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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Reivers [Blu-ray]


(Mark Rydell, 1969)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Cinema Center Films

Video: Kino Lorber



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:51:31.351

Disc Size: 22,668,214,021 bytes

Feature Size: 22,561,241,088 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.94 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 25th, 2015



Aspect ratio: 2.37:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1557 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1557 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)






• Trailer (2:35)





Description: It's a grand and spectacular "horseless carriage" - a shiny yellow 1905 Winton Flyer automobile. Its owner is Mississippi plantation owner "Boss" (Will Geer, Jeremiah Johnson), who has left it sitting unattended. But hired hand Boon (Steve McQueen, Junior Bonner) decides it would be the ideal vehicle to take him and his buddy on a glorious whirlwind jaunt to distant Memphis. And along for the ride is Boss's earnest 12-year-old grandson, who finds himself reluctantly drafted to be the third "reiver" (an old Scottish word for 'thief') aboard his grandfather's car. So starts a bumpy journey that sweeps the trio into encounters with both Boss's raucous gal pal at a brothel and a corrupt racist sheriff, as well as a spellbinding, winner-takes-all horse race - with ownership of the Winton Flyer at stake! Based on William Faulkner's esteemed novel, The Reivers is an irresistible slice-of-life adventure directed by Mark Rydell (The Cowboys).



The Film:

Adapted from William Faulkner's final novel, The Reivers top-bills Steve McQueen, but the major character is feisty 11-year-old Lucius McCaslin, played by Mitch Vogel. Growing up in Mississippi in the early 1900s, Lucius finds himself (through a hectic series of circumstances) in a bordello, where he is nearly killed trying to defend the "fast lady" (Sharon Farrell) who has befriended him. He has been brought to the house of ill repute by ne'er-do-well farm hand Boon Hoggenbeck (Steve McQueen), with whom he has been tooling about the countryside in a vintage automobile, together with his very distant African-American relative Ned (Rupert Crosse). This adventure segues into the next, as the three man combine their resources to train a broken-down racehorse. Meanwhile, Vogel's grandfather (Will Geer), who owns the fancy automobile that the "reivers" hope to win back, threatens to reappear at any moment to tan Lucius's bottom. Not exactly as wholesome as a Disney film, The Reivers is nonetheless acceptable family entertainment, with Steve McQueen delivering one of his best and most laid-back performances.

Excerpt from MRQ located HERE



Period charm accounts for much of the mild enjoyment to be had from this sunnily nostalgic adaptation of William Faulkner's novel about an unholy trio - small boy (Vogel), dimwitted young buck (McQueen) and wily black (Crosse) - who 'borrow' a 1905 Winton Flyer and drive triumphantly off to Memphis for three days of illicit pleasure. The message about how his experiences help the boy to grow up is a little hard to take in this winsome reading of Faulkner, but the settings are first rate and so are the performances, though Rydell's direction tries just too hard, drenching itself in 'style'.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

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

The single-layered Kino Lorber Blu-ray of The Reivers has some softness but it is consistent without damage or many speckles at all. Colors appear strongly represented and there is some depth. It's no demo image but about what you might expect. It is in-and-around the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The many outdoor sequences look the best and Richard Moore's cinematography is very pleasing with some impressive style shots. It may be a shade faded but I suspect this is about as good as we may get and certainly in advance of SD. This Blu-ray gave me a watchable, but not overly remarkable, viewing in regards to the picture quality.


















Audio :

Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1557 kbps in the original English language. There are plenty of effects in the film - horses, the car, guns etc. and they come through flat but with a pinch of depth. The score is by John Williams (War Horse, The Fury, The Cowboys, The Missouri Breaks etc. etc.) and balances the lighter moments of the film with the more touching in another successful. if less-remembered, score. It all sounds fine with clear consistent dialogue. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

Nothing at all - a true 'bare-bones' disc.



The Reivers is a very sweet film filled with impressive performances. I had only seen in once a very long time ago.  It's pretty hard not to embrace it - I have always liked director Mark Rydell and this is another of his strong films. It's always a pleasure to see Steve McQueen as well. The Kino Lorber Blu-ray (awful cover) seems a competent 1080P transfer although I think the film merits some supplements. Regardless, I was thoroughly entertained and those keen to see The Reivers shouldn't hesitate. 

Gary Tooze

August 21st, 2015


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.

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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
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Gary W. Tooze






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