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on February 15, 2000
William Faulkner was one of America's greatest authors. His Pulitzer Prize winning works are renowned for his ability to capture, with affection and fascination, the culture and people of Mississippi...Southerners of all color, class, and gender. Many of Faulkner's stories evoke a somber tone of Southern Gothic tragedy based on his observations of racial intolerance, and the decline of traditional Southern values before the forces of greed and modernization. In contrast to his more serious works, "The Reivers" is light-hearted, comic, and thoroughly entertaining.
The movie captures, with rich authenticity, the colorful characters of Faulkner's Mississippi. The cinematography and music evoke the sites and sounds of a picturesque South in 1905. The cast, including narration by Burgess Meredith, is impeccable. The movie centers on the joyriding adventures of 11-year old Lucius McCaslin, his cousin Boon Hogganback (Steve McQueen) and their black relation (Rupert Crosse). The story involves a stolen car, a 4-day odyssey from northern Mississippi to the `red light" district of Memphis, a horse race, and the life-changing experiences of young Lucius. Will Geer, as Lucius' grandfather "Boss," offers a memorable performance when he confronts the young boy with his misdeeds, proving again that the word is mightier than the hand. William Faulkner would be proud of this movie.
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on December 22, 2005
I don't know what to say that hasn't been said before, but this is one of the most well-made films of 1969. Period detail is well-presented, acting is excellent, wonderful Panavision widescreen makes this DVD a treasure. William Faulkner wasn't known for his lightness of heart, but this precious memoir shows love, spirit and excitement that sets this film aside. I won't blab away the plot, but Steve McQueen, at the height of his career, is having a ball in a fine performance. Sharon Farrell is so lovely; where did her career go? Mitch Vogel, as young Lucius, gives one of the best kid performances ever; I hate bad kid-actors. Where did his career go? And the most auspicious debut performance came from Oscar-nominated Rupert Crosse, knowing everything, wanting to be included, causing the most trouble, and, ultimately, saving the day. Best in the film! And where did his career go? There's also the great Juano Hernandez, and a really great performance by a horse. And it's always good to see Ruth White, the most reliable character actress since Jane Darwell. Non-obtrusive narration by Burgess Meredith is a plus. The odds seem insurmountable, but they all emerge victorious and young Lucius has life-affirming experiences; shocking, painful and ultimately exciting. And memorable. This film is nothing but fun, and I enjoy it a lot. 1969 brought about some magnificent films: Midnight Cowboy, Anne of the Thousand Days, They Shoot Horses Don't They, Butch Cassidy...and The Reivers is right up there with the best of 'em.
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VINE VOICEon June 3, 2005
Based on William Faulkner's sweetest novel, THE REIVERS (Paramount) is set in Mississippi, circa 1905.

Steve McQueen is Boon Hogganback, a cousin and handyman to the McCaslin family. When grandfather "Boss" McCaslin buys a new car, a yellow Winton Flyer, Boon talks eleven year old Lucius, "Boss's" grandson, into his scheme to "borrow" the car for a quick trip to Memphis to visit a prostitute with whom he's in love.

When "Boss" leaves for the weekend, the two reivers -- an old fashioned word for "thieves" -- take off in the car. Unknown to them, a black relation has stowed away under a blanket in the back seat. The four day odyssey is a coming of age adventure for young Lucius. He spends the night in a brothel, has a knife fight over a prostitue's honor, and races a horse to win back the car.

Beautifully photographed with one of John William's best scores, this fine film adaptation would probably delight Faulkner himself. McQueen is memorable as a lovable scamp and he seems to be having fun in the role.

The narration, from the perspective of an adult Lucius, is by Burgess Meredith and the poetic, wise words are Faulner's.

This wonderful, mostly forgotten film is worth seeking out.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon August 11, 2006
This Norman Rockwell snapshot of turn-of-the-century Mississippi has aged better than expected. I remember this being such a grand adventure on its theatrical release, now its more of a moderately paced nostalgic curio, but good wholesome family entertainment nonetheless.

Steve McQueen plays Boon Hogganbeck, an adopted stray that was taken in by the local Big Daddy played by the inimitable Will Geer known simply as "Boss." Boon is assigned to watch over the Boss' grandson Lucius, but Boon has been around the block a few times, and his testosterone goes into warp drive when the Boss has a spanking new Winton Flyer delivered on the inbound train.

While Boon is ardently watching over his new toy, another "family" member Ned who just happens to be a descendant of slaves AND Boss McCanlis' own grandaddy, takes off in the Winton Flyer causing general mayhem and destruction all over town before accidentally bringing this new horseless wagon to a stop. as punishment, Boss and the family leave town for a funeral, and consign 11 year old Lucius to the care of Boon, who has the Memphis city limits on his mind. Once safely out of town, Boon and Lucius concoct a story that is told to all the local family members assuring their safe gettaway, then off they go only to find later that lunatic Ned has stowed away in the back seat, setting the stage for a raucous adventure that had been largely forgotten over the past 30 years.

