Doing It Right: The Best Criticism on Sam Peckinpah's the Wild Bunch

Overview

Doing It Right brings together the very finest in reviews and criticism of The Wild Bunch since its release in 1969.

Often misinterpreted because of its graphic violence, the film initially generated considerable controversy. Sam Peckinpah, who made the film after a four-year forced hiatus in his career (he had been blacklisted), created it as a depiction of the savage behavior possible in the post– World War I era. However, the ensuing controversy was not restricted only to the...

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Overview

Doing It Right brings together the very finest in reviews and criticism of The Wild Bunch since its release in 1969.

Often misinterpreted because of its graphic violence, the film initially generated considerable controversy. Sam Peckinpah, who made the film after a four-year forced hiatus in his career (he had been blacklisted), created it as a depiction of the savage behavior possible in the post– World War I era. However, the ensuing controversy was not restricted only to the explicit story and images. Producer Phil Feldman’s withdrawal of Peckinpah’s cut of the film drew tremendous sympathy for Peckinpah from American and European film critics alike.

This casebook should be read as a supplement to a viewing of the film, which is now available in its uncut form in video. Edited and with an introduction by Michael Bliss, the book explores the film’s production history, giving an overview of its release problems and highlighting its stylistic characteristics, classic structure, use of the widescreen frame, and innovative editing techniques. It also discusses in detail the film’s underlying moral message and its representation of camaraderie and loyalty. In addition to Bliss, essayists include Robert Culp, Paul Schrader, Stephen Farber, Paul Seydor, Jim Kitses, Cordell Strug, John L. Simons, Aljean Harmetz, and Michael Sragow. The book concludes with an appendix and an extensive bibliography.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809318636
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/1994
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Bliss is the author of Justified Lives: Morality and Narrative in the Films of Sam Peckinpah.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1 Sam Peckinpah, the Storyteller and The Wild Bunch: An Appreciation 3
2 Sam Peckinpah Going to Mexico 17
3 Peckinpah's Return 31
4 The Versions of The Wild Bunch 46
5 The Wild Bunch 74
6 The Wild Bunch and the Problem of Idealist Aesthetics, or, How Long Would Peckinpah Last in Plato's Republic? 80
7 The Tragedy of Love in The Wild Bunch 90
8 The Wild Bunch as Epic 113
9 The Conclusion of The Wild Bunch 158
10 Man Was a Killer Long Before He Served a God 169
11 Sam Peckinpah, 1925-1984 177
Appendix: The Wild Bunch Credits 191
Selected Bibliography 193
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