mon 22/07/2024

DVD: The Outsiders | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: The Outsiders

DVD: The Outsiders

A contemporary score and re-editing bring the film closer to SE Hinton's teen novel

From left: Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, C Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Emilio Estevez and Patrick Swayze

Based on the novel by SE Hinton, The Outsiders is a tender coming-of-age movie set against a tough backdrop of flick-knives, rumbles and gang warfare. In Francis Ford Coppola’s vision, it’s also a romantic cinematic homage to Gone with the Wind.

Released in 1983 to a fairly mixed critical reception, the story is set in 1960s Oklahoma and involves the gang rivalry between the Greasers, a bunch of kids born on the wrong side of the tracks, and the Socs, affluent prep boys. It's told through the eyes of Ponyboy (C Thomas Howell), a 14-year-old Greaser who is involved in an opening chase sequence with the Socs, who pin him down and mark him on the throat with a knife. The encounters soon escalate with inevitable tragic consequences.

Thematic elements loosely echo those of Gone with the Wind, the book Ponyboy has just started reading. In one memorable sequence he and his young fugitive friend Johnny Cade (Ralph Macchio) are framed against a glowing sunset that cinematically apes the epic Southern romance. But overall the visual patina belongs to Fifties and early-Sixties Technicolor (West Side Story is an obvious reference point).

The new score naturally has the effect of drawing the audience much closer to the action

The film, which stars a cast of fledging Bratpackers – Rob Lowe, Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Emilio Estevez, plus Patrick Swayze – was re-edited in 2005 and given a completely new soundtrack. The original orchestral score (by Carmine Coppola, Coppola’s father), was substituted for a foot-tapping parade of rock'n'roll hits that include Jerry Lee Lewis, Presley and The Ventures - music the characters would actually have listened to. The new score naturally has the effect of drawing the audience much closer to the action. Meanwhile, the re-editing includes deleted original footage that knits the film more closely to Hinton's teen novel.

But though it's a much better film for the changes, the vintage-movie schmaltz is occasionally a little overplayed (there's none of the stylised avant-garde coolness of Rumble Fish, the second of Coppola's Hinton adaptations, made later the same year).  

Extras include an audio commentary with the director, the six deleted/extended scenes, interviews with SE Hinton and a 2003 reunion with cast members. 

The re-editing includes deleted original footage that knits the film more closely to Hinton's teen novel


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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I remember reading this in middle school and high school. Luckily my middle school had a high level of reading, so during high school, I had already read most of the books. Shits a little more difficult in college though.

i love this film and book i would love to meet them

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