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The Wild Bunch … Part 1

12 Nov

Glendale Train / New Riders of the Purple Sage

The Wild Bunch / 1969 

If they move kill em 

Scorpion Bar

Bloody Sam?

Sam Peckinpah

“I think the public has learned that, as least somebody has learned that in the passing years that Bloody Sam was merely a change over dishonesty to at least looking at the fact that people do bleed and are hurt. But I am not responsible for the chainsaw – whatever it’s name is – and the other trash that has been put forth. I deal in violence as a term – a very sad term – a very sad poetry.” Sam Peckinpah, BBC Interview, 1976.

… killing a man isn’t clean and quick and simple. It’s bloody and awful. And maybe if enough people come to realize that shooting somebody isn’t just fun and games, maybe we’ll get somewhere.” Sam Peckinpah

It amazes me that a lot of people still don’t get that Sam Peckinpah’s wasn’t trying to exploit violence / human bloodlust, he was trying to expose it’s revolting reality. I believe Peckinpah’s many years of Directing TV Westerns (Gunsmoke, Have Gun – Will Travel, The Rifleman, Broken Arrow, Klondike, Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theater, Trackdown, The Rifleman, The Westerner …) and the superficial way they portrayed violence and Sugar coated killing was a driving force behind his desire to expose violence for what it really is: a traumatic, horrifying event with emotional or moral impact.

Peckinpah’s later sadly realized that many people were not revolted by the blood and violence in his movies. They loved it. And still do.

Further, his movies might well have contributed to obvious ‘desensitization’ toward bloodshed in films.

All this, ironically proved one of his Sam’s pet themes: mankind’s inability to resolve conflicts peacefully.

“There is a great streak of violence in every human being. If it is not channeled and understood, it will break out in war or in madness.” – Sam Peckinpah

Yes, people do love this stuff. Look at any movie Bill: at least half the movies are Action Movies – most with sizable servings of killing and bloodshed.

The question then is: Why do we love this stuff?


“Today we have ‘Action Films’ – not films with ‘Action’. Sam was probably accused of too much violence. He was a man of non-violence. He wanted to show violence the way it was in order to achieve non-violence. To make it so repulsive that nobody wanted to see it. Today they glamorize violence. Unfortunately.”
- James Coburn

Sam’s Trail

Sam Peckinpah’s Western trail: Some bloody good Westerns:  Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973) / The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970) / The Wild Bunch (1969) / Major Dundee (1965) / The Glory Guys (1965) / Ride the High Country (1962) / The Deadly Companions (1962).

The Wild Bunch / Images / Opening Credits

The Wild Bunch Corel screen opening credits Banner

The Wild Bunch screen 1 Holden 2

The Wild Bunch screen 1 Holden

The Wild Bunch screen 1 Borgnine 2

The Wild Bunch screen 1 Borgnine

The Wild Bunch Corel screen 3 opening credits

The Wild Bunch Corel screen 4 opening credits

The Wild Bunch Corel screen 5 opening credits

The Wild Bunch Corel screen 6 opening credits

The Wild Bunch Corel screen 7 opening credits

The Wild Bunch Corel screen 8 opening credits

The Wild Bunch Corel screen 9 opening credits

 Then … all hell broke loose …

Sam …

5 Jan

Bad Company … by Bad Company

Sam Pekinpah - Bloody Sam 1

Sam Pekinpah - Bloody Sam 2

Sam Pekinpah - Bloody Sam 3

Bad Company

Company Always on the run
Destiny is the rising sun
Oh I was born 6-gun in my hand
Behind a gun I’ll make my final stand
That’s why they call me Bad company
And I can’t deny
Bad company
Till the day I die
Till the day I die
Till the day I die Rebel souls
Deserters we are called
Chose a gun and threw away the sun
Now these towns
They all know our name 6-gun sound is our claim to fame
I can hear them say Bad company
And I won’t deny
Bad Bad company
Till the day I die
Till the day I die
Bad company
I can’t deny
Bad company
Till the day I die
And I say it’s
Bad company Oh Yeah—Yeah
Bad company
Till the day I die Oh Yeah Tell me that you are not a thief
Oh But I am
Bad Company
It’s the way I play
Dirty for dirty
Oh Somebody Double-crossed me
We’re Bad company
Kill in cold blood

Writer(s): Simon Kirke, Paul Rodgers

Robert Ryan … Cowboy Noir

7 Jul

     Robert Ryan

Robert Ryan

Robert Ryan

Robert Ryan was already a grizzled veteran of the screen when I was a kid – and I missed most of his earlier work of the 40′s and 50′s. And to me he always seemed to be one of those actors that somehow were never young – even in his early movies – with a presence, stature and persona that moved past his years and youth.

Rugged and somewhat gruff in his portrayals – even his smile was often more like a sardonic smirk – he often played the heavy – a villain. Yet he surely played strong and well along side the likes of:

Gary Cooper (North West Mounted Police / 1940
Rock Hudson (Horizons West / 1952
James Stewart and Janet Leigh (The Naked Spur / 1953
Clark Gable and Jane Russell (The Tall Men / 1955
Burl Ives and Tina Louise (Day of the Outlaw /1959
John Dehner and Torin Thatcher (The Canadians / 1961,
Lancaster, Marvin, Palance
StrodeBellamy and Cardinale (The Professionals / 1966
James Garner and Jason Robards (Hour of the Gun / 1967
Robert Shaw (Custer of the West /1968
Arthur Kennedy (
A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die / 1968
William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Warren Oates, Ben Johnson … (The Wild Bunch / 1969
Burt Lancaster, Lee J. Cobb (Lawman / 1971 …
and more …

A heck of an actor. And these are just his Westerns !

