Updated: Jun 25
BLU-RAY REVIEW / FRAME SHOTS
On the trail with Ed Furillo (Bruno Kirby) and Mitch Robbins (Billy Crystal) in the western drama-comedy “City Slickers.”
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“CITY SLICKERS: COLLECTOR'S EDITION”
Blu-ray; 1991, PG-13 for language and violence; Streaming via Amazon Video, FandangoNOW, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube
Best Extra: Commentary by Director Ron Underwood and actors Billy Crystal and Daniel Stern
THREE MONTHS after "Dances with Wolves" swept the Academy Awards with seven golden statues as the first western to win Best Picture since Cimarron (1931), "City Slickers" hit theaters with high praise. By year's end, the comedy/western finished No. 5 in box office numbers behind No. 1 "Terminator 2: Judgement Day."
Billy Crystal stars as radio advertising executive Mitch Robbins who is quickly closing in on his 40th birthday. He's lost his smile, says wife Barbara (Patricia Wettig). So he and his New York buddies, also stuck in a mid-life crisis, played by Daniel Stern as Phil Berquist, a manager at his father-in-law's supermarket, and the late Bruno Kirby as Ed Furillo, recently married to an underwear model, take off for a gut-busting two-week cattle drive in the Colorado Rockies for their annual summer vacation. The summer before the boys traveled to Pamplona, Spain to run with the bulls.
Jack Palance is fabulous as Curly, the mythical trail boss - Oscar-winning role - with a cigarette in a corner of his mouth barking orders to the tenderfoots including African-American father and son dentists Ben (Bill Henderson) and Steve Jessup (Phill Lewis) of Baltimore, a pair of gourmet-ice-cream entrepreneurs (played by David Paymer and Josh Mostel) and blonde cowgirl (Helen Slater).
One-liners abound from the writing team of Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel ("Splash"). "City Slickers" is directed by Ron Underwood ("Tremors"). The animated title sequence also signals it's lighthearted nature.
"Hi Curly. Killed anyone today?" asks Mitch. "The day ain't over yet...," says Curly
"City Slickers" rides along a similar trail, the Western classic "Red River" starring John Wayne and Montgomery Clift. The tension is genuine as Mitch, Phil and Ed confront their inner roadblocks, but it's heart and humor that drive this 113 modern classic.
The original 35mm camera negative was scanned in 4K (1.85:1 aspect ratio) from the folks at MGM and then downconverted for this Shout Select Blu-ray presentation. The new master extracts natural film grain for each frame composed by Australian cinematographer Dean Semler ("Dances with Wolves"), creating richer colors, especially blues and reds. The overall contrast level is nicely balanced between highlights and shadows, which elevates this Blu-ray substantially over previous editions.
Hopefully MGM and Shout will take the next step to release a 4K Ultra Select Series on disc and or streaming with High Dynamic Range. On iTunes, MGM has already released "The Princess Bride," "The Silence of the Lambs" and "Rocky" on 4K with Dolby Vision.
A six-channel DTS-HD soundtrack balances dialogue, effects and a comical score from five-time Oscar-nominated composer Marc Shaiman around the room. Highlights include the cattle stampede and the "Running of the Bulls." Jimmy Durante's rendition of "Young at Heart" sets the tone.
All of the bonus features are carried over from previous editions including four featurettes, deleted scenes, and the delightful commentary track.
— Bill Kelley III, High-Def Watch producer