The Long Haul Blu-ray Review


Trucking Through Europe

Harry Miller is an average guy. He served his country during World War II, he wants to go back to America, but at his wife’s request, chooses to stay in England for a bit. Liverpool, specifically. The Long Haul’s message? Never listen to your wife.

Partly, The Long Haul shows that war is never over. A litany of brawls and underhanded deals put Miller (Victor Mature) in an ethical dilemma. A local mob infects his trucking gig, leading to a number of unseemly events that force Miller to make impossible choices. In the end though, it’s all about the women.

If he returned to America, Lynn (Diana Dors) would not have entered Miller’s life. Now he’s faced with her temptation, Lynn going for a Marilyn Monroe look, while Miller’s comparably average wife stays at home with their son. It’s not enough to deal with a crime syndicate – now there’s a test of his sex drive too.

Broader, and Long Haul suggests that an American soldier can solve problems internationally. Partway through Long Haul, Miller looks up the stars and stripes hanging from a ship, inspired by the flag to do right. However, he is a fallible hero. Doing things right costs him jobs. And Lynn is an ever present figure.

Suggestive, seedy, if always carefully drawn as to not offend the more sensitive audience members

This isn’t all on Miller; his wife holds a secret, because again, it’s the woman’s fault. It’s a way for The Long Haul to generate sympathy, allowing for close-up screen time between Mature and Dors. Suggestive, seedy, if always carefully drawn as to not offend the more sensitive audience members. In the end, all is made right anyway.

The finale involves a plethora of big, masculine stuff – truck driving through treacherous mountains, rock moving, tire changing, and mud sticking. Anything to make that last delivery a thrill, set against a showdown between Miller and corrupt boss Joe Easy (Patrick Allen). Only in a movie like Long Haul can a character carry the name “Joe Easy” and get away with it.

It’s often attractively shot, with plenty of rain and hard shadows. Even beyond the crime, chain smoking, and femme fatales, Long Haul holds the noir aesthetic in high esteem. That helps lift this post-war fable from a generic rut.

Video

The master struggles to hold firm. At times, pure B&W rules. Frequently though, visible discoloration turns everything toward green, other moments warmer. Still more, parts of the image exhibit discoloration, leading to spotty gray scale (or green scale…).

Contrast is great. Black levels sink deep, rich and dense. While specks/dirt tend to intrude on shadows (in an otherwise fairly clean print), that doesn’t impact depth. Same goes for highlights, casting characters in rich lighting schemes to maximize intensity.

Long Haul holds enough sharpness to indicate a recent mastering. Detail flourishes too, especially in close. Mill Creek’s compression (and the existence of two other films on the same disc) causes problems with grain though. Fluctuating between hard and limited, artifacting causes Long Haul to lose the film-like look. It’s too harsh, too digital. That’s a shame.

Audio

Serviceable DTS-HD mono produces raw highs, piercing at the score’s peak. Lows muffle. Nothing is lost though, just aged.

Dialog fares better, on point for the period with enough clarity and consistency as to never lose a line.

Extras

Nothing.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

The Long Haul
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
3

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An American soldier saves Liverpool from corruption and resists temptation along the way in The Long Haul.

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