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Directed by Peter Fonda
USA 1971

 

Meeting largely mixed reviews during its first run in 1971, counterculture icon Peter Fonda's directorial debut was restored and remastered for its 30-year anniversary. The film opens with three drifters greeting the morning by cavorting in a sun-dabbled mountain river. Harry Collings (Fonda) catches a fish and gives it to Arch Harris (Warren Oates) who grills it over a low fire, while Dan (Robert Pratt) -- the youngest of the three -- bathes in the swift moving current. Later, as they head into Del Norte, a small town in the middle of nowhere, Dan talks breathlessly about going to California while Collings suddenly decides to return home after a seven-year absence. After Dan runs afoul of a group of unsavory characters lead by McVey (Severn Darden), Collings vows vengeance for the lad's death and blows off McVey's feet. Collings and Harris bury Dan and flee from the town riding hundreds of miles to Collings' homestead. His wife Hannah (Verna Bloom) -- now called "Widow Collings" by the local townsfolk -- is none too pleased to see her wayward husband at her doorstep. Taking his wife's anger in stride, he asks only to be allowed to work as a hired hand. Just as Hannah and Collings start to move beyond the years of anger and estrangement, disaster strikes. This film was screened at the 2001 Toronto Film Festival.

 Excerpt from B+N located HERE

***

Having been at the forefront of America s here-and-now with Easy Rider and the counterculture movies of Roger Corman, Peter Fonda retreated to the past and the American West for his directorial debut, The Hired Hand.

Fonda plays Harry, a man who deserted his wife and child to explore the wide-open plains with his best friend Archie (Warren Oates). Tired of the life , he decides to finally return home in order to rekindle his marriage and reacquaint himself with his daughter.

Scripted by Alan Sharp (Ulzana's Raid, Night Moves), shot by Vilmos Zsigmond (Blow Out, The Long Goodbye) and with a standout score by folk musician Bruce Langhorne, The Hired Hand is a beautiful, elegiac picture that ranks alongside The Outlaw Josey Wales and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid as one of the finest Westerns the seventies had to offer.

Posters

Theatrical Release: July 16th, 1971

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Review: Arrow - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Distribution Arrow - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:31:12.550       
Video

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-rays

Disc One: 49,128,355,089 bytes

Feature: 27,898,493,184 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.86 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

Subtitles English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Arrow

 

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-rays

Disc One: 49,128,355,089 bytes

Feature: 27,898,493,184 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.86 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Audio commentary by actor-director Peter Fonda
The Return of The Hired Hand, a 2003 documentary containing interviews with Fonda, cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, composer Bruce Langhorne, actor Verna Bloom and others (58:47)
Deleted scenes
The Odd Man, Charles Gormley and Bill Forsyth s 1978 documentary portrait of three Scottish screenwriters, Edward Boyd, Gordon Williams, and the Hired Hand's Alan Sharp (52:00)
Interview with Martin Scorsese (02:01)
Warren Oates and Peter Fonda at the National Film Theatre, an audio recording of the actors appearance at the NFT London in 1971 (1:16:53)
Stills gallery
Trailers
TV spots
Radio spots
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Kim Morgan


Blu-ray Release Date: September 18th, 2018
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 10

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

AArrow has given Peter Fonda's "Hired Hand" a stunning presentation here, transferred from original film elements by Universal. The 1.85:1 1080p image has a ton of detail, evident in the many close-ups of faces. There are many stylistic choices at play in this film, almost approaching Stan Brakhage levels of experimentation. These various sequences of overlapping and dissolving film, and many different methods of camerawork, all amount to a brilliant image. Certain shots or moments can be a little muted or soft, but this is intentional and no fault of the transfer. Colors are rich and contrast levels are lovely, which is great due to some fabulous night photography.

Arrow present the film in uncompressed mono. This is a 24-bit 1.0 linear PCM track. The dialogue is nice and clear, and the folksy Bruce Langhorne score just sounds fantastic here. This was deemed "perhaps the loneliest film score ever" by The Wire. There are optional English SDH subtitles on this Region-A Blu-ray.

Arrow have loaded this disc with hours of extras, starting with a commentary by director/star Peter Fonda. Next up is the 2003 documentary, The Return of The Hired Hand. This hour-long doc features interviews with Fonda, cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, composer Bruce Langhorne, and actor Verna Bloom. As if that wasn't enough, Arrow have also included "The Odd Man", Charles Gormley and Bill Forsyth's 1978 52-minute documentary portrait of three Scottish screenwriters, Edward Boyd, Gordon Williams, and the Hired Hand's Alan Sharp. There are also deleted scenes included here, titled "Barkeep Innuendo", "Dumb Animals, Horses", "Morning After", "Looking' for Work", "Saloon School" and "Gunfight (Alternative Ending). Next up is the 1-hour and 16-minute audio recording of actors Fonda and Warren Oates at the National Film Theatre in London. This is a recording from 1971 and can sound a little rough, understandably. This is still a welcome addition to an already stacked set of extras. There is also a 2-minute interview with Martin Scorsese on the film. The extras are rounded out with 4 trailers, 4 TV spots, 4 radio spots, a stills gallery and an illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Kim Morgan (first pressing only).

Wow. Arrow have done an amazing job here on the
Blu-ray, and the film itself is just phenomenal. This is a no-brainer. Buy this disc! 

Colin Zavitz

 


 


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Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

  

Distribution Arrow - Region 'A' / 'B' - Blu-ray




 

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