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Is Imprint Films’ Release of The Osterman Weekend A Dud or Stud? Part 1, The Director’s Cut

Feature Presentations: Episode 22

Welcome to my column dedicated to the appreciation of physical media supplements called: Feature Presentations. The goal of this column is not to say whether a film is good or bad and worth picking up or not—I would like to highlight the discs that go the extra mile and provide film fans with enough tasty tidbits to satisfy even the hungriest of cinephiles. Today’s article is going to be slightly different than past articles. We’re going to be looking at the Blu-ray release of The Osterman Weekend.

Ali using a crossbow with the arrow pulled back.

Why is this episode unique? The distributor released two versions of the film, the director’s cut, and the theatrical version. Each presentation of The Osterman Weekend comes on its own individual disc, with each edition housing different supplemental material. I figured the best way to give each version the dedicated space they deserve was to write two columns. This way, each version gets the coverage it deserves.

With all that out of the way, today’s article will focus on the director’s cut of The Osterman Weekend from Imprint Films.

When it comes to Sam Peckinpah, I think I fall into the minority. There are some films and cinematic techniques I admire. As a whole, I fall into the camp of appreciating what Peckinpah offers while not loving a large portion of his filmography. Still, I admire much of what Peckinpah offers, and there is no director like him. There’s something to be said about a creator sticking to their guns even if it costs them their vision. Peckinpah being Peckinpah, this happened throughout the course of his career, all the way until the end, which leads me to The Osterman Weekend.

The Osterman Weekend was a film I was familiar with but had yet to plop down and check it out. Going into the film, I was familiar with the troubled production history in bringing the film to the silver screen. Detailing the production troubles of The Osterman Weekend requires a deep-dive analysis all on its own; long story short, the producers were unhappy with Peckinpah’s cut. The higher-ups took control of the film in post-production and crafted a different version.

I’ve spoken at length on why I enjoy physical media, and this release of The Osterman Weekend exemplifies that feeling. Imprint Films has gone above and beyond to craft a physical media release for a film that (probably) doesn’t deserve such love. Your mileage will vary in terms of enjoyment, and as I mentioned earlier, I have affection, not love, for Peckinpah’s works.Danforth sitting in a chair, his hands folded.

Now that we’ve come this far, let’s get into it, shall we?

The Osterman Weekend tells the tale of a television journalist recruited by the CIA in a complicated plot of turning his friends against a network known as Omega. Through pomp, circumstance, and a convoluted plot, the journalist and the viewers of The Osterman Weekend get lost in a tangled web of double and triple crosses. The Osterman Weekend is so confused that I’m not sure I’d be able to convey what makes the movie so jumbled.

While I say the film is confused, that doesn’t mean there isn’t entertainment value to be had. When you pop a Sam Peckinpah movie into your Blu-ray player, the last thing you expect is boredom. The Osterman Weekend tries to juggle all the plots, and it’s an impressive feat, even if it fails across all avenues. Add on to the fact that The Osterman Weekend boasts a wealth of acting talent including: Rutger Hauer, Burt Lancaster, John Hurt, Craig T. Nelson, and others; it just culminates in such an epic misfire that one has to stand back in awe.

One might assume with a film that everyone was unhappy with, no distributor would want to spend time and money to give The Osterman Weekend a deluxe physical media release. Thankfully, Imprint Films is not an ordinary distributor as they went above and beyond for Peckinpah’s film.

Each version of The Osterman Weekend gets individual discs housed in a thick and sturdy cardboard case. The case comes with artwork associated with the director’s cut. The top of the cardboard case is removable—with the two discs located inside.

All features are produced by Mike Siegel and his production company, El Dorado Productions.

The first feature on the director’s cut disc is a commentary track with Peckinpah expert Mike Siegel. Siegel’s dialogue makes for a great listen as he alternates scholarly notes and expert details. Mike Siegel is located throughout this physical media package, something I appreciate. Siegel approaches the commentary for The Osterman Weekend well-prepared with behind-the-scenes anecdotes, opinions on the various cuts and history for this film, and Sam Peckinpah’s overall career. Even if you are not a fan of The Osterman Weekend, this commentary track helps the listener appreciate what Peckinpah was attempting with this film.

Inside a control room, employees watch multiple TVs

The next feature, “Passion & Poetry: Sam’s Final Cut,” is a thorough and two-pronged documentary about the history of The Osterman Weekend‘s final cut. Siegel and Don Hyde, Sam Peckinpah’s archivist, talk about the transition of housing the film’s original 35mm film and scanning that into a computer for a digital restoration. It can occasionally get into the weeds with technical jargon, but I found this a fascinating and informative discussion.

“Sam’s Final Cut,” then tracks Peckinpah’s final years with the assistance of clips from the full-feature documentary, “Passion & Poetry.” In essence, you get a two-for-one: understanding how a high-definition transfer of the director’s cut came to be, followed by how Peckinpah found himself in the director’s chair for The Osterman Weekend. The way Imprint Films combined these two topics into one documentary is impressive and creates a feature that no one should miss.

Next, we come to one of the more impressive bonus features I have seen in a long time. Titled “The Two Cuts,” Mike Siegel has assembled a side-by-side comparison of the director and theatrical cuts of The Osterman Weekend. Big deal, you may think; there have been comparisons like this in the past. Yeah, you are right, but it has never been this comprehensive.

What Siegel has done is compile over 15 sequences of the film and lay them next to each other with various deleted scenes, alternate takes, or flat-out omissions. And when I say sequences, that is what they are. We’re not talking about a snippet of alternate dialogue here and there. “The Two Cuts” is an epic disc addition and is an extra feature that gets me excited when I analyze a disc’s supplemental material.

Finally, we get three different animated stills galleries: “Filming The Osterman Weekend,” “The Osterman Weekend In Pictures,” and “Promoting The Osterman Weekend.” Each gallery comes with color and black and white photographs set to incidental music. “Filming The Osterman Weekend” is a collection of behind-the-scenes photos shot during the film’s production. “The Osterman Weekend In Pictures” are around 100 photo stills from the completed movie. “Promoting The Osterman Weekend provides multiple variations on posters, lobby cards, and additional materials used to market the film worldwide.

Fassett, seated and staring ahead, holding a remote.

And, there you have it! Is The Osterman Weekend the grand culmination for one of Hollywood’s most influential directors? No. The film is a mess, but it has all the trademarks one would expect from Sam Peckinpah. What would have been an epilogue in an illustrious career is elevated thanks to the impeccable work that Imprint Films and El Dorado Productions put forth to dignify an otherwise disappointing work.

*Please note, revisions have been made to notate Mike Siegel producing all special features located on this disc.

Written by Robert Chipman

Robert is a lifelong cinephile and has had an admiration with film for as long as he can remember. When he's not checking out the most recent theatrical release, viewing a movie on one of a 1,000,000,000 streaming services or picking up the latest physical media disc, he's trying and failing to make it in Hollywood as a screenwriter. He also has a weird fascination with Stephen Dorff. Make of that what you will. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


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  1. Thanks for the nice words regarding our release! All the supplements had been produced by me – not Imprint 🙂 But thanks to Imprint they now saw the light of day…

    • Mike,
      Thank you for the kind words, it is appreciated! I have made a notation with an update to identify you and your production company, El Dorado Productions, for having produced the disc’s special features.

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