Random thoughts on Butch and the Kid and the Wild Bunch

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JackFavell
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Re: Random thoughts on Butch and the Kid and the Wild Bunch

Post by JackFavell »

In reading different views about Peckinpah and watching the bonus material which I rented, I am starting to get the idea that although The Wild Bunch is the most famous of Peck's works, it is not the most representative, nor even the greatest. Maybe his life was his greatest work.... not sure...Roger Ebert seems to be Peck's biggest fan....His articles make a lot of sense to me, and make me realize that there are things that I have missed while watching the movie.

I have tried to watch Straw Dogs before, and it just was too much for me at the time. I recorded Junior Bonner and hope to get to it sometime in the next week. This one seems just my speed.

I am sure that from my preliminary skirmishes with Peckinpah, I couldn't possibly understand all that is going on in his films.... I just wanted to get some idea of why others are so fascinated and compelled by his work.

I am also finding that The Wild Bunch has stayed with me in a way that many movies don't.... in retrospect, it is getting better.... I find myself thinking about it, chewing it over like a dog chews a bone. I should probably rent it again, because I feel the need to look again....sort of like the kids fixated on the ant hill, I can't stop thinking about what I saw.
Mr. Arkadin
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Re: Random thoughts on Butch and the Kid and the Wild Bunch

Post by Mr. Arkadin »

Clocking in at over two hours, TWB hurls a lot of themes and ideas our way, but those ideas are juxtaposed with intense action, which can overwhelm and leave you wondering exactly what you’ve seen when the dust clears. I know that was how I felt upon my first viewing. However, as you noted, the film sticks with you, and the more you watch, the deeper it becomes. It’s many of the quiet scenes and dialogue between The Bunch, that flesh out Sam’s ideals. There is also a lot of dialogue in Spanish where we must read body movement and expression (unless you speak the language). I’ll be interested to hear what you think of Junior Bonner. It’s a great film that deals with many of TWB’s themes in a gentler fashion that is quite heartwarming to me.

Meanwhile, if you’re ready for the ultimate nihilistic viewpoint, check out Sergio Corbucci’s The Great Silence (1968). Here’s a taster with Ennio Morricone’s beautiful score:

[youtube][/youtube]
Last edited by Mr. Arkadin on May 20th, 2009, 5:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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JackFavell
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Re: Random thoughts on Butch and the Kid and the Wild Bunch

Post by JackFavell »

Already, just from that clip, it appeals to me..... the first shot of bleak but beautiful snow with a lone rider makes me quite intrigued. And that Ennio Morricone cold, snowdrop music..... This one looks super interesting....it totally got my attention. I have never heard of it, but that isn't surprising since my knowledge of all westerns is superficial at best. I am working on it, though!
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JackFavell
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Re: Random thoughts on Butch and the Kid and the Wild Bunch

Post by JackFavell »

Wow.

I just watched The Great Silence. I have no words at all.
Mr. Arkadin
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Re: Random thoughts on Butch and the Kid and the Wild Bunch

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JackFavell wrote:Wow.

I just watched The Great Silence. I have no words at all.
I hope that's a good thing. :wink: I was turned on to this film by CigarJoe at the TCM forums and was completely blown away. It quickly became one of my favorite westerns. Oddly enough, when I began researching the film, I discovered it was influenced by another personal favorite, the seminal B western, Day of the Outlaw (1959).

Silence is a movie that is haunting and heartless, but at the same time the images and music are truly beautiful. There is also an abundance of Christian symbolism, but the film never seems "preachy" or forced. I consider it one of the great unsung treasures of Western cinema.
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JackFavell
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Re: Random thoughts on Butch and the Kid and the Wild Bunch

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It is a good thing...a very good thing. It turned out to be a great movie. I just didn't expect the ending at all.

One of the problems I have with some of the later westerns is that they turn the tables on the old westerns, which isn't necessarily a bad thing... . but when they take away something, they don't give you anything in it's place. It's a trick just for the sake of tricking you. I thought this movie was going to be one of those movies, but it wasn't. From about a third of the way through, it really had a lot of complexity. It had a lot of things to fill you up with...

I didn't actually see the religious aspects as much as I saw the "evils of capitalism" aspects. Maybe it is just my mind set lately, but all I could see was how business and the law (or government) walked hand in hand, and NOT for the better of the people.... This part of the movie seemed really modern to me.

