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directed by Mike Siegel
Germany 2005


Mike Siegel's "Passion & Poetry: The Ballad of Sam Peckinpah" takes its viewers on monumental two-hour tour of the life and works of Sam Peckinpah. Peckinpah, now perhaps equally remembered for both his work and violent imagery than his name brings to mind, has of course been the subject of many biographical works, which is why his most zealous followers may find little new information here. Yes, we do hear the same old nuggets of the meaning behind the violence and his tempestuous relationship with his female leads, but we do also get some anecdotes that even Peckinpah aficionados will likely find novel. Even on top of this, Siegel includes interviews with those close to the director that offer a revisionist account of the tortured and sometimes brutal life story that has become the dominant narrative of his life. Regardless of whether Peckinpah is a passing or major interest of yours, this documentary is certainly worth checking out.

Theatrical Release: June 30th, 2005 (Munich)

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DVD Review: El Dorado Productions (2 Disc Set) - Region 0 - PAL

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El Dorado Productions

Region FREE - PAL

Runtime 1:55:03

1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.75 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

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


Audio English and German (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Subtitles German and None
Features Release Information:
Studio: El Dorado Productions

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.66:1

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary with director Mike Siegel
• Stories on a Storyteller: I (29:28)
• Stories on a Storyteller: II (36:31)
• Stories on a Storyteller: III (38:32)
• Mapache Territory (13:42)
• Ernie on the Wild Bunch (15:13)
• Mike's Home Movies (14:02)

DVD Release Date: August 14th, 2009
Double Disc Keep Case

Chapters 20



Siegel's documentary employs the typical contemporary documentary aesthetic, mixing archival and still footage with a montage of talking heads. As such, the image quality can vary from the shot to shot. That being said, the film is never as sharp as it could be. Instead, using an interlaced transfer that can sometimes have visible combing, the image is typically slightly blurry and does not communicate fine detail well. To compound the problem, the film's non-anamorphic 1.66:1 aspect ratio is unnecessarily subjected to extremely heavy letter boxing, with bars on all sides of the frame.

There are no real problems with the Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. Presented in its original English (with a few instances of German with forced subtitles), the film sounds about as good as a Dolby mono track can and has no discernible instances of unwanted background noises. The disc does come with a German language option, but being unfamiliar with the language, I did not check this out. Also included are optional German subtitles, that are unobtrusive.

This is perhaps one of the most extra filled documentaries that I have ever come across. Not only do we get an insightful commentary, there's also numerous documentaries. First off, there's a three part documentary that collectively form their own feature length documentary, each focusing on a different aspect of Peckinpah's life. Next, there's a recollection of Ernest Borgnine's on the making of "The Wild Bunch", and a short called "Mapache Territory", in which Siegel visits the shooting location of the film. Finally, there's a set of Siegel's home movies that were shot on the set of the footage.

While this film isn't ideal, it's certainly worth the viewing. Indeed, the transfer itself is far from ideal, but the set does contain enough material to make the purchase worth it. Recommended.


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El Dorado Productions

Region 2 - PAL


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