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Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (SE)
DVD disk
07.03.2006 By: Jason Coleman
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (SE) order
George Roy Hill

Robert Redford
Paul Newman
Katharine Ross


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A story about notorious outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, as they go from robbing and stealing in local dusty towns, to robbing and stealing in Bolivia. With lawmen, a “superposse”, and an entire Bolivian army looking for the two charismatic gunslingers, it’s only a matter of time before someone ends up dead.
Isn’t it funny how the further you go back in film history, the simpler things become. Like this movie for instance, a classic take on the legendary gunmen that made a name for themselves in the old west. It starts off quite slow, taking its time to really set up the characters and setting, something that a lot of today’s films are way too afraid to do. Then, like the showman that he is, Director George Roy Hill takes a roller coaster turn and makes the middle of the picture a tense piece about being hunted. And if that weren’t enough, he then takes the characters to Bolivia, where the two outlaws must decide if going straight is for them. Everyone knows the classic visual moments – the black and white photo scene, the group of flaming torches following the two weary anti-heroes, and the machismo still frame ending – but what really struck me watching the film again was the terrific storytelling ability of Director Hill. Definitely the last of a dying breed, Hill uses all and any means necessary to really tell the tale; from high desert plains that cover and then expose the famous outlaws, to a simple romantic bike ride that explains the complex relationships within the film – without saying a word. It’s truly the work of a master craftsman.

While Redford and Newman are uber-famous now, they could only rest on their merits as actors for this film and it’s their relaxed and humorous, yet complex work here that fills out the tapestry already created by Hill. It’s easy to see why the two were movie stars; they exude and bleed charisma in every scene they embody, especially Redford who does more then just act, he becomes the Sundance Kid. And keeping up with a duo as powerful as these two is not an easy task, but second fiddle Katharine Ross really adds a much needed feminine element to a male dominated movie and still manages to hold her own. So while I could do without the “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” song, I think the film still holds up today and definitely retains the title of being a classic. Newman, Redford and the late, great Director Hill, three guys that I would walk into a gun fight with any day.
One really can’t accuse the folks at 20th Century Fox of being cheap, as they have chocked this 2-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition so full of anything and everything, even a hardcore fan will have to take more than a day to go through it all!

Disc One:

Commentary (with Director George Roy Hill, Lyricist Hal David, Documentary Director Robert Crawford Jr., and Cinematographer Conrad Hall): While I love a boatload of info as much as the next guy, there are far too many people squeezed into this commentary, which gets a little confusing at times. Myself, I would have preferred a triangle Hill, Newman, and Redford dialogue, or at the very least a track with just Hill by himself. Hearing what Hill wanted and thought from Cinematographer Hall isn’t really needed when Hill is right there himself! RIP George.

Commentary (with Screenwriter William Goldman): Whoever told Goldman that he needed to have his own track to engulf all his knowledge and stories of the production was a nitwit. The good news – Goldman likes to talk, so there is no lag time. The bad news – Goldman likes to talk, so there is no lag time. Get the picture?!

1994 Documentary: The Making Of Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (42:09): I love hearing anything with Hill’s voice and thoughts (saying things like some actors can be a pain in the ass!), and this doc is immersed with him. With rare and interesting on set footage and a thoroughness that would make even Ken Burns blush, this is a doc that does more then simply hold your interest, it grips you!

Disc Two:

This one has even more stuff that answers all the things you wanted to know about the film! (And possibly some things you don’t!)

All Of What Follows Is True: The Making Of Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (35:27): A look at the film from today’s perspective, with most of the original players (and some new ones like critics and Director Lawrence Kasdan), now all with grey hair, taking us through the film from nip to tip. Some repeat info, but still a good watch! (But man is that Richard D. Zanuck a strange guy to look at!)

The Wild Bunch: The True Tale Of Butch And Sundance (25:11): With a narrator who’s a Peter Graves wannabe, this one takes a look at what parts of the film were fact and what was fiction. Alright, but a little too much of a school lesson feel for my taste!

Vintage Documentaries - History Through The Lens: Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid: Outlaws Out Of Time (1:30:16): Starting to feel like overkill, as this one covers everything all over again, only this time it’s narrator is Bandit himself Burt Reynolds and that only slightly helps this documentary’s one-hour and thirty minute running time.

1994 Interviews: Some great interviews with Redford (who didn’t think that he was gonna get the role as 20th Century Fox didn’t want him!) and Newman (who cites his wife as the person who suggested Redford for the role!), with mediocre ones with Screenwriter William Goldman (who likes to hear himself talk!) and music man Burt Bacharach (who has nothing to say!). Plus there is one called Maybe Some Of What Follows Is True, where clips of everyone talking trash is put together - funny but way too short - and All Of What Follows Is True, which is short (thank goodness!) and not funny. But the real eye opener and diamond in the gravel is the interview with actress Katharine Ross, who states that after handling a camera early on in the production, Director Hill banned her from the set except when her scenes were being shot. I have an even bigger respect for that lady, she gave that sunny performance while being treated like dirt! You go girl!

“Tent” Deleted Scene with Commentary By George Roy Hill (4:07): A final look at the sequence that screenwriter Goldman keeps babbling about and guess what William, it’s not that great! What is good is the optional track by Hill, who finally gets to talk uninterrupted.

There is also a fistful of Production Notes, a feature that lists The Films Of Paul Newman, an Alternate Credit Roll, and three Theatrical Trailers.
This one requires a quick and speedy finale, much like the ending in the film itself, so here goes – film’s a classic, looks and sounds superb and chocked full of many revealing extras. (Maybe too many!) Redford, Newman, and visionary director George Roy Hill, it don’t get any better then that, folks!
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