Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Lockdown Edition |
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Director Robert Aldrich had a knack for depicting outsiders with originality and authenticity. Much like The Dirty Dozen, The Longest Yard is a popular fable about integrity and group unity. It possesses a requisite toughn... more »
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The Mean Machine is meaner than ever
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 05/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Robert Aldrich's greatest gift as a film director was his ability to show bad boys and nonconformists in such a sympathetic light. "The Longest Yard" features Reynolds before he traded on his bad boyish charm in all his film roles. Paul Crewe (Burt Reynolds) is a former bad boy football player who ends up in prison for "stealing" his girlfriend's car. His life has fallen apart since he was banned from the game for shaving points.Crewe is pressured by the Warden (Eddie Albert)to coach the guards' semi-pro team to earn a national title. When he refuses (out of preservation for his own skin) Crewe must lead the team of prisoners (called "The Mean Machine") against the guards in an exhibition game where the prisoners are expected to lose. Crewe has a couple of surprises in store for the Warden. The good news about this remake is that it prompted the studio to re-release this classic film. I have no idea if the remake is any good as of yet but we do have the classic original in top form.
An exceptionally nice transfer from Paramount, "The Longest Yard" has some minor issues with grain (that's not a flaw in the transfer I might add but it can be minimized during the transfer or made much, much worse) but that's probably due to the type of film and its age. The image quality is exceptionally good with such robust colors you can almost feel the humidity. The mono sound is a bit flat but with clear dialogue.
Three featurettes are highlights of this re-release. "Doing Time" features Reynolds and Ruddy discussing the making of the movie. The fact that Reynolds played college ball was an advantage for him in the role. Sports Illustrated writer Michael Silver discusses how nasty Paul Crewe is yet we forgive him because he's so funny and charming. The sports writers interviewed for the disc point out that watching Reynolds on the field its clear that he played college ball. "Unleashing The Mean Machine" we hear from a variety of pro players and sports writers discussing what makes "The Longest Yard" the best football movie ever made. Ruddy points out how he managed to convince Jimmy Carter (governor at the time of Georgia). Reynolds comments on his first meeting with Carter. The soon-to-be President of the United States told Reynolds that if Reynolds was taken prisoner, "if they take you hostage I will take your place gladly." Aldrich turned to Reynolds after and told him, "this man will be President some day. He's lying through his teeth beautifully".
A new and fun commentary track with producer Albert S. Ruddy ("The Godfather") and star Burt Reynolds discussing the making of the movie is a highlight of this classic 1974 film. Shot on location Reynolds in the South, Reynolds comments frequently about the difficult working conditions shooting in the swamp. He never knew when and if they might have a cottonmouth show up. Reynolds and many of the actors actually stayed at the former prison where they shot the film. Reynolds points out the various former pro and college football players that appear in the film. They discuss the prep for shooting the big game and how they pulled the illusion together for this film.
A classic film gets a classy presentation on DVD. An excellent commentary track by Reynolds and Ruddy are a highlight of this terrific reissue on DVD. Two very good featurettes on the making of the movie and one where pros and writers comment on reality of what you see in the film.
Quick! Enjoy the original before the remake comes out!
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 03/31/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I want to make the argument that "The Longest Yard" is an important film in the history of the movies because this 1974 comedy represents the point in cinematic history where a guy getting hit between the legs was funny for the last time. To be specific it was the moment in the film where it happened for the second time, which was even funnier than the first time it had happened, which was just a minute earlier in the movie. Ever since then I have not found these scenes to be anywhere near as funny because all such efforts are just pale imitations of what happens here.
"The Longest Yard" is solid B-movie material from start to finish. Burt Reynolds is Paul Crewe, a former pro quarterback who was banned from the sport for shaving points and ended up in prison for having some fun with the cops joy riding. In a nice example of casting against type Eddie Albert is the sadistic warden who is quite proud of the football team he has put together from the prison guards. So he decides that Crewe should put together a team from the prisoners for a friendly little game of football. Crewe is inclined not to be accommodating, but the warden, no doubt sensing a failure to communicate, persuades the ex-jock to get with the game plan.
We have to go through some rather trite and tired routines as Crewe puts together his team just so we can get to the fun part of the movie, which is the big football game. Obviously the cons are playing for self-respect and if the warden is stupid enough to give them the opportunity to pay back the guards for their brutal treatment under the guise of a football game, then we should just enjoy the fun. The set up might be stupid, but the game itself is one of the better staged pigskin competitions we have seen in a movie to date. Besides, the Mean Machine uses the drop kick, which I have always wanted to see ever since I read about it in "Gil Thorp" way back when. Certainly director Robert Aldrich takes the time to play the came and he makes excellent use of the split-screen to avoid having to constantly cut between the action on the field and the drama on the sidelines.
