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Customer Review

65 of 71 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Turner version 5 stars. The rest of this is a pain though., June 8, 2006
This review is from: Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
There seems to be a lasting discussion, or even a consensus, about why this movie is flawed in one way or the other and worse than the Wild Bunch, especially amongst US audience. A discussion I frankly can't quite follow even though it is belabored at considerable length in the commentary tracks. The issue apparently also motivated Mr. Seydor to throw together a so called 'special edition' with scenes taken from either the Turner version or the theatrical release, in an attempt to produce a version he feels Sam Peckinpah might had been striving for, given the troubled production circumstances. This 'special edition' is the one version coming with this package, and if you are like me you might consider this wasted space, as at least I'm not at all interested in what Mr. Seydor feels might be great. The idleness of this whole attempt is mirrored in the commentary tracks, where most of the time is wasted with repeated explanations about what a directors cut and a fine cut are, why the theatrical release is more of the latter and the directors cut is flawed in various respects etcetera etcetera, in an obvious, lengthy and tiresome attempt to justify that very 'special edition'. Thoroughly painful to listen to, and I had rather watched the theatrical release and judged for myself. Something Mr. Seydor and his production staff apparently think I am resp. we are not able to, or else they simply would have included the theatrical release and spared us their cut.

That said, the other version coming with this package is the Turner version, also known as the director's cut, and it's a blessing this version is finally available on DVD. In spite of all the blabber about supposed flaws this movie is a true classic. The story, the core of which is the conflict Garrett's going through, most of the acting, production design and score are outstanding. The story alone could have carried the whole movie with ease, but on top of this it's loaded with gems not found elsewhere. Anyone appreciating e.g. the jailhouse sequence, it's dialogue, Ollinger's character and his peculiarities, the wonderfully bleak production design and ingenious pace leading to a unique climax, making it an almost complete story within the story, knows what I'm talking about - sheer poetry, profoundly entertaining sarcastic humor and an incredible bunch of talent assembled into a unique masterpiece.

Bottom line? Highly recommended due to the Turner version. Both thumbs down though for the 'special edition' and commentary tracks.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 24, 2010 7:06:22 AM PST
Agreed on the "Special Edition"-I was stunned at how clumsy and unnecessary that was. I can imagine some film hack putting together something like that on YouTube, but having it receive ratification and release by the studio is merely the latest insult to this great but battered film.

Posted on Apr 23, 2014 6:11:40 PM PDT
OK. I just completed watching the special version after not having viewed the film for a thousand years, and am now a few minutes into the commentary. And yes, I can already see your point about it, which is too bad if true throughout because it squanders an opportunity to give us more useful behind-the-scenes on this interesting film. As an aside, if you have never listened to the commentary for 'Once Upon a Time in the West' I would highly recommend it. In my Amazon review of the film I noted that the commentary not only explained One Upon a Time... but that it explained 'the western'.

But given that you have some knowledge and have certainly focused on this Peckinpah film, I have a question. What the heck is Bob Dylan doing in this movie?? If the character had not been in the film we wouldn't have even noticed. Plus, the character was barely painted. Who was he? Where did he come from? What was his motivation? It's almost like Dylan (whom I respect) said 'Hey, I'll do the music if you give me a part in the movie', and then Sam replied, 'Uh, uh, uh, well, ok, whatever. I guess we can fit you in the story somewhere'.

Would you agree or am I all wet?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 3, 2015 5:45:41 PM PST
JDW2058 says:
I suspect since Dylan was doing the music, the studio also believed his name in the cast would make an extra draw to the movie. The character is a bit of a cypher, which was fitting to the musician's image -- and lightly written (very) to accommodate the limited acting skills of the singer. No disrespect to that last, Dylan has limits after all. I understand Peckinpah was angry over having to insert the character -- but I don't know that to be true -- odd gossip in my memory.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 11, 2015 2:41:03 PM PDT
grafdog says:
The turner version is the way to go no doubt a bout it. One thing I hate about the new "special" edition was the title sequence which shows sepia photos of various scenes in the film. Thereby spoiling the movie.

Re Dylan's role. He was a printer/newspaper man who quit when he heard Billys song. Maybe after printing "the man's" lies propaganda and bad reviews for too long he up and decided to join the band to find the truth. Maybe write his own stories about Billy and sing em to those who'd listen.
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