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Archive for April 9th, 2009

This one shouldn’t take two minutes…

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 rthc

by Allan Fish

(USA 1962 94m) DVD1/2

Aka. Guns in the Afternoon

The Lord’s bounty isn’t for sale

p  Richard E.Lyons  d  Sam Peckinpah  w  N.B.Stone Jnr  ph  Lucien Ballard  ed  Frank Santillo  m  George Bassman  art  George W.Davis, Leroy Coleman

Joel McCrea (Steve Judd), Randolph Scott (Gil Westrum), Mariette Hartley (Elsa Knudsen), Ronald Starr (Heck Longtree), R.G.Armstrong (Joshua Knudsen), James Drury (Billy Hammond), Warren Oates (Henry Hammond), John Anderson (Elder Hammond), L.Q.Jones (Sylvus Hammond), Edgar Buchanan (Judge Tolliver), Percy Helton (Bank Manager),

But the devil’s is!”  It’s a commonly accepted notion that The Wild Bunch is Peckinpah’s best and most influential film.  I do just about agree, but I rather wish I had the nerve to go against the grain and nominate this film as his magnum opus.  All of Peckinpah’s westerns lament the passing of the old west, mixing nostalgia with an almost elegiac requiem for the period and place that is most touching, if admittedly violent.  Maybe that’s why Country stands alone, made as it was in the days when censorship still prevented such blood-letting on screen.  Either way, it’s one of the great westerns.

            In the early years of the 20th century, ageing unemployed lawman Steve Judd rides into the western town of Hornitos in search of a job as a guard, transporting gold from a nearby camp to the local bank.  Once in town he runs into his old partner, Gil Westrum, who makes his living passing himself off as the Oregon Kid, a legendary sharpshooter.  Steve persuades Gil to go with him, but Gil and his young protégée, Heck Longtree, plan to rob the gold, preferably with Steve’s help, if not without it. (more…)

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