It is currently Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:16 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 100 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Author Message
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 3:15 am 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
I must admit a strong curiosity to his work, having now just bought the new Wild Bunch DVD. On it is a great documentary about his work as a Western director that aired on the Starz/Encore networks awhile ago. And the films (other than The Wild Bunch, obviously) definitely piqued my interest. The Ballad of Cable Hogue and Pat Garrett being among the top two. I'd like to open this up to those more familiar with his work than I.


Top
 Profile  
 

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 9:52 am 
Big fan of the former president
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:54 pm
Location: Provo, Utah
flyonthewall2983 wrote:
I must admit a strong curiosity to his work, having now just bought the new Wild Bunch DVD. On it is a great documentary about his work as a Western director that aired on the Starz/Encore networks awhile ago. And the films (other than The Wild Bunch, obviously) definitely piqued my interest. The Ballad of Cable Hogue and Pat Garrett being among the top two. I'd like to open this up to those more familiar with his work than I.


I've always admired Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia and The Getaway -- two of my favorite Peckinpah films. They are definitely worth checking out are some of the man's best work, IMO.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 10:37 am 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2005 3:04 pm
Location: St. Paul, MN
Peckinpah is one of my favorite directors. If you haven't seen Straw Dogs, pick up the Criterion version and don't forget to listen to the fantastic audio commentary by Stephen Prince. I found it so enlightening that I became an even bigger fan of Peckinpah's work. Agreed on Alfredo Garcia: minor masterpiece.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 12:35 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Alfredo Garcia has been making a run on the Showtime networks lately, so I hope to catch it soon.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 4:07 pm 
As previously mentioned make it a priority to see Straw Dogs. Its probably Sam's most personal and deep work, as it takes all of his common themes and removes them from the western environment and greatly expands upon them. Resulting in a truly visceral experience.


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 5:19 pm 
Big fan of the former president
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:54 pm
Location: Provo, Utah
smw356 wrote:
As previously mentioned make it a priority to see Straw Dogs. Its probably Sam's most personal and deep work, as it takes all of his common themes and removes them from the western environment and greatly expands upon them. Resulting in a truly visceral experience.

Isn't it true that Bring Me the Head... is also one of Peckinpah's most personal films? I seem to recall that it is one of the few that the studio didn't take out of his control and Warren Oates has said that the based a lot of his performance, the way he looked and acted on the way Peckinpah looked and behaved at the time.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 5:34 pm 
Not PETA approved
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada
Fletch F. Fletch wrote:
smw356 wrote:
As previously mentioned make it a priority to see Straw Dogs. Its probably Sam's most personal and deep work, as it takes all of his common themes and removes them from the western environment and greatly expands upon them. Resulting in a truly visceral experience.


Isn't it true that Bring Me the Head... is also one of Peckinpah's most personal films? I seem to recall that it is one of the few that the studio didn't take out of his control and Warren Oates has said that the based a lot of his performance, the way he looked and acted on the way Peckinpah looked and behaved at the time.


Alfredo is usually agreed upon as Peckinpah's most personal film, although it's a bit of a fruitless endeavour to try to decide an order of "personal" films since they were for the most part all highly personal. Some filmmakers thrive on this kind of introspective filmmaking, Peckinpah being a prime example.

I would personally place Straw Dogs as my favourite of his oeuvre. But I would much rather recommend here Junior Bonner since it is often overlooked. It's a very sensitive look at the rodeo as the last, slowly dying remnant of the west, and a family sort of hung over top of that conflict between urbanization and the open west. Robert Preston and Ida Lupino are particularly touching; and Peckinpah knew how to perfectly use the calm exterior of Steve McQueen to suggest an isolation and refusal to truly connect. Well worth watching.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 10:00 am 
Big fan of the former president
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:54 pm
Location: Provo, Utah
Mr_sausage wrote:
But I would much rather recommend here Junior Bonner since it is often overlooked. It's a very sensitive look at the rodeo as the last, slowly dying remnant of the west, and a family sort of hung over top of that conflict between urbanization and the open west. Robert Preston and Ida Lupino are particularly touching; and Peckinpah knew how to perfectly use the calm exterior of Steve McQueen to suggest an isolation and refusal to truly connect. Well worth watching.

