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Quigley Down Under (4K UHD Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

A Wyoming cowboy hired by an Australian cattle baron defies his employer to protect the aborigine people from a genocide.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

1990’s Quigley Down Under shifts the classic western and its tropes to the Australian outback. Tom Selleck plays the titular character Matthew Quigley, a 19th century Wyoming sharpshooter who answers an ad for a job placed by Australian cattle baron Elliot Marston (Alan Rickman) to shoot dingo. Upon arrival Quigley is at once in a brawl rescuing the American courtesan Crazy Cora (Laura San Giacomo) from Marston’s men. Initial confrontations put aside, Quigley is taken to meet Marston, and all seems to be going well, until Quigley discovers that Marston actually wants to use his skills to shoot and kill the aborigine. Not wanting to take part in the genocide, Quigley defies Marston, is beat up and dropped off in the outback along with Crazy Cora, where the two are left for dead. But they survive and Quigley becomes a champion for the aborigine people.

Apart from the eye-roll inducing “Great White American Hope” trope at the center of the plot, Quigley Down Under is an enjoyable, and even humorous film, despite not pushing the boundaries of the western genre at all. Only two years later Clint Eastwood would bring the brilliant western deconstruction Unforgiven to the screen, which did a lot more to give the genre a much-needed shot in the arm.

Director Simon Wincer and writer John Hill just move the setting and replace the North American First Nations people with the Aboriginal people of Australia, and Selleck easily slides into the role as the gunslinging American in the unforgiving Australian terrain who is equally generous, driven by a sense of moral clarity, but also viscous toward his foes. The film has blistering action sequences with fantastic feats of gunplay and the chemistry between Selleck and San Giacomo is one of the highlights of the film next to its beautiful visual style that can hold its own next to anything set in Monument Valley.

Purchase Quigley Down Under 4K Ultra HD Combo on Amazon.com

  • Alan Rickman in Quigley Down Under (1990)
  • Tom Selleck and Laura San Giacomo in Quigley Down Under (1990)
  • Quigley Down Under 4K Ultra HD Combo (Shout!)
  • Quigley Down Under 4K Ultra HD Combo (Shout!)

The Video

Quigley Down Under is taken from a new 4K scan of the original camera negative and presented in a 2.35:1 HEVC 2160p (4K UHD) Dolby Vision encodement. This is another very good-looking restoration and transfer from Shout! that has a rich, organic layer of grain and natural, vivid color palette. The Dolby Vision grading imparts gorgeous red clay color to the earth in the outback and magnificent, three-dimensionality to the flames in chapter 8. Textural information is palpable, showing the finest detail like stubble and wrinkles on faces, the intricate stitching on clothing, and fine detritus in the air.

The Audio

Quigley Down Under gets a stereo mix in lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. This is is about as good as it gets for a stereo mix of a film from 1990, with wide stereo imaging, good dynamic range, and clear dialogue.

The Supplements

Shout! includes a Blu-ray with the new restoration of the film and bonus features that includes an interview with San Giacomo.

Blu-ray Bonus Features:

  • “This One Shoots a Mite Further” – A Closer Look at the Sharps Rifle with Master Armorer, Mike Tristano (1080p; 00:23:09)
  • “Finding Crazy Cora” – An Interview with Laura San Giacomo (1080p; 00:17:51)
  • “Rebirth of the Western” (1080i; 00:07:14)
  • TV Spots (1080i; 00:01:04)
  • Theatrical Trailer (1080p; 00:01:52)

The Final Assessment

Quigley Down Under has been woefully ignored and overlooked in its genre in the decades since its release. No, it is not one of the greatest films ever made, but it does deserve a second look given its embrace and understanding of the tropes, its magnificent cast, and beautiful cinematography. Shout! Studios has resurrected the film in a delightful new 4K restoration that has it looking and sounding better than ever.


Quigley Down Under is out on 4K Ultra HD Combo on March 12, 2024 from Shout! Studios

Purchase Quigley Down Under 4K Ultra HD Combo on Amazon.com


  • Rating Certificate: PG-13
  • Studios & Distributors: Pathé Entertainment | Shout! Studios | Shout Select
  • Written By: Simon Wincer
  • Run Time: 119 Mins.
  • Street Date: 12 March 2024
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • HDR Format: Dolby Vision (HDR10 Compatible)
    • MaxLL: 1031nits
    • MaxFALL: 523 nits
    • Max. Luminance: 1000 nits
    • Min. Luminance: 0.0001 nits
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: English SDH
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A Wyoming cowboy hired by an Australian cattle baron defies his employer to protect the aborigine people from a genocide. Quigley Down Under (4K UHD Review)