Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973)
There are three versions of this classic
Sam Peckinpah Western.
- The theatrical version was 106 minutes long, and was produced by
the studio's editing team, not Peckinpah's.
- Four years after Peckinpah's 1984
death, some film scholars tried to create a director's cut, which is
122 minutes long.
- Last year (2005), some Peckinpah associates
created another, rival director's cut by interviewing a lot of
people and trying to get the version as close as possible to what
Peckinpah wanted the film to be. This one is 115 minutes long.
There is a lot of confusion involved in
the deconstruction of Peckinpah, and one of the most egregious
misunderstandings involves "what Peckinpah wanted the film to be." There was no
such thing. Peckinpah had no idea what to do with this film, so he
simply abandoned the editing process in his usual drunken, paranoid
haze. The debate over what to release theatrically was not between the
studio's cut and Sam's cut. It was a matter of the cut produced by the
studio's team of editors versus the one produced by Sam's team of
editors. Over the years, Peckinpah has been lionized and romanticized,
and his rough edges have been sanded over so much that people seem to
think Sam had some clear-cut vision of what to do with this film, but
the fact of the matter is that he walked away from the film, and he
did so with film critic Pauline Kael in the room!
Pauline Kael, in the Austin Chronicle:
"It seems to me that for those
who write about his work the martyrdom has sometimes served as
blinders. I was there when Peckinpah told the producer that he
was walking out on the editing of Pat Garrett and Billy the
Kid. As I see it, the film has no motor impulse, no drive.
It's a woozy, druggy piece of work. But it is now widely
regarded as a mutilated masterpiece. I saw it assembled before
Sam left the editing; he may have left it partly because it was
too shapeless for him to attempt to pull it together. It's very
likely that on this film, as on several others, his imagination
was distracted by his financial embroilments. Usually elegies
come at the end of a career; Peckinpah's elegies were followed
by confusion -- sometimes within the same film."
Sam didn't know what shape he wanted the film
to take. The only thing
he knew is that he did NOT want the version officially sanctioned by
MGM's Jim Aubrey, aka "The Smiling Cobra." Since Sam himself had no
idea how to make this film work, any evaluation of the film's three
avatars must be based on the opinion of the viewer, and not what was
"true to Peckinpah."
I'll give you my
thoughts. I saw the theatrical version in 1973 and have never
watched it again. It was incoherent, pointless, and boring. There's a
pretty good consensus on those points. Sam himself had a similar
opinion, and wanted his name removed from the film. Pauline Kael was a
great fan of Peckinpah's work, but not of this film. Kael's future successor as the world's most influential critic,
Roger Ebert, called the film "one note," "boring," and "simple-minded," and
said that "the title song by Bob Dylan is quite simply awful." As it
turns out, I agree with all of those points, although I would offer
that Dylan's crappy title song was amply redeemed by a great Dylan
song, "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," which was also part of the score
for this picture.
I have just watched
the two re-created versions of the film, and they are much, much
better than the theatrical release. I especially like the 2005 version, in which the narrative flows
smoothly and most of the pointless and confusing digressions have been
removed. If you are interested in the complete overview, you have to
watch both director's versions because the 2005 version includes lots
of additional never-before-seen material (including additional
nudity), even though it is some seven minutes shorter than the 1988
cut. The 2005 cut economized by removing the framing story which takes
place in 1909, 28 years after Billy's death, when Pat Garrett himself
is killed. The 1909 scenes are replaced by a scene between Garrett and
his wife, and a much longer version of Garrett's bordello visit which
now includes a scene in which Garrett beats some information out of a
prostitute friendly to Billy.
