Shenandoah is one of a handful of thrilling western epics that James Stewart appeared in during the mid-1950's. It's full of sweeping expanse, wagons-west adventure and stark, beautiful cinematography that makes one wish for a western landscape that, in reality, never truly existed.
Universal Studios has developed a rather nasty track record with their catalogue titles ever since the introduction of DVD. In a nutshell, the powers that be seem to think that "title attraction" alone is enough to guarentee sales, hence rarely does Universal put its best foot forward or, heaven forbid, go all out with a special edition of some of their great classic films. Long story short - if they can give us full frame editions of "Death Becomes Her", "Babe" and "The Sting" they will. If they can slip in non-anamorphic widescreen transfers of "The Deer Hunter" and "Backdraft" they will! Clearly, this is a studio that places profit above integrity and "Shenandoah"'s transfer quality is no exception.
The transfer is riddled with age related artifacts, scratches, faded color and edit match cut lines that pretty much destroy the continuity of this viewing experience. Aliasing, edge enhancement and shimmering of fine details are all present and annoying. There's some minor pixelization that breaks apart background detail as well. The audio is strident, scratchy and uninspiring. Extras - NONE! - What a shock!
BOTTOM LINE: Universal thinks customers won't mind these imperfections, a.k.a. - they don't mind giving them to you. So here's a thought - voice your protests in letters and emails. Because DVD and classic film libraries around the world really aren't benefiting from this sort of shoddy workmanship. In the end we're all losers!