STRAW DOGS
1971, Walt Disney Co., 118 min, UK, USA, Dir: Sam Peckinpah

“The knock at the door meant the birth of one man and the death of seven others!” Enormously controversial and banned in Britain upon its initial release, this tale of an intellectual pacifist (Dustin Hoffman), pushed to the limit by a sadistic, hard-drinking family of hooligans, was cut by several minutes in the U.S., excluding graphic footage of spouse Susan George's rape and the bone-jarring, blood-drenched climax, which softened the ferocious impact of Peckinpah’s allegory of supposedly civilized humans reverting to their most primitive state. Nominated for Best Original Score at the 1972 Oscars.


THE WILD BUNCH
1969, Warner Bros., 145 min, USA, Dir: Sam Peckinpah

Saddle up for director Sam Peckinpah’s magnificent, ultra-violent Western, starring William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Warren Oates and Jaime Sanchez as a band of doomed outlaws trying to outrun history. A film that forever changed the way violence was depicted and perceived in the movies. Co-starring Robert Ryan, Edmond O’Brien, L.Q. Jones, Bo Hopkins and Strother Martin. “The movie was photographed by Lucien Ballard, in dusty reds and golds and browns and shadows. The editing, by Lou Lombardo, uses slow motion to draw the violent scenes out into meditations on themselves. Every actor was perfectly cast to play exactly what he could play; even the small roles need no explanation. Peckinpah possibly identified with the wild bunch. Like them, he was an obsolete, violent, hard-drinking misfit with his own code, and did not fit easily into the new world of automobiles, and Hollywood studios.” - Roger Ebert


AGE OF CONSENT
1969, Sony Repertory, 103 min, Australia, Dir: Michael Powell

James Mason is at his crotchety, hard-drinking best as Rabelaisian artist Bradley Morrison, sojourning on a remote isle off the Great Barrier Reef to try to jumpstart his dried-up muse. He finds inspiration unexpectedly in the form of nubile free spirit Cora Ryan (a delightful, gorgeous Helen Mirren in one of her earliest roles), an outspoken teenager living with her alcoholic harridan of an aunt (Neva Carr-Glynn). With a great turn by Jack MacGowran (CUL-DE-SAC, FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS) as Mason’s ne’er-do-well friend and Harold Hopkins as Mirren’s smitten, wannabe beau. Mason’s character was based on painter Norman Lindsay, famous for his sumptuous paintings of voluptuous nudes in natural settings.


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