Blu-ray Review: Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia - Twilight Time Encore Edition

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Two years ago, boutique label Twilight Time issued an outstanding Blu-ray edition of director Sam Peckinpah's Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. Like most of the titles in their Limited Edition series, only 3,000 units were issued. They completely sold out very quickly. Those who missed it the first time around, rejoice. Twilight Time's "Encore Edition" makes another 3,000 copies of the 1974 classic available again. The disc contains what appears to be the same strong 1080p transfer and lossless DTS-HD MA 1.0 soundtrack. But it expands the already-impressive supplements by adding a brand new audio commentary featuring Peckinpah's assistant Katy Haber (joined by film historians Paul Seydor and Nick Redman).

Bring Me the Head is one of those gritty, lived-in cult favorites that never seems to age. The legendary maverick Peckinpah's personal favorite among his celebrated filmography, the revenge-driven Western delivers a story of startling simplicity. In Mexico, the wealthy, influential “El Jefe” (Emilio Fernández) demands to know the identity of the man who impregnated his teen daughter. Outraged after his daughter confesses it was Alfredo Garcia, a man whom El Jefe claims to have treated like a son, a bounty of one million dollars is placed on Garcia’s head. 

rsz_bringmetheheadof2016_bd.png There's no shortage of hardened criminals who take up the hunt for Garcia, but only Bennie (Warren Oates) who knows that he's already deceased. Bennie's no bounty hunter, in fact he's a lounge piano player, but he's smart enough to capitalize on this key bit of insider info. Bennie agrees to deliver the highly-valued head to subcontractors Sappensly (Robert Webber) and Quill (Gig Young) for the modest sum of $10,000 (the businessmen deliberately neglect to tell him about the million). So while it's actually not great money, all things considered, it should at least be easy, seeing as Bennie simply needs to rob Garcia’s grave.

What initially piques Bennie's interest isn't even the money, but his discovery that Garcia was involved with his girlfriend, a prostitute named Elita (Isela Vega). Despite a complex relationship that often belittles and emasculates Bennie, the depth of Bring Me the Head's emotions can be found in the Bennie/Elita pairing. Warren Oates has been justly praised for his work as the insecure, clingy Bennie. Vega is also impressive as the woman described as a "“two-timing bitch" (by no less than her boyfriend Bennie). The saga of Bennie's obsession with a dead man he still seems to regard as a rival reveals more layers with each viewing.

Again, this "Encore Edition" boasts a new commentary track to go with the two carried over commentaries (one with Peckinpah's co-screenwriter Gordon T. Dawson with film historian Nick Redman, the other with film historians Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons, David Weddle, and again Redman). A quick rundown of the other supplements ported from the initial release: hour-long documentary "Passion and Poetry: Sam's Favorite Film," the 25-minute "A Writer's Journey" featuring Peckinpah biographer Garner Simmons, a gallery of promotional images and trailers for the film. Jerry Fielding's score is available as an isolated track.

Fans of Peckinpah, Warren Oates, and/or classic Westerns, proceed directly to Screen Archives or the official Twilight Time website for ordering information. After the quick sellout of the initial edition, there's no reason to think the Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia Twilight Time Encore Edition won't sell out as well.

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Chaz Lipp is a Seattle-based freelance writer whose focus is music and film. As “The Other Chad,” he has written for the online magazine Blogcritics since 2008. When he’s not writing, Chaz can be found trolling jazz clubs, attempting to find somewhere to play his sax (whether anyone wants to hear…

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