Digi-Schlock: SKY RIDERS/THE LAST HARD MEN (Shout! Factory DVD)

At a time when most major studios are either phasing out catalog title releases or just shunting them off to new DVD-R divisions, it’s nice to see some companies are still willing to give the collector their due with real, pressed discs of vintage material.  Shout Factory is one of those companies and their line of 20th Century Fox reissues offers good value for money, frequently bundling two titles for the price of one or adding extra features – and retaining a catalog title price whatever the case.

Their recent release of Sky Riders and The Last Hard Men is a good example of their 20th Century Fox line.  Both films are presented on DVD in nice-looking anamorphic transfers that make the most of their Cinemascope imagery: the Greek settings of Sky Riders come through with vibrant colors while the arid Western vistas of The Last Hard Men are nicely defined.  The original mono mixes are retained for both films and each sounds fine.

Extras are limited on this set, probably due to the fact that both titles are presented on one dual-layer disc.  That said, Shout Factory has seen fit to flesh out the last bit of space on the disc with a trailer and a t.v. spot for each film.  All are presented full-frame: The Sky Riders trailers are oriented around the thrilling stunts in the last half-hour while the theatrical spot for The Last Hard Men oddly (and wrongly) pitches it as being in the vein of High Noon.  The t.v. spot for the latter gets it right, selling the film’s gritty nature and ominously promising “Only One Will Survive!”  The only hiccup in the extras department is that stills galleries mentioned on the back of the disc are nowhere to be found.

Overall, this is a great little package for the price, especially when you consider that neither film has ever been available on DVD before in the U.S.  James Coburn fans and aficionados of 1970’s tough guy material in general should definitely look into getting this cost-effective, generous set.

To read Schlockmania’s film review for Sky Riders, click here.

To read Schlockmania’s film review for The Last Hard Men, click here.

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