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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Satire > Teens > Rock ‘N’ Roll High School (1979/Shout! Factory Blu-ray + DVD)

Rock ‘N’ Roll High School (1979/Shout! Factory Blu-ray + DVD)


Picture: B-/C+     Sound: C+     Extras: B-     Film: B-



A few years ago when Disney of all companies issued Allan Arkush’s 1979 cult classic Rock ‘N’ Roll High School, one of our fellow writers offered this very enthusiastic review:





Not the fan he is, I give the film credit for being one of the best of the fall-of-school–as-center-of-education comedies and did it very well, lucking out in getting The Ramones after several other acts considered missed out for one reasons or another.  Besides the band being more popular in the post-Punk era, the cast’s performances hold up well because they were better and more comically adept than they ever got credit for then, including P.J. Soles, Mary Woronov, Dey Young, Vincent Van Patten, Paul Bartell, Dick Miller and yes, Clint Howard.  The energy helps, but it still has its own clichés, similar to Animal House and Porky’s in how such films (used to) work.


They don’t make then like this anymore and that’s why the film is more than a time capsule.  It is a minor teen comedy classic.



The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image is not bad for its age and considering the low budget that for many films of the same time, usually meant an independent production you’d be lucky to see today.  Yes you can see grain and some shots are more worn than others, with some materials being down a generation or two, but some depth shots, some good moments of definition and surprisingly consistent color make this a pleasant enough surprise.  Those who have tolerated poor video versions or even old film prints will be pleasantly surprised.  The anamorphically enhanced DVD is not as colorful and similar to the limited Disney release.  Though listed as Dolby TrueHD on the back of the case, the 2.0 Stereo mix is simple Dolby Digital as was the previous and current DVD.  That’s passable, but you would think there would be a lossless track here for the music, even if it was an isolated music track


Extras in both versions include a new booklet included in both format version sizes and on the respective discs repeat the extras from the older release.  Now you get four feature length audio commentary tracks, the all new Back To School: A Retrospective, Original Radio Ads & TV Spots, Staying After Class – new interviews with P.J. Soles, Dey Young and Vincent Van Patten, Original Theatrical Trailer, Audio Outtakes from The Roxy, New Arkush Interview with rare behind-the-scenes stills from his private collection,



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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