• Charlie's French Cinema Nudity site is updated. Lots to see this week. Check out Isild LeBesco stark naked in some threesome action.

The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970)

Total spoilers

In 1969 and 1971, Sam Peckinpah made the two films which are generally considered his masterworks: The Wild Bunch (1969) and Straw Dogs (1971). In between them, he made The Ballad of Cable Hogue, a film which has been largely forgotten over the years, but which Peckinpah always considered his own favorite film. If you are familiar with this movie and with Peckinpah's career, you might be surprised to hear of his preference for it, because it is quite dissimilar to his other films. Oh, it is a Western; it features many members of his usual character actor repertory; and it covers some of Peckinpah's familiar territory: the end of the Wild West era of rugged individualism; but the similarities to his other films stop there. The most salient point can probably be summed up in the first adjective that comes to mind when I think of this film: "charming." Many positive adjectives have been used to characterize Peckinpah's work, but "charming" is not among them. That epithet is generally reserved for movies starring Cary Grant, or Maurice Chevalier, or Audrey Hepburn, yet it is the right word to summarize The Ballad of Cable Hogue.

You see, Hogue is a romantic comedy, and the lead characters even sing to one another! You could call it a musical without fear of angry rebuttal, because in addition to the sweet duet, it includes a lush musical score by Jerry Goldsmith, with a long vocal for the beginning and ending theme music. It is even edited like a musical, montage-style. You know how the characters in a musical often continue to sing the same song as they go from location to location and situation to situation? This film uses that same editing trick, except with conversations rather than songs. One character may ask another a question while they are unloading lumber to build a house, but the other answers from the rooftop as the house is nearly built, then back to the other as they apply the final touches to the completed house.

Yeah, I know that the concept of a Sam Peckinpah musical romance sounds like the premise for a Monty Python skin, but that's what this is and it's a damned entertaining and sometimes surprisingly tender movie. In fact, I agree with Peckinpah's judgment of it. I don't know that I would call this his "best" movie, but it's my favorite. Frankly, I don't even know how to measure whether one movie is better than another, and I plan to stray away from that discussion until somebody gives me a set of working criteria that can help me evaluate whether Pulp Fiction is "better" than Fantasia. For the record, the best available objective criterion (IMDb rating) places Cable Hogue somewhere in the middle of Peckinpah's filmography.

  1. (8.09) - The Wild Bunch (1969)
  2. (7.59) - Straw Dogs (1971)
  3. (7.58) - Ride the High Country (1962)
  4. (7.39) - Cross of Iron (1977)
  5. (7.39) - The Getaway (1972)
  6. (7.38) - Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)
  7. (7.28) - The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970)
  8. (7.09) - Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973)
  9. (6.70) - Junior Bonner (1972)
  10. (6.61) - Major Dundee (1965)
  11. (6.42) - The Deadly Companions (1961)
  12. (5.96) - The Killer Elite (1975)
  13. (5.83) - The Osterman Weekend (1983)
  14. (5.82) - Convoy (1978)
  15. (4.59) - Jinxed! (1982)

In the beginning of the film, the prospector Cable Hogue (Jason Robards) is abandoned by his partners to die in the desert. He swears that if he ever gets out, he will hunt down the double-crossers and kill them. Pretty familiar Peckinpah territory so far. Now comes the severe right turn. Cable wanders through the desert for days until he stumbles upon a water hole. Turns out his discovery is quite close to a stagecoach line,  and is the only water in a forty mile stretch of desert. Since Cable is an entrepreneur at heart, he buys the tiny tract of land and turns it into a rest stop for weary travelers. In the process of establishing his business, he treats everyone fairly, and 95% of them are fair to him. With the exception of one wayward baddie who truly needs killin', Cable doesn't have to do anything violent or ruthless to establish his claim to the land, to get financing from the bank, or to build his business in the wilderness. The lawless old West is basically gone, replaced by men and women who work out their differences rationally.

Cable falls in love with the fanciest fancy-lady (Stella Stevens) in the closest town, and they share many tender moments, but she is determined to make a better life for herself than Cable can offer her in his ramshackle desert home, so she wanders off to San Francisco to marry a rich man. Cable's heart is broken, but he's not the kind of guy to dwell on such matters. He gets back to work, and continues to wait for news of the two men who betrayed him.