behind the making of this film is far more entertaining than the film
itself, and the most entertaining account I have read was offered in
quintessential Gonzo fashion by
E. Jean Carroll in Rocky
1973, Pat Garrett and Billy the
Kid comes apart. Happens like this. Peckinpah wants a 5x-day
shooting schedule. MGM wants 36. He gets 50. Peckinpah wants to shoot
in New Mexico for authenticity. Metro wants Mexico to cut costs. He
loses. Peckinpah wants a Panavision repairman in Durango, Mexico, to
fix the cameras. The studio says nothing doing. The first footage is
sent to L.A. to be processed. The lab calls Peckinpah. Says the film's
out of focus. Panic in Durango. Downtime. The camera is fixed and the
paranoia sets in. The actors get sick. The crew gets sick. Peckinpah
is puking every day. They fall behind schedule. James Aubrey,
president of MGM, wants to save time and forbids Peckinpah to shoot a
raft scene. Peckinpah shoots it. The scenarist, Rudy Wurlitzer, starts
complaining. Says Peckinpah is rewriting the picture with the help of
his old TV scripts. Jerry Fielding, Peckinpah's music composer
can't work with Bob Dylan and quits. Dylan's unhappy. Kris
Kristofferson (the Kid) says Rudy's dialogue is corny. Rita Coolidge
(Maria, the Kid's lover) says all that remains of her role thanks to
MGM is that of "a groupie." James Coburn (Garrett) says Peckinpah is a
creative paranoid who generates tension to give everyone the same
experience to feed on during the film. A fight breaks out one Saturday
night. Two guys. One is on the phone ordering a couple of gunmen to
Durango. Wants the other guy killed for threatening Peckinpah's life.
Whitey Hughes, Peckinpah's stunt man, says they always have a good
time, but on this film they aren't having a good time. The hit is
canceled at Peckinpah's insistence. Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid
is brought in 20 days over schedule and $1.5 million over budget.
MGM's building a hotel in Vegas and needs cash. The studio moves the
release date up and gives Peckinpah only two and a half months to
edit. On the sly MGM duplicates the work print and employs another
cutter. Peckinpah's version runs between 122 and 126 minutes. The
studio's runs 106. The producer, Gordon Carroll, negotiates day and
night. Gets nothing restored. The picture's released. Peckinpah sues
for $1.5 million. Orders all the cuts put back or his name taken off.
Nada Nada. Nada.
(That article also offers many other
insights into the world according to Sam. I recommend reading the
entire article if you are into Peckinpah's life or his films)
A great deal of the Pat and Billy story in this film is completely fictional, but
the scene I like best, Billy's jailbreak, is told almost exactly as it
actually occurred. (There are actually
versions of the story, but they vary only on one detail - how
Billy obtained a gun in the outhouse.) That scene develops the
characters thoroughly and economically, follows the action smoothly,
has some great dialogue, leads up to a solid pay-off, and is both
fast-paced and entertaining. If the rest of the movie were that good,
this picture could be the masterpiece that some people claim it to be.
But it isn't. The jailbreak is followed by Pat Garrett's pursuit of
Billy, with Pat's rambling story told parallel to Billy's equally
rambling and half-hearted attempt to flee. The pursuit includes too many
digressions and too many undefined minor
characters with nothing interesting to do or say. This portion of the
movie does, however, provide work for just about every Western
character actor in Hollywood, and that's fun to watch. There are also
some excellent (if marginally relevant) scenes within the
listless and static pursuit. Some examples:
- Jack Elam creates some bittersweet comic relief as a
desperado-turned-lawman who is forced to get into a showdown with Billy.
The two men like each other and neither of them wants to fight, but
they can't come up with a way to avoid it, so they eat some supper
and head outside for the duel. They both cheat, but Billy wins the
gunfight because he cheats more! That's a Peckinpah
trademark - the dismantling of the Western cliché.
- Slim Pickens embodies
another Peckinpah archetype - the
world-weary Westerner - as a sheriff who joins Garrett for
part of his mission. Pickens is an old man who loves the water and
is building a boat so he can sail away from the violent frontier.
You can guess how that's going to work out, since sympathetic movie characters who are
just about to retire always get lured in for one last fatal job.
Pickens is mortally wounded in the gun battle, and walks off quietly
to his favorite river where he dies in peace as he dreams about
sailing. "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" accompanies his death-walk.
Baseball statistics: history or marketable property?
