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This review originally appeared in issue 14 of THE CINEMA LASER.


STAND BY ME ($35) has finally been given a proper Letterboxed re-issue by the folks at Columbia TriStar Home Video. Set in 1959, STAND BY ME is a wonderful coming of age tale about four prepubescent boys who journey twenty miles along the railroad tracks in search of the body of a missing boy. Along the way they share the good times that young boys share on their first adventure and each grows as they face the wilderness, bullies and the reality of death. STAND BY ME is based upon the Stephen King novella THE BODY which featured strong writing and detailed characters. STAND BY ME succeeds as a film because it is completely faithful to the intentions of the Stephen King story. Each one of the four boys in the story is his own person and has a true sense of reality thanks to the excellent performances and direction of this film. Director Rob Reiner brings STAND BY ME to life by allowing each of the young actors to make their characters real by eliciting natural performances from them. Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Jerry O’Connell deliver the goods, each is a real boy with real problems, not just a young actor trying to look cute for the camera. The cast also includes Kiefer Sutherland as the psychotic teen bully and Richard Dreyfuss as the story’s narrator.

The Letterboxed transfer of STAND BY ME looks terrific and restores the film’s proper 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio. The film’s outdoor cinematography is crisp and colorful, and is faithfully rendered by the transfer. Even the nighttime firelight cinematography looks great in this transfer. The digital monaural soundtrack is clear and has a wonderful sense of presence. The Sony DADC pressing had only minor speckling.


Laserdisc reviews are Copyright 1997 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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