Agreed. I always felt that Bonner was in the same vein as Hud and Bronco Billy in that it shows the demise of a way of life: the simple values of the Old West and the cowboy. McQueen was just the right age to play this role and wears it well. He is much more introspective in this one—the kind of role he excelled at: a man of few words but with a lot of complex emotions suggested behind his eyes and the way he carries himself.

I also enjoy the leisurely pace of the movie, how it takes its time introducing the characters, allowing us to gradually get to know them and to become immersed in their world.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 8:48 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 5:57 am
Alfredo Garcia is my favorite Peckinpah and easily the best "gringo out of water" film I've ever seen. He took the Mexicans on their own terms: the film is equal parts Spanish soap opera and 70s American nihilism.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 3:41 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 9:54 pm
My personal top five:

1. Straw Dogs
2. Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (Turner Preview Version)
3. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia
4. Cross of Iron
5. The Getaway

The Wild Bunch would probably come in sixth. It's not exactly overrated - it IS a terrific movie - but over the years it's reputation has grown to the point that it has become a critical untouchable. It is the Peckinpah film you HAVE to love.

I find the dark humour in Peckinpah much more interesting when it is separated from the Western genre. (PG&BTK being a notable exception.) Although it could be argued convincingly that Straw Dogs, Alfredo Garcia, and The Getaway are just westerns transported to a different time and place.

The Getaway is criminally underrated by Peckinpah enthusiasts, mostly due to Ali McGraw's involvement. Her performance really isn't bad at all. And the editing in this film is simply stunning.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 4:46 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:36 pm
Location: "born in heaven, raised in hell"
Ste wrote:
The Wild Bunch would probably come in sixth. It's not exactly overrated - it IS a terrific movie - but over the years it's reputation has grown to the point that it has become a critical untouchable. It is the Peckinpah film you HAVE to love.

Well, I have only seen it and Straw Dogs, and while I love the latter, the former (Wild Bunch) seemed to me a mess and was largely boring. Maybe a second viewing...? But who has time these days?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 5:18 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:09 pm
denti alligator, Alfredo Garcia is strongly recommended. Straw Dogs is great but not as much as Alfredo Garcia which remains my favorite Peckinpah film. It's the only Peckinpah film that really stays with me...raw and personal emotions fuel this film along with an astonishing, beautiful performance by Warren Oates.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 1:48 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 10:25 pm
I am going to have to echo the sentiments of most of the posters here and say Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia is his best film (and if forced I would say my favorite film period). Somewhat surprised me to see the respect it is getting in the thread but pleased all the same. I have a personal soft spot for The Ballad of Cable Hogue which doesn't seem to be considered up there with his other films which I suppose is understandable. The flash of the The Wild Bunch or as I agree the criminally underrated The Getaway isn't there but theres something about Robards and the films earnest demeanor that really keeps me hooked to it.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 4:04 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 7:32 pm
I have seen and loved The Wild Bunch, and am looking forward to the rest of that box-set, but I really must take issue with some of the praise being lavished on The Getaway, which I just saw last night and hated violently.

I thought the central Steve McQueen-Ali McGraw relationship was quite effective, and the overall chase sequences were very good, but the entire subplot of the Sally Struthers character was completely unnecessary and incredibly offensive. There seemed to be no justification or motivation for why her character would so easily turn on her husband, other than the general idea that a sleazy guy with a gun would make a woman respond that way. And I didn't see what possible purpose that entire storyline served other than to remind us that this other guy chasing McQueen/McGraw was still alive and still chasing them, in which case there are innumerable other ways to do this more effectively.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 4:10 pm 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:45 pm
Location: Washington
I've seen a lot of Peckinpah's films and I think the only one I'm not big on is The Osterman Weekend. I saw it when I was a lot younger so maybe it didn't just appeal to me then. I remember thinking it was sort of a chore to sit through. But I was wondering if anyone thought it was worth a revisit or what the concensus was on it. I remember a decent looking DVD coming out for it a while ago.

And I agree, The Getaway is severely underrated. It was also the first Peckinpah I saw which led me to raid my dad's collection and watch all of the ones he owned (and he owns a lot of his films.)

If I had to pick a favourite, though, I would have to say 'Salad Days'

"I say, anyone for tennis?"


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 5:12 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:07 pm
Location: the emerald empire
The Anchor Bay 2-disc edition of The Osterman Weekend is great. While I'd be the first to admit the film has its flaws, I really enjoy it and I think it's interesting to look at it in the context of his other films, not just thematically, but in regards to technique. The chase sequence at the beginning echoes the opening shootout from The Wild Bunch in it's distortion of time, for one example.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 5:17 pm 
Big fan of the former president
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:54 pm
Location: Provo, Utah
Floyd wrote:
I am going to have to echo the sentiments of most of the posters here and say Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia is his best film (and if forced I would say my favorite film period). Somewhat surprised me to see the respect it is getting in the thread but pleased all the same.

I thoroughly enjoyed the love it received in the Sam Peckinpah's West: Legacy of a Hollywood Renegade doc. on the new Wild Bunch SE DVD. Nice to see the likes of Benicio Del Toro singing its praises. Which makes sense now that I think about as I believe he was (still is?) linked to a remake. Altho, I think it's safe to say that is a bad idea. Plus, he already starred in a Peckinpah love letter, Way of the Gun.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 5:45 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 9:54 pm
Alfredo Garcia is the Peckinpah film that, so to speak, separates the men from the boys. It is arguably the most personal, certainly the most uncompromising, film of his entire career. I've met very few people that don't either love it or hate it. There is no middle ground. For this reason, and this reason only, I would be reluctant to recommend it to a Peckinpah novice. (That said, I just this week turned a friend - a non-Peckinpah fan - on to this film, which I consider a personal victory.)

As for the proposed Benicio Del Toro remake, I think he could actually pull it off. But then again, what's the point?

SPOILER ALERT!

They'd probably put a Hollywood ending on it where Benny rides off into the sun with the money...

END OF SPOILER

I own all 14 Peckinpah features, and the only ones I really don't care for are The Killer Elite and The Osterman Weekend. Both suffer from silly scripts and unlikeable, two-dimensional characters. The Osterman DVD is terrific, though.

The Ballad of Cable Hogue is a strange one. Robards's performance is great, but the tone swings wildly between revenge drama and bawdy sex comedy. As I said earlier, I love the humour in Peckinpah's work, but this is one that would have been better played straight. It is interesting to watch Cable Hogue back to back with The Wild Bunch. The two are almost direct opposites of each other - compare the use of fast motion as opposed to slow motion inserts, the Temperance Union meeting with the R.G. Armstrong preacher scene, etc. It is tempting to conclude that this was a conscious reaction to the success of The Wild Bunch, but by all accounts the principal photography of Cable Hogue was already in the can by the time The Wild Bunch was released.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 11:48 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm
Peckinpah is a filmmaker I love much more than I love a lot of his films. Even his worst movies (mind you, I've never seen Convoy) have great sequences, and many of his best films have serious flaws. There are bits of The Osterman Weekend that are pure Peckinpah, just as there a bits - like the fridge sequence - which are sham Peckinpah, and bits that are weirdly anonymous. I do recommend the 'silk purse' special edition, however, which does the film an awful lot of favours.

Peckinpah makes consistently intriguing choices in his mise-en-scene and editing, and it's always worth considering why those choices were made. Even his weakest films have moments which do something you didn't expect, or demonstrate a rare formal brilliance.

I further think Peckinpah is severely underrated as a character director, and maybe that's why my favourite films of his are Junior Bonner and Ride the High Country. The latter starts out almost as a TV western, but just gets stronger, deeper, and more unusual with every step. Warren Oates' first appearance is one of the great introductions in cinema, and from that point on the film deviates beautifully from the western tradition. Bonner is completely unassuming, and completely charming. Surely this is McQueen's greatest performance. Alfredo Garcia and Straw Dogs follow close behind, and The Getaway just seems to get better every time I see it.

I also have to acknowledge the commentaries provided for most of these films by the 'Peckinpets': several of the most engaging and illuminating commentary tracks I've come across, with amazingly little redundancy or duplication between them. It's sort of mind-boggling that none of those exemplary efforts count as the best Peckinpah commentary available. Prince's Straw Dogs seminar is possibly the best scholarly commentary I've ever heard. This must make Sam the best-served director in this respect.

