Dove to be as great a film as The Unforgiven, consider The Unforgiven being cut down to 2/3's it's original length. Would you consider it to be worth considering over the original. I doubt it. Major character development and plotlines would have to be cut.
Lonesome Dove, in my opinion, is one of the greatest, if not the greatest mini-series to ever play on television. Robert Duval and Tommy Lee Jones give Academy Award deserving (if it was on the big screen) performances.
However, everyone should wait for the original, full length version to come out on DVD. I know I will.
If this DVD had been the original, it would recieve 5 stars.
on February 27, 2004
I have just finished watching the six hour Lonesome Dove for the fourth time; yet, it is a rare movie I will even watch twice. I own the DVD, and I will certainly be watching it a fifth time. Comparisons of Lonesome Dove to other TV movies don't begin to do it justice; this movie deserves comparison to any Western ever made, and it stands up well to any one of the most highly considered (The Searchers, Unforgiven, Shane, High Noon, The Good, The Bad & the Ugly, etc.). This is a story of character and nuance much more than plot and action, with many small moments that will stay with you long after the story is finished...a saloon owner grieving over the loss of his prostitute (his love)...the hanging of a friend...an attempt at telling a boy he is your son....the burial of a friend...two old warriors saying goodbye in so many words (while there is much humor in the story, there is also overwhelming sadness, and do expect very major characters to have tragic endings to their lives). Lonesome Dove is bold enough to tell an epic story (and in doing so, demytholyzing the history of the West, and showing us how brutal and painful the settling of the West really was) by focusing on these small moments. There are something like 75 or 100 speaking parts in this movie, and it is uniformly excellently cast (with the exception, in my opinion, of Angelica Huston, who I always thought seemed out of place in this Western setting). If you are wondering whether this is worth owning, believe me, you will never regret it.
A postscript: since I wrote my review I have noticed that there are a number of idiots out there unfairly ripping this movie for being shorter than the original. The original series was indeed EIGHT hours long. However, it was made for TV and had something called commericials. These had the effect of reducing its running time to about SIX hours, as my review notes. I have seen several DVD versions of this and have never seen one that was edited or cut, which is why they neglect to warn you on the box. Just get the movie, watch it, and ignore the bozo comments.
on June 6, 2003
See also McMurtry's book of the same title. The film is exceptionally faithful to the book. But see the movie first, because Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones fit the two main characters perfectly: you'll hear their voices as you read the book (warning to Germans: don't buy a dubbed version of the film!). No one can write about Texas like McMurtry, and no actor can play a Texan like Duvall! What's it about:? The short transition period from the time of the outlaws (the lawmen were also outlaws now and then, as is portrayed in the film) and Indians, and the transition to the boring money-civilization of banks, shopkeeping, and corporate ranching. In this connection, see also the oral histories collected in the fine book 'In Their Own words'. My Geman wife hates kitch, smells it a mile a way, and loves both Lonesome Dove and The Evangelist, both played by Duvall. She also loves West Texas but hates the fences there. There's much more freedom of motion in Europe than in the fenced-in U.S. In Europe, you can walk across a farmer's land without asking permission, whereas in Texas you shouldn't.
on May 31, 2003
I hereby thank a good friend of mine for introducing me to this very fine film, which indeed deserves high honor in the TV miniseries Hall of Fame. LONESOME DOVE, a sprawling and picturesque epic set in the old American West, is based on a novel of the same name by author Larry McMurtry.
This is a saga of two friends, retired Texas Rangers Augustus McCrae (Robert Duvall) and Woodrow Call (Tommy Lee Jones), who dare ensue seeking out what fellow former Ranger Jake Spoon (Robert Urich) has described as a "cattleman's paradise" - the virgin wilderness of Montana. Before long they're off, stealing back from thieves across the border large herds of cattle and horses, readying themselves for a journey that's quite destined to become -more or less- the great American odyssey. This bold undertaking, originating in the southwest of Texas, is reckoned to end - once having conquered the vast unforgiving wilds of Indian country - in the rich wide openness of western Montana. Gathering a motley crew of cowboys and other notables: among them an old comrade in arms, Joshua Deets (Danny Glover), Captain Call's illegitimate and unacknowledged son Newt (Rick Schroder), the town's kind-hearted prostitute, Lorie (Diane Lane), and Gus's two pet pigs, Gus and Captain Call embark upon their grand ambitious trek.
It is a trek filled with unrelenting adventure - fraught throughout with quirky happenstance, scenic romance and omnipresent danger. In addition to horse thieves, snakes, and Indians, Gus and Call must contend with a vicious, murderous half-breed named Blue Duck (Frederic Forrest). Also, in an interesting sub-plot, the ne'er do well Jake is pursued by a sheriff from Arkansas for an accidental murder committed there. However this sheriff, July Johnson (Chris Cooper), soon changes his course after finding out his pregnant wife had run off on a whiskey boat in pursuit of a wastrel lover. Meanwhile, after having rescued Lorie from the clutches of Blue Duck and his gang of nasty villains, Gus makes room in his ample heart for the love of two women: Lorie, who's evermore from that moment devoted to him, and Clara (Anjelica Huston), an old flame he intends to visit while en-route to Montana.
