Comparison between the theatrical version and the extended cut (both included on the German Blu-ray mediabook by Explosive Media)
Shortening & reconstruction of Sam Peckinpah's MAJOR DUNDEE
At the beginning of the 60's, Sam Peckinpah had made a name for himself with The Deadly Companions and Sacramento and at MGM there was still a deal open with star Charles Heston, who in turn was impressed by Sacramento. For 4.5 million US dollars, the studio thus left the up-and-coming director the monumental project Major Dundee, but the budget was cut to 3 million at short notice. However, Peckinpah stubbornly stuck to his first vision, which apparently displeased producer Jerry Bresler. Accordingly, the shoot went chaotically and if Heston had not stood up for the director, Peckinpah would have been fired long ago. But Bresler pushed his way through the final cut and made sure that Peckinpah was not allowed to enter the studio grounds or be present at preview screenings.
Almost a third of the actual film was probably lost in the editing room, including the 10-minute opening scene with the rancher family massacre. Instead of Peckinpah's first experiments with slow-motion shots, for which he became immortalized a few years later with The Wild Bunch, the action scenes now featured less spectacular shots of the second unit as well as recycled footage from The Conqueror and The Long Ships. The intrusive sound mix was also frequently criticized.
After it was assumed at the end of the 90's that all original footage had been destroyed, Sony discovered new image elements shortly afterwards and the breakthrough came in 2002: a three-strip magnetic tape with dialogues, music and sound effects was found and reconstruction began. In 2005, the Extended Cut appeared on DVD for the first time, in which 13 minutes of new scenes were to be discovered. A new soundtrack was also commissioned for this. Peckinpah's original version is said to have been about 150 minutes long and a little more than 15 minutes are therefore still considered lost.
Additional material in the extended cut of MAJOR DUNDEE
Among the new scenes there's a remarkable, longer scene at the beginning of the movie. Here, the secondary character, Captain Tyreen, portrayed by Richard Harris, is introduced earlier. Also worth mentioning are two new scenes with Indian Riago, who simply disappears unexplained in the theatrical version. Here you can now see that he is murdered. How Dundee finds out is again introduced by a longer sequence in which the men follow a trail laid by Charriba. In Durango, Dundee is also allowed to fall in love with a Mexican girl. All in all, this is material that makes the motives of the characters more comprehensible.
Apart from that, there are some small additions, which also mainly lead to some scenes in the movie looking more round and being played out more calmly. Small additional dialogues or even quiet scenes in between simply add to the atmosphere. For example, at the beginning you also see more dead people on the battlefield.
In the bonus material of the German Blu-ray, there are another 6 minutes of deleted scenes without sound and/or with audio commentary. Thus, there is at least a little bit more of the massacre of the introduction sequence to discover. A Halloween party initiates this and here, Indian Riago appears again or rather for the first time. James Coburn's character Sam is allowed to compete for a Mexican girl and in another fragment he faces Mario Adorf's Sergeant Gomez with a knife.
Runtimes are ordered as follows: Theatrical Version / Extended Cut
01:18 / 01:18-01:20
Sierra Charriba can be seen a little longer and the follow-up shot with the hanged soldier comes earlier.
01:19 / 01:21-01:26
The soldier is seen 5 insignificant frames longer, then Charriba says: "Pony soldier, I am Sierra Charriba. Who you send against me now?"
The credits that follow directly after this were revised for the extended cut.
07:09 / 07:16-07:35
A first shot of Dundee and you see Tim blowing the horn. In a wide shot of the battlefield the dead are carried away and Tim is in tears as we see in a follow-up shot.
07:13 / 07:39-09:58
When Dundee has ridden off, the camera fades to another scene. In the Extended Cut, you also see scenes at night, because five prisoners used the chaos to escape. However, they are recaptured by Dundee and his men and brought back to Fort Benlin. This can be seen in more detail in the encounter of Dundee and Ben, who is led away by Sergeant Gomez with a noose around his neck. Arriving at the fort, Dundee talks briefly to the warden about the situation. He explains with criticism that at the time of the escape, 131 of his men were on horseback. Dundee announces an address in the yard in 10 minutes. Tim will blow the horn, and the fugitives are eagerly awaiting the lecture.
138.9 secs (= 2:19 min)
29:16 / 32:00-32:29
After the conversation with Sam, a first outside scene is missing. There's a bit of a commotion and Tyreen cynically tells Dundee that the unionist jackets they've been given don't quite fit. Thereupon you can see a bit of fighting on the floor.
31:17 / 34:30-34:33
A short additional shot of two children.
32:25 / 35:41-35:44
At the beginning of the shot there is the command to play something. Tim says yes and how he then blows the horn can be seen again in the theatrical version.
33:48 / 37:07-37:23
In the theatrical version, part of the path is undercut with a soft fade.
As an off-commentary you hear that they are now in Texas and don't want to be surprised by confederates from Fort Davis. The Major still gives the order not to light a fire during the night.
43:40 / 47:15-47:29
The scene at the campfire is a bit longer, wolves howl in the background.
44:45 / 48:34-49:31
After a switch to Dundee, the fight between Sam and Indian Riago is somewhat longer. Sam is superior in the beginning and throws Riago to the ground several times. But then Riago gains the upper hand and Dundee talks to Sam - many bets have been placed on him. However, he (Dundee) has bet against him. This apparently motivates Sam again and he can free himself.
50:23 / 55:09-55:43
Two more shots of the Indian Paco (Riago's scout). He rides around and is murdered in the back. Another attacker quickly takes off his clothes, which explains how they can sneak up on Paco's companion Tyreen shortly afterwards.