Reynolds is certainly the star of the film (he tells his team, "The most important thing to remember is: to protect your quarterback. ME!"), and the ex-Florida State football player certainly makes for a believable jock on the field (hey, the guy was drafted by the Baltimore Colts), while Albert clearly relishes the chance to forget all about Eva Gabor and have fun with the dark side. "Iron" Mike Conrad, before he became a cult figure as Sgt. Esterhaus on "Hill Street Blues," has a memorable turn as Nate Scarboro, one of the cons whose knees are not as strong as his heart so he has to settle for being the coach of the Mean Machine. Ed Lauter is Captain Knauer, the head of the guards, who manages not to be a total jerk about what is going on in the end as the film goes for one last over the top moment at the end.
Not to be mistaken for high art, "The Longest Yard" is a party film, perfect when you are in the mood for a little football. It was actually up for an Oscar for Best Film Editing (Michael Luciano), undoubtedly for that split screen work, and even won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Musical/Comedy (beating out "The Front Page," "Harry and Tonto," "The Little Prince" and "The Three Musketeers"). Having already been made as a soccer (the other "football" movie, "Mean Machine"), "The Longest Yard" is about to be released with Adam Sandler and James Cromwell squaring off (Burt Reynolds is along for the ride as Coach Nate Scarboro). I wonder if Brian Bosworth played "Kill the Star" with Sandler the way Ray Nitschke did with Reynolds in the original. There could be some very interesting outtakes on that DVD down the road."
"Mean Machine! Mean Machine! Mean Machine!"
Kenneth M. Gelwasser | Hollywood, Fl USA | 03/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the 1970's, there was a small genre of movies, that the studios released, that could best be termed, football comedies. These were a series of films that sort of aped the spirit of Jim Bouton's best selling baseball book, "Ball Four" about the rowdy and scatalogical antics of modern day pro-athletes. Most movie fans consider three films to be the best of this genre. They include "North Dallas Fourty", "Semi-Tough" and of course "The Longest Yard". When it comes to "North Dallas Fourty", I have to be truthful and admit that I've never seen it. I really can't make an informed opinion about it. But,"Semi-Tough really is a very funny film comedy. But let's face it...it's not really about football. It's more of a satire of the 'self-help/feel good' movements (such as E.S.T.) that were all the rage in the 1970's. That leaves, what I like to think of as the gold standard of football movie comedies, "The Longest Yard". This hilarious film is basically M*A*S*H* on steroids. A group of people trapped in a situation trying to relieve their boredom & frustrations through off-color jokes, rowdy antics and a love for football (for those who have never seen it, the film, M*A*S*H* ends in a humourously rowdy, football game). "The Longest Yard" is about Paul Crewe (Burt Reynolds) a former superstar, pro quarterback, who is living life as a disgraced, has-been. After a drunken fight with his wealthy girlfriend and a wild police chase in a stolen Mazardi, he finds himself looking at eighteen months of hard time in a Florida correctional facility. But this isn't just any prison. Apparently both the guards, the inmates and especially the nefarious Warden (Eddie Albert) take their football, waaaayyyy to seriously! The Warden hatches a plan for Crewe to put together and play with a team of felons in a tune-up game against his own semi-pro team made up of the brutally, sadistic guards. What starts out as a supposedly, friendly (and very funny) game soon devolves into a brutal, grudge match in which the Warden attempts to humiliate the Cons and send a message to the rest of the prison population. It's up to Crewe to keep this from happening. This is a great film with a plot (and hard hitting, realistic game), that gets the viewer really involved. I mean what film do you know, where the good guys are unrepented hard core felons (refered to by the hypocritical guards as "scum of the Earth") and we want to root for them? The film is helmed by an excellent cast playing interesting characters. Burt Reynolds plays a man, who when under presure finally learns, that there is more to life than just thinking about himself. This is probably Reynold's best acting job in any of his film comedies (he only breaks himself up once). His only better work has been in dramas such as "Deliverance" & "Boogie Nights". Eddie Albert is also great as the evil Warden, who on one hand, publicly spouts speeches about the "All-American" values and virtues of the game of football, but is privately more than willing to vindictively lie and cheat, all in the name of winning. Other standouts in the cast include Robert Tessier as Shockner, a silent, Karate chopping, psychopath and 7'2" Richard Kiel (in a pre James Bond role) as a giant, violent prisoner, who hilariously dosn't seem to know his own strength. Also look for Bernadette Peters in a brief, sexy cameo (and a huge B-52 hairdo) as the Warden's amorous secretary. If you like football movies or just plain gut-busting, funny movie comedies (or both) than get "The Longest Yard"! Great movie! Highly recommended!"
Where's "Saturday Night Special?"
Lawrance M. Bernabo | 04/17/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"First off, I love the original film "The Longest Yard." However, as some of you have already pointed out, this "Special Home Video Version" has been tampered with to the point of ruining the film for long-time fans. As already pointed out, the closing song "You Gotta Be a Football Hero" had been changed to "When The Saints Go Marching In," and a scene with Crewe and the Warden has been deleted. That's bad news! What I don't think anyone has mentioned is that the song "Saturday Night Special" was playing in the original film when Paul Crewe has the car chase with the police, then dumps his car into the bay. This song was cut out of the lousy, worthless "Home Video Version." Sorry I can't be more positive. But this film should either be restored or discontinued to save people from throwing away their money. Dear Paramount....please restore this film!"