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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Directed by Sam Peckinpah

U.K. 1971

Sam Peckinpah examines the instinctual capacity for violence in his controversial 1971 film, loosely based on the novel The Siege of Trencher's Farm. To avoid the Vietnam-era social chaos in the U.S., American mathematician David Sumner (Dustin Hoffman) moves with his British wife, Amy (Susan George), to the isolated Cornish town where she grew up, but their presence provokes antagonism among the village's men. As the hostilities escalate from routine bullying to the gang rape of his wife, David finds his pacifistic self backed into a corner. When the hooligans attack his house, David finally resorts to the gruesome violence that he abhors.

***

'A young American mathematician, David Sumner (Dustin Hoffman), and his English wife, Amy (Susan George), move to a Cornish village, seeking the quiet life. But beneath the seemingly peaceful isolation of the pastoral village lies a savagery and violence that threatens to destroy the couple, culminating in a brutal test of Sumner’s manhood and a bloody battle to the death. One of the most controversial films ever made, Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs is a harrowing and masterful investigation of masculinity and the nature of violence.'

 

Posters

 

Theatrical Release Date: December 29th, 1971

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Comparison:

MGM - Region 1- NTSC vs. FreMantle - Region 0 - PAL vs. Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Criterion (OOP) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Fremantle - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Ole of DVDBasen for the FreeMantle and Anchor Bay DVD Screen Caps!

1) MGM - Region 1- NTSC TOP LEFT

2) FreMantle Home Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - TOP SECOND

3) Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP THIRD

4) Criterion Region 0 - NTSC - TOP RIGHT

5) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM LEFT

6) Fremantle - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM MIDDLE

7) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM RIGHT

 

Box Covers

Distribution

MGM

Region 1  - NTSC

FreMantle Home Entertainment

Region 0  - PAL

Anchor Bay

Region 1  - NTSC

Criterion Collection
Region 1 - NTSC

MGM

Region FREE  - Blu-ray

Fremantle

Region FREE  - Blu-ray

Criterion

Region 'A'  - Blu-ray Spine #182

Distribution

MGM

Region 1  - NTSC

FreMantle Home Entertainment

Region 0  - PAL

Anchor Bay

Region 1  - NTSC

Criterion Collection
Region 1 - NTSC
Spine #182

MGM

Region FREE  - Blu-ray

Fremantle

Region FREE  - Blu-ray

Criterion

Region 'A'  - Blu-ray Spine #182

Runtime 1:57:20 1:52:45 (4% PAL Speedup) 1:57:19 1:57:44 1:57:54.525 1:57:34.866 1:57:50.855
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.89 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.74mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

Average Bitrate:4.87 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.67 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 38,403,063,920 bytes

Feature: 38,029,768,704 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 37.41 Mbps

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 46,612,058,428 bytes

Feature: 34,209,132,672 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 30.02 Mbps

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,354,157,878 bytes

Feature: 27,040,641,024 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 26.62 Mbps

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

Bitrate:

MGM

 

Bitrate:

Freemantle

 

Bitrate:

Anchor Bay

Bitrate:

Criterion

Bitrate:  MGM

Blu-ray

Bitrate: Fremantle

Blu-ray

Bitrate: Criterion

Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo) English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo) English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)

English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3415 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3415 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB) LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

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

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, French, Spanish, None None None English, (removable) English (SDH), French, Spanish, None English (SDH), None English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio: MGM

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: October 19th, 2004
Keep case
Chapter stops: 20

Release Information:
Studio: FreMantle Home Entertainment


Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1


Edition Details:

On location documentary (7:43)2 Audio Commentaries:
1) Garner Simmons, David Weddle & Paul Seydor.
2) Katy Haber
Interviews:
1) Susan George (24:18)
2)Dan Melnick (20:18)
3) Garner Simmons (22:26)
Isolated stereo Jerry Fielding score with additinal cues
US theatrical trailer WS N.A.(1:41)
3 US TV spots (1:00 , 0:30, 0:10)
2 US radio spots (1:00 , 0:30)
On location stills, publicity stills, posters and lobby cards
Text: History about censors, reviews, filmographies, film facts, letters/correspondence.

 

DVD Release Date: Oct. 7th, 2002
Keep Case

Chapters 15


 

Release Information:
Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterbox - 1.78:1


Edition Details:
• Widescreen letterbox format

DVD Release Date: Jan 19th, 1999

Keep Case

Chapters 13

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by film scholar Stephen Prince
• Theatrical trailer, TV spot(s)
• Isolated music and effects track
• "Sam Peckinpah: Man of Iron": documentary of reflections by members of Peckinpah's family, his friends, and his collaborators (82 min.)
• Dustin Hoffman on the set of Straw Dogs (26 min.)
• Behind-the-scenes footage
• Video interviews with actress Susan George and producer Daniel Melnick
• Peckinpah Responds: select correspondence to critics and viewers
• Reprinted 1974 interview with Peckinpah
• Essay by poet Joshua Clover

