mov: straw dogs

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The Criterion Collection announced yesterday that they will be releasing an upgraded edition of Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs on Blu-ray & DVD in coming June.

The DVD edition of this film has been a long-time prized possession of mine, and is one of the Criterion releases that so perfectly embodies the idea of their releases being a ‘film school in a box’. Many (All? I haven’t compared them yet.) of those supplements that made the original release will return for this release, but this post isn’t really about that. This is about the artwork.

This new artwork (right) just doesn’t quite hit the way the original release did. Most of the reason why, is the fact that we now have an artist’s rendition of an absolutely harrowing photograph of Hoffman rather than the photo itself. I still quite like the painting on the new one, and most of my problem with it is in its presentation. The white border and title/credit treatment of the original is so bold and simple that seeing those same names squeezed into the bottom of the new artwork just doesn’t feel right.

But still, this is a release so important that they could’ve had a five-year-old finger paint Hoffman and it would still be a must-buy… so I guess I shouldn’t complain, since they at least kept the spirit of the original alive in this updated art.

Straw Dogs will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 27 via The Criterion Collection. The controversial 1971 thriller has been newly restored in 4K and includes the uncompressed monaural soundtrack.

The film is directed by Sam Peckinpah (The Wild Bunch). He co-wrote the script with David Zelag Goodman (Logan’s Run), based on Gordon M. Williams’s 1969 novel, The Siege of Trencher’s Farm. Dustin Hoffman and Susan George star.

Special features are listed below.

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Straw Dogs (2011)

City Boy Film Writer James Marsden & his Country Gal Wife Kate Bosworth head back to her home town in Bumfucknowehere Louisiana. It is a small community for the small minded and incomers are hardly welcomed. When Marsden hires Bosworth’s old boyfriend Alexander Skarsgård to fix a barn roof he exposes them to inbred nutjobs for home the old flame still burns.

This is reasonable yet completely unnecessary rehashing of Sam Peckinpah’s 1971 classic. It transposes to the deep south rather nicely and like the original is a nasty little film but comes across slightly less grimy and grotty due to it’s more colourful palette and better looking cast.

All the nasty parts are still there, the particularly disconcerting and confusing moment remains disconcerting and confusing and there is some lovely foreshadowing.

Not bad, Skarsgård makes for a very interesting bad guy, I like this guy a lot and more an more each time I see him. I predict a big breakout role for him before too long.

“That’s a little Redneck wisdom for ya”.

“I didn’t kill your fucking Cat!”

“Those straw dogs were practically licking my body outside”.

“See there Mr. Sumner, you ain’t the only one with a trophy wife. Only difference is, mine’s for third place”.

“Well, generally cats don’t hang themselves”.

“Get your daddy’s gun and shoot anyone that’s not me”.