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The Scalphunters [Blu-ray]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Burt Lancaster, Telly Savalas, Shelley Winters, Ossie Davis, Dabney Coleman
  • Directors: Sydney Pollack
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Kino Lorber films
  • DVD Release Date: July 22, 2014
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00K6D1S8O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,143 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Directing great Sydney Pollack (Three Days of the Condor) delivers a rousing good show (The Film Daily) with this fast-paced western written by William Norton (White Lightning, Gator) with irresistible humor and delightful ironies (Motion Picture Herald). Starring screen legend Burt Lancaster (Elmer Gantry) and Shelley Winters (Lolita) along with Telly Savalas (TV s Kojak) and Ossie Davis (Do the Right Thing). The Scalphunters is a lively, ribald and unpredictable pleasure which carries the western into new country (Los Angeles Times)! When trapper Joe Bass (Lancaster) is bush-wacked by Indians who steal his furs and leave him a runaway slave (Davis) in exchange he s determined to get his property back. But when the Indians are attacked by outlaws, Joe and his unwanted companion must join forces to retrieve the furs in a startling, action-packed journey that concludes with one of the all-time cinematic comeuppances (Citizen News). Co-starring Dabney Coleman (9 to 5).

Customer Reviews

Great acting, great story.
Sparkie
For a lesser known but still very good western with great perfomances from Lancaster, Savalas, and Davis, check out Sydney Pollack's The Scalphunters!
T O'Brien
I love Westerns and this film, in my opinion,is an underrated classic.
vince

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Steven Hellerstedt on October 2, 2005
Format: DVD
After being coerced by a roving gang of Kiowas to trade his season's worth of hard-earned furs for a runaway slave, Joe Bass (Burt Lancaster) vows to take back what's his. Before he can get them, though, the Kiowas are slaughtered by a gang of `scalphunters' led by Jim Howie (Telly Salavas), who nips Joe Bass's furs in the bargain. With Joseph Winfield Lee (Ossie Davis) in tow, Joe Bass trails the fur and scalp-laden Jim Howie and vows yet again to reclaim his property.

THE SCALPHUNTERS (1968) is a comedy-western that somehow manages to makes palatable some terrible things - specifically, slavery and the harvest and sale of human scalps. It doesn't condone them, of course, but it doesn't dwell on their horrors, either. Lancaster is energetic and perfectly cast as the savvy fur trapper who is determined to get what's his back again. Salavas and Shelley Winters as his trail moll, are pretty good, as well. The heart of the thing, though, is Ossie Davis as the erudite slave who seems the only person to see the big picture, as it were. As he'd prove a couple of years later with `Jeremiah Johnson,' director Sydney Pollock is deft at handling offbeat action movies. THE SCALPHUNTERS is a fun movie that merits a strong four stars.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Terence Allen VINE VOICE on June 6, 2005
Format: DVD
In 1968, it was appropriate that a western dealt with race relations, and The Scalphunters does so with action and humor.

Burt Lancaster plays Joe Bass, a trapper who is headed towards civilization with months worth of pelts and furs. He runs smack into a tribe of Kiowas who don't appreciate Bass trespassing on their land. They take the pelts, but exchange them for a runaway slave, Joseph Lee, played by Ossie Davis, who the Kiowas had taken from the Comanches. Lancaster doesn't want Joseph, and Joseph wants to get somewhere where he can be free, but they team up to relieve the Kiowas of Bass' pelts.

Before they can spring their plan to steal back the pelts, the Kiowas are attacked and slaughtered by scalphunters, roughneck types who get paid for each Indian scalp they turn in. The scalphunters take the pelts, and that's when the real fun begins. The Scalphunters are led by Telly Savalas, who brings along his constantly complaining girlfriend, played by Shelley Winters.

The Scalphunters has humor, action, and wry commentary on the relationships and perceptions of whites, blacks, and Indians. It's good that this rarely seen film is now on DVD.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By T O'Brien on August 8, 2005
Format: DVD
The Scalphunters is a very enjoyable western that is not as well known as some of star Burt Lancaster's other movies, but it is more than worthwhile. Trapper Joe Bass is heading back to St. Louis with a pack mule full of beaver pelts when a group of Kiowas intervene and take his pelts, leaving him a smooth-talking, educated slave by the name of Joseph Windfield Lee. Bass unwillingly takes Lee along, but before he can get his pelts back from the Kiowas, the warriors are attacked bya group of outlaws who scalp Indians for $25 a person. Bass embarks on a journey to get his beaver pelts back, no matter what it takes. The Scalphunters is not considered a classic western, but it has everything to make it highly enjoyable. A great cast, a lively musical score from Elmer Bernstein, beautiful scenery, and the right mix of action and humor all combine to make one of Lancaster's better movies.

The four main leads to the movie set The Scalphunters apart from many other westerns. Burt Lancaster is great as Joe Bass, the trapper who will attempts to get his pelts back at all costs. Bass is similar to Lancaster's Bill Dolworth in The Professionals in that he enjoys living and will stop at nothing to keep on enjoying living. Telly Savalas is also very good as the villain, Jim Howie, the leader of the gang of scalphunters who steals Bass' pelts. Shelley Winters seems somewhat out of place as Kate, Howie's woman who wants to get out of the west and into a big city as fast as she can. Ossie Davis steals the movie as Joseph Windfield Lee, the highly educated runaway slave who becomes Joe Bass' unwilling companion. The interplay between Lancaster and Davis provide some of the movie's most hilarious moments. The DVD offers a beautiful-looking widescreen presentation and a theatrical trailer. For a lesser known but still very good western with great perfomances from Lancaster, Savalas, and Davis, check out Sydney Pollack's The Scalphunters!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By harry44callahan on June 2, 2005
Format: DVD
If you like clasic action films, you need to see this. Any action film with Burt Lancaster is worth your time. The fight scene between Lancaster and Savalas is outstanding old school western stuff. This is the type of film they don't make anymore and I'm glad to see it is now on dvd. My old vhs copy still serves me well, but I'm always looking for these type of classic 60's/70's films to make it to dvd format. This is action in the vein of Outlaw Josey Wales, Mackennas Gold, The Professionals ......excellent film.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Steve R. on March 16, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
"The Scalphunters" is a comic and entertaining western. Joe Bass (Burt Lancaster) is a nomadic trapper on his way to the big city with a season's worth of furs when he is waylayed by a band of Kiowa Indians who force him to trade his furs for a well-educated black slave, Joseph Winfield Lee (Ossie Davis). The battle of wits and wills between the frontier-wise Joe Bass and the erudite Joseph Lee evolves over the course of the movie as the trapper relentlessly pursues the return of his furs. His quest is complicated when a band of renegade scalphunters led by Jim Howie (Telly Savalas) and his mistress Kate (Shelly Winters) end up with both the furs and Joseph Lee. The action and humor are non-stop in this well-paced, well-cast film. There is even an interesting touch of social satire when Joe Bass and Joseph Lee become indistinguishable during a fight in mud bog.
The direction by Sydney Pollack; the cinematography, featuring both mountain and desert locales; and the musical score composed by Elmer Bernstein are outstanding. Mr. Bernstein is renowned for his legendary score in the "The Magnificent Seven." Here, he once again captures the vibrant drive and energy of the sprawling American west. With due respect to Leonard Maltin, I think you will find this to be an enjoyable, if under-rated motion picture.
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