Quigley Down Under (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
November 25, 2011 by Dennis Amith
“Quigley Down Under” is an exciting western that that takes place in the Australian outback and features wonderful performances by Tom Selleck and Laura San Giacomo. If you are a big fan, definitely upgrade to Blu-ray, otherwise if you are looking for a different style of western that is worth watching, you can’t go wrong with “Quigley Down Under”!
© 1990 Metro Goldwyn Mayer. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Quigley Down Under
FILM RELEASE: 1990
DURATION: 120 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (widescreen 2:35:1), English 2.0 Surround DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish Mono, French Dolby Surround, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
COMPANY: Metro Goldwyn Mayer/Twentieth Century Fox
Release Date: November 2011
Directed by Simon Wincer
Written by John Hill
Produced by Stanley O’Toole/Alexandra Rose
Co-Producer: Megan Rose
Music by Basil Poledouris
Cinematography by David Eggby
Edited by Peter Burgess
Casting by Rae Davidson, Michael Lynch
Production Design by Ross Major
Art Direction by Ian Gracie
Set Decoration by Brian Dusting, Brian Edmonds
Tom Selleck as Matthew Quigley
Laura San Giacomo as Crazy Cora
Alan Rickman as Elliott Marston
Chris Haywood as Major Ashley-Pitt
Ron Haddrick as Grimmelman
Tony Bonner as Dobkin
Jerome Ehlers as Coogan
Conor McDermottroe as Hobb
Roger Ward as Brophy
Ben Mendelsohn as O’Flynn
Arriving in Australia with nothing more than a saddle and his prized six-foot Sharps rifle, American sharpshooter Matthew Quigley thinks he’s been hired to kill off wild dogs. But when herealizes, instead, that his mission is murderto “eliminate” the Aborigines from a wealthy cattlebaron’s landQuigley refuses and quickly turns from hunter to hunted.
Just when you thought that Hollywood was no longer interested in Westerns, leave it to the Australian’s in bringing it back with “Quigley Down Under”.
Directed by Australian filmmaker Simon Wincer (“Free Willy”, “The Phantom”, “Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles”) and written by John Hill (“Little Nikita”, “L.A. Law”, “Quantum Leap”), the 1990 western is set in Australia’s outback and would star Tom Selleck (“Magnum P.I.”, “3 Men and a Baby”), Laura San Giacomo (“Pretty Woman”, “Just Shoot Me!”, “Sex, Lies and Videotape”), Alan Rickman (“Die Hard”, “Harry Potter” films, “Galaxy Quest”) and Chris Haywood (“The Navigator”, “Sleeping Beauty”).
While the film made over its budget in the box office, if there is one way that “Quigley Down Under” has continued to live on is through the annual Matthew Quigley Buffalo Rifle Match held in Forsyth, Montana during Father’s Day weekend, bringing in hundreds of shooters to the area.
“Quigley Down Under” revolves around Matthew Quigley (played by Tom Selleck), an American who has traveled three months by boat traveling to Australia for a job put in a publication by the wealthy Elliott Marston (played by Alan Rickman).
When Matthew arrives in Australia, he sees a woman fighting off a group of men. The woman, known as Crazy Cora (played by Laura San Giacomo) is trying to escape the men and immediately begins calling Matthew by the name of “Roy”.
As Matthew easily defends Cora and defeats the group of men, he finds out that the men are the ones that were going to pick him up and bring him to Marston’s ranch.
While traveling to the ranch with the group of men and a few ladies including Crazy Cora, Matthew is easily annoyed by Cora who keeps speaking nonsense and calling him “Roy”.
When he arrives to the Marston Ranch, Elliott tells him that he’s the only man who responded not by letters but with gunshots on the ad. The ad is for a job for sharpshooters and when Marston goes to test his skills, he sends out a cowboy with a bucket and tells Quigley to let him know when the cowboy should stop. But Quigley lets the man go very far and Marston and his men feel there is no way he can hit the bucket from such a great length.
Using his modified .45-110 rifle and specialized bullets, he is able to hit the bucket three times from afar and surprising everyone around them.
Two men who have run away from the British military are captured by Marston’s men and we quickly see how Marston is quick with a pistol and manages to kill both men rather quickly.
As Marston and Quigley eat dinner, Marston shows his interest in the Wild West, weaponry but then goes into details of what Marston’s job would be as a sharpshooter. Marston explains that his mother was killed by aborigine (the native people of Australia) and in retribution, he wants to kill all of them. The problem is that he needs someone to kill them from afar, because it’s too difficult to catch them upclose. Disgusted by his request, Quigley beats up Marston and throws him out the window.
But because Marston’s men surrounded the home, he is beaten. As Cora goes to protect him, she is beaten as well. Marston tells his men to bring the two to the middle of Australia and dump them out and let the two Americans have Australia kill them.