On Misogyny

The common charge of misogyny is something that any fan of Peckinpah needs to confront at some point. You can't ignore the fact that so many women in the films are so egregiously mistreated, but nor can you, I think, ignore the strength and resilience of so many of those women, or the detailed and shaded performances Peckinpah elicits from his (often inexperienced or limited) actresses.

My understanding of this aspect of the films is that Peckinpah is showing (with considerable empathy and insight) how women operate in a world dominated by men, rather than asserting that this kind of world is an ideal or desirable one. Peckinpah pessimistically assumes a misogynistic world, but I don't think he's very happy about it. The real heroes of many of his films are the women who stand against the violence of that world, or fall prey to it.

You'd have to be especially stupid to assume that Peckinpah is siding with R.G. Armstrong or Oates and L.Q. Jones against Mariette Hartley in High Country, or that Isela Vega was "asking" for anything she got in Alfredo Garcia (or that Bennie and his world are better off without her). If you come to the rape scene in Straw Dogs from the same angle, it - and the entire film - become extremely complex and provocative. Just as in High Country Peckinpah presents rape within marriage as rape, pure and simple, so here does he dramatise the supposed 'grey area' of the withdrawal of consent and the impact on the nature of the action of the state of mind of the victim. I find it hard to understand how some viewers could infer that Peckinpah condones the male behaviour in either scene.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 12:40 am 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 9:54 pm
I couldn't have put it better myself, Zedz. But I could have put it shorter: Peckinpah was an ironist. Simple as that. He showed the opposite of what he actually believed. Europeans tend to understand this more intuitively than Americans. (Being a British ex-pat living in the American South I face such problems on a daily basis.) In all seriousness, you've raised some valid points and laid out the case for the defence flawlessly.

Until just recently I would have agreed with your take on the Peckinpah Posse commentaries. But I have to say, for the most part the ones on the new boxed set just don't do it for me. Maybe they were recorded too close together or something, but they sound tired and uninspired to these ears. The Wild Bunch in particular I found to be both obsequious and sophomoric. I'm with Stephen Prince on this one - Straw Dogs is Peckinpah's masterpiece.

And is it just me, or has Paul Seydor suddenly developed an ego the size of a ten-ton truck? He completely dominates the Pat Garrett commentary, railroading the rest of the Posse into sharing his opinions. Speaking of which, what did y'all make of the 2005 Special Edition?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 6:23 am 

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 7:32 pm
I really appreciated your blurb on the misogyny charge, zedz, and while I can definitely see what you mean with reagrds to the movies that you mention, I don't see this in The Getaway, in the Sally Struthers character specifically. I can't think of anything in that movie that supports that interpretation for her character aside from extrapolating it from the rest of his films, at which point it becomes a bit of an academic argument. I can't see how her character is possibly intended to be anything other than a caricature of what a woman would do under those circumstances, and an offensive one at that.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 1:19 pm 
Not PETA approved
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada
mmacklem wrote:
I really appreciated your blurb on the misogyny charge, zedz, and while I can definitely see what you mean with reagrds to the movies that you mention, I don't see this in The Getaway, in the Sally Struthers character specifically. I can't think of anything in that movie that supports that interpretation for her character aside from extrapolating it from the rest of his films, at which point it becomes a bit of an academic argument. I can't see how her character is possibly intended to be anything other than a caricature of what a woman would do under those circumstances, and an offensive one at that.

Misogyny is a word too loaded to be tossed around as easily as it is. What it means precisely is a hatred of women. This is different from sexism. To lable someone misogynistic is to accuse them of pure hatred. While Peckinpah's women are often mistreated, it's hard to be insensitive to the underlying sympathy for them.

