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Ultra HD : Highly Recommended
Release Date: March 26th, 2024 Movie Release Year: 1978

Goin' South - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Limited Edition

Overview -

4K UHD Review By: Sam Cohen
Right smack dab in the middle of Jack Nicholson’s meteoric rise to stardom in the mid-to-late 1970s, the American iconoclast decided to shift gears with his sophomore directorial effort with the 1978 Western/Comedy Goin’ South. Shot with a sumptuous realist’s eye and filled with a kind of ironic satiric humor the film didn’t necessarily cement Nicholson’s power nor stir audiences. Thanks to Cinématographe the film rides high in a stunning two-disc 4K release that pulls out all the stops for the film’s high-definition disc debut. Mount up and get ready for a Highly Recommended release! 

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Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Region Free UHD/Region A Blu-ray limited to 6000
Video Resolution/Codec:
2160p HEVC/H.265/HDR10
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
English: DTS-HD MA 1.0
English SDH
Release Date:
March 26th, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


To say that Goin’ South is some undiscovered masterpiece that critics and audiences passed over on its initial release is a bit disingenuous and lacks nuance, as the film probably isn’t the kind of counterculture work that Nicholson had in mind initially. Informed by his work with Monte Hellman on The Shooting and Ride in the Whirlwind, Goin’ South starts with a rather simple comic premise but morphs into something so much more. But it requires a lot of work on the audience’s part to study each performance as character actions speak much louder than words. Coupled with Néstor Almendros' painterly approach to capturing the Old West in its natural, sparce beauty, it should come as no surprise that some were more than a bit confused when this film initially hit theaters. 

Goin’ South follows Henry Lloyd Moon (Nicholson), a cut-rate outlaw in the late 1860s who is about to be hanged in Longhorn, Texas for his crimes. But you see, in the town of Longhorn, there’s a severe shortage of men for all the homemaking women and a local decree dictates that any man condemned of any other crime than murder should be freed if a local lady will marry and take responsibility for the man. Moon ain’t much of a man, as made evident by the outright refusal of many of the local women to accept his hand in marriage, but that doesn’t stop Julia Tate (Mary Steenburgen), a genteel virgin, from taking to the man. Soon, the duo develops a partnership to mine the secret gold underneath Julia’s property, but naturally, the local townsfolk catch wind and complications ensue.

Goin’ South is chock full of leading comedic talent from Hollywood, including Christopher Lloyd as a mustache-swirling sheriff (predating his on-screen romance with Steenburgen in Back to the Future Part III), John Belushi as a Mexican stereotype, and even Ed Begley Jr. as a silly banker. They’re all characterizations that feel at home in Nicholson’s film, which is much more preoccupied with sidestepping usual Western genre tropes to find the humor in life as an ongoing struggle. Nicholson attempted to mix the iconoclastic, intellectual musings of his previous Monte Hellman-helmed Westerns with an earthy romance dabbed with Hollywood polish to create this unique work, one that isn’t necessarily a good sum of its disparate parts.

All that said, it was an absolute pleasure to visit Goin’ South and to discover its many miracles, like Mary Steenburgen’s incredible turn as a teetotaler being slowly won over by a louse. And the light touches of sadomasochism that Nicholson focuses on between the two performers is a true hoot to watch in real-time. Nicholson was an expert at playing with American disillusionment at this point, thus his limiting his focus to the disillusionment within the power dynamics of traditional American marriage suggests that he was filling in the blanks for Westerns he thought missed the point.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-rays
“The best thing to do…is just think about canning apricots.” Goin’ South saddles up for a rootin’, tootin’ good time with a two-disc (BD-66 for the 4K disc and BD-50 for the standard Blu-ray) release that comes housed in a cloth-bound mediabook with an embossed foil title, a custom disc tray with the Cinématographe logo debossed on it, plus two booklet essays (by Chris Shields and Marc Eliot) and a movie-appropriate comic strip. The mediabook is then housed in a slipcase with an individually numbered j-card, making for a truly incredible package for physical media fans. And as mentioned in my Red Rock West review, it sure does have that new book smell as well. Both discs boot up to standard menu screens with options to the play the film, set up audio and video, plus browse special features.

Video Review


Goin’ South skips an entire generation of physical media by making the jump from DVD to 4K Ultra HD with Cinématographe’s new 2160p presentation sourced from a 4K restoration of the original camera negative. Given that this was shot in the 1970s by Néstor Almendros, I was very much prepared for a very natural, filmic, grain-filled look to the transfer, and that’s exactly what we get here. Once the optical title effects drop out, you’re treated to a hugely pleasing presentation that brings out the most in the oranges and browns of the old west. Flesh tones are tuned just right to bring out the somewhat rosy and dusted complexions of its characters to the fore, and contrast levels are boosted without blowing out the earthy tones of the production design. Watching all that grain swim against the radiating heat of the desert is a very good treat for home video nerds.

I didn’t notice any suspect color grading or DNR throughout the presentation, luckily, and the bright, blue sky is a step removed from becoming scorching blue. The source is in remarkable condition, while the terrific encode provided by Fidelity in Motion ensures a stable, high bitrate for both exteriors and interiors. Those dusty close-ups in the mine cut against infinite blackness look terrific here with the enhanced black levels. This is a very natural, pleasing presentation of a film that strove to capture the innate beauty of the Old West.

As for the standard Blu-ray, this is definitely the upgraded 4K transfer in 1080p rather than a port of an older master. You can be confident in the standard 1080p presentation of this restoration.

Audio Review


As for the audio, we’re presented with the original mono soundtrack in the DTS-HD MA codec, and the source is similarly in terrific condition for this release. Excellent dialogue representation balances the somewhat-twangy score remarkably well with no hiss or sibilance to note. This is, naturally, a very front-focused track but at least it delivers the film’s soundscape clearly without removing the vintage, dusty stylings of the sound design.

Special Features


Cinématographe took up the difficult task of producing supplements for this release, where no previous releases had any extra features to offer. Luckily for fans, this edition is stacked with appreciations and insights from Nicholson experts, including film critic Simon Abrams, Nicholson biographer Marc Eliot, and film critic Chris Shields. For a film that really doesn’t have much existing archival content to pull from, the engaging, insightful Marc Eliot essay in the attached booklet is an essential read to put the film’s production into historical context. And with two video essays that prevent repeating the same information from other supplements, Goin’ South has received an incredibly well-rounded release filled with newly produced features.

4K UHD Disc

  • Audio Commentary track by film critic Simon Abrams

Blu-ray Disc

  • Audio Commentary track by film critic Simon Abrams
  • Néstor Almendros: A Man with a Camera - a new video essay by historian Samm Deighan (HD 17:14
  • Jack of Three Trades: In Focus on Nicholson the Director - a new video essay by historian Daniel Kremer (HD 23:11)

An American iconoclast tries to find gold in Jack Nicholson’s Goin’ South, newly revived in 4K Ultra HD courtesy of Cinématographe with a two-disc release that pulls out all the stops for this overlooked entry in Hollywood stories about the Old West. Complete with a stellar 2160p transfer aided by HDR, sturdy encoding by Fidelity in Motion and a terrific selection of supplements from Nicholson experts, this release comes Highly Recommended

Order Your Copy of Goin' South on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray