Paul Seydor's PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Richard--W, Jul 9, 2007.

  1. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2004
    Messages:
    3,527
    Likes Received:
    170
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Real Name:
    Richard W
    The Sam Peckinpah Legendary Westerns Collection is currently on sale for $9.98 on amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000BRP4B2/ref=pe_57680_22240330_pe_vfe_dt7
    Four movies in the box, two of them are 2-disc sets.
    A bargain.
     
  2. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2004
    Messages:
    3,527
    Likes Received:
    170
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Real Name:
    Richard W
    Interesting reviews:
    http://film.thedigitalfix.com/content/id/60755/pat-garrett-and-billy-the-kid.html
    http://listology.com/list/pat-garrett-and-billy-kid-three-films-one-mans-opinion-comparing-three-different-cutsnow-screen
    http://www.dvdverdict.com/reviews/patbillyse.php
    http://www.dvdjournal.com/quickreviews/p/patgarrettandbtk.q.shtml
     
  3. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2004
    Messages:
    3,527
    Likes Received:
    170
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Real Name:
    Richard W
    Fans of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid may be interested in two new books that address the issues raised in this thread.
    Michael Bliss, a film critic and essayist who has published two collections of articles on Peckinpah films, gathers nine new essays in Peckinpah Today: New Essays on the Films of Sam Peckinpah. Included in the book are "The Recutting of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid: Ethical Problems in Film Restoration" by Stephen Prince, who did the audio commentary on Criterion's Straw Dogs, and "The Authentic Death and Contentious Afterlife of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid" by revisionist editor Paul Seydor himself:
    http://www.amazon.com/Peckinpah-Today-New-Essays-Films/dp/0809331063/ref=pd_sim_b_1
    As an aside, Seydor's title is a riff on The Authentic Death of Hendry Jones, the novel by Charles Neider that loosely inspired One-Eyed Jacks (1961), and which title itself was a riff on Pat Garrett's The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid first published in 1882.
    John L. Simons, professor of modern literature who also writes about popular culture and film, has published Peckinpah's Tragic Westerns: A Critical Study. The book inexplicably omits Major Dundee and The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970), but it does include a chapter on Peckinpah's unreleased and extremely scarce telefilm Noon Wine (1967) and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974) which don't usually receive attention. There is a long chapter on Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid which addresses the three different released versions. The single review on amazon is written by Paul Seydor, who gives the book a very high recommendation:
    http://www.amazon.com/Peckinpahs-Tragic-Westerns-Critical-Study/dp/0786461330/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_y
    Read the customer comment at the bottom of his review.
     
