Steve Daly
August 30, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Sam Peckinpah used wide-screen composition so effectively in Ride the High Country that watching it on videocassette is like being fitted with blinders. MGM/UA’s letterboxed laserdisc remedies all that. The action becomes not just intelligible but richly complex, especially in a brothel sequence in which aging lawmen Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott rescue a young Mariette Hartley from a grotesque wedding ceremony. On tape, their heroism seems perfunctory because the situation doesn’t look that awful. In the disc version, however, you see a full, panoramic tableau of prostitutes and rednecks warbling ”For She’s a Jolly Good Fellow” — and instantly understand why the two interfere. Shown wide on the screen, High Country rides taller in the saddle. A

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