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Straw Dogs 40th Anniversary [Blu-ray]

84 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Format: AC-3, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: MGM Canada
  • Release Date: Sept. 6 2011
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005DMXV8S
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #35,068 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

One of Sam Peckinpah's most controversial efforts, this film came out at a critical moment in the early 1970s, released in the same month as both Dirty Harry and A Clockwork Orange, causing a furor over film violence. Based on a little-known British novel, the film casts Dustin Hoffman as a bookish American mathematician on sabbatical in rural England, in the town where his young bride (Susan George) grew up. He finds himself forced to defend his home against an assault by local toughs, and discovers a frighteningly feral and vicious side to himself. Though Straw Dogs has a reputation for graphic violence, it actually looks tame by contemporary standards. Instead, the violence is psychological, and the suspense and shocks are induced by the editing--you're more terrified by what you think you see than by what you are actually shown. --Marshall Fine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Special Features

Despite its superior tone and a few debatable assertions, the Straw Dogs commentary by Peckinpah scholar Stephen Prince is astutely observant and thematically cohesive, effectively placing the film in its proper sociopolitical context. Prince's articulate reasoning corrects decades of misguided critical analysis while supporting Peckinpah's artistic intentions, including the fact that Dustin Hoffman plays the "heavy," and not the British bullies who provoke him to violence. The superb BBC documentary Sam Peckinpah: Man of Iron offers perfect balance from the artist's perspective, as a majority of Peckinpah's closest friends and colleagues reminisce about a difficult man who inspired great extremes of passion. Highlights include anecdotes by Kris Kristofferson and longtime Peckinpah associate and screenwriter James Silke, whose shared memories are heartbreakingly poignant.

A 1971 on-set profile of Hoffman offers a fascinating portrait of the actor at the peak of early success, eager to transcend his Graduate persona. Similar British archival clips show Peckinpah at work; teasing glimpses of a gentleman who never suffered fools. The love-hate dynamic that Peckinpah inspired is especially evident in the illuminating 2002 interviews with Straw Dogs costar Susan George and producer Daniel Melnick, both full of anecdotal affection, humor, and pride in their controversial film; it's a pity Hoffman didn't participate. Peckinpah himself is powerfully present in written response to critics and detractors, and in a prickly 1974 interview with French-Canadian critic Andre Leroux. Taken together, these and other excellent supplements convey the depth and sophistication of a self-proclaimed violent man who had noble reasons for elevating the depiction and discussion of cinematic violence. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jenny J.J.I. TOP 100 REVIEWER on Oct. 26 2007
Format: DVD
This film is one of the best works of Sam Peckinpah this movie deals with the true humanitarian phenomena, human nature for sexual orientation and needs and the most human seduction and temptation. This movie thrills you from the start to the end and the most magnificent aspect of the movie is its ambiguity and confusing nature of climax. "Straw Dogs" is an intense thriller that shows what can happen when you push even the mildest mannered man too far. In here, Dustin Hoffman plays a mathematician who temporarily moves to a house in a rural village in England with his wife, a former resident of the town, played by Susan George. The two withstand incessant needling from several of the townsfolk until George is raped and assaulted and Hoffman is pushed over the edge.

Incidentally, right after watching this film I found a documentary on cable about filmmakers from the late '60s to late '70s and one of the directors profiled was Sam Peckinpah. I had always considered his films to be violent and vaguely shocking, which never surprised me, knowing that he was a hard-living maverick who did things his way - an element that is resplendent in most of his films. A brief mention of Straw Dogs was included in this documentary, where they described it as a "sexist film". There are obvious scenes in the film that could support this criticism, but I think that is overanalyzing the film with a political correctness that is out of place. While the two female characters are both victimized, Susan George also has her moments of empowerment. I may be a female, but I don't consider Peckinpah's tendency to make testosterone-driven films any more sexist than anything that Tarantino puts out, and I'm a big fan of his work as well.
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Format: DVD
This is a really interesting film on many levels. It's not perfect; but, few works of modern art are. Nevertheless, this work stands the test of time. Firstly, one of the most remarkable things about this film is the absolutely Hitchcockian editing, which is remotely primitivistic, but strangely compelling: the editing engenders a peculiar ambience to the film right from the beginning brawl scene in the pub. Then, from the denoument sequence--which begins with the equally primitive church function and runs through to the climax and epilogue--the editing is nothing less than fine art. Secondly, the sets of the pub and the farm house are very convincing and interesting in their own right: there's plenty to look at. Also, the outdoor scenes with the ocean in background and the Cornish village all have the verisimilitude of realism. Thirdly, the soundtrack is not at all bad. Fourthly, the acting is good: of course, Hoffman is nothing less than brilliant; Peter Vaughn is excellent as the burly boorish Englishman; and Susan George isn't bad: she begins weak, but by the middle of the film she's quite okay, and from the denoument mentioned above, she's fine. Also, David Warner as the half-witted cripple is excellent--though not given notice in the credits. Lastly, the story is fairly well formed and possibly plausible--though that's no recommendation for fiction!Read more ›
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Format: DVD
It's not at all hard to see the connection between Peckinpah's two greatest movies: Straw Dogs and The Wild Bunch. Both are studies of what it means to be a man, a look at the masculine and sometimes violent male nature. Basically, Straw Dogs is about an extremely timid American intellectual who decides to escape the Vietnam-fueled violence of the USA by moving into the small English town where his wife was raised. However, the man soon realizes that violence is pretty much omnipresent, when the men he hires to fix up his new home begin pushing him and his wife around. I won't give away the ending, but if you know Peckinpah you can probably guess.
of course, most people will probably want to see the movie for its infamous rape scene (which got the film banned in the UK, where it was filmed). Not only is the rape graphic, but the victim actually appears to enjoy it; at least at first. Here I must disagree with the lengthy rant of a prior reviewer when I say that the rape scene is not simply an exercise in mysoginy, but rather helps to show just how immasculinated the main character has become. Throughout the first half of the movie we see his wife slowly flirting with the contractors (at one point even letting them see her topless). This suggests quite obviously that she has become so disgruntled with her husbands lack of backbone that she is actively seducing the very masculine contractors, and the fact that she enjoys the rape is simply the logical extreme of her desire to have a truly "manly" partner. Of course, those who've seen the movie know that eventually she's punished for her covetry of man's aggressive nature.
Overall, I highly recommend this movie.
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