  4. pseydor

    pseydor Auditioning

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2012
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    Paul Seydor
    Dear Richard W:
    With respect to the musings of yourself and others as regards "my" version of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, I refer you to my essay in Michael Bliss's anthology published earlier this year: Peckinpah Today: New Essays on the Films of Sam Peckinpah (it’s available from Amazon or directly from the publisher Southern Illinois University Press). It should answer most of your concerns. I have no intention of addressing all or most of your specific points or those of the others on this site, but, let me consider just two examples of your and others’ failure to do even minimal research:
    (1) You write: "Two different scenes in the Workprint appear to be unfinished because Peckinpah didn't shoot them to play on their own. John Poe's harassment of some old miners should intercut with Garrett's harassment of young prostitutes. Neither scene works well without intercutting the other. Instead, Seydor drops Poe's harassment of the old miners entirely, and then organizes all the footage of Garrett with the prostitutes into chronological order for his new version. Organizing the footage into chronological order is merely the first step toward intercutting the two scenes, and perhaps trimming the edges, but Seydor doesn't seem to realize that Peckinpah shot these sequences as two halves of a whole. To leave it the way it is, as an uninterrupted soft-core sex scene, is inappropriate and way over-the-top."
    Do you have any hard evidence for the assertion in your first sentence? I have read every copy of the screenplay (there are over twenty) and there is no evidence whatsoever that the two scenes in question were conceived by Peckinpah or anybody else to play as you describe them and absolutely no evidence that Sam ever wanted them intercut or thought about doing so. I've asked both Roger Spottiswoode and Garth Craven, the two main editors on the film and long time friends of mine, if crosscutting the scenes in this way was ever mentioned by the director or ever tried in the cutting room. Never—yours is the first any of us has ever heard of such a thing. Indeed, as I point out in my essay (see footnote 13 on page 133), the only crosscutting that Sam himself ever tried with the prostitutes scene was to crosscut it with the death of Paco, an idea he was fortunately talked out of!
    (2) You write: “Seydor re-instates the vocal in 'Knockin' On Heaven's Door' during Slim Pickens death scene, which is good, but the mix of vocal and chorus and music is all wrong. This is inexcusable when there is a Theatrical Release print and a soundtrack album to serve as reference. Much of the music in the Workprint comes from rehearsals and rough takes that were never intended to be the final score. But Seydor uses it instead of the final score, which is in the Theatrical Release and on the soundtrack album.”
    First, as the essay makes clear, I was not party in any way, shape, or form to the actual technical execution or preparation of either version of the film for the DVD set, despite my offer to be so and for no remuneration whatsoever. This all done in house at Warner Home Video. (Believe me, if I had been, both would have looked a helluva lot better than they do, and the preview would sound a helluva lot better than it does!) Second, as I also point out in the essay, the Theatrical version, complete with its proper dub, was used as the basis for the DVD. Indeed, that was part of the point, so that Warners would not have to spend the money to generate a new mix, and this includes the “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” music. I did not “reinstate” anything, as it was already in the Theatrical print, which. to repeat, was the base version used for the Special Edition. So far as I am aware, the proper mixed final dub from the Theatrical was used for the Special Edition everywhere except those places where additional scenes were inserted. (As, again, I point out in the essay, I did very, very little actual "recutting" or "rediting" anywhere apart from the prologue.) Third, your reference to the soundtrack album is irrelevant: it is rare to the point of nonexistent that music tracks on a movie’s soundtrack are ever used for the soundtrack album. This is because union rules require that the musicians be paid in addition to the scoring sessions for the time that would be necessary to generate a soundtrack album, so composers most of the time rerecord the music for the soundtrack for better performances and better sound and often they rearrange the music too. (Jerry Goldsmith, for one, would never release a soundtrack any other way, and Jerry Fielding was the same--take The Wild Bunch as an example: compare cues between the film and those on the original LP release--they are far from identical). I do not know if Dylan rerecorded his vocals for soundtrack release—though I’d be surprised if he didn’t—but I can tell you that it is unlikely in the extreme that they were taken directly from the soundtrack, because music on a soundtrack is mixed to be part of a larger dramatic presentation, so the levels of the music are gain-ridden to accommodate dialogue and sound effects. At the very least, this gain-riding would be have to be eliminated for the album or it would prove very distracting indeed. Fourth, you are quite mistaken in asserting that the music on the preview cut (there were actually two preview cuts) comes from rehearsals and are rough takes. No. In fact, the music on the preview is in relatively good shape, though it needs to be better balanced from time to time. What is dreadful about the previews is the dialogue and effects mix, in which you have loop lines to which atmosphere has not been added and if I’m not mistaken even foley effects that are bereft of atmosphere. As I point out in my essay, Nick Redman, the effective producer of the boxed set and the person whose idea it was to do a special edition (Nick was the producer of my documentary on The Wild Bunch)—Nick and I were both shocked by what a shoddy job Warners did on the preview version included in boxed set. Finally, you are mistaken in calling the preview a “workprint”: it is not. Rather, it came from the negative, was roughly color timed (but only roughly and barely adequately), and an actual print was generated (this is easily proved, as there are no physical tape splices in the preview prints). For the second preview, this process was repeated.
    That’s all I have to say, except that it would be nice if those who participate in Internet forums such as this one would endeavor to get their facts straight before making wild accusations (I’m not all that hard to track down). And I do hope that after some of the things you and others here have accused me of or otherwise have written about me, you will do me the courtesy of reading the essay.
    --Paul Seydor, 13 December 2012
     