Oh, and as a woman, I can't tell you how much I appreciated a hero who is great looking, and can't say a word..... :D
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Re: Random thoughts on Butch and the Kid and the Wild Bunch

Post by Mr. Arkadin »

I understand the "evils of capitalism" viewpoint--and it's one that is often expressed about this film, but like the noir Force of Evil (1948), which often gets a similar ride from critics, I find it more of a tale of corruption and morality. It is indeed a large part and the context of the entire story. As for the Christian symbolism (which seems to underpin the story), I see signs in Silence and Loco's opposition as demon and avenging angel, the numerous crosses, Silence's wounded hands and martyrdom (which unlike Christ saves no one), and many other small references throughout the film. The incredible thing is the fact that with all these "Big Themes", the film seems actually quite reserved and does not overplay its hand.

I don't know what other Italian westerns you're familiar with, but you should definitely check out Once Upon a Time in the West (1969) if you haven't seen it. That's a film that seems to please classic and modern western lovers equally. You also might like Day of the Outlaw (1959) which has recently come to DVD and stars Robert Ryan. I did a short blurb the last time it showed on TCM:

http://silverscreenoasis.com/oasis3/vie ... f=1&t=2008
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JackFavell
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Re: Random thoughts on Butch and the Kid and the Wild Bunch

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Mr. Arkadin,

I can tell you frankly that I have NO experience with Italian westerns aside from the occasional accidental viewing on TV, so anything I say about them should be taken with a large grain of salt....

I have always had an aversion to Robert Ryan, but this too is based on nothing substantial...and I found him to be quite wonderful in The Wild Bunch. In fact he was my favorite thing in the movie so I have decided to give him another try. Perhaps Day of the Outlaw is the way for me to kill two birds with one stone....see a RR movie, and add another western notch in my belt.

I read a bit about The Great Silence on the net, and had already made up my mind to investigate Day of the Outlaw and Black Sabbath, the other film that was an influence on Corbucci.
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movieman1957
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Re: Random thoughts on Butch and the Kid and the Wild Bunch

Post by movieman1957 »

Depending on how you take your Robert Ryan there are quite a few westerns to choose. "Naked Spur", "The Professionals", "Lawman", "The Proud Ones" and some others. Good noir actor as well.

It is easy to understand why he may not be among your favorites as he seldom played likeable characters. Try "The Boy With Green Hair" for something rather different.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."
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MissGoddess
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Re: Random thoughts on Butch and the Kid and the Wild Bunch

Post by MissGoddess »

Miss Favell,

If I may just jump in---do give Robert Ryan another try. He does come across a certain way at first I know. It's part of his "charm", lol, I've come to believe. But seriously, I wrote at length and posted a great many images in a tribute thread at the "other" site which you may want to investigate. I tried to include some interesting quotes and background about this remarkable actor. Here is the link, if you're interested:


http://forums.tcm.com/jive/tcm/thread.j ... 92#8000892
"There's only one thing that can kill the movies, and that's education."
-- Will Rogers
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JackFavell
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Re: Random thoughts on Butch and the Kid and the Wild Bunch

Post by JackFavell »

Thanks guys! I realize that for most of my classic film life, I have been awfully closed minded and snobbish! Now that I have seen many of my favorites' entire filmographies, I long for something different.....

Goddess, thanks for the link. It's so good to know that when I want to look into new subjects or actors, that there are friends here to help me out...

Chris, those sound like great movies to start with. I do love The Boy With Green Hair, and completely forgot that Ryan was in it - he was so un-Ryan like....
Mr. Arkadin
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Re: Random thoughts on Butch and the Kid and the Wild Bunch

Post by Mr. Arkadin »

JackFavell wrote:Mr. Arkadin,

I can tell you frankly that I have NO experience with Italian westerns aside from the occasional accidental viewing on TV, so anything I say about them should be taken with a large grain of salt....
Once Upon a Time in the West has several American stars, including Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, and Jason Robards. It also features Morricone's music and has some wonderful cinematography along with with a gripping storyline.

Here’s a sampling of the music:
[youtube][/youtube]

As for Robert Ryan, Chris has given you some great westerns (especially The Naked Spur [1953]). Some of my personal favorites would be:

Act of Violence (1948)
Woman on the Beach (1947)
The Set Up (1949)
On Dangerous Ground (1952)
Inferno (1953)
House of Bamboo (1955)
Back from Eternity (1956)
Lonelyhearts (1958)
God’s Little Acre (1958)
Odds Against Tomorrow (1959)
The Iceman Cometh (1973)
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JackFavell
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Re: Random thoughts on Butch and the Kid and the Wild Bunch

Post by JackFavell »

Thanks for the great list, Mr. Arkadin. I can see I have my work cut out for me!

I'm laughing, because even the titles of these Ryan films scare me.... do I really have to go on this dark route? :(

I'm gonna have to watch a lot of Harry Carey, Jr. movies to get these films out of my mind......
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JackFavell
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Re: Random thoughts on Butch and the Kid and the Wild Bunch

Post by JackFavell »

L.Q. Jones on Sam Peckinpah:

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