Last Train From Gun Hill – Paramount Presents (Blu-ray Review)

Paramount Presents has only been around for a year, but they have a heck of a track record so far. With fantastic presentations of films never before on the Blu-ray format and ones that are getting better versions than they had before, its covering a wide range. They come in a nifty little signature case and slip cover and feature great restorations. In June (back on the 15th to be exact), Paramount Presents is welcoming the John Sturges western Last Train From Gun Hill with Kirk Douglas and Anthony Quinn to the collection. Not much is added to the bonus features, but this has also never been on Blu-ray before. And woo-golly is this picture restoration a delight to behold. You’ll really need to see this with your own eyes! Its available now, and you can order it using the Amazon Associates link below the review.


Directed by John Sturges (Gunfight at the O.K. Corral), one of the greatest filmmakers of the Western genre, the film follows U.S. Marshal Matt Morgan (Douglas) on the trail of his wife’s killer. Adding a dark twist to the tale—the suspect’s father is Morgan’s longtime friend, cattle baron Craig Beldon (Quinn). Morgan is determined to capture the killer and take him away by the 9:00 train, against all odds.

Last Train From Gun Hill presents an interesting mixture of story types and bundles them into this nice western. With the baseline of revenge, you are also given a loose legal debate in days of not having full on courts. There’s also friendship drama between two old, now distanced friends. With Carolyn Jones character as a go-between, you get both Kirk Douglas & Anthony Quinn bouncing off her to make for a bit of a character study. And lastly, Douglas is both holed up in a room and racing against the clock to add a thriller element to it. There’s a lot going on, but it blends so easily.

One of my favorite aspects of this film (My first time seeing it) was the cinematography. This is just your typical western with sets and the faux town outside. However, its who is behind the camera that makes the difference. Its a combo of John Sturges directing and Charles Lang (Go look him up, he’s shot many all timers) that really make this little western tale big. I mean, this movie looks absolutely gigantic while I sit at home watching it on Blu-ray. Its a wonder what this would look like on a big screen. And to boot, Edith Head did the costumes for this, which photograph marvelously as well.

I’d not taken in Last Train From Gun Hill til now, and I feel like I’ve been missing out. Its a pretty terrific one that I’d pair with High Noon for a small comparison. They’d work well as a double feature. Though my first time, this stunning new Blu-ray was a fantastic way to introduce me to the film. Performances are great, the story is solid and the suspense and drama just outright work by those who are selling it. A definite recommend to check out something you probably have missed.


Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Last Train From Gun Hill debuts on Blu-ray with smashing fashion. Kicking down the door and punching the biggest alpha in the room. It boasts a brand new 6K restoration from the original VistaVision negative. And HOLY SHIT is this a stunner. Right from the opening credits, looking at the depth of field on the lettering to the background and the almost “I can touch it!” look to the background is your first clue that this is something special. This is image is sharp, full of detail, radiating off the screen. And boy, does this movie just look HUGE. The scale is triumphant and this transfer really compliments and worships the cinematography. I don’t care if you like westerns or not, or if you’ve seen this movie…you just need to see what Paramount has put out here. You’ll be quite impressed.

Depth:  Depth of field is incredibly strong in this picture. Pushback and distancing is almost three dimensional feeling. The scale here is quite epic. Movement is smooth and natural with no motion distortions.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and pretty close to natural as you’ll see. There are great shades and nothing is ever hidden with patterns, texture and details quite discernible. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are quite strong and its a very vivid looking picture. The women’s dresses have colors that really pop off the screen. Yellow/gold feels a strong impression over the lighting/filtering. There’s a great saturation here with lots of different shades on this palette to just sit an marvel at with the movie paused.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent. Facial features and textures are very stunning and visible from any given distance. Youc an make-out some make-up hiding acne/scarring from impressively far camera shots on people.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.


Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Mono Dolby TrueHD, German 2.0 Mono Dolby Digital, French 2.0 Mono Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, German, French

Dynamics: Its going to be overshadowed by the video, but the mono track on this disc is quite terrific in its own right. It has some really impressive low end stuff to go along with a well balanced approach with the score, effects and vocals. There are some nice touches in layer with good depth and attention to regular natural sound effects that really help paint a full picture.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp. Its quite clean sounding with no real big presence of an analog audio hiss in the mix at all.


Last Train Form Gun Hill  in first pressing, comes with a slip cover that folds open to reveal the original poster art for the film. It also comes with a redeemable digital copy.

Filmmaker Focus: Leonard Malton on Last Train From Gun Hill (HD, 7:22) – Malton does his basic overview on where John Sturges was coming from going into the film (an “adult western”), where Kirk Douglas was in his career, and gives a brief look at the filming of it and the legacy. He also talks about VistaVision and what it was, how it worked and how it was intended to bring people back to theaters.

Original Theatrical Trailers

  • Last Train From Gun Hill (SD, 2:36)
  • Gunfight At The O.K. Corral (SD, 2:10)
  • The Furies (SD, 2:17)
  • The Black Orchid (SD, 2:15)


Last Train From Gun Hill is a really solid western that mixes up revenge, drama and thriller altogether for a nicely pace, well shot addition to the genre. The restoration work on this disc is an absolutely stunning sight to behold and the audio has been brushed up quite amazingly as well. There’s a nice little bit from Leonard Malton to go along with a trailer, but the absolute seller on this is the image. And for those of you Blu-ray collecting enthusiasts, its worth the blind buy for this restoration.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link


Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com). He is also the Moderator/MC of the Live Podcast Stage and on the Podcast Awards Committee for PopCon (popcon.us). In the past 10 years at Why So Blu, Brandon has amassed over 1,500 reviews of 4K, Blu-ray and DVD titles.

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