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Peckinpah's The Deadly Companions


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#1 of 15 OFFLINE   ArthurMy

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Posted February 20 2005 - 07:05 AM

I haven't seen this mentioned so here it is:

After years of suffering through washed out pan&scan public domain tapes and the pan&scan laserdisc, I'm happy to report that a new anamorphically enhanced 2:35 DVD has come out in Japan. Just got it and it's pretty terrific. I've read so many comments bashing the look of the film, when the bashers have never seen it outside of the public domain copies. Well, it's photographed by William Clothier, one of the greats, and seeing it in its proper ratio for the first time since its initial release is a revelation. It's not a great film, but it's a whole different ball of wax when you see a properly done transfer. What a treat this DVD is after all these years. If you're a Peckinpah fan it's a total must-have. I got it from CDjapan. It took two days to get to me via EMS shipping.

#2 of 15 OFFLINE   Gordon McMurphy

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Posted February 20 2005 - 08:59 AM

Gasp! WOW! I never thought that it would turn up on DVD with a decent 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer!

I'm a huge Peckinpah fan and has been maltreated for too long. Excellent news.

Thanks, Arthur!


#3 of 15 OFFLINE   ArthurMy

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Posted February 20 2005 - 11:36 AM

Finished watching it. The transfer is really pretty spectacular, especially given what we've had till now. There isn't a mark on it - it looks like it was right off the negative. The only real grain is in the opticals. Sound is mono, of course, and fine.

The movie is interesting. I think the woeful underappreciation of the film can be traced to one thing: The horrible musical score of Marlin Skiles, whoever he might be. It simply does the film in. I think the film would be much more well thought of if it wasn't for this score - because it is married to the images and dialogue, it trivializes everything it comes in contact with. Because, when you get down to it, the script, while not great, is certainly interesting. The performances are all top-notch, the cinematography is beautiful, and Peckinpah's direction is simple and fine, especially for a first feature. If this had had a score by Fielding or Goldsmith or Elmer Bernstein, or even George Bassman, I think it would be held in much higher regard.

In short, I like the film and can see what it could have been if not for the horrid work of Skiles.

#4 of 15 OFFLINE   Gordon McMurphy

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Posted February 20 2005 - 12:19 PM

Marlin Skiles was prolific but mediocre. Just another composer-for-hire from the olden days of Hollywood. His score for The Deadly Companions is bland and is overused. I imagine that because this was before Peckinpah had any clout (or uncompromising attitude) he had no say over the scoring.

I am glad that the transfer is a revelation. But I do find it perplexing as to how Japanese DVD companies can acquire high-qualiy film elements to obscure American films like this. Where did this excellent element come from? Who is the distributor of the DVD, Arthur?

It's strange how vintage American films appear in Asia in superb editions long before they do in American or even the UK. MGM UK may hold an internegative of an old UA title and they may release it on DVD, but seeing as there is no "MGM Japan", where do they get the subtitle-free elements from? Weird.

For instance, in March 2000, Michelangelo Antonioni's, The Passenger was released in Japan: http://www.cdjapan.c...tml?KEY=IMBC-81

This now sells on Ebay for over $80. The film was once owned by Warner in the U.S. but is apparently owned by none other than Jack Nicholson himself now! It's a great film and it's weird to see it appear on DVD in Japan only to be cancelled after a short time.

Have you spotted any other gems at CD Japan, Arthur?

Cheers.


#5 of 15 OFFLINE   ArthurMy

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Posted February 20 2005 - 12:52 PM

I got a decent Tales of Hoffman from there.

The Deadly Companions has always seemed to be in the public domain. But this DVD carries a copyright by Lakeshore, the company that co-did Million Dollar Baby. The DVD is from a company called Kadokawa Pictures.

#6 of 15 OFFLINE   Gordon McMurphy

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Posted February 20 2005 - 01:46 PM

I have that Tales of Hoffman, too! Good transfer, but the sound is a bit low and has some high-end boosting. I love the Archers. Criterion had problems with the elements to the film and their DVD is in limbo, as I'm sure you know. A Canterbury Tale and 49th Parallel will be Criterions this year, though!

Lakeshore International: http://www.lakeshore....=19&delete=yes

I would imagine that European countries will see a release of The Deadly Companions this year. Hopefully.

Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid has apparently been restored again and this time closer to Peckinpah's version (the current "director's cut" is missing several scenes, etc) and will be screened at Cannes this year. So we should see a DVD very soon...


#7 of 15 OFFLINE   ArthurMy

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Posted February 20 2005 - 06:59 PM

It's an exciting upcoming year for Peckinpah fans, that's all I can say. I recently met someone who has been working on the extras to a lot of the films, and he's told me we'll all be very pleased.

#8 of 15 OFFLINE   John Hodson

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Posted February 20 2005 - 11:30 PM

Arthur, the was some talk on the Peckinpah web board that The Wild Bunch SE - and by implication any Packinpah box set - had been put back to February 2006; any news on that?
So many films, so little time...
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Lt. Col. Thursday: Beaufort; no preliminary nonsense with him, no ceremonial phrasing. Straight from the shoulder as I tell you, do you hear me? They're recalcitrant swine and they must feel it...


#9 of 15 OFFLINE   ArthurMy

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Posted February 21 2005 - 03:32 AM

Well, I guess if it's on that board then I can confirm that that is what I was told - January or February 2006.

#10 of 15 OFFLINE   John Hodson

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Posted February 21 2005 - 03:51 AM

Ouch...

Thanks.
So many films, so little time...
Film Journal Blog
Lt. Col. Thursday: Beaufort; no preliminary nonsense with him, no ceremonial phrasing. Straight from the shoulder as I tell you, do you hear me? They're recalcitrant swine and they must feel it...


#11 of 15 OFFLINE   Gordon McMurphy

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Posted February 21 2005 - 06:16 AM

Bummer. Posted Image

I guess that it is standing room only Warner Home Video these - so many titles and boxed set projects are underway that even much-anticipated Peckinpah titles have had to be pushed back.

But MGM really need to get Pat Garrett out there...


#12 of 15 OFFLINE   John Hodson

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Posted February 21 2005 - 06:21 AM

But MGM really need to get Pat Garrett out there...


That's now a Warner property isn't it Gordy?
So many films, so little time...
Film Journal Blog
Lt. Col. Thursday: Beaufort; no preliminary nonsense with him, no ceremonial phrasing. Straight from the shoulder as I tell you, do you hear me? They're recalcitrant swine and they must feel it...


#13 of 15 OFFLINE   Gordon McMurphy

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Posted February 26 2005 - 02:30 PM

Yeah, apparently it is. I always thought that it was a United Artists film, but it is going to be part of the Warner Peckinpah set, which will be out next year (it has been delayed).

#14 of 15 OFFLINE   Dave B Ferris

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Posted January 17 2013 - 08:16 AM

Any chance this 2/5/2013 U.S. release will be worthwhile? http://www.amazon.co...adly companions

#15 of 15 OFFLINE   Robin9

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Posted January 19 2013 - 12:48 AM

Any chance this 2/5/2013 U.S. release will be worthwhile? http://www.amazon.co...adly companions

There is at least a chance because a good transfer does exist. I watched my region 2 DVD (from Finland!!!!!) a few days ago and it was good.




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