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directed by Sam Peckinpah
USA 1965

 

Sam Peckinpah's 1965 western ``Major Dundee'' is not his best film. It ranks behind the classics ``The Wild Bunch'' (1969) and ``Ride the High Country'' (1962), as well as the merely great ``The Getaway'' (1972) and ``Straw Dogs'' (1971).

But it earns a four-star rating nonetheless because they don't make movies or movie directors like this anymore.

``Major Dundee: The Extended Version,'' which has been released on the film's 40th anniversary, restores 12 minutes cut by Columbia at the time of the film's original opening and replaces a score Peckinpah despised with a suitable new one.

It also offers fans and Peckinpah buffs a rare opportunity to see a widescreen western in almost all its glory. I say ``almost'' because the print I saw had some blurry sections.

Peckinpah uses Panavision's width and an almost three-dimensional depth of field to create Frederick Remington-like compositions in which U.S. soldiers battle Apache war bands and French lancers. And you will gaze at the screen in awe.

Set in 1864 near the end of the Civil War, the film might be described as a violent, wish-fulfilling dream in which warring Union and Confederate soldiers, including African-Americans, are united in a common cause. (At the time of the original release, the civil rights movement was dividing North and South all over again.)

Excerpt from James Verniere's review from The Boston Herald located HERE.

 

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Theatrical Release: March 15th, 1965

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DVD Review: Columbia Tri-Star - Region 1, 3, 4 - NTSC

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Distribution Columbia Tri-Star Home Video - Region 1, 3, 4 - NTSC
Runtime 2:15:40 
Video 2.32:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.90 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0), DUB: French (Dolby Digital 2.0)  
Subtitles English, French, Korean, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Columbia Tri-Star Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 2.32:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by Peckinpah historians
• Featurette: Extended excerpt from Mike Seigel's 'Passion and Poetry'
• Vintage Featurette - 'Riding for a Fall'

DVD Release Date: September 20th, 2005

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Chapters: 28

 

 

Comments:

I saw some brief combing during the title images but I couldn't get it to reoccur - so we will assume it was an aberration. Image quality is fair to midland. At times it shows dirt and some artifacting, but in general I suspect most will be content with this release in regards to appearance. We have two significantly different audio options - 1965 Daniele Amfitheatrof score and Christopher Caliendo's 2005 re-score (5.1) - which, as Peckinpah disliked the original, he might have welcomed the latter. The audio commentary is excellent - I only saw brief snippets of 'The Passion and Poetry' featurette and the 'Riding for a Fall' is unwatchable (a colorized and b+w version is offered).

Overall, this is a pretty major release and the inclusion of the extra 11 minutes and new score only add to its interest and appeal. Cinematically speaking many will consider this a must-own.

Gary W. Tooze

 





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Distribution Columbia Tri-Star Home Video - Region 1, 3, 4 - NTSC




 

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Gary Tooze

Mississauga, Ontario,

   CANADA

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