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Straw Dogs
     

Straw Dogs

4.0 1
Director: Sam Peckinpah, Dustin Hoffman, Susan George, Peter Vaughan

Cast: Sam Peckinpah, Dustin Hoffman, Susan George, Peter Vaughan

 

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This is the uncut version of Straw Dogs, a film that has excited controversy and discussion since the day it was released -- is it a flawed masterpiece, a misogynistic shambles, a brilliant satire, or a stumbling allegory on the condition of Western civilization? It is indisputably a Sam Peckinpah film that once again addresses the subject of being male in an

Overview

This is the uncut version of Straw Dogs, a film that has excited controversy and discussion since the day it was released -- is it a flawed masterpiece, a misogynistic shambles, a brilliant satire, or a stumbling allegory on the condition of Western civilization? It is indisputably a Sam Peckinpah film that once again addresses the subject of being male in an uncertain world. Anchor Bay has chosen to release a full-length, unrated cut and seems to have based the transfer on a new or uncirculated print. There are no print blemishes, scratches, or speckles visible throughout the length of the disc, and no indication of print fade. While the overall tone is somewhat subdued, the image is generally strong and clear. It does jitter slightly and briefly in a couple of places, but this is barely noticeable. Anchor Bay's box notes claim a 1.77:1 (non-anamorphic) letterboxing, but it measures out more closely to a traditional 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Color balance is excellent, and flesh tones are accurate, if subdued, with little evidence of compression artifacts or edge enhancement during the course of the movie. There are several scenes with deep "fog" -- technicians going overboard with smoke machines -- that show no problems whatsoever. Blacks are very solid and detailed, which is valuable in this movie because much of the last third requires various characters to be moving in and out of dark areas. The mono soundtrack is robust, treating Jerry Fielding's score quite well. Dialogue is quite comprehensible, with noise and hum almost entirely eliminated throughout. The DVD is movie-only, with no extras, and has 13 chapter stops. It is packaged in a keep case with a four-page insert.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Eddy Crouse
No matter which way you slice it, Straw Dogs is not for the squeamish. Only two films after, but light years away from, the elegiac Wild Bunch, the movie upped the ante in director Sam Peckinpah's career. It remains one of his leanest, most brutal movies. Dustin Hoffman is David Sumner, a taciturn mathematician who, with his wife, Amy (Susan George), relocates to her Cornish home village to escape the American rat race. The couple hires four locals to build a garage for their old cottage, and it isn't long before David becomes the object of the crew's resentment and mockery. Led by Charlie (Del Henney), one of Amy's former suitors, the townies shamelessly ogle Amy, who at times seems to encourage their attentions, if only because her husband is more involved in math problems. During a hunting trip, David tries to win over the local boys and lets on that he knows their intentions; but the ruffians leave him behind, return to the cottage, and -- in a brilliantly edited but disturbing scene -- rape Amy. This sets the stage for the film's mind-bending and violent climax, during which, in an attempt to avenge another act of violence, drunken villagers all but destroy the Sumner cottage. The traps, both moral and physical, that David devises implicate the viewer in ways that might even make Hitchcock flinch. Never mind that it borders on nihilism -- this is electrifying stuff. Hoffman's nutty evolution, from mousy gestures straight out of The Graduate to calculated Peckinpah violence, is alone worth the price of admission.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Upon its release (within a month of Stanley Kubrick's similar meditation on ultra-violence, A Clockwork Orange), Straw Dogs sharply divided critics and audiences over whether it exploited and glorified macho bloodshed or commented on the violence that had become a fact of 1960s American life. Peckinpah proclaimed his own distaste for violence, suggesting that Straw Dogs portrays how society fails to eradicate primitive drives, leading to territorial warfare. What cannot be denied is Peckinpah's ability to elicit a visceral response to the onscreen turmoil, leaving a viewer either to cheer on David's descent toward bloody retribution or be repulsed by the evil that men do. With jittery editing and gloomy cinematography, Peckinpah creates an unsettling atmosphere of foreboding; the town's unexplained animosity adds to the suggestion that what drives them all, including the intellectual David, is beyond the bounds of "civilization." True to the complex nature of these issues, Straw Dogs' ending provides no easy answers or reassurances about what transpires in the Sumner home.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/19/1999
UPC:
0013131060799
Original Release:
1971
Rating:
R
Source:
Starz / Anchor Bay
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital]
Time:
1:58:00

Special Features

Widescreen presentation [1.77:1]

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Dustin Hoffman David
Susan George Amy
Peter Vaughan Tom Hedden
T.P. McKenna Maj. Scott
David Warner Henry Niles
Colin Welland Rev. hood
Cherina Mann Mrs. Hood
Ken Hutchison Scutt
Jim Norton Cawsey
Del Henney Venner
Sally Thomsett Janice
Donald Webster Riddaway
Len Jones Bobby Hedden
Michael Mundell Bertie Hedden
Peter Arne John Niles
Robert Keegan Harry Ware
June Brown Mrs. Hedden
Chloe Franks Emma Hedden

Technical Credits
Sam Peckinpah Director,Screenwriter
Ken Bridgeman Art Director
John Coquillon Cinematographer
Garth Craven Editor
Paul Davies Editor
Jerry Fielding Score Composer
Harry Frampton Makeup
David Zelag Goodman Screenwriter
Tony Lawson Editor
Daniel Melnick Producer
Tiny Nicholls Costumes/Costume Designer
Peter James Set Decoration/Design
John Richardson Special Effects
Ray Simm Production Designer
Roger Spottiswoode Editor
Robert Wolfe Editor

Scene Index

Chapter Selection
0. Chapter Selection
1. Program Start/Credits [5:31]
2. Last Call [10:17]
3. Something Funny [5:02]
4. Night Moves [7:20]
5. Exposed [11:25]
6. The Vicar And His Wife [2:49]
7. In Need Of Help [3:24]
8. A Trap [9:59]
9. Gone Hunting [15:28]
10. Chruch Social [11:28]
11. After Blood [15:04]
12. Gone Too Far [17:50]
13. End Credits [1:34]

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Straw Dogs 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago