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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID (1973)

Cult helmer Sam Peckinpah was either selling out for the bucks or had become too self-conscious about his burgeoning critical reputation when he sabotaged his own career with this out-of-control disaster. The film has now been (yet again) restored to some sort of original vision/version that does little to help things. It’s the usual revisionist pablum about Billy the Kid (everyone’s favorite bad boy anarchist) being methodically hunted down by his old pal Garrett (agent for the usual corporate/government types); blah, blah, blah. James Coburn can take care of himself in any situation, but virtually everyone else in the impressive sounding cast embarrass themselves. Though none more than poor Bob Dylan who looks helplessly foolish, as if no one let him in on a joke. Somehow, after failing to have his name taken off this crap, Peckinpah turned right around and made his final masterpiece, BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA, to little acclaim and less audience. The reception on that one probably did him in. He made a few more films, but he was through.

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