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Saturday, October 17, 2009


This scorned & ignored pic from that iconoclastic icon, Sam Peckinpah, is close to being a nihilistic masterpiece. It’s the sort of utterly personal, take-no-prisoners production engendered when a big-budget Hollywood film, the disastrous PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID/’72, is mutilated before its release.* The story is simple enough: a powerful Mexican mobster puts up a million bucks to find the man who knocked-up his daughter. Turns out, the guy is already dead, so it’s a race to find a body. Warren Oates, stunningly effective in a rare leading role, has the connections to get there first, but oh!, the fellas he encounters on the way there. Kris Kristofferson appears from out of nowhere to attack Oates' girlfriend, Gig Young & Robert Webber are too close for comfort as a couple of slick hitmen, while a tidal wave of mayhem, killings, mordant absurdity and the bleakest of futures bring us full circle before the film ends. Even the cars are grisly. Peckinpah had four more pics in him, but he never got this personal again.

*The so-called restored/director’s cut hardly improves matters.

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