|Year Released||1969||Commentary Tracks||Yes, 1 - Dennis Hopper (Director)|
|Running Time||91:42 minutes||Other Extras||Animated Scene Selections
Filmographies - Cast & Crew
Featurette - Shaking The Cage (64:55)
|RRP||$34.95||Music||Various 60's contemporary artists|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||No||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Dolby Digital||5.1|
|16x9 Enhancement||Yes||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 256Kb/s)
German (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 256Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 256Kb/s)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 256Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||
|Macrovision||Yes||Smoking||Yes, yes and yes!|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
This is a landmark movie for many reasons. The style of the movie is unique in both its editing style and the rawness of the presentation. By rawness, I mean that it shows the 60s for what they were, with none of the then-typical glossing over of real issues. Two men sell their stash and make a bucket-load of money, they buy two Harleys and set off for the promised land. They are free, and this is the whole impetus of the movie - freedom. Watching the two characters, played by Dennis Hopper (who directed the movie) and Peter Ford sail into the sunset on their gleaming silver bikes, with no cares and no shackles is quite a thought-provoking image. The ending is even more thought provoking, but if you haven't yet seen this movie, I won't spoil it for you. Suffice to say, America was and is a land of too much freedom at times. If you want to see southern prejudices at work just wait for the scene in the small diner.
Jack Nicholson is as always brilliant as the drink-loving lawyer and his presence in this movie only adds to its stature.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and it is 16x9 enhanced.
This is a perfect transfer of an ageing print. So, where the actual image suffers, this is in no way a fault of the transfer, which has been masterfully executed. There is sharpness and detail a-plenty, and it is this sharpness which affords us a true feel for the film stock used. When the stock is grainy, the image is grainy, but in a satisfying "it is meant to be grainy" kind of way. It is very film-like in appearance, and you do actually forget you are watching video. Shadow detail is generally very good indeed.
Colours are very natural in appearance, though not as bright and saturated as modern transfers. Flesh-tones are rendered perfectly however, and all the colours do fall nicely into place. Of note are the desert-at-sunset scenes, which are quite beautiful. These scenes were filmed with long exposures, and the silhouettes of Dennis Hopper and Peter Ford against a huge, purple/blue sunset really convey the entire meaning of this film to perfection.
There were absolutely no MPEG artefacts at all, which is a blessing given the often copious amounts of film grain and small flecks of dirt. Panning scenes are handled very well, and again I felt as if I was watching film, it is that good. There are also no film-to-video artefacts. Film artefacts, however, are rife, especially during the opening and closing scenes. Small white specks abound, and it is interesting to see dirt flecks fade in and out with the opening credits! However, all can be easily forgiven, and Columbia TriStar should be given praise for restoring the film to the quality we now have preserved on DVD. Whilst it sounds bad, in reality the faults are not obtrusive, and only add to the feel of the movie, at least to me anyway! Have no doubt, this is a very satisfying transfer in every way.
This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed between chapters 22 and 23, at 66:47. This is not disruptive to the flow of the movie, occurring between scene changes.
Dialogue was at all times clear and easy to understand.
There were no problems with audio sync during the movie.
Dennis Hopper deliberately wanted to give the move a contemporary soundtrack. Instead of having a score commissioned, he used songs which were playing on the radio of the time, a kind of "time capsule" as he puts it. It is most effective, and the mostly folksy-guitar driven music conveys the ideals of freedom and peace in a most striking way. Watching our Wyatt and Billy ride their silver dream machines through forests with the sun shining down on them to the acoustics of The Byrds and others is very pleasing! The music is all in glorious stereophony and of good quality, and somewhat better than you would expect for a movie of this age.
Although this is a 5.1 mix (the English track, at least), there is not a lot happening anywhere other than up-front. In fact, not once did I notice any surround activity. This is not particularly surprising, and I am still pleased that it is 5.1 so that the music can be overlaid in 2 channel with the dialogue in the centre channel - unlike 2.0 surround, where the centre channel tends to "pull-in" stereo music to the middle. Unfortunately for the other language tracks, they are in mono only, which is disappointing for those who would listen to these.
The subwoofer was not used, apart from in a passive manner for the music.
Audio Commentary - Dennis Hopper (Director)
Dennis basically mumbles and whispers through this commentary in a slow and thoughtful way. He sheds much insight into many design decisions throughout the making of the movie, both in terms of artistic choices and budget compromises. Interestingly, he does contradict things which Peter Fonda mentions during the Featurette, but this only adds character to the whole proceeding! A most interesting commentary.
Featurette - Shaking The Cage (64:55)
This feature is almost as long as the movie, and in some ways better! It is quite brilliant, and a great deal of fun. It is great to see Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and others reminisce about making the film, and you can tell they are quite proud of it. Peter Fonda in particular tells great stories, real eye-openers. I found it remarkable to know that, on every occasion (and there are plenty), whenever they smoke grass in the movie, they were really smoking grass. This was backed up independently by all the other people interviewed. I re-watched the movie twice after this feature, and saw the movie in a whole new light! In fact, I enjoyed it more because knowing this lends the movie a great deal of authenticity!
Filmographies - Cast & Crew
Very detailed information on four of the key players.
The video quality is extremely good, and most impressive for its age.
The audio is thankfully remastered to 5.1, and is quite good.
A small but substantive collection of extras. The featurette alone is worth gold.
|DVD||Panasonic A350A S-Video output|
|Display||Pioneer SD-T43W1 125cm Widescreen 16x9|
|Audio Decoder||Internal Dolby Digital 5.1 (DVD Player)|
|Amplification||Sony STRDE-525 5x100 watts Dolby Pro-Logic / 5.1 Ready Receiver; 4 x Optimus 10-band Graphic EQ|
|Speakers||Centre: Sony SS-CN35 100 watt; Main & Surrounds: Pioneer CS-R390-K 150-watt floorstanders; Subwoofer: Optimus 100-watt passive|