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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on 16 November 2011
Format: Blu-rayVine 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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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on 1 November 2011
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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.

(NOTE: The next two paragraphs contain spoilers)
--------------------------
This was 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 things 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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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 10 December 2011
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Blu-rayVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Whatever the merits of Sam Peckinpah's still polarising film - and it remains a mixture of the troubling and the masterful, sometimes at the same time - it certainly deserved much better than Fremantle's surprisingly dreadful UK Blu-ray release. The extras are the same as their previous DVD release, and they're an impressive collection: audio commentary by Peckinpah experts Garner Simmons, David Weddle and Paul Seydor, second commentary by Peckinpah's assistant and longtime companion Katy Haber, interviews with Susan George, producer Daniel Melnick and Garner Simmons, 1971 TV location report, an isolated track for Jerry Fielding's score with deleted cues, stills and poster galleries, text feature on censorship problems, reviews, filmographies and correspondence, 2 US radio spots, 3 US TV spots, and original US theatrical trailer. The sole new feature is featurette Before and After: Restoring a Classic - and it's the 'restoration' that's this release's downfall, the short revealing that the film looked better BEFORE than after!

Far from improving the picture quality over the earlier DVD release, they actually seem to have made it worse: not just a little worse, but a lot worse - washed out, often lacking in definition and looking like it had been mastered from an old 16mm TV copy rather than the original 35mm negative. Contrast has been increased with loss of detail, colours are unconvincing (flesh tones are particularly variable) and blacks are often green. Depth is often absent from the image, giving it the flat look of an old 60s magazine photograph at times. After a while you just lose the will to persevere with the disc it's so poor. You're better off sticking with their deleted original release (Straw Dogs [1971] [DVD]) or getting Criterion's now deleted US DVD (Straw Dogs - Criterion Collection [DVD] [1971] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]) - this release really is a travesty.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 5 December 2011
Format: Blu-rayVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I almost gave up watching this because of the slow and rather boring build up. It begins with the story of a young couple who have moved from America to a Cornish village where the wife had previously stayed with her father and they are having a lovely old farmhouse restored by some rather weird looking locals. The more you see of the village folk the more you realise none of them are quite "normal" and the village idiot is not so mad after all.What is puzzling is the relationship between the couple themselves, Dustin Hoffman is so serious and Susan George appears to be a spoilt child who would go to any lengths to attract attention. She strips off her top then stands at an open window knowing that at least one of the men outside has already made a pass at her. When her husband is out hunting with the locals who have earlier shown their dislike of him Susan George opens the door in her dressing gown, invites one of the men in and offers him a drink.The rape scene that follows disturbed me most because in some ways it made the victim look as though she had invitied trouble, she certainly had a huge lamp just behind her head and made no attempt to use it against her attacker. To me this feeds the imagination of those sick rapists who believe that all women are willing even when they say "no". The scenes that follow are very dark, the crime is not reported, even to her husband, and the couple go along to the church hall knowing everyone from the village will be present. The other young actress in the film is a "temptress" who throws herself at Hoffman but when he shows no interest she turns to the guy everyone has warned the girls about, brilliantly portrayed by both actors. What follows changes the whole of village life for all time, to say what happens would spoil the film but it does show a remarkable change in Hoffman`s character. All the actors are fantastic, it is worth sticking with the slow start as it sets the scene for the aftermath to follow. Not my idea of a classic though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Blu-rayVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The quality of the Blu-ray version has been well covered by others and I agree with the comments. The banning of Peckinpah's movie for years seems to have enhanced its stature and all because the censor back in the early Seventies interpreted a sequence in a particular way. It probably wouldn't raise an eyebrow with the Authorities today.

David (Hoffman) and Amy's (George) characters do seem rather on edge right the way through, she childishly tries to stop him getting on with researching his book while outside some local builders are putting a roof on the garage and ogling Amy at every opportunity. She is a local girl and knows the local lads/builders. This point is worth knowing when the rape sequence occurs.