  5. Grubert

    Grubert Extra

    Joined:
    May 9, 2013
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    von
    I had seen for many years only the theatrical version of PG&BtK, and it was always Peckinpah's second masterwork for me. Due to it's episodical structure the film wasn't as damaged as Major Dundee (still is) and the shorter versions of the Wild Bunch. It wasn't as complex as the longer versions, but PG&BtK already worked in this version. And you could see what it was about, you only had to look a bit closer.When I first saw the Turner cut I was a bit disappointed as the film had, apart from the new brilliant opening scene, not improved as much as I had it expected. Even worse PG&BtK made now often a somehow lame impresion, so I still think the pacing of the Turner cut is not good, and that's why I prefer the Seydor version (I will use this term here). Even if some beautiful moments are gone, the film leaves a much greater impact.

    The 2 biggest mistakes Seydor (or Warner, or both) made was to restore the theatrical credits, instead of using the preview credits, and not to return to the 1909 framing shots, which are there to close the circle. And the whole film is in it's episodical structure about circles.These are 2 ideas nobody else would have done besides Seydor, he had already written about it in his much acclaimed book.His best ideas are the earlier presenting of the raft scene (which is important imo) and the including of the Knocking on Heaven's door lyrics, both like it was done in the 73 cut.All the other changes are debatable for me.I also think that some of the violence wasn't cut in the way Peckinpah has done this before. But that wasn't changed, and would be of course a pretty tricky undertaking. An example is the Billy and Alias shooting of Chisum's men after the turkey chase. Here several slo mo shots are presented as a whole, whereas Peckinpah had them mostly (always?) intercut with other shots.I would cut some of the violence different, I would use of course the preview credits and the preview ending, and I would put several minor pieces back to the Seydor cut.Then it would be perfect. Unfortunately this all will never happen.
     
  6. Grubert

    Grubert Extra

    Joined:
    May 9, 2013
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    von
    Another point I always wondered about is the so called bunkhouse scene, which was rightfully cut out for the 05 version.

    What do you guys think of this bunkhouse scene? It obviously is in breach with the rest of the film, as it is the only scene without Garrett or Billy.But if this is so obvious, why was it written and shot in the first place?Really only to be removed later like Spottiswoode claimed?Poe represents the darker side of Garrett, who is the real center of the film, the compromise, all that what Garret hates himself for, while Billy, in all his violent innocence, represents Garrett inner (and former) ideals.But even with this scene Poe still remains a minor character, and the bunkhouse scene doesn't tell us anything we don't already know about him. The scene at the Chisum ranch is much more important for that.

    I wonder if anyone has an interesting explanation why this scene should be in the film in the sense of improving PG&BtK.

    From a stylistic point of view I also think that it a weak scene.

    Another scene which I would have left off the film is the scene with Garrett's wife. On the paper it sounds great, but in its actual form it consists of pretentious dialogues which tend to interpret parts the film, or at least are too obvious about the scene's meaning.
    As the scene is, it is much better as it was done in the Turner version, where the scene ends early with Garrett pausing at his garden fence. It tells me in a much more subtle way everything I have to know about his marriage, except that his wife is of Mexican ancestry.
     
  7. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 1999
    Messages:
    17,449
    Likes Received:
    538
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Gulf Coast
    Real Name:
    Tony D.
    Bringing this back up.
    I just watched what was copyrighted at the end as "copyright" 2005 Special Edition, Turner Entertainment.

    So I'm not sure which edition of the movie this was.
    It included what I suppose is the entire scene of Garrett in his house arguing with his wife.

    Runtime with credits was 1:55.

    I recorded tjis almost exactly a year ago on 4/30/15 but the interesting part is that this aired in true HD.
    It looked fabulous, so there is apparently some kind of HD version of this around.

    A few weeks ago HDNet aired the movie too so I recorded that to compare a few things.
    Had the same runtime but it was not an HD version. It looked like it was the dvd version as it was soft and just looked terrible.