A terrific supporting cast with Michael Constantine as the owner of uh "The House", and Sharon Farrell as object of Boon's affection. This movie is a delight for the family, and any serious DVD collector as the original brilliance of the sets and Mississippi Delta scenery has been fully restored with this beautiful widescreen transfer, and the 5.1 audio remastering is much better than the original release. All in all I would have to say this film classic deserves 5 Melons.
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on November 18, 2015
THE REIVERS [1969 / 2015] [Blu-ray] A Reiver is a Rascal! Steve McQueen is the Head Reiver! From The Pulitzer Prize-Winning Novel by William Faulkner!

In Mississippi at the turn of the 20th century, and it's where we find a grand and spectacular "horseless carriage" that is a shiny yellow 1905 Winton Flyer automobile. Its owner is Mississippi plantation owner "Boss" [Will Geer], who has left it sitting unattended. But hired hand Boon Hogganbeck [Steve McQueen] decides it would be the ideal vehicle to take him and his buddy on a glorious whirlwind jaunt to distant Memphis. And along for the ride is Boss's earnest 12-year-old grandson, who finds himself reluctantly drafted to be the third "reiver" (an old Scottish word for 'thief') aboard his grandfather's car. So starts a bumpy journey that sweeps the trio into encounters with both Boss's raucous gal pal at a brothel and a corrupt racist sheriff, as well as a spellbinding, winner-takes-all horse race with ownership of the Winton Flyer at stake! Based on William Faulkner's esteemed novel, ‘The Reivers’ is an irresistible slice-of-life adventure directed by Mark Rydell [‘The Cowboys’]. Narrated by Burgess Meredith.

FILM FACT: Awards and Nominations: 1970 Academy Awards®: Nominated: Actor in a Supporting Role for Rupert Crosse. Nominated: Music for an Original Score for a motion picture [not a musical] for John Willimas. 1970 Golden Globe® Awards: Nominated: Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for Steve McQueen. Nominated: Supporting Actor for Mitch Vogel. Writers Guild of America: Nominated: Best Comedy Adapted from Another Medium for Screenplay for Harriet Frank, Jr. and Irving Ravetch.

Cast: Burgess Meredith (Narrator), Steve McQueen, Sharon Farrell, Mitch Vogel, Ruth White, Rupert Crosse, Ruth White, Michael Constantine, Clifton James, Juano Hernandez, Lonny Chapman, Will Geer, Allyn Ann McLerie, Lindy Davis, Diane Shalet, Diane Shalet, Pat Randall, Diane Ladd, Ellen Geer, Dub Taylor, Allyn Ann McLerie, Charles Tyner, Shug Fisher, Raymond Guth, Logan Ramsey, Jon Shank, Gloria Calomee, Sara Taft, Vinnette Carroll, John McLiam, Roy Barcroft, Billy Green Bush, John J. Fox, Owen Bush, James Rawley, Al Hopson, Wes Fuller, Ella Mae Brown, Florence St. Peter, Jim Goodwin, Frank Baker (uncredited), Beverlee McKinsey (uncredited), Robert Robinson (uncredited) and Max Wagner (uncredited)

Director: Mark Rydell

Producers: Irving Ravetch, Rick Rosenberg and Robert E. Relyea

Screenplay: Harriet Frank, Jr., Irving Ravetch and William Faulkner (novel)

Composer: John Williams

Cinematography: Richard Moore

Video Resolution: 1080p [Technicolor]

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 [Panavision]

Audio: English: 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo

Subtitles: None

Running Time: 106 minutes

Region: Region A/1

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Kino Lorber Studio Classics / CBS Broadcasting Inc.

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: ‘THE REIVERS’ [1969] is a nice bawdy film, with a sort of Walt Disney theme with an adult rating. Imagine a charming nostalgia-soaked family-type film about a winsome 11-year-old in turn-of-the-century Mississippi, where Boon Hogganbeck [Steve McQueen], conspires to borrow the car, taking Lucius McCaslin [Mitch Vogel] with him. Stowed away is Ned McCaslin [Rupert Crosse]. The three head for Memphis, where Boon Hogganbeck's sweetheart works in a bordello, where Ned McCaslin trades the car for a racehorse, where Lucius McCaslin discovers the world of adults, from racism and vice to possibilities of honour and courage, where in the process he gets himself cut up in a Memphis bordello defending the good name of a lovely professional lady. But is their redemption for the “reivers” rascals, and a happy outcome? But most importantly the film is beautifully narrated by Burgess Meredith, who is the older character of Lucius McCaslin, and is helped brought to a brilliant screen presentation, by the brilliant adaption of the Pulitzer Prize-Winning Novel by William Faulkner.