I thought the acting throughout was rather forced, either there were too many takes or not enough because hardly anyone speaks in a normal conversational way. Possibly this isn't too important to Peckinpah when he seeks the visual rather more than the narrative. The production is heavy with characters facial looks and little bits of action to make a point. This comes across most strongly in the long finale with the Hedden family (dad played by Peter Vaughan) and friends attempting to break into David's house and capture Henry (David Warner) who they think, rightly, has something to do with the disappearance of Janice Hedden (Sally Thomsett). The siege of the house is Peckinpah at his best with crisp editing and the bad 'uns eventually being killed or maimed.

Straw Dogs has been presented as a sort of revenge movie and admittedly David does blast away with his shotgun, saucepans of boiling water and an ancient bear trap, as much to protect Amy, injured Henry and his home as to revenge the assault on Amy. As revenge movies go, though it has nothing on the finale of Steven Monroe's `I spit on your grave' which also involves a victim of rape.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
SAFE READING - NO SPOILERS

Sam Peckinpah's credits as a director is a list of films, often set in the "wild" west and, in his case, it is wild, violent and basic. Anyone watching one of his films knowing the history would know what to expect, preparing for the shocks. He was the director who broke the mould of fantasy films, i.e. someone was shot, no blood, they simply fell dead as in the theatre; Peckinpah brought realism to the cinema with "The Wild Bunch", realism which shocked in its grizzly, sanguineous portrayal of violence. Some say it brought the real west (which had been violent) to the screens and, therefore, made people think; others thought it gratuitous and violent for the sake of the box-office.

Labelled a "video nasty" in the 1980s and banned until the late 90s, "Straw Dogs" is set in a quiet Cornish village in which the red-necks end sentences with "Moy Lover!". Tension builds slowly under the guise of normal living until the final sex and violent scenes so typical of its director.

Like it or not, it is a milestone in cinema history but on the road to where? No longer able to ban it, it has since become "just a film" in a long list of violent films, some realistic e.g. "The Hurt Locker", "Hotel Rawanda" trying to depict serious events in our lifetime for ostensibly laudable reasons and others, e.g. "Terminator", "The Expendables" which just seem to use violence for its own shocking sake. Does it shock any more? Some like "Hot Shots" have returned to more theatrical violence satarising the violent films, e.g. body count counters appear on the screen and slap-stick humour(?).

These features of modern life (and not so modern) still fill our cinemas and our minds. Am I objectively standing back criticising these films or have I been immured too? If I say it's 3-star and OK giving it approval what does that say about me? If I award it 4-stars and say I like it, does that shine a light into my character?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 October 2007
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. It's a dangerous line to draw when one labels a film due to what is *not* included in a film.

What this film does contain is much more stellar - Hoffman is beyond incredible in this film. His character development is amazing to experience. One criticism of the film that I heard from a friend who saw it before me was that it "dragged." I couldn't disagree more. The development of the story until the extremely violent climax is a perfect pace because it made me feel like I was sitting in a dentist chair, knowing that this low boil could explode at any time. After the dust settles, the viewer is left to decide whether Hoffman's character made the right decision, and left to speculate on the ramifications of the choices made. This is by far one of the best films I've seen in recent months and from this director.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Blu-rayVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Straw Dogs was a controversial movie in the 70's, and was banned by censors as being too violent for viewing. I watched the film many years ago, and whilst I did find it to be disturbing, I think the ban just made the film far more sought after than it deserved to be. It's NOT a great film, in my opinion. Of course, the rape scene caused a furore, but remember, it WAS the 70's. Many of the films which were banned at that time, when viewed now are unremarkable. All I can say about the Blu-ray is - why bother? The film hasn't transferred well to Blu-ray, the quality is poor, the clarity is poor, and to be honest, it's not a film that demands a place in most people's collection. If you like it, great - I didn't.
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