***/**** | Image A- Sound B Extras B+
starring Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Richard Harris
screenplay by David Webb Peoples
directed by Clint Eastwood
Even if time and HBO's "Deadwood" have made Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven into something less revisionist and more just a furthering of the Siegel/Leone mythology, the fact remains that the picture's earned its place in the company of other flawed masterpieces like The Searchers and The Man from Laramie. At the time of its release in 1992, as my editor Bill once ably laid out, its pending release was actually seen as a joke, earned at the expense of a trio of legendary, completely-indefensible flops. Its serious-mindedness--what appeared to be an unsentimental accounting for the remorseless bastards Eastwood had parlayed into immortality--therefore took audiences expecting another Heartbreak Ridge, "western edition," by surprise.