Jeremiah Johnson

Jeremiah Johnson

Robert Redford
Director: Sydney Pollack Cast: Robert Redford
Robert Redford
, Will Geer
Will Geer
, Stefan Gierasch
Stefan Gierasch
Sydney Pollack

DVD (Mono)

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One of Sydney Pollack's second collaborations with actor Robert Redford, Jeremiah Johnson comes to DVD with a widescreen transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1. A closed-captioned English soundtrack is rendered in Dolby Digital 5.1, while a French soundtrack has been recorded in Dolby Digital Mono. Subtitles are accessible in both of those languages, as well as Spanish. Supplemental materials include trailers and production notes. This is a decent release from Warner Bros. that could have done more, but is fine as far as it goes.Years before Kevin Costner danced with wolves, Robert Redford headed to the mountains to escape civilization in Sydney Pollack's wilderness western. Around 1850, ex-soldier Johnson (Redford) decides that he would rather live alone as a mountain man in Colorado than deal with society's constraints. After a series of setbacks, he meets grizzled mountain veteran Bear Claws (Will Geer), who teaches him how to survive. Jeremiah strives to live as peaceably as possible in the rugged environment, trading with the native Crow tribe, adopting a boy (Josh Albee) after his family is massacred, and even marrying the daughter (Delle Bolton) of a Flathead chief in order to avoid confrontation. He settles into a mountain home with his family, but the U.S. cavalry, complete with a puritanical Reverend, interrupt the idyll to compel Jeremiah to lead them over the mountains and through a Crow burial ground to rescue white settlers. After the Crow kill his family in retaliation, Jeremiah's frenzied moment of payback precipitates a long-running vendetta, turning him into a legendary Indian killer at the expense of his original ideals, on the way to a final moment of grace. Spectacularly shot on location in Utah, the film captures both the appeal and the challenge of the landscape that Jeremiah chooses over civilization. With an unglamorous performance by Redford and a story that questioned white colonialism while mythologizing the man of nature, Jeremiah Johnson appealed to its 1972 audience and became one of the biggest hits of the year. Wavering between heroicizing Jeremiah for surviving and damning him for killing, Jeremiah Johnson took its place among the Vietnam-era cycle of critical westerns, like Arthur Penn's Little Big Man (1970) and Robert Altman's McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971), that condemned civilization for corrupting the wilderness and preventing individuals from going pacifistically native.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide

Three years and four failures after Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Jeremiah Johnson was the hit that Robert Redford needed. It had a man-against-society edge that would be a hallmark of many Redford pictures, including Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here, Three Days of the Condor, and The Electric Horseman. In the context of early-1970s American culture, the film's environmental, anti-establishment, Henry David Thoreau-inspired message obviously struck a chord with audiences. Redford and director Sydney Pollack had worked together once before, on the woeful Tennessee Williams adaptation This Property is Condemned, but Johnson and the majority of their further collaborations would become successes (The Way We Were, Out of Africa). Pollack mortgaged his home to complete the film, which ran over-budget due to the extensive location shooting in Utah's Zion National Park. The mountain areas are wonderfully shot by cinematographer Duke Callaghan.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/29/1997
UPC: 0012569732476
Original Release: 1972
Rating: PG
Source: Warner Home Video
Sound: [monaural, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Sales rank: 1,246

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