Steve McQueen is Doc McCoy, master thief. Having just been denied parole, he asks wife Ali McGraw to make a bargain with political fixer Ben Johnson to get him out. This she does, but what McQueen doesn’t realize is that the deal not only involved McQueen’s participation in a bank job, but also McGraw sleeping with Johnson. In short order, the robbery goes wrong, and husband and wife are on the run.
From its punchy, jaggedly edited credit sequence on, this is Peckinpah at his most …ggressive. Even as one flinches today at some of the cavalier smashing about of women (hardly unexpected, given the director), one cannot help but be exhilarated by the pacing, the action, and the wit. Tough guy cinema par excellence.
The mono track is very fine, barring a couple of instances of dialogue buzz late in the film. The sound is pretty rich, but one cannot help but wonder what the wonderful layering of sound effects (not to mention the fabulous Quincy Jones soundtrack) would sound like in a 5.1 remix.
The colours are just a touch on the dark side, and ditto the flesh tones. But otherwise, the print is in excellent shape. There is almost no grain, and the blacks are very strong. The image is sharp, and the only other minor quibble I have that the edge enhancement is visible now and then. The aspect ratio is the original 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen.
It’s been nice to see all the recent Peckinpah releases being granted solid commentaries, and this is no exception. Peckinpah experts Nick Redman, Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons and David Weddle are back (they also did the honours on Junior Bonner and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia), and do more fine work here, touching on, among other things, the remake (remember it?). A very neat features is a massive collection of audio interviews with Peckinpah, McQueen and McGraw which have been edited together into a “virtual” commentary. It works. Finally, there’s the theatrical trailer. The menu’s main screen is animated and scored.
A great film, accompanied by a very strong commentary. An essential addition for any action collection.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- “Virtual” Commentary
- Theatrical Trailer