AFL-Richmond Tigers: Fighting Fury (2003)

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Released 30-Jul-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Sports Main Menu Audio & Animation
Notes-Club Stats
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 143:25 (Case: 140)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (66:31) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor
Aust. Football Video
Visual Entertainment Group
Starring Stephen Phillips
Ian Stewart
Tony Jewell
Jack Dyer
Kevin Sheedy
Rex Hunt
Max Oppy
Barry Richardson
Billy Barrott
Danny Frawley
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    This programme traces the history of the Richmond Football Club from the time of Jack Dyer onwards. There is no mention of the club's history in the VFA and VFL prior to Dyer, who started with the club in the early 1930s (Richmond had joined the VFL in 1908 after a long period in the VFA).

    Essentially this is a documentary-style presentation, incorporating interviews with former players and coaches with newsreel and television footage, as well as photographs and newspaper articles.

    The bulk of the material is from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s, and tells of the recovery of the Tigers from the doldrums to their first premiership for 24 years in 1967, through 5 flags to 1980. After that, the programme traces the steady procession of sackings of players, coaches and administrators. I had forgotten that failed business tycoon Alan Bond was president of the club in the late 1980s. His media conference, where he promises $100,000 to the players if they made the finals (they didn't) and $500,000 to the club if they won the flag (they didn't) is ironic in light of later events.

    The programme starts with a long segment on Jack Dyer, who many would argue was Richmond's greatest player and certainly their most influential. Some old film footage is available, but this segment is mainly recent footage from Dyer's media career, photos and interviews with Dyer and some of his teammates. The impersonation of the Tiger legend by Kevin Bartlett is very funny. There is also some colour film footage from the 1950s on the occasion of the last game of club stalwart Max Oppy, and some interesting archival material, including a televised match from 1957 against St Kilda.

    Numerous past players are interviewed, such as Oppy, Roy Wright, Tom Hafey, Royce Hart, Ian Stewart, Neil Balme, Neville Crowe, Barry Richardson, Rex Hunt, Kevin Sheedy and many others. These interviews are well done and cast considerable light on the on and off-field events being depicted.

    Obviously, this DVD is intended for Richmond supporters. However, the material on this disc is presented in such a way that, whilst it concentrates on Richmond and its successes, it does so matter-of-factly, dwelling on the club's strengths rather than on rivalries with opponents. This means that the programme can be watched by supporters of other clubs (like me) without too much distaste, although Collingwood supporters may not fully appreciate the footage of Kevin Bartlett in the 1980 Grand Final...

    Fighting Fury was originally released on VHS in about 1998. The case advertises that it has been updated to 2003, but I'm afraid that that is a little misleading. There are about 15 minutes of highlights of matches from the intervening period, plus the regulation sacking of coaches, but that's about it. From 2003, all that is shown is about a minute of highlights from an early season match where the Tigers came from a 51-point deficit to win. No mention is made of the passing of Jack Dyer towards the end of the season. The post-1998 package has been put together poorly; events are shown without context and the shortness of each selection means that the material is without interest. The pacing is totally different from the rest of the programme, highlighting the fact that it has been tacked on. A little more forethought and better planning could easily have made this more palatable.

    No credits are provided, but off-screen narrator is broadcaster Stephen Phillips.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video for this material is generally very good, although there are some problems with the transfer.

    The material is presented in the original aspect ratio of 1.33:1, though I expect some of the very recent material was recorded for 16x9 broadcast. There is so little of that material that this is really of no consequence.

    The transfer would have come from a video master, so sharpness is not perfect. I doubt whether this is significantly better than the original VHS. Shadow detail is not a problem, as all of the action occurs in broad daylight or in well-lit studios. The transfer is fairly grainy, so there was no obvious low-level noise.

    The colour video segments look lifelike, although the colour film footage from the 1950s has faded. The recent material looks best of all, no different from a TV broadcast.

    As you would imagine, the quality of the archival material varies wildly. Even so, with a few exceptions it is pretty good. The video material from the last 30 years looks quite good. The older film footage suffers from most known film artefacts, which is to be expected. It annoys me that they have shown the film from the 1930s at the wrong speed, with the action faster than it should be. The 1957 match excerpts of Richmond vs St Kilda look to have been kinescoped, but are pretty sharp nonetheless.

    The video is mildly grainy, and there are numerous small video tracking errors, such as at 5:33, 7:31, 15:13, and 57:23. These tracking errors were most irritating, as they occurred randomly throughout the documentary regardless of the material being shown at the time. Presumably there was some dirt on the video master tape, or on the video heads when transferred to digital format.

    This is an RSDL-formatted disc with the layer change occurring at 66:31, well positioned during a fade to black between chapters.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is only one audio track; English Dolby Digital 2.0.

    Dialogue is clear and easy to understand. Just as well, because there are no subtitles. Audio sync is exemplary throughout.

    The 1957 footage of the Richmond- St Kilda game has poor sound, with a loud hiss and lots of pops and crackles. There is also some sibilance on 's' and 't' sounds. Otherwise the material is free of audio problems.

    The music is compiled from various sources, and in each case seems to have been intended to be reflective of the era being shown. However, the cheesy elevator-style jazz during the Jack Dyer segment draws attention to itself and detracts from the material.

    The surround channels and subwoofer are of course not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The main menu is nicely animated with footage from the main programme, and background music of the club song.

Club Stats

    This extra is made up of three text-only sections featuring The Leadership at Richmond, a list of all captains, coaches, leading goalkickers and Best and Fairest winners; Games Records, which is a list of the players who have played the most games for the club, and Goals Record, which lists the all-time leading goalkickers. This is useful information, though I would think it would not be used for reference purposes. There are several spelling mistakes, with McDaonald instead of McDonald and Roger Dean becoming Roger Deam. This is a bit shoddy.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 version has DTS sound, audio commentary, director's cut... what am I saying? This is only available in Region 4, of course.

Summary

    Richmond supporters with a sense of history will either already have the VHS version or will want this DVD. Supporters of other clubs might not want to own it, but if it is available for rental at your local video store, the first two hours are well worth watching.

    The video quality is acceptable without being of reference quality.

    The audio quality is pretty good.

    The extras are appropriate but not really of any value.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V596 for surround channels; Yamaha AX-590 as power amp for mains
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Richter Harlequin; Rear: Pioneer S-R9; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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