DVD Release Date: March 25th, 2003
Keep case
Chapter stops: 24

Release Information:
Studio: MGM

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 38,403,063,920 bytes

Feature: 38,029,768,704 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 37.41 Mbps



Edition Details:
• TV Spots

Trailers

Blu-ray Release Date: September 6th, 2011
Standard
Blu-ray case
Chapter stops: 20

Release Information:
Studio: FreMantle Home Entertainment


1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 46,612,058,428 bytes

Feature: 34,209,132,672 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 30.02 Mbps


Edition Details:

On location documentary (7:43)

2 Audio Commentaries:
1) Garner Simmons, David Weddle & Paul Seydor.
2) Katy Haber
Interviews:
1) Susan George (24:18)
2) Dan Melnick (20:18)
3) Garner Simmons (22:26)
Isolated stereo Jerry Fielding score with additional cues
US theatrical trailer WS N.A.(1:41)
3 US TV spots (1:00 , 0:30, 0:10)
2 US radio spots (1:00 , 0:30)
On location stills, publicity stills, posters and lobby cards
Text: History about censors, reviews, filmographies, film facts, letters/correspondence.

 

Blu-ray Release Date: Oct. 24th, 2011
Thick (UK) Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion
 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,354,157,878 bytes

Feature: 27,040,641,024 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 26.62 Mbps

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary from 2003 by Stephen Prince, author of Savage Cinema: Sam Peckinpah and the Rise of Ultraviolent Movies
• Mantrap: “Straw Dogs”—The Final Cut, a 2003 documentary about the making of the film (52:08)
• Sam Peckinpah: Man of Iron, a 1993 documentary (1:34;16)
• New conversation between critic Michael Sragow and filmmaker Roger Spottiswoode, one of the editors on the film (35:03)
• New interview with film scholar Linda Williams about the film’s controversies (26:54)
• Archival interviews with actor Susan George (20:57), producer Daniel Melnick (19:04), and Peckinpah biographer Garner Simmons (9:57)
• Behind-the-scenes footage (7:40)
• TV trailers and theatrical trailer (1:43, 0:59, 0:31, 0:12)
• PLUS: An essay by scholar and critic Joshua Clover and a 1974 interview with Peckinpah

Blu-ray Release Date: June 27th, 2017
Transparent
Blu-ray case
Chapter stops: 24

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - May 17': The Criterion is advertised as a "New, restored 4K digital transfer". The image has significant differences from the MGM BD (we'll keep the Fremantle captures up as a curiosity - but no need to discuss or compare, it's a total disaster despite showing more information in the frame, and having 2 commentaries). The Criterion's, 4K restored, skin tones are much warmer and the overall visuals are smoother. It looks wonderful on my system. Strangely, beside the Criterion, the MGM 1080P looks a shade green. The Criterion is darker (which we presume to be more accurate) and, hence, it loses a small amount of detail. These details may not have been the filmmakers intention for viewers to see. How can we know. I played the MGM Blu-ray on my system followed by this new Criterion, immediately after. I did 7 scenes and I'd say... the Criterion is superior - certainly in-motion. It has more depth and just looks more film-like to me. I have no idea what it looked like theatrically, but I have seen Straw Dogs at least a dozen times and this is the best image I've viewed so far.

No bump, Criterion, predictably, go authentic with a linear PCM 1.0 channel mono track at 1152 kbps (24-bit). Effects are flat with a smidgeon of depth and some impacting silent pauses. Jerry Fielding's (Scorpio,  The Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs, The Killer Elite, The Mechanic, Kolchak: The Night Stalker and The Getaway) score shfits from countryside serenity to ominous terror. It sounds brilliant in the uncompressed. The Criterion offers optional English (SDH) subtitles and their Blu-ray disc is coded region 'A'.

Criterion' Blu-ray repeats most of the extras from their 2003 DVD and adds more new supplements. We get the commentary from 2003 by Stephen Prince, author of Savage Cinema: Sam Peckinpah and the Rise of Ultraviolent Movies. I really enjoyed the a 52-minute long 2003 documentary, Mantrap: “Straw Dogs”—The Final Cut, about the making of the film - hosted by Mark Kermode and directed by Paul Joyce. It returns to the locations where Peckinpah shot Straw Dogs (Cornwall) and it explores the film's production through interviews with cast members and crew including Susan George, Dustin Hoffman, Peter Vaughan and many others. Returning is Sam Peckinpah: Man of Iron, a, 1.5 hour, 1993 documentary returns with snippets including Sam Peckinpah, Kris Kristofferson, Bob Peckinpah, Jason Robards, Monte Hellman, James Coburn and many others, as do archival interviews with actor Susan George, producer Daniel Melnick, and, new to Criterion, Peckinpah biographer Garner Simmons, author of Peckinpah: A Portrait in Montage. He discusses the obstacles he confronted in writing his biography and his views on Peckinpah, who he perceives as driven by conflict and a distorted worldview that is manifest in his body of work. There is a valuable, new (February 2017), 35-minute, conversation between critic Michael Sragow and filmmaker Roger Spottiswoode, one of the editors on the film. Straw Dogs was the first collaboration between Spottiswoode (as editor) and Peckinpah. In this conversation with critic Michael Sragow, Spottiswoode discusses his working relationship with the director as well as Peckinpah's methods for shooting and editing of several iconic scenes of the film. There is also an excellent new, 26-minute, interview with film scholar Linda Williams, author of Screening Sex, about the film’s many controversies, in particular the depiction of the rape of Susan George's character, Amy Sumnar. We get 7-minutes of behind-the-scenes footage with the caveat of audio drop-outs and jump cuts which are inherent in the source material. The final minute is silent. There is a theatrical trailer and three shorter TV trailers, plus the package contains a liner notes booklet with the same essay by scholar and critic Joshua Clover and a 1974 interview with Peckinpah.

