Osterman Weekend, The: Commemorative 2 Disc Edition (1983)

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Released 6-Jul-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Authors Of All Things Peckinpah
Deleted Scenes
Theatrical Trailer
Featurette-Exposing The Osterman Weekend
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1983
Running Time 102:27
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (64:23)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Sam Peckinpah
Studio
Distributor

MRA Entertainment
Starring Rutger Hauer
John Hurt
Craig T. Nelson
Dennis Hopper
Chris Sarandon
Meg Foster
Helen Shaver
Cassie Yates
Sandy McPeak
Christopher Starr
Burt Lancaster
Cheryl Carter
John Bryson
Case Slip Case
RPI $19.95 Music Lalo Schifrin


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, + drug use
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Sam Peckinpah is a name that evokes visions of blood and violence, a director who is very well known and famous for his violent and dramatic thrillers and westerns. He is also famous (or infamous) for his drug use and legendary difficulty when dealing with studios and producers. It was these habits which resulted in him being virtually unemployable in the major studios when this film was made in 1983. He had not made a feature at this stage for 5 years, since making Convoy in 1978 despite being the director of such famous and critically respected films as The Wild Bunch and Straw Dogs. This project was put together by independent producers Peter Davis and Bill Panzer, later responsible for the Highlander franchise including one currently under production. They gathered the funds from various financiers which eventually led to issues during production and the sacking of Peckinpah when he would not agree to changes to his final cut of the film. Peckinpah died shortly after completing this project.

    The Osterman Weekend is based upon a novel by Robert Ludlum, author of many excellent thrillers including The Bourne Identity and its sequels. He does not write great literature but they are certainly some of the most exciting thrillers ever written. This particular story involves a TV commentator and investigative journalist, John Tanner (Rutger Hauer), who is hosting a get together of some of his college buddies over a weekend. These weekends have been had quite regularly since they were all at college together. The three college friends are Bernie Osterman (Craig T. Nelson), after whom these weekend get-togethers are named, Richard Tremaine (Dennis Hopper) a doctor and Joe Cardone (Chris Saradon) a successful businessman. Bernie comes alone, however Richard is accompanied by his coke addicted wife, Virginia (Helen Shaver) and Joe by his wife, Betty (Cassie Yates). Tanner's wife, Ali (Meg Foster) and their young son, Steve (played by Meg Foster's real life son, Christopher) round out the group. Unbeknownst to Tanner, his friends are being investigated by the CIA who approach him through an agent, Lawrence Fassett (John Hurt). They want him to allow them to install electronic surveillance equipment in his house so they can investigate his friends and try to learn more about what they believe to be a secret network of spies called Omega. After they show him compromising films of his friends, he agrees to help. Some back story to Fassett is revealed in the disturbing opening sequence, which was the main area of disagreement between Peckinpah and the producers/financiers. His original version is included in the extras. As the weekend progresses tension mounts and violence explodes. Burt Lancaster also appears as the CIA Director who convinces Tanner to get involved.

    I enjoyed this film, finding it intriguing and exciting. It also has some interesting comments to make about media manipulation, both by the media and of the media. It is quite a paranoid film, with cameras all over the place and a mysterious man controlling television in the house. The acting was generally impressive, although Craig T. Nelson's fake moustache gave him a slightly comic air, reminding me of Groucho Marx. As you would expect from Peckinpah the action scenes are well mounted and interestingly shot such as the car chase near the beginning and the fight around the pool during the climax. The film also has a distinct sense of voyeurism, even more so if you watch the sexually explicit alternate opening scene in the extras.

    Recommended for fans of action thrillers and a must own for Peckinpah fans.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good especially considering the vintage of the movie.

    The feature is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which most likely the original aspect ratio, although I do not have any information to confirm that.

    The picture was clear and sharp throughout, surprisingly good for a film this old. There was no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was also very good for a film of this age although I did get the impression that some scenes may have been lightened. Some of the inserted footage looked quite grainy, but this may have been intentional. There was some light grain generally throughout the film, but the bitrate was high so this was probably film grain.

    The colour was very good with no issues to report. As is normal for a film of this vintage the colour was a little on the dull side but you certainly could not complain.

    Artefacts were present, however mostly non distracting. There were some occasional black and white specks and I noticed some mild edge enhancement. Aliasing was also present such as at 5:03 and on a grille at 33:20 and Venetians at 70:10.

    There are no subtitles.

    The layer change occurs at 64:23 and was not particularly noticeable.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is very good.

    This DVD contains two audio options, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s and an English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was mostly clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync. Some lines were a little muffled and the lack of subtitles was annoying for that reason.

    The score of this film by Lalo Schifrin is good but quite dated.

    The surround speakers were used quite a bit during action scenes for cars noises, gunfire and the like. Sometimes they seemed a little over the top, showing off the remix rather than being completely suitable to the film.

     The subwoofer was not overworked, just adding some bass to the score here and there.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The extras are spread over two discs.

Menu

    The menu included an intro and was designed to look like a television studio control console. It was functional and fairly easy to use.

Disc 1

Deleted Scenes

    These scenes are scenes which were included in Peckinpah's original cut of the film but removed by the producers after Peckinpah was sacked. I tend to agree with the producers that the film is better without them. In other regions this film is available with these scenes included in the movie. They are non 16x9 enhanced and the video quality is quite bad with many tape tracking artefacts. The scenes included are:

Osterman Trailer (2:45)

    16x9 enhanced and a good quality trailer.

Commentary - Authors of 'All Things Peckinpah'

    An interesting commentary by 4 authors of various books about Sam Peckinpah. It is available either in Dolby Digital 5.1 or Dolby Digital 2.0 surround and includes the soundtrack playing underneath the commentators. They discuss Sam's view of the novel (not complimentary), tension between him and the producers, the use of sexual imagery, the relationship of this film to Straw Dogs, casting, trivia and plot analysis. Well worth a listen.

Disc 2

Alpha to Omega : Exposing The Osterman Weekend (78:04)

    A well made making of style documentary about the project, produced in 2004 which includes up to date interviews with the producers, Bill Panzer and Peter Davis, cast members John Hurt, Chris Sarandon, Cassie Yates, Rutger Hauer, Meg Foster, Craig T. Nelson and Helen Shaver, crew members including composer Lalo Schifrin and the editor and Peckinpah's agent, Martin Baum. Topics covered include the development of the film, the conflicts with Peckinpah, the state of his career at the time, casting, locations, anecdotes, shooting issues, drugs, budget problems, editing, the music, the dispute over the final cut and Sam Peckinpah's direction. Very well put together and certainly interesting.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This movie has recently been re-released in Region 1 in a very similar format. The differences are as follows:

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    This movie is also available in Region 2 (PAL) with the following differences to the Region 4 release.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 2 version of this disc misses out on;

    Obviously, either the Region 1 or Region 2 versions are superior. I would go for the Region 2 on the basis of having subtitles and being in PAL.

Summary

    An intriguing and imaginative thriller, Sam Peckinpah's final film before he died.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The set has a good selection of extras featuring a high quality feature-length documentary and a quality commentary.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, September 05, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
MRA - Suprised
Remixed soundtrack - John R