The Getaway – Deluxe Edition

January 28, 2012 9 Min Read

Review by: Christopher Bligh

Plot: What’s it about?

Recently, this viewer decided to give note to a particular director and his work while perusing the collection of DVDs and one stood out considerably. That director was the great Sam Peckinpah and at the same time a collection of the great films of Steve McQueen made its way to shelves and the return of one title made its presence known about deception, money, and two people on the run, The Getaway.

It’s been four years and “Doc” McCoy (Steve McQueen) has been denied for parole. With the boredom of prison getting to him, he enlists the help of his wife Carol (Ali MacGraw) to get the word to one of those members on the parole board (Ben Johnson) that he needs his help. He grants the request with the condition of a bank job. With the help of two other slippery individuals (Al Lettieri and Bo Hopkins), they devise a simple plan to knock the place over. It is after this job that the cracks in between start to show and complications arise.

It’s not my job to giveaway The Getaway for that it is fast, it is twisty and it’s a helluva ride. From the opening moments of deer to the closing moments of the road, Sam and Co. give off a tremendous vibe that leaves the viewer breathless. The pacing of the film along with Peckinpah touches such as the slow motion action and the quick cuts along with a little touch of brutality make for a super Bloody Sam special.

Steve McQueen never looked better (with glasses) and shows his signature cool in a different light along with giving moments that dialogue wasn’t necessary as he plays a character that is married and has the mind of a chess player both during and away from the game (as noted at the beginning of the film). The film is not without it’s solid support from co-star Ali MacGraw as a wife who’s willing to do anything for her husband, and two Godfather notables: Al Lettieri (Solozzo) as the slippery but dangerous Rudy and Richard Bright (Al Neri) in the small role as a slickster during an encounter at the bus station. Look out for other notable character actors throughout the film that lend a great hand.

The beautiful Scope picture is well handled here as well as the buildup to the action sequences of the film, but one special notable is the score of Quincy Jones. This is most evident during a touching scene with McQueen and MacGraw in a park that cues in the music and the editing just right even if every part of it isn’t in place. This also goes for the action sequences that use the score to its advantage (as well as the touch of Paul Williams).

With a pace that doesn’t let in and with everything put together without going too over the top or too off the meter, The Getaway remains one of the most solid trips of the seventies as well as one of the finest examples of the great work of Sam Peckinpah.

Video: How does it look?

In it’s second release, The Getaway is given the 2.35:1 anamorphic treatment and although I don’t have the original for comparison, this treatment on this Deluxe Edition is a pretty solid piece of visual work thanks to a great transfer that keeps debris and print flaws to a minimum and despite the warm colors with a slight bleed, this is a solid presentation of the film giving way of it’s great sandy landscapes and it’s multi colored palette that never succumbs to oversaturation. A very nice job.

Audio: How does it sound?

The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono track of the Getaway is a typical seventies soundtrack of gunshots and dialogue but the dynamic of those gunshots in this particular film along with the Quincy Jones score are satisfactory and don’t sound too muted and not too artificially remastered but make for a very good track to go along with the film spread out around all channels with sound effects and score taking the surrounds and dialogue and other sounds coming through the center. This disc also has a French 2.0 Mono track as well as English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Supplements: What are the extras?

With the previous edition short on extras, this new Deluxe Edition (created for the very sweet Essential Steve McQueen box set) offers more. The first (if you can call it an extra) is the interactive menu which calls to mind McQueen’s other hit from a few years back, The Thomas Crown Affair using boxes and images from the film effectively along with one of the themes of the film in the background.

Down to the titled extras, there is another great commentary chapter in the multi-authored book entitled Peckinpah’s Present on Peckinpah’s Past (referred in the Osterman Weekend review) with our Peckinpah historian authors Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons, David Weddle and Nick Redman giving another great track around The Getaway covering from the reception of the film to the events that were surrounding Sam at the time of filming to the character that was Al Lettieri along with a few Peckinpah character comparisons. There is one intentioned gap and very few unintentioned gap but overall a feast of knowledge from the fearless Bloody Sam foursome and a wonderful listen.

Next is a most intriguing yet unique feature. The first reel of the film is shown with a “virtual” commentary by Sam Peckinpah, Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw. These were sound bites of the three with the widescreen angled off with photos to distinguish the speaking voices and is interesting but leaves this viewer hoping there would’ve been more for them to say with more reels. It’s also heartbreaking for Peckinpah and McQueen’s comments were intriguing listens and kind of would’ve been helpful had they still been around for this viewer is sure they would provided more great comments if they were still alive.

Lastly is the film’s over 3 minute theatrical trailer (in 2.35:1 widescreen) giving a good package of the film with some slight spoilers but an overall nicely cut piece of coming attraction.

With a deluxe edition not expanding over into a 2nd disc and settling for the less is more effect, The Getaway with it’s great pace, enjoyable commentary and a unique feature provides for a solid entry into the Peckinpah collection and is another highly recommended piece into the Steve McQueen box set (now if only they had Man Of The People as part of that) with a great film with few but highly effective extras.

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