As the two are unconscious and are brought to the middle of nowhere, Quigley manages to kill the two men that brought them out to nowhere in the hot desert. Both Quigley and Cora try their best to find shelter but to no avail. As they walk for over a day, they succumb to the heat and collapse.
The duo are rescued by a group of aborigine who takes them in and helps the two recuperate from their injuries. And Cora becomes friendly with the women and their children, while Quigley learns a little of how to hunt the aborigine way.
While sitting down for a conversation, Cora reveals who “Roy” is and how she ended up in Australia. She was once a housewife and while her husband was gone, Indians came to the home. In fear that Indians may capture her and her crying baby, she accidentally smothered the child to death. Because of the shame she brought to her own family, her husband Roy shipped her out to Australia because he didn’t want to be around the woman who killed his child. And so, Cora has been living with this guilt and depression ever since.
As they wake up the next morning, they notice that the aborigine have moved out but Marston’s men are on the hunt to kill more of them and end up killing a few including a mother. Cora tries to go out and stop them but Quigley manages to use his sharpshooting skills and kill all but one of Marston’s men.
While Quigley and Cora are traveling, they noticed another group forcing aborigines to jump off a cliff and kill themselves. As Quigley manages to shoot down a few of Marston’s men once again, Cora goes to look for survivors who jumped of the cliff. All are dead except a baby. Cora then becomes the caretaker of the aborigine baby and word quickly gets around town that Quigley has been saving aborigines.
As for Marston, he has declared an all out war against Quigley and will pay his men a lot of money if they go out and stop him. Can Quigley, in another country, defeat Marston and his group of men?
“Quigley Down Under” is presented in widescreen 2:35:1. Picture quality for the film is very good as the detail of Tom Selleck’s facial stubble to earthtone colors showcasing a warmer scenery. There is a fine layer of grain and for the most part, considering this is a 1990 film, I didn’t see edge enhancement or any problems with the overall picture quality.
But for the most part, I was quite pleased with the overall clarity and detail of the film. From the dirty grime on the face of Cora to the bloodied face or sweaty face of Quigley, there is great detail for the closeups.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Quigley Down Under” is presented in English 2.0 Surround DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish Mono and French Dolby Digital. Dialogue is quite clear and there are some moments where gunfire, gunfire echoing or even birds chirping are nicely heard through the front channels. but because this is a stereo soundtrack, it’s primarily a dialogue film that is not too immersive. But there is a solid dynamic range in which the ambiance of crowds or the outback environment tend to sound very good through the lossless 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Also, the musical soundtrack is crystal clear as well.
Subtitles are presented in English SDH, Spanish and French.
“Quigley Down Under” comes with the following special features:
- The Rebirth of the Western Documentary – (7:14) Featuring interviews with the cast and scenes from “Quigley Down Under”.
- TV Spot – Featuring two 30-second TV spots.
- Trailer – (1:52) The original theatrical trailer to “Quigley Down Under”.
“Quigley Down Under” came during a time when Hollywood was not really doing so much in terms of Westerns. And if they were done, many were not done really well (until two years later when Clint Eastwood’s “Unforgiven” was released in 1992). But “Quigley Down Under” is a fascinating story because it takes place in Australia and it deals with the prejudice in that country towards the aborigine. Not so different from how early Americans treated the Native American Indians.
So, the film is quite interesting in that aspect as “Quigley Down Under” is a western but this one taking place in Australia. Also, to see the casting of many aborigine for the film was good to see as well. Definitely something different and I would imagine that for many Americans, the last time they seen aborigine and a film that takes place in the outback was the 1971 Nicolas Roeg film “Walkabout”.
And as mentioned, although “Quigley Down Under” did not do well in the box office, it still managed to live on through a shooting event and is best known for gun advocate Tom Selleck as an expert marksman. You don’t find too many western films in which the protagonist is seen from afar taking out the enemy.
Tom Selleck did a great job of playing Matthew Quigley and he fit the role perfectly. The acting is also well-done and 1990 was definitely a great year for actress Laura San Giacomo who would do “Quigley Down Under” but would be best known for her role in “Pretty Woman”. But I felt the two had great onscreen chemistry.
As for the Blu-ray release, for the fans of this film who have had the VHS or DVD version, you get much clarity and detail on Blu-ray. Closeups of the talent look fantastic and the film definitely looks its best in HD. While the special features are not the greatest and it would have been great to have a new commentary track, this is the best version of the film to own on video for now.
Overall, “Quigley Down Under” is an exciting western that that takes place in the Australian outback and features wonderful performances by Tom Selleck and Laura San Giacomo. If you are a big fan, definitely upgrade to Blu-ray, otherwise if you are looking for a different style of western that is worth watching, you can’t go wrong with “Quigley Down Under”!
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