Malgré certaines incompréhensibles mutilations scénaristiques, certaines coupures forcées au montage et quelques inutiles digressions sentimentales, cette oeuvre s'appréhende comme un excellent moment de cinéma, avec un étonnant Charlton Heston, époustouflant dans sa mythique quête vengeresse... www.cinefiches.com
Having seen its restored version and noting the differences it's not hard to tell why it went off to a bad start. Beneath the push for grandness of western setting and a note of historical context, there was a directors' familiar theme of male maturity, its crisis and cynical resolution. Still not as sharp as it would later become, it is now a decently rounded work.
Peckinpah giganteggia da par suo nell'ambiente che gli è più congeniale:un western epico,condito di eroismo ed antieroismo,con ambientazioni fantastiche per un film "da frontiera" ed un cast maestoso,con Charlton che svetta alla grande.Montaggio e regia assurde per l'epoca,con una battaglia finale che avrà almeno duecento stacchi...quanto di più vicino a Leone abbia mai visto...quello è Sam Peckinpah.
2 1/2 out of 5 stars. Unfortunately the story of the making of Major Dundee and its eventual attempt at restoration are more interesting than the actual movie itself. Even the restored version came off as nothing more than a dull cross between The Searchers and Lawrence of Arabia. It was worth the watch for Richard Harris alone but maybe Peckinpah's original vision wasn't that worthwhile to begin with.
Peckinpah's folly is a fascinating failure. His attempt to direct a western LAWRENCE OF ARABIA became a logistical nightmare, marred by on-set clashes, shortened shooting schedules, meddling producers, and a severe studio cut that severely devalued the integrity of the film. Re-released in 2005 with 15 minutes of restored footage, MAJOR DUNDEE remains a tarnished work, but a grand spectacle nonetheless.
I've never been much of a fan of Heston but he is very good in this. Richard Harris is even better as his one timed friend, turned prisoner, turn lieutenant in an unofficial mission. A solid film that points toward the masterpieces that Peckinpah would create in the genre in the years to come.
It's hard to tell what might have been without the reportedly significant studio editing and tampering with Peckinpah's movie. It would probably have been better. I doubt it would have been great. Some good scenes and good performances but overall the movie just drags along and then peters out at the end. It may be a fine commentary on the futility of war but it makes for a less than satisfying entertainment.
Very strange film. Yet somehow it works. The recent restoration is worth watching simply for making this flawed film watchable again. Heston is nice as a brutal Union major and Harris makes for a great foil as the Confederate prisoner. One can definitely see Sam attempting to break through in this movie. It's the stepping stone between Ride The High Country and The Wild Bunch.