The Wild Bunch - The Original Director's Cut
Special Director's Cut Edition, Special Edition
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Wild Bunch, The: Special Edition (Dbl DVD)
Sam Peckinpah's controversial portrayal of a battle between a ruthless Mexican revolutionary and Texan bandits.]]>
The three documentaries in this two-disc set seek to illuminate the enigmatic Sam Peckinpah and the power of his film achievements without denying his own ornery, self-destructive failings. The feature-length Starz special Sam Peckinpah's West: Legacy of a Hollywood Renegade features testimony from Peckinpah intimates (including his beloved sister), colleagues (Kris Kristofferson, L.Q. Jones, editor Garth Craven) and critics (notably David Thomson and Paul Schrader). Covering all the Westerns up through the modern-day Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, the doc includes extended looks at the underappreciated The Ballad of Cable Hogue and the first of the director's mutilated films, Major Dundee. Oddly, it doesn't note that Ride the High Country, which "overnight" established Peckinpah as a filmmaker, also marked his first run-in with Hollywood: a new regime at MGM threw the film away on the bottom half of a double bill.
Peckinpah chroniclers David Weddle, Nick Redman, Paul Seydor, and Garner Simmons--all heard on the commentary track--also got together for a 2004 pilgrimage to Parras, Mexico, the village that supplied the location for General Mapache's stronghold in The Wild Bunch and, of course, the film's apocalyptic finale. This is recorded in Redman's A Simple Adventure Story: Sam Peckinpah, Mexico and The Wild Bunch, which intercuts the latterday, not-so-wild bunch's moseying through sleepy Parras with the 1969 action scenes that invested the place with mythic resonance. Weddle: "...you walk around a corner and here's a part of your imaginative life--there!"
Seydor's Oscar-nominated 1996 short The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage assembles black-and-white "making of" footage from the Wild Bunch shoot and, rather than filming new talking-head footage, uses oral-history recollections of cast and crew members mingled on the soundtrack with Peckinpah's own words, voiced by Ed Harris. High point: Peckinpah/Harris's whispery murmur, "I want to do a walk thing..." as the director spontaneously begins to orchestrate the most powerful action climax in modern cinema. Album-jacket promises of "additional scenes" and "previously unseen outtakes" are apparently references to the same material: just outtakes and alternate camera angles, none notably revelatory. Technically, the disc improves on the 1997 release, which split the film over two sides of the disc and was not enhanced for widescreen televisions. --Richard T. Jameson
- Commentary by Peckinpah biographers/documentarians Nick Redman, Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons and David Weddle
- Peckinpah Trailer Gallery
- Never-before-seen outtakes
- Additional scenes
- 3 documentaries:
- Sam Peckinpah's West: Legacy of a Hollywood Renegade A feature-length biography of the legendary director
- 1996 Oscar Nominee The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage
- An excerpt from A Simple Adventure Story: Sam Peckinpah, Mexico and the Wild Bunch
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Well, Sam Peckinpah did and he did it better than anyone else.
There are films you have to make excuses for over time. Films that--- even if good or excellent overall--- seem sentimental or over-stylized or just plain quaint (even and perhaps especially true of that last Golden Age of the '60s/70s). The Wild Bunch isn't one of them. Because it was made by a forward-thinking and philosophical artist, about a very specific period, who intended to relate it to the turmoil and turbulence of his own, it feels timeless in a way that few movies do. The marriage of acting, directing, dialogue, cinematography, mind-boggling editing, and especially tone is as close to perfect as any film I can think of; even the cut-loose scenes that everyone refers to (bookending the movie) are perfectly choreographed and controlled, with not an excessive or exploitative moment to be found (amazing, in a film about utterly excessive characters, made at the height of Sixties excess).
Please see this movie if you haven't. Like all great art, it's about the human condition (and views it as unflinchingly and honestly as any movie ever made). Seeing it again, now that I'm over the hill (a fortysomething), I suddenly feel like, underneath all the testosterone-frustrated mayhem and bitterness, I am seeing an oddly hopeful film, not sentimental or 'liberal' or totally forgiving but not totally damning, either. Like films as seemingly disparate as Do the Right Thing, Raging Bull, Bonnie and Clyde or M*A*S*H (all of which have violence at the core) Wild Bunch is in fact a plea for understanding. At the end, the main characters--- who are violent, drunken, misogynistic, hypocritical, foolish--- do indeed achieve a sort of redemption, by finally having the guts to live up to the brother-solidarity code they've been paying lip service to all those years.
Remember, a story like this is for "even the worst of us. Perhaps the worst most of all".
William Holden as Pike Bishop, Ernest Borgnine as Dutch Engstrom, Robert Ryan as Deke Thornton, Edmond O'Brien as Freddie Sykes, Warren Oates as Lyle Gorch, Jaime Sánchez as Angel,Ben Johnson as Tector Gorch, Emilio Fernández as General Mapache, Strother Martin as Coffer,
L. Q. Jones as T.C,. Albert Dekker as Pat Harrigan, Bo Hopkins as Clarence 'Crazy' Lee, Jorge Russek as Major Zamorra, Alfonso Arau as Lieutenant Herrera. Dub Taylor as Wainscoat, Rayford Barnes as Buck, Paul Harper as Ross, Chano Urueta as Don José, Elsa Cárdenas as Elsa,
Bill Hart as Jess, Stephen Ferry as Sergeant McHale Fernando Wagner as Commander Mohr Jorge Rado as Ernst, Aurora Clavel as Aurora
Most recent customer reviews
I can't watch it.