But what Westerns they were ! At least 3 easily rising  into the heights of Western Classics: The Wild Bunch, The Professionals, Naked Spur, Hour of the Gun … plus others of worthy note.

A true Western Star.

Robert Ryan

Robert Ryan

the professionals ryan

Robert Ryan / The Wild Bunch

Robert Ryan / The Professionals

Robert Ryan / The Professionals

Ryan 'slappin leather' in The Hour of the Gun

Ryan slappin’ leather in The Hour of the Gun

Robert Ryan / The Wild Bunch

Ryan (Center Back) with mostly unidentified cast cohorts of The Wild Bunch 
- except Strother Martin (Back left)

Ryan - The Naked

Ryan – The Naked Gun

Ride on Robert …

Update: Sam Pekinpah Bio …

24 Sep

To be included in My Favorite Westerns: Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid; The Wild Bunch; and MFW Great Western Directors

    “I loved Westerns as a kid,
and I wanted to see if they held up”.

- Sam Pekinpah

They’re holding up pretty good Sam.

A Western Education …

22 Aug

In researching Westerns … I’m finding I have some ‘dues’ to pay. I’ve discovered my education in Western movies is sadly lacking and there are a ton of Westerns out there that I have never seen that I need to ‘catch up on’ – even at this late date.

In doing so I’ve also found that I sometimes have to subject myself to a few Westerns that are less than excellent. Like tonight, when I decided to watch The Shadow Riders with Tom Selleck. Tom Selleck is a favorite actor of mine and, in fact, is in one of My Favorite Westerns: Quigley Down Under. But The Shadow Riders is (sadly) not of the same calibre. It’s a TV Movie – a B Movie. Not that all TV Movies or B Movies are poor – some are pretty good and a lot of fun to watch – they just aren’t normally ‘top of the line’ in production qualities.

The Shadow Riders actually has some pretty fine talent in – besides Selleck:  Sam Eliott, Ben Johnson; Catherine Ross … plus a sampling of trusty support actors. But it’s not a good movie.

Selleck and Elliot appeared together several times in Westerns:

With regard to Ben Johnson: a fine Western actor who has appeared in MANY Westerns - and is also in another of my My Favorite Westerns: The Wild Bunch. He’s one of the four (anti) heroes who march to the final showdown – along with William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, and Warren Oates.

Ben Johnson definitely has a place in the MFW Cowboy Hall of Fame

Ben Johnson

Ride on Ben …

Ride on.

The Wild Bunch: Ben Johnson, Warren Oates, William Holden, Ernest Borgnine

The Wild Bunch: Ben Johnson, Warren Oates, William Holden, Ernest Borgnine

Earp’s … doing ‘The Walk’

25 Jul

Epic! The famous ‘Walk’ to the climactic gunfight at OK Corral

Kirk Douglas

Gunfight at the OK Corral - Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, John Hudson, DeForest Kelley

Hour of the Gun Frank Converse, Sam Melville, Jason Robards, James Garner

Hour of the Gun Frank Converse, Sam Melville, Jason Robards, James Garner

'Tombstone' Val Kilmer, Sam Shapard, Kirk Russel, Bill Paxton

Tombstone Val Kilmer, Sam Shapard, Kirk Russel, Bill Paxton

'Wyatt Earp' Dennis Quaid, Michael Madsen, Kevin Costner, Linden Ashby

Wyatt Earp Dennis Quaid, Michael Madsen, Kevin Costner, Linden Ashby

‘The Wild Bunch’ … doing ‘the Walk’?  You betcha!

The Wild Bunch Edmond O'Brien, Warren Oates, William Holden, Ernest Borgnine

The Wild Bunch Edmond O’Brien, Warren Oates, William Holden, Ernest Borgnine

Intentional – or not (and I surely believe it was)
Pekinpah’s Wild Bunch do ‘The Walk’

Guns and Killing … continued

21 Jul

By Frank Prassel, University of Oklahoma Press 1972

Check Your Gun Mister

Are We Safer than the Citizens of Dodge City? By Jim Higginbotham

Sometimes the answers to seemingly complex social problems are hidden in plain sight. Social engineers, lawmakers and “experts” from all around spout off an endless stream of statistics to support or rationalize their position one side or the other of the “gun control” issue. Now I don’t like the term “gun control” for it is ambiguous and usually used to mask the real intent of those advocating it so for the purpose of this discussion let us just say “more restrictive guns laws”. One might think that this is a relatively new idea, it is not! You can go back to the Roman Empire and find the existence of cross bow control, you can look to England and find attempts to disarm the various colonists under their imperial thumb – the American colonists come to mind as an unsuccessful attempt to debar the use of arms to an indigent population. There are many examples of the failure of laws which attempt to disarm the violent in our society but none are more graphic as examples or easier to measure in effect than those in the “wild west” of America circa 1870-1900.

read more …


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