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Straw Dogs [UMD] [1971]


Price: £4.66 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Dustin Hoffman, Ken Hutchison, Susan George, Peter Vaughan, Peter Arne
  • Directors: Sam Peckinpah
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 28 Nov 2005
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BQJO1E
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 121,061 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Sam Peckinpah's controversial tale of a pacifist pushed to the limit has been widely criticized for its explicit depictions of violence and was banned in the UK from 1984 through to 2002. David Sumner (Dustin Hoffman) is an American mathematician who comes to live in a Cornish farmhouse with his wife Amy (Susan George). The locals don't take kindly to the young couple's presence, and begin a bullying campaign against them; when this escalates to rape and a direct assault upon the farmhouse, the ordinarily timid and slow-to-anger David begins to fight back.

From Amazon.co.uk

According to critic Pauline Kael Straw Dogs was "the first American film that is a fascist work of art". Sam Peckinpah's only film shot in Britain is adapted from a novel by Gordon M Williams called The Siege of Trencher's Farm which Peckinpah described as a "lousy book with one good action-adventure sequence". The setting is Cornwall, where mild-mannered US academic David Sumner (Dustin Hoffman) has bought a house with his young English wife Amy (Susan George) in the village where she grew up. David is mocked by the locals (one of whom is Amy's ex-boyfriend) and treated with growing contempt by his frustrated wife, but when his house comes under violent siege he finds unexpected reserves of resourcefulness and aggression.

The movie, Peckinpah noted, was much influenced by Robert Ardrey's macho-anthropological tract, The Territorial Imperative. Its take on Cornish village life is fairly bizarre--this is a Western in all but name--and many critics balked at the transposition of Peckinpah's trademark blood-and-guts to the supposed peace of the British countryside. A scene where Amy is raped caused particular outrage, not least since it's hinted she consents to it. Not for the first time in Peckinpah's movies there are disquieting elements of misogyny, and it doesn't help that the chemistry between Hoffman and George is non-existent. (Impossible to believe these two would ever have clicked, let alone married.) But taken as a vision of irrational violence irrupting into a civilised way of life Straw Dogs is powerful and unsettling, and the action sequences are executed with all Peckinpah's unfailing flair and venom. Oh, and that title? A quote from Chinese sage Lao-Tze, it seems, "The wise man is ruthless and treats the people as straw dogs." The film was long withheld from home viewing in Britain by nervous censors, but this release presents it complete and uncut. --Philip Kemp

On the DVD: Straw Dogs is as jam-packed a disc as is possible for a film made before the days of obligatory "making of" features. Both the sound and visuals have transferred well, and, like the script, have aged well. There's a bumbling original interview in the style of Harry Enfield's Mr. Cholmondley-Warner, along with stills and original trailers. The new material includes a feature on the history of the film's censorship and commentaries by Peckinpah's biographers musing over interesting fan-facts (though none of the speakers have any first-hand experience of the making of the film). However, Katy Haber's commentary, and interviews with Susan George and Dan Melnick, offer a much more in-depth and intimate portrayal of the man and the making of the film. --Nikki Disney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Mr. J. C. Kent on 16 Nov 2011
Format: Blu-ray Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a great film. It isn't going to be everybody's cup of tea due to its graphic scenes, but it is intelligent and has stood the test of time well. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for this new blu-ray 'remaster'. The picture quality is appalling, with contrast pushed up so high that whites are bleached out and blacks lose all detail. And colours have been changed too, with unnatural greens and the sky almost white rather than blue. Watch the 'Before & After' feature and you can see how natural the colours were BEFORE the restoration. They have completely ruined it. There are quite a lot of good bonus features, particularly the extended interviews, but very little that hasn't been available before. The poor picture quality means that i cannot recommend this disc.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mr. F. E. Marioni VINE VOICE on 19 April 2012
Format: Blu-ray Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Apparently the makers of this transfer to crystal clear bluray decided to put a VHS quality print on a disc, the picture is awful and easily the worst bluray I have seen. Eureka and BFI have done wondrous transfers to films by OZU and Imamura so there really isn't any excuse for this travesty.
The film is for all its faults iconic and well worth any cineasts time but you are better off getting the DVD version of the film. The extras and commentaries on this are fascinating though
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful By D. Jacobs on 1 Nov 2011
Format: Blu-ray
Don't be fooled by the "Fully Restored" claim on the cover of this monstrosity. The transfer is poor with very bright whites and overbearing contrast. I may have to keep the disc for the extras as I don't think I could handle the guilt of selling this disc to some poor unsuspecting soul. The most fascinating extra is the before and after "restoration" comparison where Freemantle tries to convince us that they actually improved the image of this film. Whether the source print or Freemantle's tinkering is to blame for the poor transfer, I could not say. I'm just sorry that I rewarded them with my purchase, but I hope I can prevent others from making the same mistake. I agree with the other reviewers that suggest the region free US Blu ray or get the region 1 Criterion DVD. I will never preorder another Freemantle release. The movie itself is excellent and deserves better representation than this on Blu ray. My most dissapointing Blu ray purchase yet.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By CJC on 10 Dec 2011
Format: Blu-ray
A great film, so I was really looking forward to the ''Fully Restored'' 40th Anniversary Edition Blu ray from Fremantle.
I wish I'd checked the reviews out on here first, though.
Quite simply a dreadful picture, the worst I've ever seen on Blu ray. My old DVD was far better!
One star for the extras.
Avoid this release!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 500 REVIEWER on 21 Jun 2014
Format: DVD
Note: This review is for this DVD edition of 'Straw Dogs': Straw Dogs [1971] [DVD], which has the full movie uncut, it has been digitally remastered and can be watched in widescreen. The DVD is quite basic, there are no extras at all, no subtitles, and the only option on the menu is to 'Play Film'. I would say that the DVD release would probably rate three stars (particularly in comparison to Straw Dogs - Ultimate 40th Anniversary Edition [DVD]), but the movie is certainly worthy of a five.

This groundbreaking 1971 chestnut from director Sam Peckinpah caused much controversy at the time, due to the considerably lengthy rape scene which is the centrepiece of the movie. The scene is undeniably graphic and hard hitting for the time, but if you can look beyond that scene, I think you'll agree that 'Straw Dogs' is one of the greats in British cinema.

It's an intense thriller about what can happen if you push even the most mild mannered of men too far. Mathematician David Summer is such a man, portrayed by Dustin Hoffman, he temporarily moves to a house in a rural village in England with his wife Amy, played by the lovely Susan George, who is a former town resident. Summer revels in his intelligence, and is too wrapped up in his own head to realise that his naïve wife's needs are being ignored and compromised. He is almost immediately hounded and humiliated by a group of laddish townsfolk, with tings gradually going from bad to worse as he finds himself having to defend his home leading up his wife's rape.

'Straw Dogs' is a brilliant and raw character study, a straight forward story, beautifully shot, and well acted.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jenny J.J.I. on 26 Oct 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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