Directed by Eagle Pennell
USA 1978


Eagle Pennell died a "hopeless drunk," according to a memorial article in the Austin Chronicle by his friend Louis Black. His other friends would have sadly agreed with that. He was 49 at his death, in 2002. Twenty-three years earlier, in 1979, he wrote and directed a film named "The Whole Shootin' Match" that you may never have heard of, but which had a decisive influence on American independent film.

When Robert Redford saw it at the Park City Film Festival, it awoke him to the possibilities of low-budget indie filmmaking. He started the Sundance Institute, and soon after the Park City festival became the Sundance Film Festival. When Richard Linklater, then living in Eagle's hometown of Austin, saw it, he decided to become a filmmaker himself, and his "Dazed and Confused" owes a lot to Pennell.

When I saw the movie at Telluride in 1980, I went for a walk on the mountainside with Eagle and mentioned that he had made a film about alcoholism. He said that had never occurred to him, though he thought I was right. His characters drink in almost every shot of the film.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times located HERE

Theatrical Release: March 19th, 1978

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DVD Review: Watchmaker Films (3-disc) - Region 1, 2, 4 - NTSC

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Distribution Watchmaker Films - Region 1, 2, 4 - NTSC
Runtime 1:50:12 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.76 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.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) - Restored and Original 16mm elements
Subtitles English, Spanish, None

Release Information:
Studio: Watchmaker Films

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary - In Front of the Camera
• Commentary - Behind the Camera
Disc 2

• Short - "A Hell of a Note"
• The King of Texas
• Interview with Eagle Pennell

Disc 3

• Audio CD - The Long Road

• 46-page booklet

DVD Release Date: February 24th, 2009

Fold-out slipcase inside cardboard box with book
Chapters: 25



Cited from the Watchmaker website HERE:

A landmark of American independent film from 1978, The Whole Shootin' Match is a rapturous rediscovery. Eagle Pennell's first feature details the tragi-comic struggles of two small-time schemers, Loyd (Lou Perryman) and Frank (Sonny Carl Davis), desperate to land their big break. Through its anecdotal narrative and fresh, honest observation of its characters, the film intimately captures a time and place (Austin, Texas, 1977) with its atmospheric photography and rough-hewn charm, making it an inspiration for filmmakers everywhere since its release. No wonder this is the film that prompted Robert Redford to start the Sundance Institute. Missing in action for close to 25 years, Watchmaker Films' is proud to present a complete restoration from the only known existing print of 'The Whole Shootin' Match' and a completely remastered soundtrack from the original stems.

Watchmaker Films is releasing a 2-disc special edition DVD of The Whole Shootin' Match with The King of Texas. Eagle's first short film A Hell of a Note plus a rare interview with Eagle Pennell – February 24, 2009

I'm impressed with Watchmaker Films as every facet of this DVD production seems in place. It is progressive, dual-layered and has obviously been restored. You can't escape the 16mm roughness but, in my opinion, it only adds to the charm of the presentation. I don't know if the below screen captures do justice to the film but the contrast is excellent and I'll wager most will be impressed with it in motion. It is fairly clean and in the original aspect ratio of 1.33:1. There is plenty of grain and some noise. It looks magnificent to me.

Audio gives the option of original 16mm elements or a cleaner restored track. the restored track seemed consistent enough to enjoy The Whole Shootin' Match. English or Spanish subtitles are offered as options.  

Supplements include two commentaries on the feature disc.  The first for the actors 'in front of the camera' - Davis, Perryman and Hardgrave - recorded in 2006 - and the second includes those 'behind the camera' including Doug Holloway and Lou Perryman. There is a second Special Features disc with A Hell of a Note, a 1977 30-minute short offered with an optional commentary by Sonny Carl Davis and Lou Perryman. There is also a full-length documentary on Eagle Pennell entitled; The King of Texas. Associates reflect on this colorful man from work colleagues to close friends and family. There is also a 20-minute interview with Pennell from 1981. It is all very substantial and worth indulging in. There is a 3rd disc - an audio CD with The Long Road and music from the film and a 46-page booklet with essays and interviews.

This is a fabulous package highlighting a memorable 'Indie' film and fascinating filmmakers career. 

Gary W. Tooze


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Disc 2


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Distribution Watchmaker Films - Region 1, 2, 4 - NTSC


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