Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on March 25th, 2005
The scene is Mexico, and the time is now, though it might as well be the 19th Century. A richlandowner’s daughter is pregnant, and her father goes as far as breaking her bones to find outwho the father is. He then demands the man’s head. Squads of minions fan out over Mexico.Two (Gig Young and Robert Webber) happen upon Warren Oates, who know the man they’relooking for. When Oates finds out that Garcia is already dead, he smells easy money, and salliesfor with girlfriend Is…la Vega to dig up the corpse and collect. Nothing, of course, goes asplanned, and the body count stacks up quite impressively.
Sheer number of corpses notwithstanding, this is still a very deliberately placed film, andreally doesn’t have enough plot for its 112 minute running time. Peckinpah’s trademark slow-moballets of violence feel tired here. Even the finale, which does have some real joys this way, stillis too close to the end of The Wild Bunch, and has none of that film’s exhilaration. Thisis still a fascinating study of machismo, violence, death, sex and music (frequently all four atonce), and has a kicker of a final shot.
The mono starts off decent, but becomes very ragged. Though the dialogue remainsundistorted, its volume level varies noticeably, and the sound effects distort more and more, suchthat the effect in much of the latter part of the film is akin to electrical discharges in an echochamber.
The picture fares better. The aspect ratio is 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The colours arestrong, and the blacks are great. The picture is never muzzy. The sharpness is good, and the grainminimal, especially given that this is now an older film (1974).
Moderator Nick Redman hosts Peckinpah scholars Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons and DavidWeddle on the commentary, and they have a terrific discussion. Oh, for more commentaries likethis. The only other extra is the theatrical trailer. The menu is basic.
Not Peckinpah’s best film, but still very much the work of a singular talent. The commentaryis a very good one, too.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Theatrical Trailer