Monday, July 16, 2018

Arrow Video Looks To Sept. 18 For The Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Release Of Peter Fonda's The Hired Hand

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Easy Rider, 1969 and the names Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda suddenly became household names.   When you make a film for under half a million dollars and it grosses over $40 million, all sorts of doors open in Hollywood for those involved.

Peter Fonda, who had been knocking around the business for a decade, was very much in the limelight and he decided to take advantage of that with his next project.  It would be a shot for him to take to the director’s chair.   

He landed at Universal Pictures with a script by Alan Sharp (The Last Run, Ulzana’s Raid, Damnation Alley, The Osterman Weekend, etc.) and after some ins and outs with the negotiations with the studio, production began on location in Cabezon, New Mexico for The Hired Hand.

Arrow Video, with domestic sales and distribution expertise provided by MVD Entertainment Group, has target Sept. 18 for the release of a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack edition of Fonda’s debut as a director.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
It’s 1881 and drifters Harry (Peter Fonda), Arch (Warren Oates) and Dan (Robert Pratt) ride into the border town of Del Norte, where things soon go south and Dan is murdered by one of the locals (Severn Darden) for his horse.  

This introduction serves as something of a platform for Harry to fill in some backstory on his life, which includes a wife that he abandoned some years earlier.   Both he and his buddy, Arch, realize that they are wasting their lives away as drifters and decide to head north and pay a visit to Harry’s former homestead, where he left Hannah (played by Vera Bloom).   Before leaving, Harry extracts a bit of revenge for Dan’s murder.

Once the pair arrive at Harry’s ranch, this seemingly traditional Western gets a bit strange as the bewildered Hannah wonders openly why Harry has returned.   It seems that they have a daughter named Janey (Megan Denver) and the people in the nearby town believe that she is a widow.   Nevertheless, she allows Harry and Arch to stay as “hired hands” on the condition that Harry remain silent about their real relationship.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The Hired Hand plays out as something other than a Western … a strange romance between a younger man and an older woman, where he finally decides to “come of age.”   Which is all wonderful, except the events that took place in Del Norte come crashing in and the third act devolves into a violent confrontation that will destroy everything that Harry had hoped to change in his life.   

Bonus features include commentary by filmmaker Peter Fonda, documentary filmmaker Jack Taylor’s 2003 film titled The Return of The Hired Hand, which features insights on the making The Hired Hand from Fonda and Bloom, plus cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond and composer Bruce Langhorne and the 1978 documentary short from Charles Gormley titled The Odd Man.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Other bonus goodies include a 1971 Q&A session with Oates and Fonda at the National Film Theatre and a video session with director Martin Scorsese.

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