Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid 4K UHD Is the Pick of the Week

Davy’s Pick: I haven’t seen all of Sam Peckinpah’s work, but from the ones I have, I know that he was a legendary, uncompromising, and renegade filmmaker, with his penchant for unparalleled violence and baroque masculinity.

Buy Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (Criterion Collection) 4K UHD

And 1973’s Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid sounds like his most mature and elegiac film. James Coburn is an aging Pat Garrett and Kris Kristofferson is a strapping Billy the Kid, whose once strong friendship seems to have been destroyed by greed and authority. And I guess that obviously that leads to a showdown (probably gruesome), one that probably changed the myth of the Old West. It was based on the real Garrett and the Kid.

Doing some research, I found that it doesn’t have the best reviews of Peckinpah’s career (the Rotten Tomatoes score is at 56%), but it does have a huge cult following and is considered one of the best Westerns ever made, so my interest is peaked.

And the Criterion release sounds stacked. It has three versions of the film: the 50th Anniversary release, original theatrical release, and the previous cut. There’s also an audio commentary for the 50th Anniversary Release featuring Paul Seydor, Roger Spottiswoode, and critic Michael Sragow; Dylan in Durango, a new interview with author Clinton Heylin about the film’s soundtrack; Passion & Poetry: Peckinpah’s Last Western, a new documentary by Mike Siegel about the making of the film; archival interview with actor James Coburn; and trailer/TV spots. A new essay by author Steve Erickson is included as well.

So, if you love modern Westerns and Sam Peckinpah, then this is a truly amazing-sounding release for you.

Other titles that look interesting to Gordon S. Miller are:

Taxi Driver (4K UHD): Previously available in 2021 as part of Sony’s Columbia Classics Collection: Volume 2 box set, Martin Scorsese’s classic Taxi Driver is available individually in SteelBook packaging. Suffering from insomnia, troubled veteran Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) works the night shift as a New York City taxi driver. Seeing how bad things are, he desires to rid “the scum off the streets” and takes the law into his own hands.

UHF (4K UHD and Blu-ray): For its 35th Anniversary, Shout Factory presents “Weird Al” Yankovic’s feature-film outing as George Newman, who is tasked with turning around his uncle failing TV station. an artifact of what it meant to be popular in the 20th century. In his review, Kent Conrad states, “it’s easy to feel affection for this ramshackle movie.”

Narrow Margin (4K UHD and Blu-ray): From Kino Lorber Studio Classics, journeyman Peter Hyams performs triple duty (director, cinematographer, and screenwriter) on this enjoyable albeit formulaic 1990 thriller, a remake of The Narrow Margin (1952). Gene Hackman stars as Deputy District Attorney Robert Caulfield (Gene Hackman) sent to bring Carol (Anne Archer) back to Los Angeles to testify after she witnesses a mob murder. Read Gordon S. Miller’s review of the Special Edition Blu-ray.

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