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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Bloody Sam And Theme Explored

This weekend was kinda shitty. Weather was miserable so I was destined to staying inside watching The Ballad of Cable Hogue. It is a real flawed gem from wildman director Sam Peckinpah. Let me just say this up front, I am a big admirer of his work. Peckinpah might be the most misunderstood genius in the world of cinema. The first time I saw this film was at Lincoln Center a few years back when they did a retrospective of his work including a new director's cut print of The Wild Bunch. I was in heaven. On the schedule was this film. Forgotten and worn maybe like the man himself, I believe The Ballad of Cable Hogue was Peckinpah's way of exposing how he felt about his own life in the film biz. It deals with an old coot in the west who is on the cusp of the industrial revolution in America. Always authentic, Peckinpah takes us through this heartfelt journey of American ingenuity from the lone loser's point-of-view. He creates fortune from nothing and finds his life turned around only to be crushed by the inevitable, technology. As Cable Hogue, Jason Robards gives us insight into a man that just wants to be worth something in this world and in the end he is, to himself and the people around him. If you want to see how theme and character are skillfully intertwoven this would be a solid example along with most of Peckinpah's better works.

Right now it's only available on VHS and you might find some film techniques to be antiquated and some just plain laughable making Cable Hogue uneven but it still does not take away from it's overall power. There have been rumors of Warner Brothers giving his catalog the serious treatment by way of a box set in the not to distant future. He will probably always be remembered as being responsible for creating the most violent films in Hollywood history but one thing you will always walk away with after seeing a Sam Peckinpah film, as Tom Petty says, even the losers get lucky some times.


Anonymous Moses said...

I've never seen Ballad of -- but I'm a fan of Peckinpah. Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is one of my favorite movies. Bummer it's not on DVD, Ballad of -- that is.

8:29 PM  
Blogger William said...


Check it out. You will not be disappointed. Pat Garrett is excellent too. I'm holding out for the box set, whenever that happens????

3:04 PM  
Blogger Steven Boone said...

Glad you left a message on my blog, or else I might not have come across yours. Good stuff, man, very informative. You got me rushing to see Cable Hogue now.

12:57 AM  
Anonymous Moses said...

A box set would be great. I'm putting Ballad on my Netflix list. Let you know what I thought when I get to it.

11:14 PM  

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