Michelle Trachtenberg is set to topline the horror remake
Black Christmas, from the filmmaking team James Wong and
Glen Morgan (Final Destination)
- Morgan will write and direct
Golden Globe award summary
Golden Globe fashion overview
The sex industry has always been able to exploit niche
markets that the rest of the economy misses. I give you
www.crashcargirls.com - ....sexy women smashing cars
Timing is everything - photos taken at exactly the right
President Pledges To Personally Hunt Down Sniveling
Bureaucrat Who Spilled the Beans About Totally Legal
Spying On Citizens (WHITEHOUSE.ORG)
"WATCH TV THIS INSTANT ... No, you may not do your
- We're Fat And We're Proud !
Weekend Box Office Results, January 13-16, 2006
- Most films fell right where expected except
Hoodwinked, the 3-D animation film from Weinstein
Studios, which was expected to open about #5 and ended
up winning the long weekend in a three-way photo finish!
(Maybe - these are estimates.)
Hoodwinked got stronger every day. On Friday it was
fourth and could have been as low as sixth with just a
few dollars less at the box. On Saturday it was first,
but barely so. On Sunday it won convincingly. On Monday
it pulled away from the field.
- Grandma's Boy tanked down to 21st, despite
continuing to play on 2000 screens. (It took in about
half as much as Woody Allen's Match Point, which is on
300 screens.) BloodRayne never came out of its corner
for a second round.
- Absent a strong champion, the Top 12 were down more
than 10% from last year. This year's champion grossed
only $16 million. On last year's MLK weekend, Coach
Carter pulled in $29 million, and two other films pulled
in $18 million or more.
- NOTE: The numbers below are for four days, not
Ewe Boll update: no box office reign for BloodRayne
- The first week it played, they created and shipped
1900 prints, but only 985 of those theaters actually
showed the movie. He tried to by-pass the studio
distribution system, but without that system there is no
way to lock in the screen count. The second week - I
don't know. Did it actually play anywhere?
- Boll said details on the DVD launch, including
whether his "harder" director's cut of the film will be
released, are still being worked out, but it will be out
- Boll is now editing a $60 million film called In the
Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, starring Jason
Statham, Leelee Sobieski, Ron Pearlman, and Ray Liotta.
- Boll is a genius at raising money, but he needs to
promote himself to producer and hire somebody to direct.
The dream connection: imagine what Robert Rodriguez
could do with Ewe's money!!!
Film Critics pick winners
- They had the balls (and the insight) to pick the
Mickster for his role in Sin City, and to give Sin City
some other awards as well. Most of the hoity-toity
groups have chosen to ignore that film altogether.
- The OFCS also awarded last year's Best Picture to
Eternal Sunshine, and nominated Terrence Howard for Best
Actor this year, so they have been showing some better
judgment than the big name award groups. (Howard lost to
Philip Seymour Hoffman, but that's nothing to complain
about. Pick Hoffman, Straithain, Howard ... just a
matter of what one thinks at the moment the ballot is
- They picked A History of Violence as best picture
this year, and Downfall as best foreign-language film.
I'm OK with both of those choices. Downfall is a
masterpiece, so obviously no problem there, and it
doesn't seem to me that there is one clear-cut selection
for Best Picture - A History of Violence is one of a
dozen or so reasonable candidates, along with about five
others I have seen, and probably five others I have not
- On the other hand, of the Best Director nominees, I
would have picked any of the others over Cronenberg, and
would have picked Rodriguez over Cronenberg if he had
been nominated. But Cronenberg is still a decent choice.
I just think there may have been better ones.
Street theater presents:
McDonald's Bathroom Attendant
There is one billboard - in Sioux Falls, South Dakota -
that does not currently advertise the new ABC show
"Emily's Reasons Why Not" with a giant size photo of star
- “This is obviously an error by our midwest
advertising booker,” ABC VP of marketing Lynne Brann
told me when I informed her of the snafu. “I can promise
you she’s going to be out of a job tomorrow.”
