The Longest Yard (1974)
|Year Of Production||1974|
|Running Time||116:11 (Case: 118)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (61:22)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Programme|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Robert Aldrich|
Paramount Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
During the 70s and into the 80s, Burt Reynolds was in a swag of lightweight comedies and action movies that made him a household name. His star may have faded with age and a series of flops, but his body of comedy work made during his heyday still remains very enjoyable. One of the more interesting movies he made was The Longest Yard (originally released in Oz as The Mean Machine). Although set in a prison, this is largely a movie about American football. Unlike some of the other previous cloying efforts, this is refreshingly amusing in parts and has dated exceptionally well.
From my own perspective, this is a movie which has none of the soppy sentimentality of earlier sports movies and keeps up a cracking pace in both dialogue and action. Although the actual football is a little tame compared to movies of more recent vintage, for sheer enjoyment this still ranks right up there. One minor gripe I've always had, though, is the fact that Reynolds is the only actor I've ever seen in Gucci styled prisoners' uniform and coiffured hair (not to mention he bares that hairy chest of his at every opportunity).
The opening of the movie belies its more comical nature with a rather aggressive confrontation between Paul Crewe (Reynolds) and his current girlfriend. After a stormy opening scene, he takes her 'Maserati' (actually a Citroen in disguise) on a wild chase, avoiding the police before dumping it in the river. When the police come to arrest him, he assaults them and without much ado he's taken off to prison.
Now the fun begins as he's taken to meet the Warden (Eddie Albert) who has pulled strings to get him to his penitentiary. It seems they have a semi-pro team that have been runners-up for several years and the warden is seeking Crewe's help in getting them the title. Naturally, there is some enmity to this plan from the Head Guard and the team's leader Captain Knauer (Ed Lauter) who makes things tough for Crewe upon arrival with a warning. Not wanting to get into any more trouble, Crewe refuses the warden, but you know this won't last and after a short time Crewe is readily agreeing to hold a football game between the Guards and the Cons (an aside - they are nicknamed the Mean Machine) to help with the warden's desire for a championship title.
This is a fairly old movie that was a popular rental in the old video days. It's been on TV more times than I care to remember, so many of you will probably have seen it at least once. If you haven't, then you may recognise a few cameos who went onto other acclaim like Bernadette Peters (The Jerk), Michael Conrad (Hill Street Blues), Richard Kiel (Jaws in the Bond movies) and Richard Tessler (Last of the Mohicans). A good movie to watch, lots of funny moments and worth a look.
The opening couple of minutes of this movie didn't inspire much confidence. The number of film artefacts was the stuff of legend, but given the age of the movie I did hope for some improvement. Fortunately, that was the case and like most movies of this era, the opening and closing credits were the worst on offer. The transfer was obviously taken from a very decent print, although it is still showing its age in parts.
The original theatrical ratio was 1.85:1, whereas this transfer is in 1.78:1 and 16x9 enhanced. The only difference you may note is that everyone looks a little stretched in some scenes.
For a movie this age, it was pretty decent. There was some pleasing sharpness, although light edge enhancement can be seen periodically. Shadow detail was very good with decent depth on offer. There was plenty of light grain, with only the opening five minutes being heavy in this respect. Sometimes the blacks looked a little grey, possibly due to the age of the print, but for the most part they were solid and noise wasn't a huge issue.
The colour started off oversaturated and with a red tinge and slowly got better. Although not utilising a wide palette, and sporting mostly solid colours, this had plenty of saturation although no bleeding was noted. As the movie progressed so did the colour. Saturation died down and skin tones became more natural.
For a movie this old (going on 28 years now) this was in remarkably good condition. There were plenty of film artefacts in the form of minor little nicks and flecks throughout the movie. The opening and closing credits were the worst. At around 16:00 there is a spate of minor flecks, a blue mark and a nice piece of missing emulsion on show and at 42:05 there is a solid red mark down Burt Reynolds' face. There was a slight flicker in the film at 8:45, either slight wobble or possibly a bad splice. There is some ringing at 6:40 on a garage door, although aliasing and moiré effects were not a real issue. There were a couple of notable watermarks at 86:19 and 110:12 to round out proceedings.
Unusually, the subtitles are positioned a little higher on the screen than normal. They are very readable but can get in the way of the on-screen vision at times. Their accuracy is a little questionable, but nothing too serious.
The layer change occurs at 61:22, basically just as Bernadette Peters is getting Burt Reynolds' pants off you get the change. Believe it or not, it's quick, well positioned and actually added to a rather humorous moment.
Although listed as having a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, my ProLogic decoder puts this in strictly mono from the centre speaker where it should be. The original soundtrack was also in mono, so any stereo noted is simply split into both channels. All the same, the bitrate of 192 kilobits per second for a mono track is quite healthy and there was little problem with the clarity of the sound. There are also four other soundtracks available in German, French, Italian and Spanish, but I listened exclusively to the English offering.
The dialogue is fairly crisp and sharp with little major problems, and the syncing was not an issue.
The music is by Frank DeVol and is right on the mark. Having also worked with Aldrich on the Dirty Dozen and Flight of the Phoenix (amongst others) he gives this movie just the right musical nuances to add to movie that has both comedy and violence in equal share. Another good soundtrack without being too memorable, except for the chanting at the end of the movie.
The surround channels and subwoofer were not used in this movie.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are no extras on this disc.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Both the Region 1 and Region 4 releases appear to be 'movie only' with no extras noted. Buyer's choice in this case!
The Longest Yard is a classic comedy from the mid 70s that has held up surprisingly well even to this day. Although not to everyone's taste (how many of us actually like American football after all), this is a reasonably decent addition to the library of available DVDs.
The video is quite decent although is definitely showing its age. Apart from the film artefacts, it looks quite good.
The audio is strictly a monaural experience. Clean without being exceptional.
I suppose the director and many of the cast and crew being dead doesn't help in the extras department but this doesn't even have a trailer. Strictly a film-only release.
|DVD||Loewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output|
|Display||Loewe Xelos (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Rotel RSP-976. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Rotel RB 985 MkII|
|Speakers||JBL TLX16s Front Speakers, Polk Audio LS fx di/bipole Rear Speakers, Polk Audio CS350-LS Centre Speaker, M&KV-75 Subwoofer|