The most important thing is to enjoy your life - to be happy - it's all that matters.

The Wild Bunch (1969)

Moderators: Sue Sue Applegate, movieman1957, moira finnie, Lzcutter

MikeBSG
Posts: 1777
Joined: April 25th, 2007, 5:43 pm

Re: The Wild Bunch (1969)

Postby MikeBSG » August 22nd, 2011, 8:33 am

Er, I think they remade "King Kong" twice, once in the Seventies and once in the last decade.

User avatar
pvitari
Posts: 3016
Joined: January 30th, 2010, 8:26 am

Re: The Wild Bunch (1969)

Postby pvitari » August 24th, 2011, 10:39 pm

Movie reporter Michael Sragow on the Wild Bunch remake. He doesn't think it's a good idea. ;) In fact, the title of the article is "Worst Remake Idea Ever: The Wild Bunch." :)

http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/enterta ... e_wil.html

User avatar
pvitari
Posts: 3016
Joined: January 30th, 2010, 8:26 am

Re: The Wild Bunch (1969)

Postby pvitari » July 14th, 2013, 2:31 pm

I finally made screencaps from The Wild Bunch. That is... you all know I'm a Ben Johnson fan, so I made screencaps of Ben's scenes -- which are about 2/3 of the movie anyway.Then I went back and made about 250 screencaps from the rest of the movie so in the end I kind of did it all, though a bit out of order. Plenty of shots of William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Edmond O'Brien, Warren Oates, Robert Ryan, Strother Martin, Emilio Fernandez, and everyone else.

This is one of the greatest movies I've ever seen about people I really don't care about. Every time I begin to feel sympathetic towards the bunch, they say or do something that makes my skin crawl, mostly notably Angel, who murders an innocent woman because she defies him, and Dutch because he grabbed a woman and used her as a shield during the final shoot-out. And yet the way the final sigh leaves Dutch as he dies knocks me flat. Argh.

For the moment though, the character who really fascinates me is Teresa, Angel's former lover, who so memorably deserted him and has now become the general's mistress (one of several, I assume). In fact, I'm kind of obsessed by her. What is her story, really? It seems to be the story of so many other pretty, poor young women in poor, patriarchal cultures whose only options seem to be attaching themselves to this or that terrible man. Teresa is played by Sonia Amelio, an accomplished actress, dancer, castanet artist and educator, in a defiant, blazing performance. Peckinpah knew how to cast 'em -- one scene in the movie and she is unforgettable. She makes me understand Angel's rage at losing her... though never his decision on how to resolve the situation.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-evNCP6_Qg[/youtube]

Well, here goes for starters. More to come. I apologize in advance if these seem a little Ben Johnson-centric, as this is The Wild Bunch thread, not just the "Ben Johnson in The Wild Bunch" thread.


Batch 1.

Image

Image

Image

"If they move... kill 'em!"
Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

John Ford would have liked this shot. :)
Image

Image

This one's for JackFavell. ;)
Image

Image

Image

---->

User avatar
pvitari
Posts: 3016
Joined: January 30th, 2010, 8:26 am

Re: The Wild Bunch (1969)

Postby pvitari » July 14th, 2013, 2:36 pm

Batch 2.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

More soon.

User avatar
JackFavell
Posts: 11946
Joined: April 20th, 2009, 9:56 am

Re: The Wild Bunch (1969)

Postby JackFavell » July 14th, 2013, 5:19 pm

Thanks for the finger pointing scene, Paula! :D

You put that really well - that part about 'the best movie about people I don't care about.' but we do care by the end, don't we? Interesting.

And I agree about Sonja Amelio, she's quite memorable.

What I'm getting from your caps is just how beautiful and authentic looking this movie really is. It's time I went back and watched it again.

User avatar
Mr. Arkadin
Posts: 2657
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 3:00 pm

Re: The Wild Bunch (1969)

Postby Mr. Arkadin » July 14th, 2013, 7:24 pm

pvitari wrote:This is one of the greatest movies I've ever seen about people I really don't care about. Every time I begin to feel sympathetic towards the bunch, they say or do something that makes my skin crawl, mostly notably Angel, who murders an innocent woman because she defies him, and Dutch because he grabbed a woman and used her as a shield during the final shoot-out. And yet the way the final sigh leaves Dutch as he dies knocks me flat. Argh.


The Bunch are hardened men who lost their way long ago, yet they believe in a code, even if they don't always hold to it. In comparison with the other characters in this film, they are actually the only people who understand the difference between right and wrong and have some moral values, whereas those that surround them have none.

