Scribe     Weekly



Search site

Site Map


Film & DVD Archive  


Music Archive




Features Archive

Food & Drink 

Food & Drink Archive

Wijke's Weather   

Weather Specials   







Link To Us  


Scribe Weekly Radio   

Dedications for Scribe Weekly Radio   

Write for Scribe Weekly

Tell a Friend



DVD - UNFORGIVEN ?10th Anniversary Special Edition

‘Unforgiven?holds a unique place in movie history. It single-handedly both re-energised the Western genre whilst, at the same time, made it almost impossible for any other Western to be made and not look like a poor imitation. It’s all very well for young, accomplished actors such as Matt Damon or James Van Der Beek to try their hands at playing cowboys, but it was there is a sense of justice that it fell to Clint Eastwood, probably the most famous cowboy since John Wayne, to make the last great modern Western. Winner of four Oscars (including Best Director and Best Picture), ‘Unforgiven?has now been granted a ‘Special Edition?DVD release to mark the film’s tenth anniversary.

Eastwood plays William Munney, a widower who is trying to raise his two children whilst eking out a living as a pig farmer. He’s not very successful with either the hogs or his children and you get the impression that, with his wife dead, Munney is as much being raised by his children as they are by him. The fact that Munney was, at one time, a cold-blooded killer and outlaw who was reined in by the love of a good woman is pulled sharply into focus when a young bounty hunter appears at the ranch, offering a cash deal if he will join him in the hunt for some cowboys wanted for savagely attacking a prostitute in a nearby town. While Munney may be a reformed character, he could sure use the cash and, after initially turning down the offer, he enlists the help of his old running partner, Ned (Morgan Freeman) and they set off to share the bounty three ways.

It’s from this standard setup that Eastwood crafts a masterful story of how a man comes to terms with his past, so that he can be at ease with himself in the present. It’s not enough just to forget where you came from but, as Munney finds out, you have to face your demons if you’re ever likely to beat them. There’s a wonderful campfire scene where Eastwood is talking to Freeman about a cowboy he shot in the distant past and he says “He didn’t do anything to deserve to get shot, at least nothin?I could remember when I sobered up.?This isn’t a Saturday-morning-serial western where our hero shoots and forgets, leaving the town undertaker to measure up the bodies for caskets whilst the sheriff rides off into the sunset. Actions have repercussions, past deeds come back to haunt you and what seemed right in the past couldn’t seem more wrong in the here and now.

Nobody wears a black Stetson or a white Stetson in this film; not even the most likely ‘villain? Gene Hackman’s ‘Little Bill?Daggett, Sheriff of the town where Eastwood is headed. Even though he’s pained as the villain, the story doesn’t take the easy option of making him a corrupt lawman, instead we get a complicated character who is happy to dish out sadistic beatings at times, lenient punishments at others and then retire to the house he is building by the riverside. It takes an actor of a talent and finesse to make this character so unliveable but Hackman pulls it off with ease, fully deserving his Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Rounding out the support cast is Richard Harris as ‘English Bob? a famed gunslinger who travels the country, living off if his infamy with his own biographer in tow.

But the real star here is Eastwood, as director and actor. If he never makes another good movie again (and let’s face it, that’s quite likely), ‘Unforgiven?will forever be seen as his crowning glory.


?Audio commentary by Time Magazine film critic and Eastwood biographer Richard Schickel
?Theatrical trailer
?Behind-the-scenes documentary: 'Eastwood & Co. Making Unforgiven'
?10th anniversary featurette: 'All on Accounta Pullin' a Trigger'
?Interviews with Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman and Richard Harris
?Career retrospective: 'Eastwood on Eastwood' by Richard Schickel (67 mins)
?Classic Maverick TV series episode 'Duel at Sundown' in which Eastwood plays a virtual younger incarnation of his Unforgiven role (47 mins)

It’s a shame that we get no commentary from Eastwood, but the interviews and documentaries more than make up for it. The supplied commentary and career retrospectrive by Schickel sometimes dips into the ‘fawning?territory but is more than compensated for by the inclusion of an episode of the TV series ‘Maverick? in which a pre-Rawhide era Eastwood plays a character not too dissimilar a younger William Munney, squaring off against James Garner.

Film ?9/10
Extras ?8/10

Sean G