Just as Dickens did, McMurtry fleshes his characters out - even the minor ones - and gives them souls. Gus and Woodrow are, in particular, drawn forth with amazing depth and insight - Gus's warm sensibility plays perfectly off Call's stern straightforwardness, and it makes for a friendship that is rich, pure and patent. Truly Duvall must be a real cowboy at heart, and the role of Gus McCrea was just made for him! And Tommy Lee Jones was absolutely stellar. My favorite minor character is Janey (Nina Siemaszko), a girl from Arkansas who chucks rocks with perfect aim at a scurvy bunch of backwoods outlaws trying to rob her new friend - my 2nd favorite minor character - Deputy Roscoe Brown (Barry Corbin).
The acting is actually superb throughout, which I suppose should well be expected from such a first rate cast: two with Oscars already tucked under their belts (Duvall and Huston), two future Academy Award winners (Tommy Lee Jones and Chris Cooper), as well as a future Oscar nominee (Diane Lane) - it lends no insignificant amount of credit to a television movie when there are actors of such renowned caliber starring in it.
I cannot say this film was quite as moving as I had expected it to be - though realistically portrayed, some of the tragedy seemed too coincidental or, in some subtle way, even contrived. Yet, although this movie is somewhat slow and slightly dry at the beginning, it does gradually warm into an alluringly endearing glow by the end: a spark lovingly fanned along the way by Basil Poledouris's exquisite score. The dry dusty landscape is exquisitely filmed, and much of the dialogue is woven with bits of subdued genius. Overall, I must say that though this is a brutally honest drama, it is possessed, much like Homer's Odyssey, of a mythical quality all its own.
on January 30, 2003
IN A DAY AND AGE WHEN HOLLYWIERD IS SO ENTHRALLED WITH SI FI THRILLERS, ESCAPIST ACTION FLICKS AND OTHER NON REALITY, PROFANE LADEN GARBAGE, ONE OFTEN HAS TO PLUG IN A GOOD VIDEO TO REDISCOVER QUALITY ENTERTAINMENT.
IF QUALITY VIDEO IS YOUR MARK, LOOK NO FURTHER THAN 'LONESOME DOVE.'
ABOUT ONCE A YEAR I REWIND THIS ONE AND OVER A PERIOD OF WEEKS, WATCHING A LITTLE HERE AND A LITTLE THERE I ONCE AGAIN THRILL TO THIS MAGNIFICENT MASTERPIECE.
THE FOUNDATION OF THIS CLASSIC IS LARRY MCMURTRYS NOVEL.
MCMURTRY WHO MAY BE A SHADE ODD AS A PERSON SHINES AS A MASTER OF THE MODERN TRAGEDY.
ITS A SHAME ALL OF HIS NOVELS ARENT THIS RICH IN CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT AND QUALITY DIALOUGE.
COULD IT HAVE BEEN ANY BETTER CAST? I DOUBT IT. EVERYONE IN THIS FILM IS IDEALLY SUITED TO THEIR ROLES.
THE PLOT IS SIMPLE AND SECONDARY. THE CHARACTERS TAKE CENTER STAGE ON THIS ONE, AND WHAT CHARACTERS THEY ARE.
RETIRED TEXAS RANGERS WOODROW F. CALL (TOMMY LEE JONES) AND AUGUSTIS MCRAE (ROBERT DUVALL) LEAD A SCURVY BUNCH OF "ADLED BRAIN COWBOYS" NOT TO MENTION THE TOWN WHORE AND TWO PIGS ON AN EPIC CATTLEDRIVE FROM SOUTHWEST TEXAS NORTH TO MONTANA. THERE ARE
MANY DANGERS, DIVERSIONS AND OTHER OBSTACLES IN THEIR PATH. BUT THEY PERSEVEARE TO THE VERY END LOOSING MUCH BUT GAINING MUCH MORE ALONG THE WAY.
SIMON WINCER HAS COME TO NOTERIETY DIRECTING WESTERNS. IT SEEMS TO BE HIS FOR TE.
THE CINEMATOGRAPHY IS BEYOND BIG SCREEN QUALITY AS MANY SCENES ARE BEAUTIFULLY DONE IN THE GLOW OF DAWN AND DUSK.
THE SUPPORTING CAST READS LIKE A WHOS WHO FROM T.V. AND FILM.
DANNY GLOVER, ROBERT URICH, D.B. SWEENEY, ANJELICA HUSTON, RICKY SCHRODER AND THE LIST GOES ON.
