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Peckinpah's BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA special edition

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

  1. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Peckinpah's gut-wrenching film noir has slowly but surely found an audience on DVD. A small minority, like me and Benicio Del Toro, consider it one of the best films ever made. Every home should have a copy of BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALREDO GARCIA.

    Evidently, the Japanese understand and appreciate this film better than English-speaking audiences. It's been given the special edition treatment in Japan:

    Description
    Rerelease of Sam Peckinpah's 1974 classic featuring digital remastering based off of a new print. Includes bonus CD with original soundtrack, replica pamphlets and flyers from the initial release, and 16-page booklet.

    Edition Details
    Running Time: 112mins.
    Data Format: DVD Video
    NTSC Format
    Aspect Ratio(s): 16:9 LB Vista
    Regional Encoding: 2
    Encoding: MPEG-2
    Subtitles: Japanese
    Audio Track :
    English: 2.0ch
    English: 5.1ch
    Japanese:

    The link is here:

    http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/(simple)/detailview.html?KEY=KIBF-342

    What are the chances of MGM releasing this in states?
     
  2. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    It is available in the US (and I own a copy). Even includes an audio commentary.

    But I suppose you already knew that. What specifically are you looking for on a DVD of that excellent movie?

    (And your 'minority' might be not so small!) [​IMG]


    Cees
     
  3. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    I'm not looking for anything, but my curiosity is piqued by the extras -- the soundtrack CD and so on. The region 1 edition doesn't come with a soundtrack CD nor does it come with extras.

    Plus it might be interesting to see how this new transfer differs from the region 1 edition.

    I do wish the writer and producer would stop apologizing for this film. They act as if they're ashamed of it or something. The commentator's don't seem to get it either.
     
  4. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    Well, the first statement is true, but the second isn't. It's got a commentary by four Peckinpah experts and is hardly a puff-piece.
     
  5. Steve.P

    Steve.P Agent

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    I have this on order, Richard. CDJapan are usually pretty quick, so if you want to hang on (and if you trust my verdict!) I'll post my thoughts either here or at the Sam Peckinpah Discussion Board. (Btw, I haven't been able to access the SP Board for two days now. Any idea what the trouble is?)

    I know your interest in this Collectors' Edition goes beyond simply the bonus CD, but it is worth noting that the soundtrack is also available separately at screenarchives.com, along with excerpts from the soundtrack to The Killer Elite.

    I, too, am hoping that the transfer will be an improvement on the R1 MGM disc. I'll let you know.

    Steve
     
  6. Steve.P

    Steve.P Agent

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    This just arrived in the mail this morning, and it's beautiful! A truly stunning item. I'll try to describe the contents as thoroughly as possible for those of you considering purchasing this set.

    Firstly, the packaging:

    Japanese discs are always beautifully presented, but this one is just gorgeous. The outer card slipcase boasts full-colour artwork - taken from the film poster - and has a small obi (that little paper strip) around the bottom, rather than down the left-hand side as is usual. Inside, the two discs are contained within a full-colour, tri-fold digipak. The front of the digipak is similar to the original Japanese DVD artwork. The back cover is the "Guts" poster art. The rest of the photos are taken from the film itself (the rape scene, Benny getting his head smashed in with the shovel, etc.). The digipak also contains a 16-page black and white booklet filled, mostly, with publicity stills and with some Japanese text, and a one-page informational sheet with even more Japanese text (don't ask me what this is about!).

    Also contained within the outer slipcase are three further items: a repro of the original 16-page Japanese souvenir program, a 4-page publicity flyer, and a two-sided handbill. All contain nice photographs, in both colour and B&W, and plenty of Japanese text.

    The DVD:

    The transfer itself looks very close, if not identical, to the MGM R1. There are 16 chapter stops. The theatrical trailer is included, as well as a perfunctory photo gallery - most of which simply reproduces the paper goods described above. There are four audio options (English 2.0, English 5.1, Japanese 2.0, and English 2.0 Commentary) and three subtitle options (all Japanese, none fixed). The commentary is the same as the R1. The English 5.1 soundtrack is the most interesting thing about the DVD itself. I always felt the original 2.0 track was badly mixed, and while there is a little extra hiss with the 5.1, the dialogue and background effects are much more distinct.