As one of the top male stars of the late 1960s, Steve McQueen was in the position to choose any role he wanted, including the classic film ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ [1969], which he turned down reportedly over a billing dispute with the actor he considered one of his principal rivals, which was Paul Newman. Steve McQueen certainly could have played it safe by sticking to the action roles that had placed him among the top ten box office performers. Instead, he chose ‘THE REIVERS’ [1969], a comic, nostalgic tale based on William Faulkner's final novel, which earned the author his second Pulitzer Prize.

The story, set in 1905, and centres around a wealthy rural Mississippi family, the McCaslins, and their prized possession, a brand new, bright yellow Winton Flyer automobile, the first car owned by anyone in the community. While the family patriarch is away, due to the death of one grandfather, which eventually puts most of the family on a train to attend the funeral including the other grandfather who happens to own the conveyance that provides the impetus for four days of mayhem, which was bought only because grandfather or “Boss” as he is called by employees and family alike decided he needed to own shiny yellow 1905 Winton Flyer automobile "horseless carriage," but is spirited off for a carefree 4 day road trip by hired hand Boon Hogganbeck [Steve McQueen], grandson Lucius McCaslin [Mitch Vogel], and alleged distant cousin Ned McCaslin [Rupert Crosse], a mixed-race young man found on the property as a child and taken into the family. The trio take the car to Memphis, where the young Lucius McCaslin has some wild adventures with his adult companions and learns important lessons about racism and vice but also about honour, redemption and love.

‘THE REIVERS’ [1969] is exceptional; especially Mark Rydell is a brilliant master visual storyteller, and his dynamic but subtle use of the frame to tell his story is timeless. The story itself, however, feels a little old fashioned with films that would have been made today, but despite this, it is still a lovely moving film where they experience a number of mostly minor misadventures of Boon Hogganbeck [Steve McQueen], Lucius McCaslin [Mitch Vogel], Ned McCaslin [Rupert Crosse], and the wonderful and spectacular "horseless carriage" of the shiny yellow 1905 Winton Flyer automobile. But without warning Ned McCaslin [Rupert Crosse], mistakenly trading the car for a horse, which they then need to race in order to get the "horseless carriage" of the shiny yellow 1905 Winton Flyer automobile back and here we get to the real climax of this wonderful moving film in that it makes you really cheer and punch your fist in the air in wanting and shouting at the screen in wanting Lucius McCaslin [Mitch Vogel] to win the race, which is helped with the devious Ned McCaslin in finding the horse’s that has a hidden secret and you will have to watch the Blu-ray to find out the outcome of the race, but I can tell you it will gladden your heart. It’s a really lovely charming light funny tale, and one that is so slavishly devoted to its sense of period that recreates the 1912, and it feels like it could have been made in 1912, but of course it is filled with beautiful colour and wonderful sound, to make you forget it was set in the period of the middle of the 20th century.

Despite the film’s seems slightly dated, but instead the film has some beautiful qualities that still keeps working for today’s modern audiences, which is all brought to fruition by the brilliant talented director Mark Rydell’s and of course it the film’s excellent cast compensates for the film’s sometimes weak spots. Rupert Crosse was rightly nominated for an OSCAR® for his work in the film and Steve McQueen is as always is always charismatic as ever in the lead. And another justified OSCAR® nomination went to the superb and brilliant score by John Williams, whose early composition a few years before where John Williams would go on to massive fame with ‘JAWS’ and ‘STAR WARS.’ But most important is that John Williams’s score is one of the main reasons to watch this beautiful film, and it’s beautifully served by the brilliant 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo mix.

Blu-ray Video Quality – ‘THE REIVERS’ is brought to you via Kino Lorber with a very nice encoded 1080p image, with a really nice 2.35:1 [Panavision] aspect ratio. Despite where they acquired the master, you get quite a nice fine looking transfer that is given a clean crisp upgrade for the high-definition Blu-ray release. The film seems to been deliberately shot in an intentional dream-like haziness image presentation, so details can appear a bit soft every now and again, but despite that, the colours are very vibrant, but still with a natural look. The black levels at times are very strong with a nice sense of depth, especially when you view the darker scenes of Memphis. So overall it is a very good presentation. The visual presentation is top-notch as well, with a wide range of vibrant colours in this period piece production design perfectly balanced against accurately reproduced skin tones.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – With the audio presentation of ‘THE REIVERS’ you get a very nice 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo, that has lots of beautiful resonant that brings the best out of the film and what was also really nice is the pleasant sounds of the sputtering engine of the Winton Flyer automobile. The Dialogue is also very crisp and clear, which is always in the centre of the screen. But what really stands out is the brilliant John Williams amazing film score, which is given the right ambience and doesn’t overpower everything. Despite a stereo mix, it would have been so nice to have an upgrade with a 5.1 DTS-HD Surround sound mix. But despite this, it was a very enjoyable sound experience.