Pike is the man who will give the prostitute his extra money (like the Tramp with the blind girl in City Lights [1931]). He spares another woman's life, only to be shot in the back by her and his fatal wounding comes at the hands of a child. Teresa is the woman who refused to fight for her village when Mapache came and raided it. Instead, she became his mistress. Angel does a detestable thing, but he's the one person in this film who has pure motives and gives up riches for guns, so that his village can fight.

Dutch using a woman as a shield is shocking, but as we have already seen in the earlier scene with Pike (and all of the movie before this) you can't fight people who have no sense of fair play with one hand tied behind your back (see The Life and Death of Col.Blimp [1943]), you must deal with them in kind.

The Bunch take on an entire army and town, not for riches or power (which is everyone else's motivation in this film), but their friend. Perfect men? Heroes? Hardly, but they do find their humanity, while the rest wallow in self-absorption.

User avatar
pvitari
Posts: 3016
Joined: January 30th, 2010, 8:26 am

Re: The Wild Bunch (1969)

Postby pvitari » July 14th, 2013, 11:49 pm

The Bunch take on an entire army and town, not for riches or power (which is everyone else's motivation in this film), but their friend. Perfect men? Heroes? Hardly, but they do find their humanity, while the rest wallow in self-absorption.


Oh, the Bunch wallow plenty in their self-absorption. To achieve that humanity, they engineer a massacre which results in the destruction of a village and the survivors going into exile. This time the Bunch knew what was going to happen. There was no way Mapache would give Angel back to them, except in pieces. That brilliantly rendered long march into the village, with the soldiers watching -- there is only one way this is going to end.

Let us not romanticize the Bunch. As much as Peckinpah loved them, I don't think he did either. He made it clear in interviews these were bad men and the violence in the film was meant to be sickening. If you enjoyed it, he felt, you had a screw loose. (Er, this is not to imply that anyone here "enjoys" the film's violence or has a screw loose... but I think Peckinpah would be seriously distressed by how misunderstood his art was. Hollywood watched the Wild Bunch massacre without understanding any of its moral implications, and now it seems every week there's another CGI-fest with body counts in the thousands, but it's OK because the angsty super-hero wins and nobody knows who those bodies are, anyway -- they're just CGI pixels.)

User avatar
Mr. Arkadin
Posts: 2657
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 3:00 pm

Re: The Wild Bunch (1969)

Postby Mr. Arkadin » July 15th, 2013, 12:49 am

I think you missed the point of my post--as well as all the other posts I have made in this thread. No one romanticized anything. You seemed to be upset about the fact that two women were killed and I simply said that this is a society without morality and that includes the women and children, which is on full display in several scenes in this film.

In many 50's westerns a person often had to choose between good and evil. In that type of scenario said person has an understanding of morality and what good and evil are. Thus, he was able to choose between them. In Peckinpah's film, most of the characters do not have this understanding. The Bunch are older men who have grown up in a time when a man's word and ethics meant something. In short, they have the ability to choose and for most of the film they choose to do evil rather than good. In Corbucci's The Great Silence (1968) we see ethics totally in shambles, where good or evil is simply what a person wielding a gun decides they should be.

As for the village massacre, I hardly think that this was a Sunday school crowd. If you watch the many shots leading up to the climax, Peckinpah takes great pains to demonstrate quite the opposite. I have never read an interview where Sam said his movie was meant to be sickening--rather as I stated earlier in this thread--he gives the viewer a rare opportunity to see what gun play actually does to a human being. While many western fans ache for a shoot out, they never want to linger on the results and hard truth of what it actually means to kill someone (something Eastwood would rediscover with Unforgiven [1992]). I believe his point was that if a person enjoys the violence in his film and understands it only from that shallow perspective, they must have something wrong with them.

As I stated at the beginning of this thread, Peckinpah is a man of contrasts, who thrusts hard circumstances upon his characters to facilitate choice. To do so he provides the contrast of Angel's village against Mapache, the border town, the Texas town, the bounty hunters, and the Bunch themselves. Pike constantly preaches many worthy ideals, but in truth, he does not live up to any of them. However, the fact that we see this and he realizes it, means that all is not lost for him--or us.

User avatar
JackFavell
Posts: 11946
Joined: April 20th, 2009, 9:56 am

Re: The Wild Bunch (1969)

Postby JackFavell » July 15th, 2013, 8:02 am

In The Wild Bunch, isn't it more of a choice between lesser evil and greater evil, rather than good and evil?

User avatar
pvitari
Posts: 3016
Joined: January 30th, 2010, 8:26 am

Re: The Wild Bunch (1969)

Postby pvitari » July 15th, 2013, 8:19 am

I did NOT miss your point in your posts. I read them carefully and I understand what you are saying. I am talking specifically about the Bunch's decision and what it really means.

