Wednesday, January 11, 2012
[still from "The Wild Bunch", (c)Warner Brothers/Seven Arts]
This terrific elegy on the end of commercial 35mm film presentation includes some great paragraphs about Sam Pekinpah's "Ride the High Country." I agree with the author, and am delighted to find someone else who keeps finding new facets to Peckinpah's great work. I happened to watch "The Get Away" a few weeks back, probably for the first time since it came out in the mid-'70s. While it isn't "The Wild Bunch," or "High Country," it's a brilliant movie, and with a romantic ending no less! Maybe we should all watch it this year, as it suggests that there might be a possible, if improbable happy ending out there for America. Of course one could also wonder if the rosy mist into which McQueen and McGraw disappear at the end of "Get Away" doesn't dissolve, eventually, into "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia." At any rate, a nice double bill, and surely such a showing would be true to Peckinpah's deeper belief that romance isn't to be trusted. (Which of course is the lesson Hartley learns too well in "Ride the High Country," to end where we began.)
Peckinpah can be considered on many levels. He's like war that way. No matter what you think of "The Wild Bunch," look up the bridge scene sometime. It's not something they did on a computer. They lived that drop into the river, and nobody got killed either.
Update (but not about Peckinpah)--last night on MSNBC every program mentioned the Romney dog-on-car thing. I can't claim I scooped them by a week. All I did was read about it in James Wolcott's blog in Vanity Fair. Congrats to Mr. Wolcott.