    I thought the movie was great. The Slim Pickens scene with Dylan's song playing over it was heartbreaking.


    Too bad the fellow who said he was related to Garrett never came back and same for Mr. Seydor
     
  8. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Messages:
    2,387
    Likes Received:
    905
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    London
    Real Name:
    Alan
    I saw this on TCM (UK) a few weeks ago in HD. You never know what you're going to get with TCM, but this looked like the real thing, good colour, sharp & the picture very clean, unfortunately it was the Seydor cut, which I don't like.
     
  9. pseydor

    pseydor Auditioning

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2012
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    Paul Seydor
    As my recent book (The Authentic Death and Contentious Afterlife of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid [Northwestern University Press 2015]) indicates, the only reason Peckinpah ever put himself on record for wanting the Tuckerman's Hotel scene is that he felt that once Garrett and Poe separate at Jones's Saloon, it was important to see that Poe actually went somewhere and was doing something. Of course, there were other private reasons he wanted the scene, mostly because his high school friend Don Levy played a small role [very badly], and Dub Taylor and Elisha Cook, jr., were in it. I agree that it has no business in the film and precisely the reason you state: it has neither of the two principals in it and as such it breaks the structural spine of the narrative.
     
  10. pseydor

    pseydor Auditioning

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2012
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    Paul Seydor
    Well, one reason I never came back is that I wrote a whole book explaining how the Special Edition came to be. Yet I still find that people are accusing me of things I didn't do. This gets to be pretty tiresome after a while and one just wants to move on.
     
  11. pseydor

    pseydor Auditioning

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2012
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    Paul Seydor
    As regards your problems with the way the violence was edited in some scenes, I touched none of this, so what you're responding to is the way Peckinpah's cut the scenes and as he approved them (those scenes are not among the several bones of contention and they are essentially identical in the theatrical and Special Edition to the Turner Preview. As regards the titles sequence, as I explain in great detail in my book, I wish Warners had given me the time and resources to a proper job on the opening. If they had, I would have made the titles sequence work. By the way, this would have involved changing the color of the fonts. Sam did not like the red and wanted yellow, which was used for the new titles sequence and for the end titles.

    I thank for the nice things you have to say about the Special Edition, but your lingering questions still suggest to me that haven't read the, as everyone of them is addressed therein.
     
  12. Rob Muller

    Rob Muller Auditioning

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2007
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Andalucia - Spain
    Real Name:
    Robert Muller
    Thanks Paul Seydor. I bought and read your book. Very enjoyable, even though for a non English speaker one needs some patience sometimes to get it all.
    Taking this opportunity; is there any additional news about a release in Blu-ray? (Same question for Junior B - Ballad of CH - High Country - Deadly Companions)
     
  13. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 1999
    Messages:
    17,449
    Likes Received:
    538
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Gulf Coast
    Real Name:
    Tony D.
    Mr Seydor, Thanks for stopping back to continue the discussion.

    There are people here who really do appreciate talking to someone who has direct involvement with a movie like this one.
     
    Josh Steinberg likes this.
  14. pseydor

    pseydor Auditioning

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2012
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    Paul Seydor
    Thanks kindly for this, Tony D. When this thread was first started you'll forgive me for finding this hard to believe. But I am glad to see things changing.
     
    TonyD likes this.
  15. pseydor

    pseydor Auditioning

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2012
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    Paul Seydor
    Rob: Once again, check my book. To my knowledge no Blu-ray is planned, but it wouldn't do any good anyhow, because all it would do is show the inadequacies of WB's current version. The movie needs to be retransferred and overseen by someone who knows what it should look like--preferably the principal editor, Roger Spottiswoode, who is available, btw. The whole thing's too damned washed out, pale, and dead tan!
     
    TonyD likes this.
  16. HDvision

    HDvision Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2007
    Messages:
    1,086
    Likes Received:
    222
    Trophy Points:
    1,610
    Location:
    Paris, France
    Real Name:
    David
    Damn I would wish a Blu-ray with all three cuts including the original theatrical!
     
    t1g3r5fan likes this.

Share This Page