The two men finally arrive, but Cable does not kill them immediately. He gives them a chance to walk away peacefully, but sets a trap to lure them back with the promise of buried riches. If they had not come back to rob him, Cable would have let them go. When they do come back to rob him, Cable does finally kill one, but ends up forgiving the other because the guy is a weakling who had always been under the thumb of the tough guy. In fact, Cable not only forgives him, but actually gives his way-station to the partner-turned-enemy-turned-partner, because the love of his life returns from San Francisco as a rich widow with ... an automobile! (Set the symbolism meter to .... changing of the West.)

I almost wish that the film had offered us that storybook ending filled with the reconciliation of the two men and the reunion of the lovers, but life is not so simple, and this is a movie about real, breathing characters. The ending is sad and the symbolism is a bit heavy-handed, but it's bittersweet rather than tragic. And charming, dammit, very charming! Especially Robards. I've never been a great fan of Jason Robards in general, even in films I like and admire, and I've always felt that his reputation far exceeded what he accomplished with his miniscule emotional range. That may be so, but he sure as hell nailed this role. Cable Hogue is one of the most interesting and complex characters ever to grace the screen, and Robards managed to deliver the role with a quirkiness that never stepped on the credibility. I ended up liking Cable immensely, and rooting for him every step of the way.  And even though Robards can't sing for shit, I even liked his duet with Stella Stevens, not just because she is naked at the time, but in the same sense that I liked Lee Marvin's crusty vocals in Paint Your Wagon - those two performances both seem to come from the heart of a masculine, tone-deaf character who would enjoy singing, and who would sing as well as he could if placed in exactly those situations. My dad was the same kind of guy - very manly, but loved to sing to himself, and couldn't. Robards captured that kind of guy perfectly. (His other duet, with the equally tone-deaf David Warner, is one of the worst examples of singing ever recorded on electronic media, but the two characters were supposed to be dead drunk at the time, so it's forgivable.)

The rest of the cast supports Robards soundly, and they had a good script to work from. The West of this film is filled with interesting minor characters, almost all of whom are written with enough complexity to make them believable and recognizable as people who might really have existed somewhere near these locations in the Valley of Fire, Nevada, and Apacheland at the foot of Superstition Mountain, Arizona.

Very appealing movie. I rate it as one of the 25 best Westerns ever made.

Stella Stevens



Other Crap:

Veteran Police Officer Faces Charges For Hitting Himself With Congresswoman McKinney's Hand

Colbert Report: Martyr

  • Just as Jesus died for our sins, Tom DeLay's congressional career has died for Jack Abramoff's sins.

Colbert talks to the author of "Manliness"

Colbert Reports on crying - in the war on manliness

  • You know who cries? Girls. And little babies. And little baby girls.

Colbert fears losing his job to immigrants - El Reporto Colberto Gigante

Daily Show: Headlines - Afrospanicindioasianization

  • Race: an issue ever since the first pilgrim saw an Indian and thought 'He'd make a great mascot.'

Daily Show: Retired General Tony Zinni discusses some of the problems in Iraq in his book The Battle for Peace.

Daily Show: Whites become a minority in America on June 19th, 2061.

Daily Show: Corddry - Racist Like Me

  • The great injustice: just because Rob Corddry's a racist, people think it's ok to oppress him.

"Joan Rivers once gave out actress Victoria Principal's home phone number on her talk show."

The trailer for My Brother's Wife

  • After almost ten years of marriage, the stunningly attractive ZoŽ realizes that her marriage to Ignacio no longer carries the passion and spark it once had. Emotionally adrift, she is left to search for those sensations once again, and soon finds herself seduced into the arms of Gonzalo, her husband's brother. At first, Zoe becomes reinvigorated by the romance. But her decision soon launches a series of events that drives these three people through a gauntlet of revenge, secret and despair that will unravel them all.

The trailer and four clips from THE PROPOSITION - Written by Nick Cave - Directed by John Hillcoat

  • Set against the harsh and unforgiving landscape of the 1880s Australian outback, "The Proposition" is a visually stunning tale of loyalty, revenge and the quest for justice in a lawless land. Charlie Burns (Guy Pearce) is a renegade. Along with his two brothers, Arthur (Danny Huston) and Mikey (Richard Wilson), he is wanted for murder. When Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone) captures Charlie and Mikey, he offers Charlie a proposition in an attempt to end the brutality that surrounds them -- the only way to save Mikey from the noose is for Charlie to track down and kill Arthur, his psychotic older brother. An impossible moral dilemma leads to a murderous climax.