My argument is that the Bunch really did NOT find redemption because their moment of humanity meant the negation of others' humanity -- so what is the Bunch's decision worth? For them personally -- a moment of glory, and then gruesome, but swift enough death. For everyone else -- death or loss, trauma, suffering. It's not reduced down to just one women, or two women, it's about humankind in toto. The Bunch made an existential decision that led to a short chain of events which they had to know would occur. If they want to sacrifice themselves, that is their decision, but to take so many with them...? Mapache and his lieutenants of course play no small part in this. They are even worse, because they have political power and an army to back it up. The Bunch do not have power, except in their individual guns.

That society is rotten or immoral is no excuse for what the Bunch perpetrated (or what Mapache perpetrated). The people in the crowd may have been perpetrators of bad deeds too in their own lives but in the end they are victims.

Peckinpah lays bare the hollowness of all these characters which is actually one of the reasons why I think they resonate so strongly and the movie has such meaning.

User avatar
Mr. Arkadin
Posts: 2657
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 3:00 pm

Re: The Wild Bunch (1969)

Postby Mr. Arkadin » July 15th, 2013, 9:08 am

pvitari wrote:I did NOT miss your point in your posts. I read them carefully and I understand what you are saying. I am talking specifically about the Bunch's decision and what it really means.

My argument is that the Bunch really did NOT find redemption because their moment of humanity meant the negation of others' humanity -- so what is the Bunch's decision worth? For them personally -- a moment of glory, and then gruesome, but swift enough death. For everyone else -- death or loss, trauma, suffering. It's not reduced down to just one women, or two women, it's about humankind in toto. The Bunch made an existential decision that led to a short chain of events which they had to know would occur. If they want to sacrifice themselves, that is their decision, but to take so many with them...? Mapache and his lieutenants of course play no small part in this. They are even worse, because they have political power and an army to back it up. The Bunch do not have power, except in their individual guns.

That society is rotten or immoral is no excuse for what the Bunch perpetrated (or what Mapache perpetrated). The people in the crowd may have been perpetrators of bad deeds too in their own lives but in the end they are victims.

Peckinpah lays bare the hollowness of all these characters which is actually one of the reasons why I think they resonate so strongly and the movie has such meaning.


Here we have a difference of philosophical outlook. You seem to indicate that any conclusion that results in the death of another is wrong. Fair enough, I respect your views. Personally, I (as I said previously) do not see the Bunch as heroes, but Pike as a flawed human being who finally is willing to live up to his principals.

There is no glory in any of this--at least I don't see it. Getting shot in the back by a woman and child? Using people as shields? If anything, Peckinpah's film is closer to real life combat than many are willing to admit. I don't see their decision as one of taking on the whole town, but they were willing to do whatever was necessary to retrieve one of their own. Your earlier post suggested that Angel was going to be killed anyway, so just let him get killed--If the death of another is wrong, where is the value in such a decision? Evil is not just what a man does, but the good that he leaves undone. The crowd actually joins in the battle and we see them attack the Bunch first. While we all (or at least I) would like a society where everyone respects the sanctity of life, Peckinpah shows us that we do not live in such a utopia, much like Powell reveals in The Life and Death of Col Blimp, where a man is confronted with the fact that unless he is willing to fight the enemy on their ground, his country might end up speaking German. While I think the death of any human being is a very serious matter, I also believe that there are principals and ethics worth fighting (and in some cases dying) for.

The Wild Bunch in my mind is a great film because it explores all these ideas and lets us see them brought to a full conclusion. You and I can enjoy the film and see different things within it, which is the sign of great art.

User avatar
Mr. Arkadin
Posts: 2657
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 3:00 pm

Re: The Wild Bunch (1969)

Postby Mr. Arkadin » July 15th, 2013, 9:30 am

JackFavell wrote:In The Wild Bunch, isn't it more of a choice between lesser evil and greater evil, rather than good and evil?


I would say that is very much closer to what Peckinpah reveals. As Pike says to Dutch "He gave his word" indicates an idea of absolutes, Dutch counters with "It matters who you give it to" suggesting that while one should honor their word, it is quite another thing to be in service to a person who would ask them to break their previous bond with another. At the end of this film, we see Thorton sitting sadly by the gate and hooking up once again with old man Sykes, he says: "I sent 'em back--that's all I said I'd do."

User avatar
pvitari
Posts: 3016
Joined: January 30th, 2010, 8:26 am

Re: The Wild Bunch (1969)

Postby pvitari » July 15th, 2013, 10:05 am

There is no glory in any of this--at least I don't see it.


Me neither, but I don't think like The Bunch.

Getting shot in the back by a woman and child? Using people as shields? If anything, Peckinpah's film is closer to real life combat than many are willing to admit.


