Showing posts with label William Holden. Show all posts
Showing posts with label William Holden. Show all posts

Monday, February 12, 2018

Cinema Shame: The Wild Bunch (1969)

Four years ago I created a watch list for 2014. These were the films that I hadn't seen yet that I wanted to make a point to watch that year. The Wild Bunch (1969) was one of those films. Unfortunately I never got to it that year or since. So when Jay of Cinema Shame prompted bloggers to submit their Cinema Shame statements for 2018 I added this one to mine!

Directed by Sam Peckinpah, The Wild Bunch (1969) follows a band of outlaws as they seek out one big heist. The year is 1913. Pike Bishop (William Holden) leads his "wild bunch", consisted Dutch Engstrom (Ernest Borgnine), Lyle Gorch (Warren Oates), Angel (Jaime Sanchez), Tector Gorch (Ben Johnson) and others to a dessert town to rob the railroad office's bank. What Pike and his men don't know is that this was a lure created by the railroad, Deke Thornton (Robert Ryan) and his own band of bounty hunters to trap the wild bunch. The robbery goes south and ends in a deadly shoot-out with the wild bunch getting away. When they discover their loot was nothing but bags of steel washers, they seek out another opportunity for a big pay day to make up for this failure. They head for the border and pick up old Freddie Sykes (Edmond O'Brien) along the way. Pike's past begins to haunt him. He's tired of this life and wants one last big heist so he can settle down. But his former partner Deke has made it his mission to capture Pike no matter what it takes. As the two bands cross the border into Mexico, a long chase filled with more heists, lots of booze, women, guns and violence.

"Being sure is my business." - William Holden as Pike Bishop

The Wild Bunch is a movie that revels in violence. Right from the very beginning when we see children feeding scorpions to fire ants, we realize that this movie is going to be tough as nails. In a post Hays Code world, this movie tested the waters and set the standards for increased violence and blood shed on film. Ernest Borgnine once said, "I made The Wild Bunch, which was the beginning of the splattering of blood and everything else. But there was a moral behind it. The moral was that, by golly, bad guys got it. That was it." The film was highly controversial at it's time. It won praise and disdain from those who were in awe of the filmmaking techniques and the performances and others who were appalled by its graphic and relentless representation of violence.

Maybe that's why The Wild Bunch is a mixed bag for me. I can appreciate the artistry of this film but am also repulsed by its violence. The cast is superb and includes some of my favorites like Borgnine, Ryan and O'Brien. I marveled at the excellent filmmaking and on location shooting. The film felt real to me. Like I was in Mexico right alongside the wild bunch on this outrageous adventure. It's not a film I feel the need to watch again but one I'm glad I saw. The Wild Bunch does make me want to watch more of Peckinpah's work. He received his one and only Academy Award nomination, in the Original Screenplay category, for this film.

Have you seen The Wild Bunch (1969)? What did you think of it? Tell me your thoughts below.
Stay tuned for more reviews or quick takes on my Cinema Shame movies for 2018!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Invisible Stripes (1939)

The stripes are invisible because even though they are no longer in jail, they will never be free.

Invisible Stripes (1939) watches a lot like another Bogie movie that came out that same year: Roaring Twenties (1939). Instead of James Cagney and Bogie coming home from World War I you have George Raft and Bogie coming out of jail. The plight they face when they come home is the same. Any opportunities that were available before the left are not there when they come back. Bogie, in both roles, knows that going/staying bad is the only way to get by whereas both Cagney and Raft make a valiant effort at going straight. George Raft plays Cliff who tries everything he can to get a decent job but finds nothing but opposition. No one wants to have an ex-con from Sing Sing on staff. His little brother Tim (William Holden - wait, what? William Holden? OMG! That was him? I didn't even recognize him. He's so young. Why didn't anyone tell me...) wants to marry his longtime girlfriend Peggy (Jane Bryan) but he can't make ends meet enough to be able support a wife and a family. Tim is very tempted by the criminal life that people like Chuck (Bogie) lead; taking what they want, when they want and making no excuses. Cliff will do everything possible to give his little brother and his mother (Flora Robson) a good life, even if it means sacrificing a life for himself. Bogie is as well represented here as he was in Roaring Twenties. He's in a supporting role, has fourth billing but his part is significant enough that although another actor carries the movie you still get the Bogie experience.

Popular Posts

 Twitter   Instagram   Facebook