The Long Riders (1980)
|Year Of Production||1980|
|Running Time||95:15 (Case: 98)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (54:29)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Walter Hill|
Twentieth Century Fox
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
|Smoking||Yes, would it be a western without it?|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
There is very little in the way of actual story to The Long Riders, being more a collection of events that happened to various members of the James-Younger gang, both together and apart. This does not mean that it is uninteresting, or that it lacks for pace, but at times it does seem somewhat strange. The movie opens with the gang in the middle of a bank hold-up, when Ed Miller looses his nerve and unnecessarily kills a clerk. It is the fallout from that act that, over the course of the movie, leads to the downfall of the James-Younger gang, and the eventual death of Jesse James. Something else I should state here is that director Walter Hill certainly does not shy from showing real violence, not cutting away before bullets impact. On a somewhat different note for a Western, there is not one desert in sight in this movie, with much action taking place in heavily wooded forests.
Overall, The Long Riders is a good but flawed movie. It is certainly interesting enough to warrant watching, but the lack of story prevents it from ever being overly engaging, while James Keach's inability to draw a sympathetic side to Jesse James removes any care viewers may have for the gang and its members.
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 this transfer is 16x9 enhanced.
This transfer is lacking somewhat in sharpness. There are a very few scenes that appear very sharp, but for the most part the appearance is a little soft. It is not helped, especially early in the feature, by the appearance of vast amounts of grain. The opening sequence is particularly badly affected, with the entire sequence between 0:22-2:15 being extremely grainy, and highly noticeable. As the movie progresses, the grain tends to abate, but it does return from time to time, such as in the sequence from 40:28-40:40. The shadow detail is also quite poor, with most things that are black or in darkness being just solid black with little discernible detail. There was no low-level noise present in this transfer.
Colours are a little muted, but suffice well enough. Most costumes consist of browns and greys, and there are very few highlights to render, so aside from the forest scenes, the colours come across well.
The only MPEG artefacts were some small cases of pixelization caused by the excess grain. Aliasing was never a problem, most likely due to the overall soft appearance. The transfer exhibits a veritable plethora of film artefacts, and again the opening sequence is probably the worst affected in the entire film. The worst would be the vertical lines visible at 1:40. The artefacts that appear throughout the transfer are of both black and white types, meaning that even in the darker scenes they are still visible. Apart from the opening sequence however, they are infrequent enough and small enough to not draw significant attention.
Subtitles are very close to the spoken dialogue, and for the time I followed them only dropped a very few words. This lead to a number of very full screens of text, but the generally slow pace of dialogue meant this never really became a problem.
This is an RSDL disc with the layer change taking place at 54:29 during Chapter 10. This change takes place during a scene, and is extremely noticeable. No dialogue is disrupted however, so the change does not cause as many problems as it could have.
There are five audio mixes present on this disc, being the original English dialogue, and dubs in German, French, Spanish and Italian. All sound tracks are presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, at the very high (for a 2.0 soundtrack) bitrate of 448Kbps.
The dialogue was generally poor, often being unclear and difficult to understand. The worst example is when Bob and Charlie Ford are asking to join the gang at 24:00. Despite watching the sequence a number of times, I eventually had to turn on the subtitles to understand some of the words. The main problem seemed to be the score being mixed in at too high a level, often drowning out what was being said. As the movie progressed, the dialogue quality seemed to improve, although that could have simply been my ears adjusting. There was also one occurrence of an annoying background hum, during the short sequence from 2:16-2:20.
The audio sync was generally good, although there are a few words at 53:43 that appear to have been re-dubbed from something else. The issue is not helped by what seems to be an audio drop-out at the same time.
The music is credited to Ry Cooder, who had a hit song with Little Sister, and I'm sure there were others I am not aware of. The music is entirely what you would expect from a Western, being guitar pickin', fiddle playin' country style. It is quite effective, and suits the on-screen action well. The problem, as mentioned above, is that the music is mixed in at a very high level and often drowns out the dialogue.
Being a mono soundtrack, there was obviously no use for the surround channels.
The subwoofer sat unused for the entirety of the movie, receiving no re-directed bass from my decoder at all, despite many occasions where some bass could have been included into the soundtrack.
|Surround Channel Use|
The video quality is good, if a little soft and afflicted by grain and film artefacts.
The audio quality is quite poor, with hard to understand dialogue, and no lower end.
The only extra is a poor quality trailer. Not even worth thinking about.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using S-Video output|
|Display||RCA 80cm. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-DS787, THX Select|
|Speakers||All matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)|