BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA (1974) — Twilight Time Blu-ray Review

Previously released on Blu-ray in 2014, Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo is once again available on Blu-ray from Twilight Time in a Limited “Encore” Edition of 3,000 units.

Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia is perhaps the meanest and nastiest film from a filmmaker primarily (though perhaps unfairly) reputed for making mean and nasty films. It’s a film birthed from his latter career, a strange time of illness and professional difficulties brought on by his cantankerous personality and worsening drug and alcohol addictions. It was during this time of extremely varied output that he directed not only his worst films, the egregiously dull The Killer Elite (during which he overdosed on cocaine) and The Osterman Weekend (which he clashed with producers on, and himself hated), causing many to consider his latter career a period of sharp decline. And yet, he created some daring and especially interesting films in that time as well. I am an unapologetic defender of the insanity that is Convoy, but here I’m actually referring to the poorly-received but lately-loved Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid and Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia, two of Peckinpah’s most “hard R” films, which many fans have come to appreciate as being among the director’s best.

In Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia, the young daughter of “El Jefe”, a powerful crime boss, is impregnated by a man named Alfredo Garcia. El Jefe angrily barks the film’s title and puts a million-dollar bounty on Garcia’s head, making him the tale’s human MacGuffin.

Fan theory: Everyone’s killing each other over $1 million, but he actually meant pesos.

In Mexico City, an American named Bennie (Warren Oates) who knows Garcia takes interest in offers of money for information on his whereabouts. He confronts his casual girlfriend, Elita (Isela Vega), knowing that she has had a relationship with Garcia, and learns that the man is dead. With this inside information, he decides to take Elita on a road trip (under false pretenses) to collect a hefty payday for simply exhuming the corpse’s head.

This macabre setup serves as the backdrop for a heavy and violent piece of work which Peckinpah famously noted was the only film that was released exactly as he intended. Bennie and Elita’s road trip through Mexico puts them in the path of rapist bandits (including Kris Kristofferson) and competing bounty hunters, not to mention their own relational problems. Their relationship which is marred by Bennie’s misogyny, violent temperament, and lack of commitment, not to mention Elita’s realization that he plans to decapitate her old boyfriend’s corpse. At one point in the film, he promises to marry Elita, but even then one wonders if it’s really motivated by love or merely placing another bargaining chip to elicit her compliance.

But even after Bennie has secured the head, it seems to only bring them heartache, the stench of death, a car full of flies, and unending waves of savage violence.

The film is certainly concerned with the idea of innocence. All of the players are tainted — Bennie, El Jefe, Alfredo Garcia, the other bounty hunters, the highway banditos, and even Elita, who is a prostitute by trade. But in their violent contest of blood and bullets, it is the innocents who suffer. Many civilians are hurt or outright slaughtered in the crossfire, and in this mounting collateral damage, Bennie’s undertaking becomes less and less justifiable as the cost in humanity — including his own — keeps rising.

Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia is visually, thematically, and narratively ugly, but it’s also a very powerful film that uses violence in a way that highlights its utter futility. It’s Peckinpah packin’ his Peckinpurest, and that’s a good thing.

The Package

Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo was first released on Blu-ray by Twilight Time in 2014, quickly selling through its Limited Edition of 3,000 units. Twilight Time has now re-released the film in an “Encore” edition, again of 3,000 units.

The new edition come with slightly different cover art, a clear case, and an 8-page booklet (presumably the same one as before, though I don’t have the earlier edition to verify).

The encore edition carries over the features from the previous Twilight Time release and also adds a new commentary (for a total of three), this one incorporating Peckinpah’s assistant Katy Haber.

Passion And Poetry: Sam’s Favorite Film (57:59)
 An hour-long look at the film through the eyes of many cast and crew members.

A Writer’s Journey: Garner Simmons with Sam Peckinpah in Mexico (27:01)
 A pretty crazy look at a biographer’s experience of interviewing and working alongside Sam on the production of Alfredo Garcia, emphasizing what a cantakerous and difficult man he could be.

Promoting Alfredo Garcia (6:14)
 Still Gallery of promotional materials — an impressive international collection of posters and lobby cards, but unfortunately the ultra-low resolution of the images renders this presentation almost worthless.

Theatrical Trailer (1:58) Video is interlaced with mild combing.

TV Spots (4:12)
Four 30-second spots and two 60-second spots in surprisingly good quality.


NEW Commentary With Assistant to Director Katy Haber and Film Historians Paul Seydor and Nick Redman

Commentary With Writer-Producer Gordon T. Dawson and Film Historian Nick Redman

Commentary With Film Historians Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons, David Weddle, and Nick Redman

Isolated Score Track
Music by Jerry Fielding

English Subtitles

A/V Out.

Available directly from Twilight Time

Get it at Amazon:
Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia — [Blu-ray]

Originally published at on November 3, 2016.

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