The trailer for Peaceful Warrior

  • Dan Millman (Scott Mechlowicz) is a gifted young athlete bound for Olympic gold who will do anything to be the best. Driven by success, Dan has got it all: trophies, fast motorcycles, fast girls, and wild parties. But Dan's world is turned upside down when he meets a mysterious stranger in a gas station (Nick Nolte) who holds the power to tap into new worlds of strength and understanding. The young man discovers that he has much to learn and even more to leave behind in order to master this new vision of greatness in this moving tale about the power of human will. Based on the semi-autobiographical book loved by millions, "Way of the Peaceful Warrior" by Dan Millman.

Cynthia McKinney Arrest: Transcript of President Bush's Phone Call of Concerned Support to Mercilessly Tormented Cynthia McKinney (WHITEHOUSE.ORG)

2006 NFL Schedules Announced

Here's one that may be worth a bookmark: The Film Asylum Gallery (Lots of stills of movies and performers from "fantastical cinema")

How did some NBA stars choose their uniform numbers?

Famous fictional brands

"Put down that guitar and do your homework. You'll never make any money with those stupid web casts!" Webcast singer snapped up by Sony

The world's fattest gymnast.

Sony Officer says PS3 will be out for Christmas season - in the $600 Price Range!

Playboy Names Wisconsin Madison the Top Party School

  • I don't know about #1, but the party school reputation is certainly merited. Kids from the surrounding cities and states leave their own colleges on weekends to party in Madison. (My son, who lives way up in Appleton, is one of them.)

The South Park kids watch Family Guy

Now here's a promotional gimmick: An issue of Maxim which is large enough to be seen from space (Requires Google Earth)

VIDEO: Goodyear says, "Changing tires can be dangerous"

A series of video blogs for a comedy called Hot Fuzz, which stars Sean of the Dead

  • Police constable, Nicholas Angel (S of the D) is good at his job, so good in fact, he makes everyone else look bad. As a result, his superiors at the Met have decided to sweep him under the carpet. So it is that London's top cop finds himself in the sleepy West Country village of Sandford. With garden fetes and neighborhood watch meetings replacing the action of the city, Angel struggles to adapt to his situation and finds himself partnered with Danny Butterman, an oafish but well meaning young Constable, who dreams of being Mel Gibson. Just as all seems lost, a series of grisly accidents motivates Angel into action. Convinced of foul play, Angel realises that Sandford may not be as idyllic as it seems.

A clip from When Do We Eat?

  • "'When Do We Eat?' is the story of the world's fastest Passover seder that is anything but. On this night, secrets will be revealed, fantasies fulfilled, barriers broken down and some food might be consumed. A tough-love dad (Michael Lerner) has to deal with hosting his father (Jack Klugman) who never unpacks, his wife (Leslie Ann Warren), who is intent on creating the perfect Seder, and his children who go out of their way to make the night an adventure. When one of the kids slips Dad a tab of special psychedelic Ecstasy, his visions turn him into a modern day Moses intent on leading this hungry group to the promised land of family forgiveness. Of course they're all so stubborn, it would be easier to part the Red Sea."

A clip from On a Clear Day, about a laid-off 55 year old factory laborer who decides to swim the English Channel


'Da Vinci Code' sets sales record in paperback

Jenna Elfman and Aisha Tyler to get naked in April 25th issue of Allure!

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Veteran Police Officer Faces Charges For Hitting Himself With Congresswoman McKinney's Hand

I did not make this up. It is not from a spoof site. This is for real. German researchers say that people who smile a lot and say "have a nice day" are headed to an early grave while the grumpy stay fit.

If only the headline DID say it all...but it gets a whole lot worse. This story is Jerry Springer's wet dream: Three Arrested at Baby Shower Brawl

"Golfers use 7-irons to beat rabid bobcat"

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"Expert Says Hard Liquor Helps Houseplants"

Colbert chats with Jesse Jackson

"Stephen Colbert's Balls for Kidz: Plastic Surgery" ... because you're never too young to learn how to look your best.

Colbert Report retires Tom DeLay's number

  • "Tom DeLay is to Congress what Michael Jordan is to basketball."

The Daily Show: The venerable Studs Terkel discusses some of the inspiration for his new book And They All Sang.

"Daily Show: Sometimes to make the law you've got to break the law. Much the way a vet would strangle a cat."

"John McCain discusses whether his 'Straight Talk Express' has been rerouted through 'Bullshit Town.'"

"Daily Show: Headlines - DeLay: The Inevitable"

  • Every time Tom DeLay resigns an angel gets its wings

Textbook Says Donkeys Are Better Than Housewives

  • "A donkey is like a housewife. It has to toil all day and, like her, may even have to give up food and water. In fact, the donkey is a shade better, for while the housewife may sometimes complain and walk off to her parents' home, you'll never catch the donkey being disloyal to his master."

