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
To commemorate the 40TH ANNIVERSARY of Sam Peckinpah's controversial ''STRAW DOGS'', the film has been fully restored to create the definitive version of one of the most intensely powerful and menacing portrayals of violence to appear on the big screen.
Released in 1971 and banned from home viewing under the 1984 Video Recordings Act, his disturbing masterpiece can now be seen in its 'uncut' form as he intended.
David Sumner ( Dustin Hoffman) is a quiet American mathematician who has moved with his wife Amy (Susan George) back to a remote Cornish farmhouse near the village where she grew up. The couple have relocated to rural England in an attempt to flee the violence of America but their placid life is brutally interrupted when the savagery and violence they sought to escape engulfs them and threatens to destroy their lives.
Special features include:
1971 Original US theatrical trailer
1971 3 x US TV spots, 1971 2 x US radio spots
Commentary from Sam Peckinpah Biographers: Garner Simmons, David Weddle & Paul Seydor
Commentary from close friend and PA of Sam Peckinpah: Katy Haber
Interview with Susan George
Interview with Producer Dan Melnick
Interview with Sam Peckinpah Biographer Garner Simmons
Isolated Jerry Fielding score in Stereo with additional cues
On location stills
Original publicity stills
Original film posters & lobby cards
History of Straw Dogs and the Censors
Reviews, filmographies, facts & fascinating correspondence
Before and After: Restoring a classic
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