Although Burt Reynolds' career has largely faded with the exception of "Boogie Nights", plenty of pictures from the 70's remain examples of the star's once popular persona. In "The Longest Yard", he plays Paul Crewe, an ex football player who gets sent off to prison after he takes his girlfriend's car for a joyride. He ends up inside a prison who wants to have a football team built - originally intended to be coach, he then finds himself assigned to get a bunch of players together to eventually play against the guards.
He wants nothing to do with it, but the Warden gives him the option of play, or there's going to be a long wait till he sees the outside world again. Either way, there's a guard who's angered with his football-playing presence and causes trouble every step of the way.
The film walks the balance between being a comedy and drama, doing a manageable job covering both sides. Reynolds and the largely unknown supporting cast also do their best in the roles.
VIDEO: Paramount presents "The Longest Yard" in the film's original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, and it is anamorphic. The results aren't bad, more enjoyable than "North Dallas 40", but still shy of a first down. Sharpness and detail are okay, with a consistently rather "soft" look that's still at least smooth and not hazy or blurry.
Print flaws remain the biggest problem with the presentation. Marks and scratches come up frequently, ranging from minor speckles to milder wear. Although this wasn't consistently notiable, it did prove to be somewhat distracting at times. Still, for a movie from 1974, I suppose some wear would be expected. At least no pixelation, shimmering or other such flaws appeared.
Colors remain suprisingly decent - if not exceptional, then at least not faded or flawed. Fleshtones are natural and accurate, and aside from the sometimes visible wear, this isn't a bad presentation.
SOUND: Although Paramount usually provides a new Dolby Digital 5.1 remix for many of their old titles, apparently it wasn't possible here or simply, the studio chose not to. Both the English and French mono tracks are included, and neither sounds particularly good, although it's a listenable presentation. Clarity is lacking and sometimes the audio begins to sound harsh - any rather loud noise (for example, the car chase early on) was thin and somewhat irritating. Dialogue also remains somewhat sharp and thin at times, never sounding completely crisp or natural.
MENUS:: Menus are non-animated, with very basic images serving as backgrounds.
EXTRAS: Like Paramount's other 2 football titles, there's nothing in the way of features.
Positive: Although Paramount has lowered the price to $24.95 retail from their usual $29.99, there's still not much to this DVD.
Negative: No extras - not even a trailer or ads. Fans of the movie might be pleased to simply add it to their DVD collection, though.
The Film ** 1/2
Video 80/B- = (320/400 possible points)
Audio: 75/C = (300/400 possible points)
Extras: 0/F = (0/300 possible points)
Menus: 70/C- = (140/200 possible points)
Value: 75/C = (225/300 possible points)
FILM GRADE: ** 1/2
DVD GRADE: D