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Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia(1974)
An American bartender and his prostitute girlfriend go on a road trip through the Mexican underworld to collect a $1 million bounty on the head of a dead gigolo.
For more about Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia and the Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia Blu-ray release, see Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on October 12, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Warren Oates, Isela Vega, Robert Webber, Gig Young, Kris Kristofferson
Director: Sam Peckinpah
» See full cast & crew
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, October 12, 2012
Sam Peckinpah's "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia" (1974) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Italian distributors Koch Media. The only extra on the disc is the film's original theatrical trailer. In English, with optional Italian subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
The powerful Mexican lord El Jefe (Emilio Fernández) tortures his daughter and she admits to him that she is carrying the baby of Alfredo Garcia. El Jefe then announces in front of his private army of bounty hunters that he will pay 1 million dollars to the man who brings him the playboy's head.
While trying to track down their man, two of El Jefe's bounty hunters end up in a shady brothel where drinks and women are cheap. Bennie (Warren Oates, Badlands, Cockfighter), the piano player, offers to help them after they leave a $100 tip and promise to pay him more if he delivers Alfredo Garcia's head. After the bounty hunters disappear, Benny picks up his old friend Elita (Isela Vega, Bordello), a beautiful but lonely prostitute, and the two hit the road.
Along the way, Elita tells Bennie that Alfredo Garcia is already dead and buried. While looking for his grave, the two decide to finally get married. They also plan to have a romantic night and make love under the stars, but two bikers show up and spoil their party. One of them demands that Elita sings his favorite song, while the other announces that he will make love to her before Bennie does.
On the following morning, Benny and Elita hit the road again. Some hours later, they arrive in the small village where Alfredo Garcia was apparently buried. Without knowing that they have been closely followed, they begin digging in the nearby graveyard.
Sam Peckinpah's Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia is a brutal, gritty and utterly uncompromising film that seems to promote violence as much as it condemns it. Even today, this is a film that can easily polarize casual viewers and critics.
The film focuses on Bennie's profound character transformation and ultimately self redemption. Through his eyes, Peckinpah delivers two entirely different views of the world, as well as life philosophies. Early on, Bennie is an opportunist whose moral standards are so low and so flexible that he is willing to do virtually anything in order to move up the social ladder. The second half of the film is purgatory – a tragic event forces Benny to reconsider his entire system of beliefs and choose a new direction in life.
There is a lesson to be learned here, but Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia is not a preachy film. Peckinpah only shows, at times with a rather intimidating directness, how the lust for money can transform men into animals and then quickly destroy them.
As far as genre characteristics are concerned - a favorite theme for many critics who have written about Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia - the film is essentially a western with a unique contemporary look. Peckinpah shot it on location in Mexico and his direction is simply flawless. There are some incredibly rough but at the same time enormously poetic sequences, particularly during the second half where the film becomes very dark.
The late Warren Oates is spectacular as Benny. Most of the time he wears big, thick black glasses and drinks heavily to numb the pain deep inside - just like Peckinpah did while he was alive. He really does look like a man that would do anything for money. Isela Vega is also terrific as his disillusioned friend. Kris Kristofferson has a small but memorable cameo.
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Sam Peckinpah's Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Italian distributors Koch Media.
Despite the fact that the high-definition transfer has been struck from a dated source, the film looks quite good. Detail and especially depth (during the desert sequences) are much improved. Generally speaking, colors are also stable and richer than those from the out of print R1 DVD release of the film. The best news, however, is that attempts to re-polish the film and make it look 'cleaner' and 'sharper' have not been made. In other words, there are no traces of heavy degraning and edge-enhancement, and this really is what makes this release worth owning. This is not to imply that there is no room for substantial improvements, but even though the high-definition transfer isn't from a new scan, the film definitely looks like a film of its age should. This said, light noise, some minor contrast fluctuations, very light edge flicker, and some flecks are occasionally noticeable here and there. However, though aged, the basics are certainly in decent condition. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray release. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two standard audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: English LPCM 2.0 and Italian LPCM 2.0. For the record, Koch Media have provided optional Italian subtitles for the main feature. English subtitles for the short exchanges in Spanish in the beginning of the film are also included (see screencapture #7).
The English LPCM 2.0 track is solid. The audio has good depth and even a good range of dynamics. Especially during the shootouts, the improved clarity is very easy to hear. The dialog is stable and free of problematic background hiss. Additionally, there are no pops, sudden audio dropouts or distortions to report in this review.
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia is one hell of a film, a true classic directed by one of America's greatest filmmakers, Sam Peckinpah. Though far from perfect, this Italian release, courtesy of Koch Media, represents a pretty good upgrade in quality over the now out of print R1 DVD release of the film, which MGM produced back in 2005. The disc is also very attractively priced. My advice to you is to consider importing it, because there has been absolutely no news about a possible North American release. RECOMMENDED.
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