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Genre: TV series, Western
Country: United States
Starring: Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Pernell Roberts, Dan Blocker
Creator: David Dortort
Director of note: Robert Altman
Run time: 13 hours, 12 minutes
DVD distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
I don’t know how much there is to say about Bonanza, with this fourth DVD being released October 11th by Paramount Home Entertainment. Two volumes of season one, two of season two…and it’s Bonanza! This one opens with Hoss and Joe robbing a bank. But don’t worry – this is the Cartwrights, and they of course robbed the bank for the best of reasons, and won’t end up in prison or shot or anything.
So…a reason to get this DVD, other than the fact that it’s Bonanza and you like old classic TV. Or you’re 80 years old and it brings back warm fuzzy memories of childhood…Sometimes, when you watch a really old TV show on DVD, you get a chance to pick up some really cool things (if you’re a movie buff). For example, a very young Kurt Russell appears in an episode during the last volume of The Fugitive. The third season of Rawhide had an episode where acting legends Peter Lorre and Clint Eastwood shared the screen for the first time ever.
But in Season Two, Volume Two of Bonanza, there is a new twist for the film buffs out there. Sure, there are some neat guest stars here and there, like Harry Dean Stanton and George Kennedy. But the biggest star on the DVD never appears on the screen. It’s legendary director Robert Altman, who directs the very first episode, “Bank Run”.
Robert Altman, who had no film credits to his name yet in 1960. Robert Altman, who went on to direct some of the greatest movies ever made, like MASH, Nashville, The Long Goodbye, Gosford Park. The same Robert Altman who has a lifetime achievement Oscar. And he’s directing an episode of Bonanza! Actually, he directed a couple more on this DVD as well. I think three in total.
When I think about it, it’s not THAT cool or unusual. Every great director had to start somewhere. I’m just trying to give you a reason to pick it up. Otherwise, all I’ve got is hey – it’s Bonanza! Hoss and Ben and Little Joe and Adam Cartwright and the Ponderosa. Not that those aren’t good reasons to get Season Two Volume Two. I love Bonanza. But dude, Robert Altman!