    The OST CD:

    Eighteen tracks, running a total of 38:29, same as the Intrada Special Collection release (minus the Killer Elite material). This is one of Jerry Fielding's finest scores, IMO, and is well worth hearing apart from the film.

    Summary:

    Beautiful packaging! The English 5.1 soundtrack is a definite plus, while the lack of English subtitles is disappointing, if understandable. The OST CD is worth having if you don't already own the ISC disc. Overall, I'm glad I picked this one up. At approx. $50 with shipping it was an expensive buy, but if this film means as much to you as it does to me, you won't be disappointed.
     
  7. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Thanks for your fine input, Steve.

    BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA has been available for some years in Japan, but that transfer is not as good the new MGM transfer in region 1. This special edition is the new region 1 transfer. Identical. I guess it replaces the earlier transfer in Japan, so CDJapan calling it a "New transfer" is not a mis-nomer there.

    The packaging, extras, and CD make it a worthwhile purchase for anyone who appreciates this remarkable film and for Peckinpah collectors. The only thing missing from the package is a machete.

    Now, if only I could find someone who can translate Japanese text.
     
  8. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    I watched this the other day (r2) with the commentary.

    Excellent movie indeed

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  9. Maggi Magg

    Maggi Magg Stunt Coordinator

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    I bought this japanese version the day it came out and i have to agree with Steve.P it´s a beautiful package.
    But the 5.1 remix is a strange bag.
    It´s a mix where they have put the front soundmix minus the center in the back speakers.
    So hardly a plus there but you get the original mono.

    Cheers
    Maggi
     
  10. Steve.P

    Steve.P Agent

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    Thanks for that, Maggi. I haven't had the chance yet to go through all the audio tracks thoroughly. Like I say, I just got the DVD this morning. My unofficial review was more of a first impressions kind of thing. I chose the scene where Benny and Elita picnic by the tree to flick back and forth between the 2.0 and 5.1 mixes. The dialogue was definitely more up-front on the 5.1 and you could hear the sound of the ducks on the river much more clearly.

    I'm a big fan of including the original sound mix on all DVDs, and, like you say, it's there for those who want it. Obviously, Alfredo Garcia wasn't mixed in 5.1 in 1974, and like-as-not the limitations of the source material prevented a "true" 5.1 mix from being created in 2006. They've simply expanded the 2.0 mix to fill the available channels. Whether or not they've done a good job is a matter of opinion. I'll put my eagle ears on tomorrow morning and give it a proper listen!

    Btw, has anyone put the DVD in their computer yet? The one-page informational sheet I mentioned says something in Japanese about CD-Rom. I'm wondering if there are any additional features...the original screenplay would be nice to go with that machete that Richard mentioned [​IMG]

    Steve
     
  11. Steve.P

    Steve.P Agent

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    Okay...I've just listened to the 5.1 mix all the way through, and I can see what Maggi means by it being a "strange bag". There are problems, certainly, but there are positive aspects, too.

    I stand by my conviction that the original 2.0 mix is flat and muddy like a riverbed. What the new mix does is open up the sonic palette to a much wider, more dynamic range. What it's not is well balanced.

    The scene I mentioned earlier - the picnic by the tree - comes off very well in this context. Other, busier, scenes fair less well. For example, in the scene where Benny is playing piano, he shouts to the tourists to go out and spend their money, etc. Only, in the 5.1 mix, the piano is so loud as to almost drown out the dialogue. There are other examples like this, primarily during the first half of the film.

    Later scenes, where dialogue is at a minimum, are extraordinarily effective. Take another look at the scene where Benny kisses Elita in the shower. The music swells and it is so much more powerful for it. In fact, the winner in all of this is Jerry Fielding's score, which can finally be heard in all its glory, both on the accompanying CD and within the film itself.

    Try thinking of it like this, Maggi: if you're introducing somebody to the film for the first time, or if you want to delve into the psychodynamics of the characters, go with the original 2.0 mix. If you wish to revel in the film on a purely emotional level - and there's plenty of that on offer - go with the 5.1.

    Addendum: I checked and, unfortunately, there are no CD-Rom features on either disc. Looks like I'm going to have to brush up on my Japanese!
     

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