RYAN SEACREST SHAKING UP E! NEWS AS NEW MANAGING EDITOR
... E! News blows lid off Bush wiretapping scandal
under Seacrest’s leadership
- Seacrest said. “My first act was to recruit a crack
team of experienced investigative reporters and tell
them to go out there and win a Pulitzer. And also to
find out what Reese Witherspoon is wearing to the Golden
BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN DIRECTOR FOLLOWING UP WITH FILMS ABOUT
GAY INDIANS, GAY COPS, GAY CONSTRUCTION WORKERS
- Ang Lee got the idea while working out at the YMCA
The trailer for Akeelah and the Bee, the film about
the cute little poor girl who becomes a national spelling
The trailer for The Lady in Question is Charles Busch
- "In Catania and Ignacio's first feature documentary
we look deep inside the world of one of the most
prolific, talented, and outrageous New York theater
artists of the last two decades, beloved playwright,
actor, novelist, drag artist, and leading lady, Charles
Busch. Splashed on the map in 1984 as one of the
burgeoning artists of New York's East Village arts
scene, Busch's scandalously sex-charged, cross-dressing
classic, Vampire Lesbians of Sodom became a theater
phenomenon, running an unprecedented five years and
securing its place as one of the longest-running shows
in Off-Broadway history. His legendary Theater-in-Limbo
plays, produced originally at the dingy yet inspired
Limbo Lounge, brought together an eclectic troupe whose
talents are on display in rare archival footage."
BUSH CALLS ‘OPERATION ALIENATE PAKISTAN’ A SUCCESS ...
Airstrike Succeeded in Pissing Off Nation of 162,000,000,
- Elsewhere, the Reverend Pat Robertson said that God
ended the New England Patriots’ Superbowl hopes to
punish Massachusetts for legalizing gay marriage.
Mountain, as reviewed by The Filthy Critic, who
watched it with a theater full of gay cowboys.
DAMON AND AFFLECK TO REMAKE BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE
- Damon will write and play both parts. Affleck will
play those guys, as in "Who are those guys?"
According to a report in the Irish press this morning,
Johnny Depp will star in the long-awaited screen version
of J. P. Donleavy's novel, The Ginger Man.
Zoom in or out on Hubble's Sharpest View of the Orion
I-Mockery's "Albums That Suck" - Carmen Electra!
Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format.
Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.
How to Make an American Quilt (1995)
This film tells the story of a young woman, engaged but not convinced that
marriage is the right thing, who goes to spend the summer with her grandmother
and finish writing her third attempt at a masters thesis. The home has always
been the gathering place for members of the local quilting bee, ever since she
stayed there as a child, and things haven't changed. One by one, she learns
the secrets, mostly sexual in nature, of all of the women there, has an
affair, and then realizes what she really wants.
I was a little surprised at the IMDb rating. Not that it didn't deserve a
6.0. It was well acted, beautifully filmed, but was essentially a 109 minute
relationship discussion among women. The real surprise to me was the male
score of 5.8 as opposed to the female score of 6.5. This doesn't even
officially place it in chick flick territory. I suppose we can call it a date
Joanna Going shows breasts and buns playing
the young version of one of the women. I did not especially enjoy this film,
but Mrs, Tuna did. This is a C+. It is well made, and pleases genre fans.
The Rosebud Beach Hotel (1984)
The Rosebud Beach Hotel (1984) is a comedy staring Colleen Camp as a rich
girl seriously dating Peter Scolari. Daddy doesn't approve. He pressures
Scolari into becoming manager of a sleazebag hotel in Florida that is worth
three million, but insured for eight million. The idea is that Scolari will
make a mess of the job, daddy will have it burnt to the ground by an arsonist,
Scolari will fall out of favor with Camp, and daddy will collect $8M. Camp
decides to go to Florida with Scolari.
Once there, it doesn't take Camp long to figure out that women of the night
are bringing their dates to the hotel, and hits on the idea of making bell
hops out of the hookers. She also starts promoting the girl band. Other kooky
characters include Eddie Deezen as an alien summering there, Hank Garrett as
custodian and keeper of the boiler, who has a bunker built into the basement,
complete with arms, food, and a still, and two kindly old women who sell
flowers and home grown pot in the lobby. The arsonist turns out to be totally
inept, and Camp and Scolari make a success of the hotel.
