Apr 292020
 

Gunsmoke isn’t usually my cup of tea but I did find the series to be rather compelling and features a nice ensemble cast led way by James Arness and the show does harkens back to a simpler time, although for its time, probably was more real compared with other programming in the 1950s and 60s.

 

 

Gunsmoke: The Complete Series
— 65th Anniversary Collection —
(1955-75)

Genre(s): Western, Adventure, Drama
Paramount | NR – 26432 min. – $338.98 | May 5, 2020

Date Published: 04/29/2020 | Author: The Movieman


SERIES INFO:
Writer(s): Charles Marquis Warren (created by)
Cast: James Arness, Milburn Stone, Amanda Blake, Ken Curtis, Dennis Weaver, Glenn Strange, Buck Taylor, Burt Reynolds


DISC INFO:
Features: Episode Commentaries, Featurettes, Episodic Promos
Slip Cover: No
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: DVD
Number of Discs: 143


Audio: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
Video: Full Frame 1.33
Subtitles: English SDH
Region(s): 1


 

THE SERIES — 3.75/5


Plot Synopsis: Marshal Matt Dillon (JAMES ARNESS) is hell-bent on serving justice as he tames the Old West, where people have no respect for the law. Dillon’s adventures continue alongside the loyal Doc Adams (MULBURN STONE), sexy saloon proprietress Miss Kitty (AMANDA BLAKE) and lovable Deputy Festus Haggen (KEN CURTIS) as he corrals dangerous outlaws and deals with the problems of the Wild West: epic gunfights, brawls, cold-blooded murderers and bank robbers.

Review: Gunsmoke was a series far before my time (ended a few years before I was born) and as someone who isn’t generally a fan of westerns (with few exceptions like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Unforgiven), this wasn’t a show I bothered to watch while it was in syndication. All these years later, although it’s still not a favorite of mine, I found this to be an enjoyable series and have plenty of respect for its durability lasting 20 years (even during a time when westerns probably fell out of favor).

Also plenty of kudos to a cast that stayed on, especially James Arness who for the longest time held the record for portraying the same character for 20 consecutive years, since Kelsey Grammer (Cheers/Frasier) tied his mark and Mariska Hargitay (Law & Order: SVU) surpassed it. Arness I don’t think is a fantastic actor but as with his brother, Peter Graves, certainly had the right gravitas to be a lead actor.

SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.0/5


This ever-so-massive 143 disc set has all 635 episodes over the span of its 20 season run. Inside a sturdy outer-box are six extra wide keep cases (as seen in the image above), each one housing 3-4 seasons each. The discs inside of these are stacked and can be difficult to handle. But as an option to owning the series, it’s not bad. And on the plus side, it’s FAR better than the cheap sleeves which scratch DVDs.

All of the bonus material is the same from the individual releases however considering the size of this release, can’t really break it all down in a timely fashion, but the predominant feature are Episode Previews, but there are Audio Commentaries on select episodes and a few featurettesPhoto Galleries and Sponsor Spots.

 

VIDEO – 4.5/5, AUDIO – 4.0/5


Each episode is presented with a full frame 1.33 aspect ratio picture which has been restored and save for some minor specs, does look fantastic for both the black & white and color episodes, the latter having a bit of a nice pop to them.

The audio meanwhile, Dolby Digital Mono, is basic but more than effective though I did have to turn down the volume as at times the audio did top out. Otherwise, dialogue came through with fine clarity and outside of some noise, this sounded rather good all things considered.

OVERALL – 3.5/5


Gunsmoke isn’t usually my cup of tea but I did find the series to be rather compelling and features a nice ensemble cast led way by James Arness and the show does harkens back to a simpler time, although for its time, probably was more real compared with other programming in the 1950s and 60s. This “Complete Series” set is a good value if you don’t already own the individual season sets.
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