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Warner Home Video presents
The Waltons: The Complete Third Season (1974/1975)

"You children are going to look back on these school days as the best time in your life."
- John Walton Sr. (Ralph Waite)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer  
Published: August 10, 2006

Stars: Richard Thomas, Michael Learned, Ralph Waite, Jon Walmsley, Judy Norton-Taylor, Mary Beth McDonough, Eric Scott, David W. Harper, Kami Cotler, Ellen Corby, Will Geer, Earl Hamner Jr.
Other Stars: Bill Erwin, Richard Hatch, James Gammon, Geoffrey Lewis, David Selby, Cindy Eilbacher, Tim Haldeman, David Gruner, Julie Rogers, Granville Van Dusen, Brion James, Joe Conley, Ronnie Claire Edwards, Jon Locke, Willie Aames, Darleen Carr, Nora Marlowe, Bruce Davison, Robert Donner, Wilford Brimley, Ernie Lively, , Herbert Anderson, M. Emmet Walsh
Director: Ralph Waite, Richard Thomas, Ivan Dixon, Harry Harris, Ralph Senensky, jack Shea, Philip Leacock, various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 25h:18m:07s
Release Date: April 22, 2006
UPC: 012569768598
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A ABB+ D

DVD Review

When it comes to family dramas there are few whose quality is timeless. The Waltons is one of those series. Telling the story of a Depression era family growing up in the shadow of the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia, The Waltons focuses on the day to day events that shape a lifetime—the growing pains, the trials and tribulations, and the relationships that make up this extended family based on creator, author and narrator Earl Hamner Jr.'s memoirs.

With the third season, another year has passed on Walton's Mountain, and like the coming of the seasons, changes are inevitable for the family. It is 1934. The worst of the Depression is over, and John Boy is about to face a rite of passage as he starts his enrolement in college at Boatwright University in Charlottesville, twenty-eight miles from the family farm. From his first experiences John Boy is in a new world, this new environment being a far cry from the only place he has known for the past eighteen years, and the adjustment isn't easy. John Boy's pride is on the line when he learns a wealthy student has entered a thoroughbred in the annual mountain race (The Thoroughbred), his honor is tested in The System, his writing comes under criticism in The Book and his dreams of the big city are grounded by The Spoilers. A dance marathon puts him at odds with his parents (The Marathon), a reading engagement tests his patience (The Job) and his passions are aroused when a forward young woman begins making advances (The Beguiled).

John Boy isn't the only Walton son to be faced with challenges. Back at home Jason tries to fill his older brother's shoes, but when John and grandpa hatch plans for expanding the mill with the expectation that Jason will join them, he is torn between his desire to pursue his music, and the obligation he feels for the family business (The Choice). When John flatly refuses to let Jason apply for a music scholorship, he does anyway, leaving John Boy to reconcile the two, recognizing his own character in his younger brother, and seeing for the first time his father's true nature. Ben gets in trouble after borrowing John Boy's car (The Lie) while trying to covertly help a school friend, and tensions mount in The Song (directed by Richard Thomas) when another girl Ben has his eye on casts her attentions to Jason instead.

Unrest is plentiful on Walton's Mountain. In the double length season opener, the Walton clan is called upon by relatives who are threatened with losing their land to a federal park development project (The Conflict). John decides he needs a change, and takes on a job in the Norfolk shipyard in The Departure. Grandma and Grandpa leave home (The Caretakers) after feeling unappreciated, and Jim Bob runs away when he doesn't get the attention he needs after the school mascot dies in his possession (The Runaway). Mary Ellen learns a lesson in materialism in The Ring.

Olivia decides to take art lessons in The Romance, but is soon getting more attention from her instructor than she had intended. John and Olivia decide it's time to have a proper wedding in The Woman, and try to help love along in The Matchmakers with the arrival of Walton cousin Cora Beth, a disagreeable woman who nevertheless soon finds herself betrothed to general store owner, Ike Godsey. Grandpa consoles an old friend in The Visitor (directed by Ralph Waite) and sparks jealousy in Ester with the arrival of The Statue. Tradition takes its toll in The Shivaree and the dreams and aspirations of three Walton men meet with harsh realities (The Venture, also directed by Waite).

Of the more somber episodes, Esther's plans for grandpa's seventy-third birthday are dashed when Zeb suffers a heart attack, once again leaving him bed-ridden while the family does thier best to keep him in good spirits.

The writing remains of consistently high calibre, with each story adding more depth and dimension to the characters they involve. The superb cast continues to bring a lifelike quality to the series, and both Will Geer and Ellen Corby (her second) would take Emmys for their roles as the elder Waltons, with Michael Learner picking up another nomination for hers.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Image quality is consistent with previous seasons—quite good but not superb. Although there is a fair amount of dust and debris in places, the transfer is relatively clean, colors are well saturated but not overly vibrant, as appropriate. Detail is quite good, but the image is sometimes a bit on the dark side.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglishno


Audio Transfer Review: Mono audio is clean, well balanced and free of any major shortcomings. Dialogue is clear and easy to understand. No complaints here.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Packaging: Thinpak
5 Discs
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: There are no extras.

Each disc has a Play All feature with a separate episode menu, and episodes have internal chapter stops. Packaging has changed from the first two seasons, with the five disc box set cased in double thinpaks, each with episode synopses, airdates, writing and directing credits included.

Extras Grade: D

 

Final Comments

The Waltons remains one of the finest family dramas ever produced, and the twenty four episodes that make up this third season stand as a testament to that fact. Highly recommended.

 


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