Shenandoah (1965)

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Released 17-Aug-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Western Main Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1965
Running Time 100:55
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (52:40) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Andrew V. McLaglen
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring James Stewart
Doug McClure
Glenn Corbett
Patrick Wayne
Rosemary Forsyth
Phillip Alford
Katharine Ross
Charles Robinson
Jim McMullan
Tim McIntire
Eugene Jackson Jr.
Paul Fix
Denver Pyle
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Frank Skinner


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Charlie Anderson (James Stewart) is a widowed farmer in Virginia during the latter part of the Civil War. He has six sons and a daughter, all of whom have stayed home to work on the farm. Anderson refuses to get involved in the war, and does not want his sons to get involved either. His reasoning is that as his farm has no slaves and he is opposed to slavery, then they have no reason to fight. They live an idyllic life virtually untouched by the war. But the Union army is getting closer by the day.

    When his youngest son Jacob is mistakenly taken by Union soldiers as a prisoner of war, Anderson sets out with most of his remaining sons and his daughter to retrieve him. Venturing outside their cloistered existence, they come into contact with the horrors of the war.

    This film seems to have been an attempt to pair the ageing star with a cast of next generation actors, who were mainly from successful television series, offspring of Stewart's contemporaries or new to films. There's Doug McClure from The Virginian, Glenn Corbett from Route 66, Patrick Wayne (son of John), Tim McIntire (son of John), Katharine Ross, Rosemary Forsyth and Phillip Alford, who was Gregory Peck's son in To Kill a Mockingbird. In themselves, these actors would not be able to help carry the film, and so it is bolstered by a lengthy roster of familiar character actors, such as George Kennedy, Strother Martin, Paul Fix, Denver Pyle, James Best and Harry Carey Jr. (son of Harry). 30s B-western star Bob Steele (son of silent film director Robert North Bradbury) has a couple of lines as an aged Union soldier - he would be best remembered nowadays as Trooper Duffy on the TV series F-Troop. The film was directed by John Ford protégé Andrew V. McLaglen (son of actor Victor McLaglen, who appeared in a lot of Ford's films). That's a lot of sons.

    Stewart gives a fine performance as Anderson, and his ability to project sincerity makes some of his scenes quite moving. Shenandoah is an excellent film that builds to an emotional climax, and will not only appeal to James Stewart fans but to anyone who just likes a good film.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    This is a really good transfer of this film, with only a few very minor quibbles. The image is quite sharp and clear, with a good level of detail present. Shadow detail is satisfactory, although there were only a few instances where this could have been a potential problem.

    The Technicolor original is very well transferred, with an excellent palette of colours on display. Flesh tones are accurately rendered, and there are some vibrant colours on display, the frequency of which seem to diminish as the film progresses, which may have been an artistic choice to reflect the dramatic goings-on. Black levels are reasonable, though sometimes the blacks seemed more blue than black.

    Film to video artefacts are generally not noticeable. There were a couple of times I though I saw some haloes due to edge enhancement, and there were also two or three tiny instances of aliasing. There was one instance of excessive noise reduction: during the dinner sequence at the start of the film, the table appears to move slightly.

    I did not see any major film artefacts. There were some small white spots that appeared very infrequently throughout the course of the film, but so few that it does not matter. The source material was either in exceptional condition or has been carefully restored. The one exception is at the start of the film during a montage of Civil War battles, which looks to be stock footage and thus is grainy and has numerous pieces of damage (mainly scratches and dirt). There is a pale white scratch visible for a few seconds from 17:23.

    Subtitles are provided in English, and are clear and readable. They also seem quite close to the actual dialogue, though some abbreviation of the longer lines has been done.

    The film is presented on an RSDL-formatted disc, with the layer change positioned at 52:40 during a cut between scenes and is unobtrusive.

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

Audio

    The sole audio track is Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, reflecting the original audio mix. There is no surround encoding.

    The audio has been well transferred just like the video. Dialogue is clear at all times, and audio sync is exemplary. Apart from a lack of body in the upper range and the flatness typical of mono transfers, the audio is very good. There is a reasonable amount of bass sound, which helps with the gun and cannon fire later in the film. The one blemish is a short electronic blip audible at 88:35.

    The music score is by Frank Skinner and weaves in patriotic themes and old time popular songs, like The Yellow Rose of Texas for example. The score is played at a low level and while it does get a bit syrupy at times it does not draw too much attention to itself.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio

    The menu has some western-style music that bears no relation to the film.

Trailer (2:10)

    The sole extra is a theatrical trailer in 1.33:1 and in pretty poor condition, with faded colour and a lot of film artefacts. Emphasis is placed on the young stars of the film. You would probably only watch this once.

R4 vs R1

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

    This film seems to have been released on DVD in Region 1, but there is a singular lack of reviews. One source indicates that the disc includes some deleted scenes, which would normally tip the scales towards Region 1, but as I cannot confirm this nor the transfer quality in Region 1 I am hesitant to make a recommendation.

    The Region 2 equivalent being released shortly seems to be identical to the Region 4.

Summary

    A fine film well transferred to DVD.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    Just a trailer as an extra. A pity, as given the director and several of the cast are still living, something might have been put together.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Monday, August 09, 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.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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