The Outsiders: Complete Novel Limited Edition 4K Boxset: The Outsiders: Complete Novel Edition is out now in a Limited Edition 4K Boxset with a ton of extras, and I will be checking out the boxset to unbox very shortly. In the meantime, about the film…
The film, itself, comes with a warning at the start. Not for violence or swearing, but “Please note this film reflects historical attitudes which audiences may find outdated or offensive.”
I do think such things are unnecessary, but then even ’70s sitcom repeats on BBC4 have sometimes had warnings for the same thing.
Set in 1966, this is one of those films I haven’t seen before now, so what better than to watch it in its full, intended version. Quite why they’d cut a 2hr film down to 91 minutes, I don’t know. It’s not like 2hrs is a chore to sit through. Look at all the current Hollywood fare which thing nothing of straying over the 2.5hr mark, like Dune Part One, Eternals and No Time To Die.
Early on, Ponyboy Curtis (C Thomas Howell) is one of the Greasers who’s attacked by their rivals, the Socs. A rag is forced into his throat before they run off as the other Greasers turn up. Also, note that when you see some of the Greasers basically holding on to some Socs in their car as they reverse back onto the main road, that’s a stunt that would fail ‘health and safety’ today, and they’d fill it with CGI.
I observed some interesting composition with an early scene that his Ralph Macchio (as Johnny Cade) in the foreground on the right, and C Thomas Howell in the background on the left, both in focus. This isn’t the only such scene, and it’s something I’ve seen Brian De Palma do a few times, such as with Dressed To Kill.
But back to the plot, and there’s an amsuing scene as Dallas Winston (Matt Dillon) shows some young kids how to play “52 Card Pick-up” in an insulting way. You can imagine how that goes. Meanwhile, Cherry (Diane Lane) is a Soc who’s keen to know about Darrel Curtis (Patrick Swayze) after meeting the other Greasers, as she loves a bad boy.
But after Ponyboy and Johnny (aged 14, and 13, respectively), fall asleep outside, they’re soon approached by some Socs, leading to an altercation, with one of the Socs being left rather the worse for wear.
Note also that, despite their character’s ages, at the time of release, Howell was 16/17, while Macchio was 21/22. Yes, given that he was born on November 4th 1961, Ralph Macchio is now SIXTY. Let that sink in.
This coming-of-age road movie also takes in the pair skippng town – albeit with Ponyboy being homesick, even though they haven’t been gone for long. But with no provisions or plans, at first, clearly running away was not their most well-thought-through move. However, an element of redemption comes as they go to rescue kids from a burning church. Obviously, there was no fire CGI in 1983, so separately-filmed fire effects were just overlaid on top of the film.
The Outsiders isn’t about the destination, but the journey, so even though I’ve mentioned certain scenes in this review, they all need to be witnessed first-hand, including a great early evening scene, showing the ‘gold’-type light reflecting on their faces and the red sky in the distance, similar to the look of Gone With The Wind which they’ve been reading. Although, late on, a definition, of sorts, is given for how they want to ‘stay gold’, I felt it was because they figured that life won’t get better than it is now.
If I had a complaint, is that while The Outsiders is certainly worth a watch, it is a little bit slow at times. Perhaps a second viewing is in order, now that I’ve been on their roadtrip.
Watching this film does make you wonder what happened to the careers of some of the actors, since they do more of the indie-type films rather than major Hollywood blockbustgers. Can’t Tom Cruise throw them a bone?
In fact, talking of the chap, Mr Cruise isn’t in it that much, although I think he did okay in his career. You so rarely hear of him these days… Seriously, though, we know today, that he likes to do his own stunts, and that’s evident here as he does a somersault off the bonnet of a car.
For the picture, it’s great to see a film like this released in 4K. However, there is some grain on the original print, briefly and occasionally, but then it was shot on film, and there’s not a huge amount you can do with that. I can see they’ve done a great restoration job in general, and the thing to do with movies from this era is just to put yourself in the mindset of how films were made back then. There was a time before films were shot in digital IMAX 3D 8K…
When it comes to the audio, it’s a drama, not a special effects movie, so while the music tracks come across well and the dialogue is fine, don’t expect split-surround action in the speakers.
The package contains both 4K and Blu-ray discs in this dual format release, and the on-disc extras are as follows:
Disc 1 (both 4K and Blu-ray):
- Francis Ford Coppola introduction (11:46): The director reads out a letter from Lone Star School, where he reveals the book was sent to him by them, signed by the school’s children, asking him to make a film about the book, which led to him making it. We also learn how author S.E. Hinton – who retweeted this review (yay!) – was just 16 when she wrote it! Plus, all the actors were around 16/17, and he discusses why he cast those people he did, as well as how most of the cast were unknown at the time of filming, and how he came about to make this longer version of the film, which includes score and music changes.
It’s interesting to note that the actors for the Greasers were given less daily expenses – and put up in worse accommodation – than the actors for the Socs, so as to create an animosity between the two groups of actors.
There’s no subtitles on the extras, sadly.
- Restoring The Outsiders (19:00): This egment comes from James Mockoski, Film Archivist and Restoration Supervisor, American Zoetrope who also retweeted this review (yay! again!)
It’s is a fascinating lok at the process involved, along with including others who worked on it, such as colourist Gregg Garvin and cinematograper Steven H Burum. We also get to hear the difference betweemn the two scores, the new one coming from Coppola’s father, Carmine Coppola.
