Friday, July 29, 2016

The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970)

Director: Sam Peckinpah

Writers: John Crawford, Edmund Penney, Gordon T. Dawson

Composer: Jerry Goldsmith

Starring: Jason Robards, Stella Stevens, David Warner, Strother Martin, Slim Pickens, L.Q. Jones, Peter Whitney, R.G. Armstrong, Gene Evans, William Mims, Kathleen Freeman, Susan O'Connell, Vaughn Taylor

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Cable Hogue says..."Do unto others... as you would have others do unto you."

Plot: Double-crossed and left without water in the desert, Cable Hogue is saved when he finds a spring. It is in just the right spot for a much needed rest stop on the local stagecoach line, and Hogue uses this to his advantage. He builds a house and makes money off the stagecoach passengers. Hildy, a whore from the nearest town, moves in with him. Hogue has everything going his way until the advent of the automobile ends the era of the stagecoach.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

There are very few Peckinpah films I haven't seen until now and this one just fell off that list and there are just 3 remaining.  Jason Robards is absolutely delightful in this picture.  I couldn't think of a better actor suited to this role.  The supporting cast is equally fun and outstanding.  They play some very colorful characters.  It's an unusual kind of comedy Western.  It's lighthearted for sure but there are some odd turns and some serious consequences for some of these folks that you don't normally find in Westerns.  I really liked those choices.  It certainly keeps the film interesting and a little off kilter.  The last half hour has most of those elements.  I didn't entirely like the ending only because I fell in love with certain characters and I didn't want them to go but that's OK.  It's poetic and it's got something to say that stays relevant and true to the film.  

The Warner Bros. DVD has a fine anamorphic widescreen print with a commentary by Nick Redman, Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons and David Weddle, a 27-minute interview with Stella Stevens, trailers for this film (fullscreen for some damn reason), PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID (non-anamorphis widescreen), RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY, THE WILD BUNCH and THE GETAWAY (all anamorphic widescreen) and a video trailer for WB's James Dean DVD collection.

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