Finally, ‘THE REIVERS’ was a much unknown film of Steve McQueen for me especially and is a really wonderful hidden gem, and is a very valuable entry into anyones Blu-ray Collection, and ‘THE REIVERS’ is now in my viewed as a really truly classic film. ‘THE REIVERS’ film starts out very slowly and I nearly gave up, but I persevered and was well rewarded, as it features a brilliant talented cast at the top of their game, catering to a really nice sweet sentimental story with of course a fantastic classic film score by John Williams. Although Kino Lorber has done an quite a good job, but the only thing this company really annoys me with is that they will not include any extras, as I am sure there are some hidden gem documentaries, especially of behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the cast and crew. But despite this anomaly, this Blu-ray is such a wonderful and beautiful enjoyable family, this transfer will likely be the best we can expect from this Blu-ray release for the foreseeable future. Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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on September 6, 1999
The Reivers is a purely entertaining film about a young boy who is introduced to an adult world at the turn of the century. Perfectly cast and well- written, this film is sure to delight all audiences. Steve McQueen is at his best, and Mitch Vogel will win your heart. Pure enjoyment!
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on March 12, 1999
Very well casted. Cinematography is great and so is sound track. Strong performances from all actors. I especially liked Will Geer as the grandfather. The story is always engaging and never drags. Great entertainment for all ages.
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on July 8, 2005
They finally put this wonderful movie on DVD. An easy, kick-back movie to enjoy about a boy growing up in slower times in the early 1900's in the South. It touches on a wide variety of human traits, from foibles such as discrimination and deceit to good qualities like respect and forgiveness. The stable scene about quitting is a terrific lesson for all of us and especially for youngsters. The basement scene between the grandfather and the boy ("I could smell the starch in his shirt") is a priceless teaching tool without using the strap. Simple and straightforward with a little comedy sprinkled throughout with wonderful narration by Burgess Meredith, you feel pleasantly satisfied at the end that you just finished watching a great movie.
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on June 15, 2014
This was a different movie for Steve McQueen and I say this is a good way. If you have seen his TV Series, Wanted: Dead or Alive, you would know he could play comedy as well as drama and action. He did all of these in his series. Steve and Rupert Crosse had wonderful chemistry and played very well together. I realized that the scenes at the beginning were of the two of them as little boys and I do not think they ever really grew up! He was also wonderful with Mitch Vogel and the three of them together was pleasant and funny! If you love Steve McQueen and look at this movie with an open mind you will appreciate it! It has no violence in it so if you are looking for will be sorely disappointed. I really LIKED this movie immensely!!!
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on July 30, 2012
What a totally refreshing film and a complete surprise. I knew nothing about this film. Steve McQueen is on the DVD cover with an old time car. That was all I knew.

THE REIVERS is a change of pace for super star Steve McQueen who was at the height of his career when he filmed the REIVERS. He stars as Boon Hoggenbeck, a farm hand in Mississippi who takes a shining to his boss's new fangled car in the early 1900's. The boss just happens to be called BOSS an irascible old soul played by Will Geer. While BOSS is away Boon decides to take the car and his two cousins to the wild town of Memphis. His cousin Lucius is a well-behaved and innocent 11 year old and they are joined by their African-American cousin. (There is a great-grandparent in common. They leave the peaceful innocence of their small town for a taste of the real world.

Boon's destination is a "house of ill-repute" where his special lady works. The story has a very odd combination of people and situations yet there is an endearing charm to this story that is part drama and part slapstick as our trio gets into various trouble.

Mitch Vogel was a child actor of the late 60's and 70's that led to a stint on TV's BONANZA. It is amazing to see what a wonderful actor he was. His ability to cry and show emotion and he totally steals the movie. I've read that Steve McQueen was insecure and needed to be the "star" but yet he lets Vogel shine in this film that turns out to be a heartwarming coming of age story of a young boy's first experience with the outside world. There are several beautiful scenes of Vogel interacting with Boon's girl and with kindly, elderly African-American Uncle Possum. These are real people interacting with genuine affection and respect. All color and social barriers are lifted for a while. Unfortunately, not everyone is squeaky clean and we glimpses of the ugly side of racism.

Lucius learns about the real world and becomes a man at an early age. He tells his first lies yet he is keenly aware of his mistakes and his heart is never hardened. There is an absolutely beautiful and moving scene between Boss and Lucius that has to be one of the most lovely and heartwarming interaction between an adult and child I have ever seen on screen.

This is the firt film where I have seen Steve McQueen actually sing--not lip singing as in BABY THE RAIN MUST FALL. Singing is not one of his talents, but McQueen throws his heart into it and its all pure joy. It seems like McQueen is actually loving every minute of this film. Don't miss it.
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