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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Night Riders [Blu-ray]

 

(George Sherman, 1939)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Republic Pictures

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 0:56:14.371

Disc Size: 9,329,027,281 bytes

Feature Size: 9,258,700,800 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.00 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 2nd, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 826 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 826 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: This "Three Mesquiteers" western is based upon the exploits of one James Addison Reavis, a clever 19th century con artist... who through a series of elaborate land swindlers tried to declare himself owner of the state of Arizona (Reavis' checkered career was later the basis for Samuel Fuller's The Baron of Arizona, starring Vincent Price). George Douglas plays the Reavis character, here named Talbot. Establishing himself as dictator of an unnamed western territory, Talbot taxes the citizens beyond endurance. Enter the Three Mesquiteers-Stony Brooke (John Wayne), Tucson Smith (Ray Corrigan) and Lullaby Joslin (Max Terhune)-who don capes and masks to do battle with Talbot's minions under cover of darkness. Part of the plot hinges on the fact that only President Garfield knows that the Mesquiteer's "crimes" are being committed on behalf of Liberty and Justice For All-and when Garfield is assassinated, our heroes are up the proverbial creek without the proverbial paddle.

 

 

The Film:

The Three Mesquiteers was the umbrella title for a series of fifty-one B-westerns released between 1936 and 1943. The films featured the characters Stony Brooke, Tucson Smith and Lullaby Joslin or Rusty Joslin as the threesome; played by many B-western stars of that era. In 1938, John Wayne took over for Robert Livingston as Stony Brooke and starred in eight Mesquiteers films between 1938 and 1939, he was joined by Ray Corrigan as Tucson Smith and Max Terhune as Lullaby Joslin for the first six and Raymond Hatton as Rusty Joslin for the last two... all eight films were directed by George Sherman (Big Jake). John Ford's Stagecoach was perfectly sandwiched between the eight films and John Wayne portrayal of the outlaw gunfighter made him a superstar and ended Wayne's Stony Brooke run... Livingston was rehired as Brooke and went on to make fourteen more Mesquiteers films and for an incredible total of twenty-nine. In The Night Riders (the fifth of eight Wayne Mesquiteers films), a crooked gambler (George Douglas), impersonating Don Luis de Serrano, establishes himself as a dictator within the United States with a phony land grant dating back to Phillip of Spain. With an army of hired gunmen he evicts all the townspeople off his "land" who fail to meet his tax demands. After their appeal to President James Garfield in turned down, our evicted heroes become the masked avengers nicknamed The Night Riders; modern-day Robin Hoods, stealing from the land baron's goons and giving back to the oppressed farmers. Featuring Doreen McKay and Ruth Rogers.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The Night Riders has a typically modest Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films. It still looks better than I was anticipating with some textures prevalent and solid layering in the contrast. This is only single-layered and but the bitrate tends to support the hour-long film creating a pleasing presentation. There is one spot about 3/4's into the film where there appears to be some emulsion damage. It is noticeable but not a fatal. It reminds you that The Night Riders will be celebrating its 75th birthday in a couple of years. The Blu-ray and simple western adventure produced a pleasant, if short, viewing experience.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Damage

 

 

Audio :

A, predictably, flat DTS-HD mono track at 826 kbps. There is no depth or range to speak of but it seems a faithful transfer without only minor imperfections present on the source. The William Lava score seems standard fare rising and falling with the action.  There are no subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with their releases.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
For fans of westerns this isn't choice fare, but it has nostalgia charm and historical context in abundance. My biggest complaint is that because of the size of this BD transfer (and, we assume, the other three "Three Mesquiteers" being offered) Olive Films could have fit all 4 on one, lone, dual-layered Blu-ray. They are such sort films it would have seemed sensible to pass the savings of medium and packaging onto the consumer. I enjoyed this and was ready for the next adventure almost immediately after The Night Riders ended. Good fun but pricey for the content offered. Those keen enough will probably still indulge. 

Gary Tooze

September 28th, 2012

 


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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