Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 3rd, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1969
Director: Buzz Kulik
Writer: James Poe
Cast: Jim Brown, Gene Hackman, Mike Kellin, Gerald S. O’Loughlin, Ben Carruthers, Clifford David, Bill Walker, Jerry Thompson, Ricky Summers, Mr. Gerri, John Neiderhauser, Warden Frank A. Eyman
DVD released: February 8th, 2011
Approximate running time: 96 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Olive Films
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
Synopsis: When a prison escape is foiled. The prisoners behind the planned escape use a riot as a diversion.
Riot was directed by Buzz Kulik, a filmmaker who began his career working during the golden age of television o such shows like Twilight Zone and The Defenders. Some of his other notable credits include the T.V. films Brian’s Song and Bad Ronald and Steve McQueen’s final film The Hunter. Riot was produced by B movie filmmaker / producer William Castle (House on Haunted Hill, The Tingler), who’s film’s are known for their over the top promotional gimmicks. Other key collaborators on Riot include cinematographer Robert B. Hauser (The Odd Couple, Willard) and composer Krzysztof Komeda, a frequent collaborator of director Roman Polanski.
The one area in which this film should be strongest is its two leads, Jim Brown (Slaughter) and Gene Hackman (French Connection). And yet their performances end up being two of the weaker in this film. With the supporting cast coming through with the more memorable performances. Most notably Ben Carruthers (John Cassavetes Shadows) in the role of Surefoot, a short fused Indian.
Trying to sustain tension for a impending prison break is not an easy task. Especially, when a sizable chunk of the plot sinks or swims on what happens before said prison break occurs. To this film’s credit it gets the ball rolling quickly. With the core group of prisoners who are trying to escape. Getting the upper hand on the guards who were watching over them. Unfortunately from there things tend to drag as the plan to escape from the prison takes its sweet time to get where in needs to be. Way too much time is spent waiting for the plan to take shape. And when it finally does. It is too little too late. As predictable as things do get. At least this film goes out with bang. With its thrilling conclusion that contains a few jaw droppings surprises.
Olive Films presents Riot in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This is another strong progressive flagged transfer from Olive Films. Colors look very good, flesh tones look accurate and details look crisp throughout. There are no problems with compression or edge enhancement.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital Mono mix in English. There are no major issues with background noise or distortion. Dialog is always clear and everything sounds balanced.
This release comes with no extra content. Overall Riot gets a first rate audio / video presentation from Olive Films.