Several women show breasts and buns, including a 21 year old Monique
Gabrielle as a hooker who tries to seduce Scolari, July Always, Paula Wood,
and a group of women at a party in the bunker including Dirga McBroom, Tina
Merkle, and Julia Parton.
IMDb readers have this at 4.2 with 42 votes. Camp's performance reminded me
somewhat of Mary Woronow, but not in a good way. While not taking itself
seriously was a good thing with this zany plot, they didn't sell the story
either. This is a D.
Dann reports on Feeding the Masses:
This 2004 horror flick is actually a
black comedy, taking the television news media and the government to task.
The zombies are merely props.
A virus has struck the population. Infected people turn into zombies,
who then eat and infect others. The government's solution: "Play Dead",
because zombies only eat the living.
As the local TV news crews try to cope with zombies and government
happy talk while trying to perpetuate a feeling of normalcy, things get
crazier and crazier.
Despite being a direct-to-video no-budget B movie, this effort is
well-done and bitingly critical of both the media and the government, two
organizations that more than deserve all the criticism they get. Oh, and
it's also funny as hell.
5 clips, 5 actresses, 2 movies, that's today's content.
- In Der Schuss (2001) two actresses take their clothes off.
- In Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974) three lesser known actresses give up the
goodies in one clip each.
Austrian Sandra Cervik delivers a
performance by allowing us a full frontal glimpse of her body in one short
Her German colleague Lisa Martinek ups the ante
by putting in the third B in one longer clip.
Rampage (2006) is not the worst movie I've ever seen. Not by a long shot.
But it just might be the stupidest. What it asks us to swallow as reasonable
and what it tries to pass off as clever leaves one's jaw on the floor. Case in
point: a good half-hour is spent in a small room with Brittany Daniel's
character, a psychiatrist, interrogating one dangerous
mofo, with camera swirling round and round. But there ain't no drama and there
ain't nothing interesting. Stupid. But part of the utter stupidity has
Brittany's character boffing anything that moves and that gets her nekkid. A
lot. Included is one of the nicest scenes in the history of cinema...a
butt-nekkid Brittany from bedroom to swimming pool. That can make up for a
great many sins. Hell, you can film Tom Cruise singing the words of Dianetics
to the tune of
"Why Don't We Do It In the Road" but get Brittany to bare her bum and I will buy
that puppy. So here's some caps to the first part of that scene.
Daniel. The woman is a babe.
Pat's comments in yellow...
On Friday the 13th, self-proclaimed vampire Jonathan "The Impaler" Sharkey
announced his candidacy for governor of Minnesota on the Vampyres, Witches and
Pagans Party ticket. Inspired by Jesse Ventura, former wrestler Sharkey said
"politics is a cut-throat business," and since he sucks blood from his wife's
neck, he's uniquely qualified. He said, "I'm a Satanist who doesn't hate Jesus,
I just hate God the Father," but he claims he respects all religions and would
"post everything from the Ten Commandments to the Wicca Reed" in government
buildings. He also promised to execute murderers and child molesters personally
by impaling them on wooden posts outside the state capitol.
* So basically, he's a Republican.
* With his bloodsucking experience, he should be IRS Commissioner.
* His campaign slogan: "The other candidates suck, too, but at least I admit
Croatian widow Vera Dudas, 73, has applied for a spot in the Guinness Book
of Records for world's oldest cucumber. She said it was pickled by her
mother-in-law when her late husband was born in 1930, and unfortunately,
it survived longer than he did. Vera said she's had the cucumber insured, and
"it was with us everywhere we ever lived and through all our experiences, good
and bad." She said, "I remember my entire married life when I look at that
* In fact, after her husband died, the cucumber sort of
took his place.
* It reminds her of their salad days.
This Explains A Lot
Jim Carrey is campaigning against caffeine, saying that
his health and mental processes are greatly improved since cutting down from
seven coffees a day to one.
* Oops, sorry, that's a typo: It was actually "70 coffees
* Unfortunately, this could end his career.