There’s also comparisons of the look of the film between the 2005 HD version when this edition was put together, along with the 2021 restoration, bringing out the content that was in the original negative, but wasn’t shown in the last version, and this is down to being able to use HDR (High Dynamic Range).
- Steven H Burum on The Outsiders (12:31): Some more comments from the cinematograper, who also went to school with Mr Coppola.
- Outsider Looking In: Coppola on the Key Scenes of a Cult Classic (7:50): The director talks about a few scenes including the ‘big rumble’ scene, where the fight kicks off, but trying to do it with minimal injuries; as well as how even his daughter, Sofia Coppola, who asks Matt Dillon several times for a dime for an ice cream, outside the Dairy Queen.
- Deleted Scenes (2:27): First up is Dillon, Macchio and Howell sat in a diner, harrassing a waitress. Then comes the trio sat in another store, complaining about the drinks, just so Dillon can steal some cigarettes without the owner noticing.
- Old House, New Home (11:02): Comparing the locations, then and now, including The Outsiders House Museum, in which the Curtis Brothers’ house was bought and preserved by House of Pain’s Danny Boy O’Connor. It’s also filled with memorabilia, including some donated by author S.E. Hinton, who also gives her thoughts on the house. In addition, there’s footage of the house’s opening, including both Ms Hinton and C. Thomas Howell who were present. Mr Howell looks just a little different than how he did at the end of the film.
- New Trailer (1:07): You can see this below!
- Audio Commentaries: One from Francis Ford Coppola, and one from C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, and Diane Lane.
Disc 2 (both 4K and Blu-ray):
- Staying Gold: A Look Back at The Outsiders (26:23): An extra in 4:3 with cast and crew interviews mostly from 2005, including author S.E. Hinton recollecting joking with Coppola (although he didn’t realise it until she asked her questions): “I’ve got a big problem with you making this film… The Godfather and The Black Stallion were better than their books. Are you going to let that happen to me?” 😀
- NBC’s News Today from 1983 ‘The Outsiders’ Started by School Petition (4:42): An archive piece, and I love it when things like this are preserved.
- 7 Cast Members (Lowe, Swayze, Howell, Dillon, Macchio, Garret and Lane) read extracts from the novel (7:22): Another extra from 2005, and very amusing to watch.
- S.E. Hinton on Location in Tulsa (7:32): The author in her home town, and where the novel was set, and the film was made, as she takes her round the locations where Coppola shot the movie. That moment when Matt Dillon fell off his chair? That was done by accident, and everyone expected the shot to be taken again, but that’s the one kept in the film.
We also learn that she used her initials, instead of her name, on a publisher’s advice, who felt readers would be put off if they knew her gender; plus a number of other interesting titbits which I won’t reveal here, so you’ll have to get it.
- The Casting of The Outsiders (13:56): with casting director Fred Roos.
Original audition clips from the cast, plus those who didn’t make the cut, such as Helen Slater, Kate Capshaw, Adam Baldwin and Anthony Michael Hall.
- Six deleted and extended scenes (12:12): Does what it says on the tin, and certainly worth a watch.
- Trailer from 1983 (1:06): In 16:9, within a 4:3 window.
Running time: 115 minutes (Complete Novel Version) / 91 minutes (Theatrical Cut)
Released: November 8th
Picture: 2160p High Definition (4K Blu-ray); 1080p High Definition (Blu-ray)
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Panavision)
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Format: BD100, BD50
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Producers: Gray Frederickson, Fred Roos; and Kim Aubry (The Complete Novel Edition)
Screenplay: Kathleen Knutsen Rowell
Music: Carmine Coppola
Novel: SE Hinton
Ponyboy Curtis: C Thomas Howell
Dallas Winston: Matt Dillon
Johnny Cade: Ralph Macchio
Darrel Curtis: Patrick Swayze
Sodapop Curtis: Rob Lowe
Two-Bit Matthews: Emilio Estevez
Steve Randle: Tom Cruise
Tim Shepard: Glenn Withrow
Cherry Valance: Diane Lane
Bob Sheldon: Leif Garrett
Randy Anderson: Darren Dalton
Marcia: Michelle Meyrink
Buck Merrill: Tom Waits
Jerry: Gailard Sartain
Store Clerk: William Smith
Greaser in Concession Stand: Tom Hillman
Soc in Concession Stand: Hugh Walkinshaw
Little Girl: Sofia Coppola (as Domino)
Woman at Fire: Teresa Wilkerson Hunt
Nurses: Linda Nystedt, SE Hinton
Suburb Guy: Brent Beesley
Paul: John C Meier
Motorcycle Cop: Ed Jackson
Orderly: Dan Suhart (uncredited)
Soc in Concession Stand: Trey Callaway (uncredited)
College Professor: Ronald Colby (uncredited)
Mrs. Cade: Emeline Denito (uncredited)
Soc #3: Flea (uncredited)
Soc #2: Cam Neely (uncredited)
Hospital Lab Tech: Jonnie Parnell (uncredited)
Drive-in Patron: James P Rice (uncredited)
Extra: JD Rogers (uncredited)
Production Aide: Tony Teebo (uncredited)
(scenes deleted): Heather Langenkamp
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.