THE VERBAL SPARRING BETWEEN MCRAE AND CALL IS WIT AT ITS BEST.
THIS IS ONE OF THOSE SHOWS THAT THE VIEWER MUST WATCH CLOSELY.
NOT BECAUSE OF FREQUENT PLOT TWISTS THAT HAVE BECOME INANELY POPULAR IN OTHER FILMS, BUT BECAUSE OF THE CONSISTANT QUALITY OF EVERY SCENE.
PAUSE IT IF YOU MUST ANSWER NATURES CALL OR RAID THE FRIDGE.
THIS IS A POETIC TALE THAT YOU DONT WANT TO MISS A SEACOND OF.
FILMED ON LOCATION IN AND AROUND DEL RIO TEXAS GIVES THE MINI SERIES THE GENUINE VERACITY A LOT OF MOVIES LACK THESE DAYS.
THERE ARE SO MANY MEMORABLE SCENES AND BITS OF GENUIS DIALOUGE THAT THEY ARE TOO NUMEROUS TO REPEAT HERE. THE PHILOSOPHICAL RAMBLINGS OF DUVALLS GUS GIVES US INSIGHT INTO THIS SURFACE SIMPLE MAN WHO WREAKS OF ARTICULATE OMNI INTELLIGENCE.
MCRAES CUTTING UP PLAYS WELL OFF OF CALLS STOIC ONE DIMENSIONALISM. DUVALL AND JONES ARE GREAT TOGETHER AND ITS A SHAME THE TWO HAVE NOT COLLABORATED ON MORE FILMS.
THE DRY DUSTY LANSCAPE IS A CO STAR IN THIS EFFORT ALONG WITH BIT PLAYERS WHO ARE ALSO COLORFULLY DRAWN.
THE MUSIC IS BOLD, UNAPOLAGETIC YET NOT INTRUSIVE.
YOU WILL RUN THE GAMUT OF EMOTIONS WHILE ENJOYING THIS PIECE.
FROM LAUGHTER, TO SADNESS AND MAYBE A TEAR OR TWO.
WE REALLY GET TO KNOW THESE CHARACTERS AND ARE DEEPLY MOVED AS SOME OF THEM MEET THERE END.
LIKE MOST GOOD WESTERNS THERE ARE MANY MORALS HERE. MCRAE AND CALL ARE SO COMMITTED TO THEIR CODE THAT THEY GRUDGINGLY HANG A FRIEND WHEN HE "CROSSES THE LINE." AND THEY HAVE ENOUGH WHIMSIES TO RESPECTFULLY JOKE ABOUT IT LATER.
CALL IS FORCED TO ACCEPT HIS ILL LEGITIMATE SON 'NEWT' AND SWALLOW HIS REVERED PRIDE IN DOING SO.
THEY CONSTANTLY TAKE TIME OUT FROM THEIR SACRED MISSION OF "ON TO MONTANA" TO RIGHT VARIOUS WRONGS AND LEND AID TO UNFORTUNATES ALONG THE TRAIL.
AT THE END, THE UNEMOTIONAL CALL BREAKS DOWN SOMEWHAT UPON REFLECTING ON THE COSTS OF HIS IMPOSING WILL.
FOR THE PURIST CROWD WHO SEEK HONEST DRAMA AS OPPOSED TO FLAKY FLUFF THIS ONE SHOULD SATISFY ABOVE AND BEYOND YOUR EXPECTATIONS.
DONT BE FOOLED BY THE FILMS PROMOTIONAL SIMPLICITY. THIS IS SO MUCH MORE THAN A BUNCH OF COW POKES GOING 'ON TO MONTANA.'
on December 3, 2002
I've seen LONESOME DOVE so many times I've practically got the six hours of dialogue memorized. Yet I'll keep watching this excellent adaptation of Larry McMurtry's epic novel, over and over again. Why? Two words: compelling story.
The friendship of Augustus McCrae and Woodrow F. Call is the underlying theme of LONESOME DOVE; it's the motor that drives the story. When these two weathered former lawmen steal a herd of cattle from Mexico and set off for Montana for one last grand adventure ("I wanna see that country," says Call to Gus, "before the lawyers and bankers get it."), the stage is set for a Western with plenty of humor, action, violence...tragedy.
This production makes McMurtry's unforgettable characters literally leap off the page. Robert Duvall IS Gus McCrae...Tommy Lee Jones IS Woodrow Call. Both performances are so vivid and on target the viewer is transported seamlessly to McMurtry's story, a story centering around the undying loyalty and friendship of these two men.
LONESOME DOVE is a film that will entertain you, take you over the full gambit of human emotions, then after six hours leave you begging for more. Jones and Duvall lead a stellar cast in a remarkable film that has but one weakness: it has to end. And McMurtry's story is told--told so well that no other Western even comes close.