[box cover]

The Getaway (1972)

The Essential Steve McQueen Collection

  • Bullitt: Special Edition
  • The Cincinnati Kid
  • The Getaway
  • Never So Few
  • Papillon
  • Tom Horn
  • Doc McCoy (Steve McQueen) is doing hard time, and his parole keeps getting denied, so he sends his wife Carol (Ali MacGraw) to bigwig Jack Beynon (Ben Johnson) to help plead his case. Doc thinks the reason why he was paroled is because Jack wants to pull a heist, and so he sets up a job using his wife and Beynon's men Rudy Butler (Al Lettieri) and Frank Jackson (Bo Hopkins). The heist is successful, even though Frank shoots a security guard, but then chaos ensues. Rudy takes out Frank just because, Rudy tries to take out Doc but fails, and when Doc goes to drop off the loot to Beynon, not only is it a $250,000 light, but Beynon wants Doc dead. It turns out Carol slept with Jack to get Doc out of jail, which puts a dent in the couple's relationship as they go on the lam, trying reach Mexico before they're stopped by Rudy, Beynon's men, and the police. A PG-rated Sam Peckinpah movie, 1972's The Getaway was also one of his most commercial efforts to date, but it still offers enjoyable returns. It also reunited Peckinpah with Steve McQueen, whom he just worked with on Junior Bonner and was set to work with on 1965's The Cincinnati Kid until he was dismissed for being behind schedule. But if The Getaway is famous for one thing, it's that it was the film that broke up producer Robert Evans and star Ali MacGraw's marriage — she fell in love with McQueen on the set, and one can witness the chemistry, especially since MacGraw was never much of an actress. Written by future director Walter (The Driver) Hill, the script is an adaptation of the Jim Thompson novel that (as was the case with the 1994 remake) leaves off the novel's last chapter in favor of a happier ending, which casts the couple as honorable — if not outright heroic — since they are the lesser of the film's evils. For Thompson fans this has always been a sticking point, and in fact Thompson was originally commissioned to write the screenplay and was fired for trying to work in his original ending. Just the same — as an action thriller — Peckinpah does a marvelous job with the material, keeping the blood to a minimum (though the film gets away with a lot more on-camera shootings than most R-rated films do these days) but never losing his great sense of timing. Peckinpah was also a master of casting, and here's he got such great supporting faces as Al Lettieri, Dub Taylor, Slim Pickens, Bo Hopkins, and Richard Bright. This is Peckinpah's most accessible film, and it works as straight ahead Hollywood entertainment. That said, it still hinges upon a dysfunctional relationship in which the wife slept with another man to get her husband out of jail… which is quintessential Peckinpah. Warner presents The Getaway in anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) and the original 1.0 mono audio. Extras include a commentary by Peckinpah's DVD commentators Nick Redman, Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons and David Weddle, all of whom were assembled for Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, The Osterman Weekend and Junior Bonner; a virtual commentary (11 min.) with Peckinpah, McQueen and MacGraw; and the theatrical trailer. Keep-case.
    —DSH



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