The more harsh a Peckinpah film the more harshly people, not just the women, are generally treated by either nature or man in their little world. It stands out more viscerally; yet his more low key films possess the same kind of women going through the same kinds of hardship, just to a lesser degree. For example, take Junior Bonner, a very sweet and low key movie. Ida Lupino is a no less down and out person run a bit ragged from life. She is not run through the gauntlet like Isela Vega, but neither is she free from a lot of pain, most of it stemming from the men in her life. And yet out of all the people in the movie I think she manifests the most sympathy and the most sagacity. She has a strength and an intelligence I think beyond the men and their crazy schemes or loner attitudes. Like many of Peckinpah's women, she is the only one who truly understands these men, not only in what they do but why they must do it. This is why she does not stop Robert Preston's character from his crazy schemes, however much they hurt her; but neither does she fully push him away. At the end she accepts those faults and demonstrates her compassion for him--she knows she loves him but also that she cannot constrain him. She makes painful sacrifices.

This is much easier to see in Junior Bonner, where I said everything is low key, but the same characteristics are present in Sam's other films--they are just perhaps easier to miss amid the brutality or pain. Consider Isela Vega in Alfredo: is not the whole latter part of the movie a grieving process over her death? Do we not immediately sense the emptiness and the nihilism when she is gone? What happened to her was nasty, yes, but I don't sense any hatred in it from Peckinpah, nor that he enjoyed it (certainly we don't). There is an interesting difference in Vega's character as compared to Lupino's. She definitely seems to understand Benny and his world more than he does (biker scene, for example), yet she is determined to help Benny and pry him out of the cycle of cruelty and violence he is descended into. But in contending with it she is destroyed and Benny along with her. It is tragic not just because beauty dies, but because beauty always dies, and Sam understands this certainly more than Benny, who does not realize what is missing until he has lost it.

As for the Getaway, I'm having problems seeing the Struthers character as a symbol or an abstract representation of all women. What she in fact does is work as an antithetical counterpart to Ali McGraw; where she is bubble-headed, unthinking, and insensitive, McGraw we slowly see is dedicated and sensitive and more knowing than the McQueen character (it takes him a while). Is the Struthers character an example of outright hatred to women? I can hardly see Peckinpah hate women totally with one character and then portray them admirably with another. Rather, there is something more complex going on, which I haven't time to tease out.

Peckinpah was always willing to go further towards the difficult or painful, fearlessly sometimes, and it often costs him an audience. Yet he never loses his sensitivity as an artist even when he is compelled into those dark places. We may question why things are happening so horribly to the people in his movies, but there is, for me, the sense that Peckinpah understands cruelty and is compelled to depict it, yet never exemplifies it. There is always sympathy.

Sorry this wasn't better structured or more comprehensive, but I'm in a rush.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 5:16 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 4:38 pm
Location: North Carolina
Ste wrote:
Until just recently I would have agreed with your take on the Peckinpah Posse commentaries. But I have to say, for the most part the ones on the new boxed set just don't do it for me. Maybe they were recorded too close together or something, but they sound tired and uninspired to these ears.

IMO, their commentaries started going downhill with Major Dundee. They spend far too much time talking about how bad the original score was -- even implying that Amfitheatrof was a hack (which isn't quite true). But none of them can name another film he scored, which indicates that their knowledge/research only goes so far. And DVD Savant caught them in a mistake, when they mistakenly claim that the film uses slo-mo when Charriba's body rolls down the hill at the end of the Indian attack. Apparently, Sony/Columbia tried to recreate slo-mo by simply duplicating frames.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 4:44 am 
User avatar

Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm
tryavna wrote:
Ste wrote:
Until just recently I would have agreed with your take on the Peckinpah Posse commentaries. But I have to say, for the most part the ones on the new boxed set just don't do it for me. Maybe they were recorded too close together or something, but they sound tired and uninspired to these ears.

IMO, their commentaries started going downhill with Major Dundee. They spend far too much time talking about how bad the original score was -- even implying that Amfitheatrof was a hack (which isn't quite true). But none of them can name another film he scored, which indicates that their knowledge/research only goes so far.

Maybe I spoke too soon. I haven't got through the latest batch of commentaries yet (only High Country, which I thought was up to scratch). I suspect I'll part critical company with them on The Wild Bunch at least, as I find it well over-rated.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 12:31 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Question: is Lionel Stander the preacher in the beginning of The Wild Bunch?


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 100 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group




This site is not affiliated with The Criterion Collection