Straw Dogs

Straw Dogs

4.0 1
Director: Sam Peckinpah

Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Susan George, Peter Vaughan

     
 

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Sam Peckinpah examines the instinctual capacity for violence in his controversial 1971 film, loosely based on the novel The Siege of Trencher's Farm. To avoid the Vietnam-era social chaos in the U.S., American mathematician David Sumner (Dustin Hoffman) moves with his British wife, Amy (Susan George), to the isolated Cornish town where she grew up, but their

Overview

Sam Peckinpah examines the instinctual capacity for violence in his controversial 1971 film, loosely based on the novel The Siege of Trencher's Farm. To avoid the Vietnam-era social chaos in the U.S., American mathematician David Sumner (Dustin Hoffman) moves with his British wife, Amy (Susan George), to the isolated Cornish town where she grew up, but their presence provokes antagonism among the village's men. As the hostilities escalate from routine bullying to the gang rape of his wife, David finds his pacifistic self backed into a corner. When the hooligans attack his house, David finally resorts to the gruesome violence that he abhors.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Eddy Crouse
No matter which way you slice it, Straw Dogs is not for the squeamish. Only two films after, but light years away from, the elegiac Wild Bunch, the movie upped the ante in director Sam Peckinpah's career. It remains one of his leanest, most brutal movies. Dustin Hoffman is David Sumner, a taciturn mathematician who, with his wife, Amy (Susan George), relocates to her Cornish home village to escape the American rat race. The couple hires four locals to build a garage for their old cottage, and it isn't long before David becomes the object of the crew's resentment and mockery. Led by Charlie (Del Henney), one of Amy's former suitors, the townies shamelessly ogle Amy, who at times seems to encourage their attentions, if only because her husband is more involved in math problems. During a hunting trip, David tries to win over the local boys and lets on that he knows their intentions; but the ruffians leave him behind, return to the cottage, and -- in a brilliantly edited but disturbing scene -- rape Amy. This sets the stage for the film's mind-bending and violent climax, during which, in an attempt to avenge another act of violence, drunken villagers all but destroy the Sumner cottage. The traps, both moral and physical, that David devises implicate the viewer in ways that might even make Hitchcock flinch. Never mind that it borders on nihilism -- this is electrifying stuff. Hoffman's nutty evolution, from mousy gestures straight out of The Graduate to calculated Peckinpah violence, is alone worth the price of admission.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Upon its release (within a month of Stanley Kubrick's similar meditation on ultra-violence, A Clockwork Orange), Straw Dogs sharply divided critics and audiences over whether it exploited and glorified macho bloodshed or commented on the violence that had become a fact of 1960s American life. Peckinpah proclaimed his own distaste for violence, suggesting that Straw Dogs portrays how society fails to eradicate primitive drives, leading to territorial warfare. What cannot be denied is Peckinpah's ability to elicit a visceral response to the onscreen turmoil, leaving a viewer either to cheer on David's descent toward bloody retribution or be repulsed by the evil that men do. With jittery editing and gloomy cinematography, Peckinpah creates an unsettling atmosphere of foreboding; the town's unexplained animosity adds to the suggestion that what drives them all, including the intellectual David, is beyond the bounds of "civilization." True to the complex nature of these issues, Straw Dogs' ending provides no easy answers or reassurances about what transpires in the Sumner home.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/13/2011
UPC:
0883904254805
Original Release:
1971
Source:
Imports

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Dustin Hoffman David
Susan George Amy
Peter Vaughan Tom Hedden
T.P. McKenna Maj. Scott
David Warner Henry Niles
Colin Welland Rev. hood
Cherina Mann Mrs. Hood
Ken Hutchison Scutt
Jim Norton Cawsey
Del Henney Venner
Sally Thomsett Janice
Donald Webster Riddaway
Len Jones Bobby Hedden
Michael Mundell Bertie Hedden
Peter Arne John Niles
Robert Keegan Harry Ware
June Brown Mrs. Hedden
Chloe Franks Emma Hedden

Technical Credits
Sam Peckinpah Director,Screenwriter
Ken Bridgeman Art Director
John Coquillon Cinematographer
Garth Craven Editor
Paul Davies Editor
Jerry Fielding Score Composer
Harry Frampton Makeup
David Zelag Goodman Screenwriter
Tony Lawson Editor
Daniel Melnick Producer
Tiny Nicholls Costumes/Costume Designer
Peter James Set Decoration/Design
John Richardson Special Effects
Ray Simm Production Designer
Roger Spottiswoode Editor
Robert Wolfe Editor

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Straw Dogs 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago