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Posts Tagged ‘Sam Peckinpah’

The Wild Bunch

Friday, March 6th, 2020

1969. Woodstock and the moon landing and the Manson murders and all that. A different time.

Not just because of bed-ins and bellbottoms, though. Another thing that was different was that people watched westerns. Tons of them! BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID topped the box office, TRUE GRIT won a best actor Oscar for John Wayne, plus there was MORE DEAD THAN ALIVE, CHARRO!, 100 RIFLES, SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF!, SAM WHISKEY, MACKENNA’S GOLD, GUNS OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, PAINT YOUR WAGON, THE UNDEFEATED, TELL THEM WILLIE BOY IS HERE, A TIME FOR DYING. By comparison, I only count nine super hero movies last year, and to get there I had to include GLASS, HELLBOY, BRIGHTBURN and JOKER.

It couldn’t go on forever. John Ford, Anthony Mann, Raoul Walsh and Delmer Daves were done making westerns. Howard Hawks only had one more in him. Several years earlier, Sergio Leone had rebuilt the genre in a completely different style, launching an entire national industry in Italy. Then in ’67 BONNIE AND CLYDE pushed the limits of onscreen violence, and in July of ’69, the countercultural, modern western EASY RIDER revved the engine on what would be come “New Hollywood” in the ’70s.

And Sam Peckinpah was hungry. He’d gotten into trouble with MAJOR DUNDEE in ’65, going over budget, fighting with the producer, getting it taken away from him and re-edited. His reputation took a hit, and he got fired from THE CINCINNATI KID a couple days into filming. Luckily NOON WINE, his 1966 hour-long for ABC Stage 67, was well received, giving him the opportunity for a comeback. So what the hell, he went and made an all-timer of a western, but a little different from his previous ones. This was a western made for a time when people were disillusioned about the war in Vietnam and the violent images it brought into their homes. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Killer Elite

Friday, February 20th, 2015

tn_thekillereliteTHE KILLER ELITE is Sam Peckinpah’s don’t-be-naive-these-covert-ops-are-happening-all-the-time thriller kinda like MUNICH. It starts with straight up perfection: a title card explaining that “This film is a work of fiction. There is no company called Communications Integrity NOR ComTeg and the thought that the C.I.A. might employ such an organization for any purpose is, of course, preposterous.”

James Caan and Robert Duvall star as Locken and Hansen, two hard-drinking, lady-loving partners who claim to have never heard of the C.I.A. even though we just saw them bomb a building. They’ve spent enough time together that they’re always singing made up songs and saying stupid jokes that seem like you had to be there. But they’re obviously having fun.

When they go to a safe house, Locken goes to take a shower and Hansen turns traitor, killing the defector they’re supposed to be protecting and then trying to cripple his partner. When he’s standing there naked with a gun pointed at him Locken doesn’t even get scared because he can only comprehend it as a joke. He really thought he knew that guy, now he’s shooting him in the shower? He never took him for a shower-shooter.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia

Sunday, July 18th, 2004

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. Can you believe that? Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. Has there ever been a better title for a film of Badass Cinema, because I don’t think there has. Leave it to Sam Peckinpah, that lovable old drunk who spent his whole career fighting with studios and filming innocent kids standing by the side of the road watching as horrible atrocities took place in slow motion to come up with a title like that. I don’t think that one will ever be topped.

I really like Peckinpah, especially one that I guess is not generally considered one of his best, The Getaway. I like that this is a guy who makes violent westerns and crime movies but instead of trying to dazzle the audience with explosions and car chases, he seems to pour his filthy old grizzled alcoholic soul into it. All of his frustrations, problems and paranoid delusions seem to end up in there somewhere. He knows that a good personal film is not necessarily about some dude reading poetry and being misunderstood by the ladies. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Getaway (1972)

Wednesday, January 1st, 2003

Now this is what I call a fuckin MOVIE. I forgot about it until seeing it on Bravo today but it is even better now that I’m older and now that I’ve done my own bid. First though, a word about Bravo. This is the “film and arts network” they CLAIM, but they don’t have the balls to live up to that slogan. You know how Sam Peckinpah movies always have the real slick opening credits with the freeze frames and the atmosphere and what not? They show these in widescreen and your thinking, “Look at that! Look at that rectangular screen! That atmosphere! THIS is a fuckin MOVIE.”

And then it says “directed by Sam Peckinpah” and BAM, no more widescreen. No, that’s just so the words will fit, we don’t need it anymore. The picture is square and cramped and the film is all faded and dark and you’re thinkin, “What is this crap, Hunter?” (read the rest of this shit…)