Peckinpah’s pecking order

After watching Sam Peckinpah’s Cross of Iron and The Wild Bunch in 2012, I decided to read the reviews of his films in Leslie Halliwell’s Film Guide.


What I found was that most of the reviews matched my opinions of my fifth novel (whether it be regarding certain parts or the novel as a whole). I’m sure that any reviewer of my novel would agree that what could be said about it is applicable to what was said about the following seven Peckinpah films which are adorned by the Japanese release art…


 


The Wild Bunch (1969):


Undeniably stylish, thoughtful and, in places, very exciting.


The bloody deaths are voluptuous, frightening, beautiful.


One of the most moving elegies for a vanished age ever created.



Straw Dogs (1971):


Totally absurd. Farcical violence.


Before the end, you will have gasped and shuddered through an orgy of detailed rape, slaughter, arson and wanton destruction.


A magnificent piece of red-raw, meaty entertainment.


 


The Getaway (1972):


Violent, amoral, terse and fast-moving action melodrama which generally holds the interest despite its excesses.



Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973):


A somber, intense, downbeat essay on the truth behind the legend and the legend behind the truth.


Ambitious. Erotic.



Bring me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974):


Gruesome, sickly action melodrama with revolting detail; the nadir of a director obsessed by violence.


The only kind of analysis it really invites is psychoanalysis.


 


The Killer Elite (1975):


Smooth violence which seems to proclaim the end of a cycle.


Mysterious. Elliptical. Visually triumphant. About personal survival in a world of mean-minded machination.


 


Cross of Iron (1978):


Painful to follow. Occasionally beautiful. Quite horrid. Offers too much opportunity for its director to wallow in unpleasant physical details.


Morally dubious but technically brilliant.


 


The following reviews match my opinions of my fourth novel…


 


The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970):


Curiously peripatetic with the director in uncharacteristically experimental and comparatively non-violent mood.


Curiously compelling. Like a child’s playhouse, we come to love it for the open way it expressed the feelings of its creator.


 


Junior Bonner (1972):


Well-made. Rather downcast. Remarkably gentle from this director.

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