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The Osterman Weekend (2 Disc Set)
The Osterman Weekend
2 Disc Set
Actors: Rutger Hauer, John Hurt, Craig T. Nelson, Dennis Hopper, Chris Sarandon
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
R     2004     1hr 43min

Sam Peckinpah's final film has a lot to recommend it, including a complicated story derived from a Robert Ludlum novel but laced with Peckinpah's hard questions about loyalty and the balance between civilization and basic ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Rutger Hauer, John Hurt, Craig T. Nelson, Dennis Hopper, Chris Sarandon
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Bruce Lee, Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 03/23/2004
Original Release Date: 10/14/1983
Theatrical Release Date: 10/14/1983
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 43min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 10
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Fine final thriller from Peckinpah 3 1/2 stars
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 10/07/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Although it starts off a bit shakey, "The Osterman Weekend" regains its balance and becomes a suspenseful thriller worth watching. While it isn't Peckinpah's best film, it has many of the best qualities that made "The Wild Bunch", "Straw Dogs" and other thrillers interesting and an example of vital cinema.

Rutger Hauer plays John Tanner a TV reporter devoted to uncovering the truth about our government's covert operations, illegal dealings, etc. When a CIA operative Lawrence Fassett(John Hurt)comes to him with the story of a career there's a catch--it involves Tanner's friends. Fassett reveals that Tanner's three best friends Osterman (Craig T. Nelson), Tremayne (Dennis Hopper) and Cardone (Chris Sarandon)are all three Soviet spies. Fassett proposes that Tanner can break an incredible story if he'll cooperate in trying to turn one or all of the spies over a weekend at Tanner's house. Tension builds as the three spies suspect that Tanner knows that they're agents for the Soviets and they're undecided what, exactly, to do about it.

On disc one we get the original theatrical version. It looks quite good and but this high definition transfer highlights the high amount of grain in the original film itself. That's due to the choice of film stock, lighting, etc. That doesn't mar the transfer just keep in mind it won't look quite as smooth as a more contemporary film. The print looks quite good with minimal digital and analog blemishes. The soundtrack in 5.1 sounds a bit hollow to me and lacks the presence it should but that's not a surprise given that it was transferred (If I'm not mistaken) from a stereo soundtrack master.

This Anchor Bay Special Edition includes both the original theatrical release as well as transfer of the video of the only known surviving copy of Peckinpah's original workprint. The workprint differs from the final version. The film was taken away from Peckinpah and many of the important subplots in the film were tossed aside and the more ambigious ending was also replaced a different cut making the film more conclusive. A warning about the workprint--it's precisely that an unfinished version of the film that hasn't been color corrected and is missing key elements of the film. It's also a direct copy of an old 3/4 inch transfer of the film and is in full screen. If you can get past that, it's fascinating to compare the two versions. While the final version is clearer and punchier, Peckinpah's version has some differences that make it compelling as well.

We also get a fascinating documentary called "Alpha to Omega" that discusses the making of the movie and the changes made to Peckinpah's movie as well as the general reaction to the film. There's also a still gallery and a nice commentary by Peckinpah historians Paul Sedor, Garner Simmons, David Weddle and Nick Redman. It couldn't possibly have topped Peckinpah's own commentary were he still alive but it's the best that we have. The commentary has a number of fascinating bits of trivia as well as observations about the film, performances and story that are very interesting.

While it isn't a perfect film, "The Osterman Weekend" is a fine thriller and well worth viewing particularly if you're a Peckinpah fan. The sharp performances, interesting script from Alan Sharp (who wrote the minor classic "Night Moves" for director Arthur Penn)and nice transfer make this well worth picking up.