The film never fails to impact and, especially, in this 4K restored transfer. It's a masterpiece with themes ranging from honor, self respect, mob rules, small town justice, abuse, sexuality, manipulation, pride... and so much more. The Criterion Blu-ray with its fabulous a/v and supplements has our highest recommendation!

***

ADDITION: Fremantle - Region FREE - Blu-ray - November 11': 'Houston, we have a problem'. Lets not waste much time... The package has the same extras as the 2002 Fremantle DVD but something has gone REALLY wrong with the transfer - like someone was leaning on a button. This is the worst Blu-ray transfer of the year... nothing to see here folks, move along...

***

ADDITION: MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - August 11': This is probably as good as it's going to get - MGM have transferred to a dual-layered disc, 1080P with a very high bitrate. It is from their best source master and has definite visual advantages over the SD editions. The improvement will depend most on your discerning eye of the level of your HD system. This looks pretty good but not pristine - it's actually better than I expected in motion with some depth sneaking in here and there and detail in close-ups is notable. Audio gets the lossless treatment in a 5.1 surround that is not especially separated but has depth in the explosive parts of the film. Again - quite a bit more robust than the best of the DVDs. There are optional subtitles. Extras are limited to TV spots and a trailer in 480i - essentially nothing really but the Blu-ray price is right for fans of this unforgettably intense film experience.

***

ADDITION - MGM DVD (Oct. 2004) - Advertised as the "extended version" of the film - but frankly I don't see it and the time codes tend to confirm it. I guess they mean the "uncut" version that Criterion talks about. The scene in question (as anyone who has watched the film may know - Susan George's character 'Amy' is raped) seems the same to me. The video quality seems a duplicate of the Criterion as far as I can tell (perhaps Criterion sold them their transfer?). There are no extras though, but they offer some additional subtitle options. For those that only want the film (and the price is right), this looks like the best option, but I am hanging onto my Criterion.

***

On initial viewing the Anchor Bay Region 1 shows itself very well in the image department, but I do see shade of contrast boosting. The Criterion, on the other hand is as close to perfection as you can get. I don't know what the problem with the recent FreMantle PAL release is, but the image is quite hazy. The Extras on the Fremantle are well done, but you are talking another step-up for the Criterion, who obviously take their jobs incredibly seriously with a whole 2nd disc of Extras. Because it is a shade darker the Criterion appears to lose the sharpness battle to Anchor Bay, but in fact it does not. You can see some nice film grain in the Criterion. If you are not concerned with the massive extras that the Criterion gives you (and you want to save a penny or two) or you are not bothered by the lack of anamorphic-ism get the Anchor Bay while it is still out there. Film buffs with widescreen TV's will, of course, want the Criterion.               

 - Gary W. Tooze

 

 


Menus

(MGM - Region 1- NTSC LEFT vs. FreMantle Home Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT )


 

(Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT -. Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)

 

 NONE

 

MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

Fremantle - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


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Screen Captures

 

1) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Fremantle - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) MGM - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) FreMantle Home Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Criterion Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FIFTH

6) Fremantle - Region FREE - Blu-ray - SIXTH

7) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM



1) MGM - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) FreMantle Home Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Criterion Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FIFTH

6) Fremantle - Region FREE - Blu-ray - SIXTH

7) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) FreMantle Home Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Criterion Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FIFTH

6) Fremantle - Region FREE - Blu-ray - SIXTH

7) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) FreMantle Home Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Criterion Region 0 - NTSC - FOURTH

5) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FIFTH

6) Fremantle - Region FREE - Blu-ray - SIXTH

7) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures

1) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Fremantle - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Fremantle - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Fremantle - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Fremantle - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Fremantle - Region FREE - Blu-ray - MIDDLE

3) Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


Hit Counter


Report Card:

 

Image:

Criterion Blu-ray

Sound:

Criterion Blu-ray

Extras:

Criterion Blu-ray

 

Box Covers

Distribution

MGM

Region 1  - NTSC

FreMantle Home Entertainment

Region 0  - PAL

Anchor Bay

Region 1  - NTSC

Criterion Collection
Region 1 - NTSC

MGM

Region FREE  - Blu-ray

Fremantle

Region FREE  - Blu-ray

Criterion

Region 'A'  - Blu-ray Spine #182

 



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Gary Tooze