Peckinpah's THE DEADLY COMPANIONS restored?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Richard--W, Feb 5, 2006.

  1. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    A region 5 French edition says 2.35 anamorphic with a supplement about how it was restored:

    http://www.dvdfr.com/dvd/dvd.php?id=19753

    There's also a 16:9 Cinemascope edition in Japan:

    http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/(simple)/detailview.html?KEY=DABA-82

    Has anyone seen these? Seems to me either one should be better than the low-quality, full-screen public-domain editions that proliferate in the USA.
     
  2. Bob Graham

    Bob Graham Supporting Actor

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    I've got the anamorphic Japanese disc and it looks great!
     
  3. Steve.P

    Steve.P Agent

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    I can't speak for the French disc, but that cover looks awfully like one of the R1 public domain releases. Who knows, it might be decent enough...

    The Japanese DVD I *do* have, and it is marvellous. It may be bare bones, but the transfer puts some of Warner's recent efforts to shame. (Lakeshore International being a decent enough label in their own right.) And it has the huge advantage over the French disc of being in NTSC.

    I thoroughly recommend the Japanese disc to all Peckinpah completists. Obviously, there are problems with the script, but the cinematography is quite lovely at times for a low-budget production. I firmly believe the reason why this film gets such negative reviews is that people are watching dreadful P&S transfers.
     
  4. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Thanks guys.

    You've talked me into buying the Japanese edition.
     
  5. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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    Would someone mind pointing me toward a place where I can buy the Japanese edition?

    TIA.
     
  6. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Buy the Japanese edition here:

    http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/(simple)/detailview.html?KEY=DABA-82

    Buy with confidence, cd japan is reliable.
     
  7. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    $33 for this albeit, interesting, minor league Peckinpah film seems a bit steep, folks; sorry.

    It's strange that Amazon.fr do not stock the French edition. Is it a recent release?
     
  8. Steve.P

    Steve.P Agent

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    It's all relative, Gordo. I wouldn't recommend the Japanese DVD to anyone except a Peckinpah completist. But if you are intent on owning all fourteen features, in the best available quality, then it's an essential purchase. My old P&S DVD was so claustrophobic it was difficult to watch; seeing the film in 2.35:1 for the first time was a revelation. It's a minor Peckinpah, for sure, but at least with this release you can actually tell it's a Peckinpah.

    I'm intrigued by the French release. If I lived in Europe I think it'd be worth a blind buy.
     
  9. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    Steve, I greatly admire Peckinpah's films and would love to own The Deadly Companions on DVD, with a gorgeous 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer, but I'd rather pay €10/$14 for the French DVD, if it has the same transfer as the Japanese edition - or even wait for a UK edition, featuring the same transfer.
     
  10. Steve.P

    Steve.P Agent

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    Oh, I know how much you dig Peckinpah, Gordon. I always enjoy your thoughtful and enthusiastic posts, both here and over at the Criterion Forum. But I also know from these forums how wide you cast your net, cinematically speaking. None of us have bottomless pockets, and that is what I meant by it being all relative. For the price of the Japanese DVD you could buy two European R2 releases. Should you do that? Only you can say.

    As for The Deadly Companions, it was thought for the longest time that a quality, widescreen print no longer existed. I bought the Japanese DVD when it came out and was completely blown away by the transfer. There was much hope at the time that the transfer would make it to other regions. That never happened. (Maybe because the film is in the public domain in the States, maybe because it is considered a minor Peckinpah, or maybe because of licensing issues, who knows.)

    I know as much as you about the French DVD. Like I say, I'm intrigued, but, then again, I seriously doubt it eclipses the Japanese disc. My guess is that it's a fairly recent release; none of the European Peckinpah collectors has mentioned it at all. If you choose to buy it, please post your thoughts here so we can all rest easy in our beds [​IMG] It'd be great to see the Japanese transfer become available to a wider audience.

    Cheers,

    Steve
     
  11. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    Thanks for the appreciation, Steve! Which username do you use over at the Criterion Forum?

    None of the Peckinpah message boards mention the French DVD. I'll keep checking Amazon.fr and when it is listed, I'll order it and tell you what I think.

    MGM ought to remaster The Killer Elite and include a commentary by Simmons, et al. Again, a flawed, but very interesting film, especially the first half, which is Peckinpah at his best. If The Osterman Weekend can have a stand-out, deluxe 2-disc, then so should The Killer Elite, in my book!

    Thanks, Steve. [​IMG]
     
  12. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    what is so special about The Deadly Companions ?
     
  13. Steve.P

    Steve.P Agent

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    Gordon: I use the name "Ste" over at criterionforum.org and "SteveP" on the Peckinpah message board.

    While I would certainly welcome an upgrade of The Killer Elite, I have to say it is without doubt my least favourite of all Peckinpah's films. I always saw it as an unsuccessful attempt to parody the Don Siegel-Dirty Harry thing, with a little '70s martial arts action thrown in for good measure. The genre parody in itself is not a problem, but it simply doesn't work for me as a whole. The lead characters are both two-dimensional and unlikeable. Not that David Sumner is a barrel of laughs or anything, but at least he's believable; Hansen and Locken are not. From the vile, sexist buddy-buddying at the start to the endless double-crossing, I find it hard to care what happens to either of them. The film does have some redeeming qualities - the wonderful opening credit sequence, Bo Hopkins's deranged bounty hunter - but it's not enough to save it, IMO.

    If you've read my posts on the Criterion Forum, you'll know my feelings on the so-called Peckinpah Posse. Suffice to say here, I'm a Stephen Prince man through and through. (Bring on Cross of Iron!)



    Nothing particularly, Oscar. It is the director's first feature film, though, and while it is a deeply flawed picture, it does have some nice, characteristic Peckinpah touches. Given the glories that followed, those that appreciate Peckinpah's work at least deserve to see where it all began. And in the correct aspect ratio, too.
     
  14. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    thanks for the update.
     
  15. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Now that I've seen the Japanese edition, I recommend it to everyone who likes westerns. The film is dated and looks it, but the Japanese edition offers an excellent transfer of a well-crafted film.

    Everything that's good about THE DEADLY COMPANIONS comes from the director-as-hired-hand, Sam Peckinpah. It has subtle touches in the staging and character-interaction that disinguishes it from lesser, more formulaic westerns. It's a more mature film than most better-known westerns of that time. It has a lot in common with THE WESTERNER, Peckinpah's short-lived series from the year before, and almost qualifies as a big-screen color adventure for that series lead character Dave Blassingame, and it stars the same actor, Brian Keith who is comfortable and at ease in a western.

    It also looks good, benefiting from the Old Tucson location (where RIO BRAVO was filmed) before it was renovated (by John Wayne for McLintock!) and long before it burned down.

    If you like westerns, there's no reason you can't enjoy THE DEADLY COMPANIONS.
     
  16. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    Oh, yeah; I enjoy reading your posts over at the Criterion Forum, Steve. [​IMG]
     

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