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DVD Release: Sky Riders

Robert Culp and James Coburn in "Sky Riders"

I’ve just discovered that Shout! Factory (a descendant of the old Rhino records company) will be launching an official release for the 1976 film “Sky Riders” tomorrow (January 17)! The film is part of a double feature set with another James Coburn film, “The Last Hard Men.”

As regular readers know I did my capapalooza write up for Sky Riders previously based on a copy of the film obtained from Modcinema.com. With this official release, the film is no longer available at Modcinema.

My screen caps can attest that the copy from Modcinema was pretty decent, all things considered. But Sky Riders was originally released in wide screen format, as the opening titles and first scene show.

Scene from "Sky Riders."

After that, the film is “formatted for television” and there are a couple of scenes in the film that look odd with having been cropped, such as this one where the actors seem to be standing so far apart.

Scene from "Sky Riders."

But since Culp looked sooo good looking so worried in this film, it’ll be great to see it in its original wide screen format and with re-mastered clearer picture. So let me give a big shout out to Shout! Factory for releasing this one!

Shout! Factory’s Action Double Feature: The Last Hard Men / Sky Riders  is available for pre-order at Amazon.com. (Disclosure: If you purchase through the provided link, I receive compensation. Click here for details.)

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Sky Riders

Originally released, 1976

Back when Culp material on YouTube was still pretty thin (2008/2009), I was pleasantly surprised to find this movie. Although the plot stretches things just a tad, it’s a good entertaining 90 minutes spent. Plus, I was knee deep in Maxwell Mania by the time I found this and I couldn’t help but see some brief flashes of Maxwell characteristics in Jonas Bracken. Very brief, mind you. The loose necktie and Culp’s particular vocalization in this thing are close to Maxwell (without the brassy language) and the fact that Bracken, for all his money and refined lifestyle, had no qualms about picking up a rifle and jumping into the fray with this thing. Maxwell woulda been proud.

Culp plays Jonas Bracken, an American multi-millionaire international businessman living in Greece, whose family is kidnapped by terrorists moments after he leaves the house for the day. Members of Bracken’s house staff are killed in the process and the kidnappers take off with his wife, Ellen (Susannah Yorke) and two children.

The police notify Bracken and immediately begin investigating, the lead cop being Inspector Nikolidis (Charles Aznavour). The kidnappers have left a two way radio at the house to communicate further instructions to Bracken. Bracken can only wait.

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