Swan song for Peckinpah
Erik North | San Gabriel, CA USA | 08/04/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Although at times confusing (unless one is really looking hard), THE OSTERMAN WEEKEND is a pretty good final film for one of the cinema's most controversial directors, Sam Peckinpah. It is his statement on the Cold War, courtesy of Robert Ludlum's 1972 novel, and has many of those well-staged action sequences that make later imitators like Quentin Tarantino and John Woo look like rank amateurs.Rutger Hauer stars as a controversial L.A. talk show host with a penchant for tearing down government officials for their hackneyed explanations of U.S. policy towards the Soviets. He is anticipating the arrival of three old college friends (Craig T. Nelson, Chris Sarandon, Dennis Hopper) and Sarandon's and Hopper's wives (Cassie Yates, Helen Shaver) for an annual get-together.But then, a CIA operative (John Hurt) throws a monkey wrench into things when he presents evidence that seems to indicate that Hauer's friends are working for the heathen Soviets in an attempt to sabotage America's germ warfare program. Hauer thus allows Hurt to set up surveillance equipment around the house to monitor their friends' doings. Then things get very hairy, complicated, and, not surprisingly, somewhat violent.Despite having the usual difficulties with his producers, who were (like many others) penny-pinching, Peckinpah managed to make the most out of his final cinematic effort. The incredible shootout between Hauer, Nelson, and the CIA assassins in Hauer's back forty is Peckinpah at his prime (one would never suspect that in reality he was slowly dying when he made the film). Burt Lancaster turns in a hideously frightening role as the right-wing director of the CIA whose anticommunist paranoia (not too much unlike Sterling Hayden's in DOCTOR STRANGELOVE) sets the film's events in motion.Finished off by a fine Lalo Schifrin score, THE OSTERMAN WEEKEND is a solid and efficient espionage thriller, worthy for at least one curious look."
Patriot or Useful Idiot?
Interplanetary Funksmanship | Vanilla Suburbs, USA | 10/07/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Sam Peckinpah ("The Getaway") delivers his usual blend of action and paranoia in this 1983 sleeper, which stars the underrated Rutger Hauer as a investigative TV reporter out of the Mike Wallace mold, and John Hurt as the CIA operative. Burt Lancaster as the national security chief reprises his role as an overzealous cold warrior type (like he played in "Seven Days in May"). The plot takes off when Lancaster, the frequent target of Hauer's hit pieces for his civil liberties violations, turns Hauer over to Hurt, who reveals that Hauer's business partners (Craig Nelson, cast against his "Coach" type as a ruthless businessman, and the ever-edgy Dennis Hopper) are traitorous subversives selling government secrets to the communists.Soon the plot takes several twists and turns and everyone is mice trapped in a maze with the cat having just been dropped in. "The Osterman Weekend" starts off as a traditional espionage thriller as a red herring just to fool you, but becomes a paranoid psychological manhunt which will leave you wondering who is the good guy and who is the bad guy (which I won't give away here).The acting is top notch, especially Hauer; It is such a shame seeing an actor with such a fine sense of timing and the ability to impart dialogue with intelligence, wit and subtle power, being trapped in made-for-cable and miniseries supporting roles. "The Osterman Weekend" shows off the full power of his dramatic acumen , and is up there with his performances in "Fatherland," "The Hitcher" and "Inside the Third Reich." Lancaster and Hurt are chilling as the tough-guy spook and the manipulative psychological warfare agent, respectively. I still say that *no one* can deliver an impassioned speech better than Lancaster, and he's in top form here.So, treat yourself to a great psychological thriller that's almost as great as "The Manchurian Candidate," with the devastating action and shoot-em-up pyrotechnics you expect from Sam Peckinpah. "The Osterman Weekend" is his worthy validictory entry."
The Osterman Weekend
Nial Westwood | London UK | 04/01/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"A great swansong to a dying man plagued by his personal demons.
This is not classic Peckinpah admitedly, however this is great viewing. The action scenes for 1983 are up there with any (good) John Woo movies of later years. Rutger Hauer, John Hurt and Craig T Nelson are very watchable. This is defientely worth a second look.
The very rough cut on the 2nd DVD gives this film a more ambigious feel.
Like the train wreck of A man Apart, it shows that test screening clearly does not work!"