The Big Country [DVD] [1958]

This DVD of The Big Country will inevitably be a disappointment to anyone who saw the mid-1990's laserdisc release. The movie was one of a handful of classic westerns to get deluxe treatment on laser, including the presence of a narrative track on which Jerome Moross's epic score was discussed, interviews with Gregory Peck, Burl Ives, Charlton Heston, and Jean Simmons, a behind-the-scenes featurette, a still archive, and one channel containing the Moross's music as an unmixed music track. Those extras are all gone, and they are missed, along with a lot of the depth of color in the laser transfer -- the DVD transfer is completely different, the color far more muted throughout (but especially in the main title sequence and the adjacent transition scene). Admittedly, to have put all of those extras on the DVD would have made it necessary to do this as either a two-sided or a double-disc release (at $20 or $24 list), which might have scared off the viewer in search of an inexpensive title. In its defense, the image (letterboxed at the same 2.35-to-1 anamorphic aspect ratio) is cleaner and has none of the slight variations in tone that were inherent in most laser playback, but otherwise seems duller. Only in the final 30 minutes does the color and the crispness come up to the standard that one would expect from a DVD presentation of this movie. The sound is clean but unspectacular, and the 16 chapters for a 166 minute movie seems scarcely adequate. The disc opens automatically on a simple menu, and the only significant extra is the trailer (also letterboxed) and a selection of French and Spanish subtitles.
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Ratings & Reviews

Overall Customer Rating:
Rating 4.8 out of 5 stars.
100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (23 out of 23)

Special Features

  • Original theatrical trailer
  • English: mono
  • French: mono
  • French and Spanish subtitles


The Big Country
In The Big Country Gregory Peck plays a seafaring man who heads west to marry Carroll Baker, the daughter of rancher Charles Bickford. Bickford is currently embroiled in a water-rights feud with covetous Burl Ives, so both he and his daughter are hoping that Peck can take care of himself. But Peck, who doesn't belief in fisticuffs, appears to be a coward, especially when challenged by Bickford's cocksure foreman Charlton Heston. The far-from-cowardly Peck decides to distance himself from the machismo overload at the Bickford spread, settling for a romance with headstrong schoolmarm Jean Simmons, whose water-rich lands are being fought over by the two warring ranchers. When Jean is kidnapped by Ives' no-good son Chuck Connors, Peck decides to take action. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Gregory Peck
    Gregory Peck - James McKay
  • Carroll Baker
    Carroll Baker - Pat Terrill
  • Charlton Heston
    Charlton Heston - Steve Leech
  • Burl Ives
    Burl Ives - Rufus Hannassey
  • Charles Bickford
    Charles Bickford - Maj. Henry Terrill

Overall Customer Rating

4.8 out of 54.8
23 Reviews
100%of customers recommend this product.

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