Major Dundee

Major Dundee

Director: Sam Peckinpah Cast: Charlton Heston, Richard Harris, Jim Hutton

DVD (Expanded / Wide Screen)

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It's difficult to imagine a more dignified treatment for Sam Peckinpah's Major Dundee than what it's received here -- a fact that is doubly amazing considering how the movie was treated by its studio, Columbia Pictures, on its original release, and abused and neglected in the decades that followed, until 2005. This DVD features the long-awaited "extended version" of Peckinpah's damaged masterpiece, prepared in 2005 using footage unseen since the previews of the movie in 1965, and given a whole new score composed by Christopher Caliendo. Not only is the transfer -- in the full, proper 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio -- one of the finest this reviewer has ever scene, but the detail and the richness are a wonder to behold; this is the kind of disc that one uses to demonstrate big-screen monitors and, no doubt, high-definition monitors as well (though it is not in high-def). And both soundtracks to the movie, Daniele Amfitheatrof's original release score from 1965 and Caliendo's new score for the 2005 expanded edition, are here to be heard; in fact, one can easily switch between them with just two touches of a button. The original soundtrack version is brighter and louder, but the revised soundtrack is better balanced and, in keeping with the rescoring itself, much more subtle. The movie has been given a very generous but appropriate 28 chapters as well. All of this would be enough to make this a first-rate DVD, but Columbia TriStar has done a lot more than that with this release. For starters, there's the commentary track, a lively four-way discussion between Peckinpah biographers Nick Redman, Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons, and David Weddle. They've appeared on other Peckinpah releases, and they haven't run out of steam yet, based on the results here -- they deliver wall-to-wall commentary, and they're never dull as they explain the importance of this movie, not just as a Peckinpah film but as a piece of popular culture and cinema history, about as well as anyone could, delving into comparisons with the work of John Ford and others and relating the movie to contemporary events around it. Their work, coupled with the two different scores, means that one is getting at least six to eight hours of first-time viewing on this disc, and their track is entertaining enough to return to -- often. The other major supplementary materials include an extended excerpt from the documentary Passion & Poetry -- The Ballad of Sam Peckinpah, which, between period footage and interviews with surviving cast members (best of all L.Q. Jones), gives one a great picture of the man and his work on the movie, and the period featurette promoting the movie "Riding for a Fall" (the latter in black-and-white and color versions), dealing with the stuntmen at work on Major Dundee. And, finally, there is the accompanying printed insert containing the essay "Peckinpah's Wounded Masterpiece," by Glenn Erickson. The disc's bonus features are very easy to access, through a multi-layer menu, and they only enhance an already brilliant presentation. The whole package is essential, even for non-fans of the director or the genre.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/20/2005
UPC: 0043396049437
Original Release: 1965
Rating: PG-13
Source: Sony Pictures
Region Code: 1
Presentation: [Wide Screen]
Sound: [Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Time: 2:16:00
Sales rank: 18,494

Special Features

Closed Caption; Commentary by Peckinpah Historians; Incomplete deleted scene "Knife Fight"; Extended scene "Major Dundee and Teresa"; Extended 20-minute excerpt from Mike Siegel's film "Passion & Poetry -- The Ballad of Sam Peckinpah"; Vintage stunts featurette "Riding for a Fall" ; Silent extended outtakes; Trailer artwotk outtakes; Promotional stills and poster artwork; Exhibitor promo reel excerpt; Original theatrical trailer; 2005 re-release trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Charlton Heston Maj. Amos Charles Dundee
Richard Harris Capt. Benjamin Tyreen
Jim Hutton Lieutenant Graham
James Coburn Samuel Potts
Michael Anderson Tim Ryan
Senta Berger Widow
Mario Adorf Sgt. Gomez
Brock Peters Aesop
Warren Oates O.W. Hadley
Ben Johnson Sgt. Chillum
R.G. Armstrong Reverend Dahlstrom
L.Q. Jones Arthur Hadley
Slim Pickens Wiley
Karl Swenson Capt. Waller
Michael Pate Sierra Charriba
John Davis Chandler Jimmy Lee Benteen
Dub Taylor Benjamin Priam
Albert Carrier Capt. Jacques Tremaine
José Carlos Ruiz Riago
Aurora Clavel Melinche
Begoña Palacios Linda
Enrique Lucero Dr. Aguilar
Francisco Reiguera Old Apache

Technical Credits
Sam Peckinpah Director,Screenwriter
Daniele Amfitheatrof Score Composer
Jerry Bresler Producer
Thomas Dawson Costumes/Costume Designer
Harry Julian Fink Screenwriter
Howard Kunin Editor
Sam Leavitt Cinematographer
Augie Lohman Special Effects
William Lyon Editor
Oscar Saul Screenwriter
Don Starling Editor
Alfred Ybarra Art Director

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Major Dundee
1. Start [:11]
2. Slaughter [3:09]
3. Captain Tyreen [3:09]
4. Volunteers [1:07]
5. Lieutenant Graham [3:11]
6. Compromise [6:45]
7. Officers [4:37]
8. "Move 'Em Out, Lieutenant." [5:59]
9. Racial Tension [4:54]
10. What They Fought For [4:33]
11. Informer [6:26]
12. Ambush [4:21]
13. "We Got Whipped." [4:35]
14. Call for Surrender [3:57]
15. Liberator [4:19]
16. Festive Night [6:48]
17. Back to Business [5:28]
18. Fooling the French [5:32]
19. Deserter [2:24]
20. Frontier Justice [:54]
21. Interrupted Interlude [5:12]
22. Time to heal [3:50]
23. Back From Durango [3:38]
24. Turning Back [6:43]
25. Springing the Trap [6:58]
26. One Way Home [5:47]
27. Skirmish Line [5:47]
28. All Present & Accounted For [3:07]

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Major Dundee 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite films, albeit a tad too long and drawn out in parts, Heston is strong as is Harris and the rest of the cast. Heston battles the Apache, the French, The Confederates and his own demons in this story of a disciplined union officer. He is survivng the war out west and trying to bring justice at the same time, in a land where there is only injustice and cruelty. The love interest and love interest lost are a bit long and boring, even unneeded but the classic battle at the end is worth the wait.