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Straw Dogs 40th Anniversary [Blu-ray]

 Unrated   Blu-ray
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 25.99
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Straw Dogs 40th Anniversary [Blu-ray] + Blue Velvet [Blu-ray] + Dressed To Kill [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
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Product Details

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

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

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Remarkable Film Which Stands the Test of Time. April 21 2004
By A Customer
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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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Peckinpah's masterpiece Dec 28 2003
"Straw Dogs" is a movie that you are either going to love it or hate it, not a lot of middle ground here. It is the story of a pacifist American math expert who goes to his wife's home town to write a book on math. Whne he arrives he and his wifes are terrorized psycologicly by town bullies. Then he is forced to fight for his home and dignity (and finds he's reather good at violence). Dustin Hoffman plays the reluctant hero well, when he's quiet and meek, we believe it; when he's Rambo incarnated, we believe that too. This is not as violent as, say, "Kill Bill", but it is mostly very suspenseful in a what might happen sort of way. We spend the movie waiting for the conflict at the end. The double rape of Susan George is long and drawn out, very hard watch, very disturbing stuff. It isn't exsessivly gory, but people will swear it is far worse. I gave it 5 stars because it is an important message that we anyone and everyone is capable of violence when pushed too far.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Peckinpah's psychological character study Dec 11 2003
I remember hearing Charlton Heston once remark about Sam Peckinpah that the man had a great career and vision but then sadly "started blowing off heads." Heston may be right in his analysis of Peckinpah's dedication to dramatic violence, as one need look no further than the closing sequences of the seminal "Wild Bunch" to see a death toll of truly shocking proportions. This director's proclivity for bloody violence, usually shown in slow motion to ratchet up the effect, doesn't find as much expression in the 1971 psychological thriller "Straw Dogs." There are a few nasty encounters with a shotgun peppered throughout the final twenty or thirty minutes of this atmospheric picture, but nary a head leaves its shoulders here. Starring Dustin Hoffman, a few years after his stint in "The Graduate," and a fresh-faced Susan George, "Straw Dogs" spends more time setting up a pervasive sense of doom than concerning itself with a huge body count. Actually, this movie's restraint is surprising for a Peckinpah picture. Then again, I haven't seen a lot of Sammy's films, so perhaps this movie falls into a period when the director felt a need for moderation.
David Sumner (Hoffman) and his British wife Amy (George) decide to rent a cottage in England while David works on writing a book. The village the two decide to live in has intimate connections with Amy Sumner, who lived there before meeting and marrying the bookish David. A gang of local thugs, who the Sumners hire to repair the roof of the cottage's barn, well remembers Amy. One of the guys actually had a relationship with this mouthy woman, a link that bodes ill for the amiable but wimpy David.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie - loaded with extras and also
Great movie - loaded with extras and also, fast and quick service by the seller in the UK..
Published 28 days ago by William McMaster
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by madeleine champagne
5.0 out of 5 stars Straw Dogs (The Criterion Collection) DVD
I saw the movie years ago and thought it was groundbreaking. The violence is intense but I found myself totally engrossed in the turbulence. Read more
Published 13 months ago by John G. Hunter
4.0 out of 5 stars A timeless classic
I bought the DVD to preserve the memory of a movie I saw shortly after its release. I am not sure which genre it fits under but the script is original, the story taut, the acting... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Dr. M. Koblic
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice flic
I'm very glad that I bought this movie.
It's a very nice movie and I can see why they did a remake. Read more
Published on Nov. 28 2011 by Mathieu G.
1.0 out of 5 stars Straw Dogs
The DVD stops about 3/4 of the way through and then goes to the main menu. If you then choose "scenes" to return to where you were it continues to do the same thing. Read more
Published on Nov. 21 2011 by Geoff
4.0 out of 5 stars Really Terrifying but Good
This movie was even more amazing watching it on our large screen tv - we hadn't seen it for more than 25 years and it was crystal clear. Read more
Published on Oct. 13 2011 by Irish Coleen
5.0 out of 5 stars A nerve-shredding, palm-sweating thriller.......and drama
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... Read more
Published on Oct. 26 2007 by Jenny J.J.I.
1.0 out of 5 stars HORRIBLE!!!
I agree with another reviewer in that you'll either love this or hate it. But I think most people will hate it. Read more
Published on July 9 2004 by "nightphoto"
1.0 out of 5 stars Time to bring this film to justice
The only thing more gut-wrenching and discouraging than actually watching Straw Dogs is reading reviews, both here and elsewhere, that miss what is wrong with this movie. Read more
Published on Feb. 27 2004
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