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The Tin Star (Limited Edition) (Blu-ray Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

A cynical marshal-turned-bounty hunter rides into a small town and takes a naive young acting sheriff under his wing.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

In the 1957 western from director Anthony Mann (The Furies, Winchester ‘73), The Tin Star, Henry Fonda plays cynical former marshal-turned-bounty hunter Morgan Hickman who saunters into a small town to collect the bounty on a fugitive he brings in dead. The townsfolk are at once suspicious of Hickman and his tactics, but he is waiting for his payout regardless of their glares. Meanwhile, naïve young sheriff Ben Owens (Anthony Perkins, Psycho) is the only one standing up for the law against town bully Bart Bogardus (Neville Brand, Riot in Cell Block 11). Owens, who filled the position when the earlier sheriff died is hoping to be appointed permanently by the leaders of the town so he can marry his sweetheart. Hickman realizing Owens is in over his head takes him under his tutelage, so the ‘kid’ won’t get himself killed on the job, all the while trying to convince him to give up the ‘the tin star’ and lead a normal life.

Mann’s western rewrites the genre in the same way a film like High Noon deconstructed it. This is no straight story of good guys versus bad guys or cowboys versus “Indians.” With The Tin Star we get a complex drama where the lines are blurred between the heroes and villains, where the protagonist wants to reject the responsibilities of virtue, but battles with his innate want for justice.

With its beautiful black and white cinematography and magnificent performances from Fonda as the gruff bounty hunter and Brand as the “black hat” town troublemaker, who as we later learn is not above racism and violence, this is a thinking person’s western that is still relevant.

Purchase The Tin Star (Limited Edition) Blu-ray on Amazon.com

  • Anthony Perkins in The Tin Star (1957)
  • Henry Fonda in The Tin Star (1957)
  • Henry Fonda in The Tin Star (1957)
  • Neville Brand in The Tin Star (1957)
  • Henry Fonda and Betsy Palmer in The Tin Star (1957)
  • Henry Fonda and Betsy Palmer in The Tin Star (1957)
  • Lee Van Cleef, Peter Baldwin, and John McIntire in The Tin Star (1957)
  • Henry Fonda and Anthony Perkins in The Tin Star (1957)
  • The Tin Star (1957)
  • The Tin Star (Arrow Video - AV573)
  • The Tin Star (Arrow Video - AV573)
  • The Tin Star (Arrow Video - AV573)

The Video

The Tin Star comes to Blu-ray in a 1.85:1 AVC 1080p encodement of its richly-detailed black and white image. Shot in 35mm VistaVision, the picture here looks crisp, with stark dynamics and a dense, thin layer of natural grain. Source damage is hardly a problem, but the image does not look to have been overly-DNR’d. There is a lot of texture in the skin and clothing, especially in closeups and depth of field is nicely extended as well.

The Audio

There is a noticeably clear and surprisingly dynamic LPCM 1.0 audio mix provided for The Tin Star on Blu-ray, but the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, while not authentic, is the way to go for this. Is sounds so clear, open, and airy, with nicely balanced atmospherics in the surround channels with a subtle boost in the LFE. There is also a LPCM 2.0 stereo mix.

The Supplements

The Tin Star gets the usual limited edition treatment from Arrow with its gorgeous packaging and included contents, with new featurettes and an audio commentary that is a little more like a run-through of trivial factoids than conversational, but still good

Limited Edition Contents:

  • Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Barry Forshaw, and original press notes
  • Double-sided fold-out poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sam Hadley
  • Six postcard-sized reproduction art cards
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sam Hadley

Bonus Features:

  • Audio Commentary by Toby Roan
  • Apprenticing a Master (1080p; 00:27:34) – An appreciation by author and critic Neil Sinyard on The Tin Star. Filmed for Arrow Video in 2023.
  • Beyond the Score (1080p; 00:31:37) – A conversation with Peter Bernstein on Elmer Bernstein’s timeless musical mastery. Filmed for Arrow Video in 2023.
  • Theatrical Trailer (1080p; 00:02:05)

The Final Assessment

An engaging, genre changing western from Anthony Mann that looks gorgeous in this HD transfer on Blu-ray from Arrow. Highly recommended.


  • Rating Certificate: Approved
  • Studios & Distributors: Perlberg-Seaton Productions | Paramount Pictures | Arrow Video
  • Director: Anthony Mann
  • Written By: Dudley Nichols | Barney Slater | Joel Kane
  • Run Time: 93 Mins.
  • Street Date: 30 April 2024
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: LPCM 1.0
  • Secondary Audio: English LPCM 2.0 Stereo | English DTS-HD MA 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH
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A cynical marshal-turned-bounty hunter rides into a small town and takes a naive young acting sheriff under his wing.The Tin Star (Limited Edition) (Blu-ray Review)