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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Spikes Gang [Blu-ray]


(Richard Fleischer, 1974)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: The Mirisch Corporation

Video: Kino Lorber



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

Runtime: :36:35.790

Disc Size: 20,862,371,553 bytes

Feature Size: 20,387,125,248 byte

Video Bitrate: 24.88 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: November 3rd, 2015



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1688 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1688 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 /
48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)



English, None



The Spikes Gang trailer (2:38), Mr. Majestyk trailer (1:33), and Prime Cut trailer (2:35)





Description: Screen icon Lee Marvin (Monte Walsh, Prime Cut) gives a spellbinding performance as Harry Spikes, a wounded outlaw on the run who appears as a romantic figure to three impressionable youths, played by Ron Howard (TV's Happy Days), Gary Grimes (The Culpepper Cattle Company) and Charles Martin Smith (American Graffiti). Nursed back to health by the boys, the crooked Spikes enlists them as his partners... then callously betrays them after they rob a few banks and mayhem ensues. Legendary husband and wife writing team of Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank Jr. (Hud, The Reivers) wrote the screenplay based on the novel The Bank Robbers by Giles Tippette. The great Richard Fleischer (Violent Saturday) directed this great western featuring stunning cinematography by Brian West (Wake in Fright) and a stellar cast that includes Noah Beery Jr. (TV's The Rockford Files) and Robert Beatty (2001: A Space Odyssey).



The Film:

In this western, an outlaw is wounded in battle and manages to escape to the home of two helpful runaways who help him recuperate. During this time, the outlaw regales them with thrilling tales of his adventurous exploits. His stories inspire the lads to form a gang of their own; the outlaw is more than happy to help and become their leader. They rob a few banks and have great fun until the outlaw becomes a turncoat and begins hunting them for a generous bounty. But one of the boys decides to get revenge and rootin' tootin' mayhem ensues.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE


An engaging Western, based on Giles Tippette's novel The Bank Robber but designed more or less as a sequel to Robert Benton's Bad Company, with Marvin as a wounded gunman helped by three boys, and later (after they run away from home in search of the excitement and easy living conjured by his reminiscences) tutoring them on the downward path. Familiar territory (ageing outlaw hemmed in by shrinking frontiers and cruel options), but beautifully acted, sharply scripted, and often very funny en route to the bitter final lessons in disillusionment. One of Fleischer's best movies from the '70s.

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 Spikes Gang looks very strong in 1080P. Black levels are deep and colors rich.  Detail is very strong and there is some minor texture to the visuals. Depth is frequently apparent and there is no noise in the darker scenes. The source is clean, and this image quality is impressive. This Blu-ray provides a solid, and surprisingly good, 1080P presentation.


















Audio :

Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1688 kbps (16-bit) in the original English language. There are plenty of genre-related effects in the film from horses to gunfire and they come through carrying some modest depth. The score is by Fred Karlin (The Sterile Cuckoo, Westworld, Futureworld) and adds some flavor to the action and atmosphere.  It all sounds fine with clear consistent dialogue. There are optional English subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

Only trailers for The Spikes Gang, Mr. Majestyk and Prime Cut.



Hey, this is a pretty good, star-packed, western adventure. The Spikes Gang doesn't pull any punches - it's a harsh road to maturity back in the day. Fine performances. Fleischer knows how to craft a movie. The bare-bones Kino Lorber Blu-ray produces a strong presentation. Those fans of the actors involved or the genre should give this a spin - a pleasure to see it in 1080P. 

Gary Tooze

October 28th, 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.

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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