Of course it is, that's why it was so revelatory back in 1969 -- when that kind of thing was on the TV news live from Vietnam for the very first time -- and still is. And Hollywood still doesn't get it, to judge by the latest batch of super-hero movies, even if Iron Man is suffering from PTSD.

I don't see their decision as one of taking on the whole town, but they were willing to do whatever was necessary to retrieve one of their own. Your earlier post suggested that Angel was going to be killed anyway, so just let him get killed--If the death of another is wrong, where is the value in such a decision?


No, that is not what I said. Actually I don't think the Bunch could have done anything other than go back for Angel, at least Pike couldn't, and the others knew it was the right thing to do. The real crucial moment in the movie for me isn't really that decision, but what happens AFTER they get to the village and confront Mapache. And this goes back to JackFavell's question about isn't it really a choice about the lesser and great evil? I would dispute that. The choice actually still is between good and evil, but in each case the evil decision is made. Angel could have made the choice not to shoot Teresa and to leave her to the tender mercies of Mapache -- but he shot her. Mapache could have arrested him and had an actual trial, or even just let him get away with it, but he tortured him and then used him as a bargaining chip instead. When Angel returned to town (stupid decision, but not an evil one), Mapache could have just let him leave instead of capturing him again, torturing him again and using him as a bargaining chip yet again. When the Bunch marched into town, Mapache could have decided to just let Angel go -- he was of no use anymore, but instead he cut his throat. Pike and his men could have decided at that moment not to retaliate, and who knows what would have happened then. Either Mapache would have captured them and probably tortured/killed them, or he could have let them go. If the former, the end result would have been the same for the Bunch, but with only their blood shed and it would be only on the hands of Mapache and his men.

Every time I see Pike shoot Mapache, I keep thinking it's going to turn out differently, that like the soldiers in The Wizard of Oz, someone is going to say, "You shot the general" and then everyone will cheer and hail Dorothy -- er, Pike -- as their liberator. But that's fantasy (as Peckinpah well knows and we read in the newspapers every day). People don't like it when outsiders kill their nasty leaders, they prefer to do it themselves.

In each instance someone could have decided not to initiate or perpetuate the violence, but in case they did.

Evil is not just what a man does, but the good that he leaves undone.


EXACTLY. Look what went undone -- in every instance, mercy or a turn away from violence went undone. The Bunch and Mapache were spoiling for a fight. The war this movie brings to mind isn't just Vietnam, but the one that is literally imminent in the film -- World War I, where the nations of Europe were bristling with weapons, and Angel is Duke Ferdinand.

The crowd actually joins in the battle and we see them attack the Bunch first.


Actually Pike initiated the massacre, by shooting the general. The crowd as far as I can see is mostly scrambling under tables and behind barriers, but if any of them joined in the fight, it's because Tector, then Lyle, and then Pike, are mass killing with the Gatling gun, and those not using the Gatling gun are still inflicting major damage with their guns.

While we all (or at least I) would like a society where everyone respects the sanctity of life, Peckinpah shows us that we do not live in such a utopia, much like Powell reveals in The Life and Death of Col Blimp, where a man is confronted with the fact that unless he is willing to fight the enemy on their ground, his country might end up speaking German. While I think the death of any human being is a very serious matter, I also believe that there are principals and ethics worth fighting (and in some cases dying) for.


I am sure you are not equating the Bunch's march into the village and subsequent massacre to the fight to defeat Hitler and his monstrous regime.

User avatar
Mr. Arkadin
Posts: 2657
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 3:00 pm

Re: The Wild Bunch (1969)

Postby Mr. Arkadin » July 15th, 2013, 10:58 am

pvitari wrote: I am sure you are not equating the Bunch's march into the village and subsequent massacre to the fight to defeat Hitler and his monstrous regime.


I am trying to have a conversation and agree to disagree and you seem to be trying to bait this discussion into something else. Everybody in this film is a bad person (except maybe old man Sykes and Ryan and we don't know enough about them). When Angel kills his lover it is horrible and shocking and that is precisely the point. Here is the person with the purest motives in the film--even linked to deity by name--and he does the worst possible thing. If that was all there was to this story I would not find any value in it. Many people are evil and never realize the evil they do. That Pike DOES realize it--and attempts to do something right (although it certainly doesn't turn out well), is what makes the film interesting to me. Do I realize the wrong and evil I do to others everyday? Am I doing anything to fight injustice or stand up for someone who cannot speak for themselves? I would say that is the idea that Peckinpah wants us to leave with. So many of us never question who we are, or why we do what we do. His movie is a mirror to our hearts and makes us examine not just our actions, but underlying motivations.


Return to “Westerns”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests