Sundance Channelhas acquired US home video/DVD and pay television rights to the restoredversion of Peter Fonda's The Hired Hand, the channel's senior vicepresident of film programming Paola Freccero announced today (Mar 20).

Following alimited theatrical run, the film will be released on home video and DVD underthe Sundance Channel Home Entertainment label in the fourth quarter of 2003.Showtime Entertainment will distribute.

The 1971 pictureis regarded as one of the earliest revisionist Westerns and stars directorFonda, Warren Oates and Verna Bloom.

Fonda plays anerrant cowboy who returns to the family he abandoned seven years earlier andengages in a battle of wills with his wife, who now controls the family ranch.

The picture was shot underthe auspices of Universal executive Ned Tanen's low-budget productionprogramme for young film-makers in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The deal was negotiated forSundance by Christian Vesper, executive director of acquisitions, ancillaryrights, and producer Frank Mazzola on behalf of Fonda and Pando Company.Mazzola was original editor of the film and produced the restoration of TheHired Hand with Hamish McAlpine ofthe UK's Tartan Films.