Record industry spokesman says: "The RIAA has been known to suggest that students drop out of college or go to community college in order to be able to afford settlements."

Part VI of Silent Bob's continuing saga of Jay's heroin habit.

The race is not always to the fleet, nor the battle to the mighty: "David Spade was 'full-on making out' with Heather Locklear at Jones restaurant in Los Angeles last week"

The Smoking Gun: Sharon Stone's Demands on the BI2 set

Lovely By Surprise - a free film in chapters (sponsored by a car company)

Eminem divorces first wife a second time


Movie Reviews:

Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format. Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.




L'Insegnante viene a casa (1979)

The School Teacher in the House again stars Edwige Fenech. This time, she is a piano teacher who has moved to town to be near her boyfriend. He seems less than thrilled to have her living in his small town, possibly because of his wife, and possibly because he is running for mayor on a platform of family values. Fenech, not surprisingly, is noticed by every male in town, including the doctor who owns the building she takes a room in, and his twenty-something son. While helping her move in, the son of the doorman sees her appointment book, and figures she must be a hooker, a fact that he shares with everyone.

So many people are trying to climb in her bed that Fenech, at one point, has one in the closet, and two on the balcony. Even after she learns the wannabe mayor is married, she lets him convince her that he is only waiting until after the election to divorce his wife.

IMDb readers say 4.8. The audio on this all-region DVD is not at all good, but the video quality is fine. Most of the humor is slapstick. Again, fans of Italian sex comedy, and Fenech fans will enjoy this. The rest of you may not. C-.


Edwige Fenech does full frontal this time, and has more nudity than in the first two Insegnante movies put together.
Ria de Simone, as the wife of the wannabe mayor, shows breasts.






Still stranded here in 1968. We have more from "The Kiss of Her Flesh." Three actresses and all show all three B's as they really were more explicit in the final movie of the "Flesh" trilogy.

Janet Banzet tiny titties.

The lovely Uta Erickson bares it all this time.

And ditto for Alice Noland.





Dann reports on Brokeback Mountain:

The question is, if this 2005 drama had been about 2 male hairdressers, or 2 male fashion designers, instead of 2 cowboys, would it have won Academy Awards and wide critical acclaim? I'm thinking no, because while it was a good movie, it was hardly a great one.

Two young cowboys are sent to a mountain to care for a herd of sheep over the summer. Despite the fact that both are (supposedly) heterosexual, they become so attracted to one another over time that they have a sexual encounter.

As the years pass and both men marry and have children, they continue to get together occasionally for "fishing trips", and their relationship blooms into love. As they grow closer, their family situations worsen until one finally ends in divorce. The occasional fishing trips continue over the years until things culminate in a surprise ending.

This movie had beautiful, even breathtaking scenery and photography, and a good and somewhat unique story based on a short story by E. Annie Proulx. It was also 2 hours 14 minutes long, and frankly, I found the first 90 minutes to be way too draggy to the point of being boring. This whole movie would have been better off as a 90 minute effort, in my mind. A good movie, but I did not find it to be a great one.

Anne Hathaway Michelle Williams




Part 2 of the latest installment of Brainscan collages made from Tuna captures.


Laurie Wallace

Casey the Co-ed

Laurie Wallace

Casey the Co-ed

Laurie Wallace

Casey the Co-ed

Lea Thompson

... Right Moves

Ludivine Sagnier

... Swimming Pool

Maria Tofano

Evelyn ... Grave

Marie Liljedahl


Mary Mendum


May Karasun

Lake Consequence

Misty Mundae

Mummy Raider

Misty Mundae

Playmate of the Apes

Monique Dane

Casey the Co-ed

Monique Dane

Casey the Co-ed

Nelida Glammarco

Bread ... Chocolate

Pamela Segall

Eat Your Heart Out

Paola Senatore

Eaten Alive

Paola Senatore

Eaten Alive

Rebecca Davis

Where Truth Lies

Sharon Engert

Playmate ... Apes

Tina Tyler

Sexual Predator





More Polish actresses. Agnieszka Sitek in Wrota Europy

Iwona Bielska in CMA

Jolanta Grusznic in Urodziny Mlodego Warszawiaka

Katarzyna Figura in Ga Ga Chwala Bohaterom

Malgorzata Kurmin in Mokry Szmal

Marta Chodorowska in Powiedz To Gabi

Sylwia Wysocka in Gorzka Milosc

SeŮor Piel checked in with caps from Satanic. First  Priscilla Jones ...

 ... then Annie Sorrell ...

... then Eliza Swenson