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Sam Peckinpah: Interviews
     

Sam Peckinpah: Interviews

by Kevin J. Hayes (Editor)
 

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Sam Peckinpah (1925-1984), an accomplished writer and director of television westerns, did not attract media attention until the release of his second feature-length film, the award-winning Ride the High Country. Peckinpah revealed in early interviews his deep knowledge of film history, an uncompromising aesthetic, and an intolerance for any crew members who did

Overview

Sam Peckinpah (1925-1984), an accomplished writer and director of television westerns, did not attract media attention until the release of his second feature-length film, the award-winning Ride the High Country. Peckinpah revealed in early interviews his deep knowledge of film history, an uncompromising aesthetic, and an intolerance for any crew members who did not share his capacity for hard work. As his career progressed, he began having increasingly difficult times with producers who did not share his vision. His problems with them emerge as a major focus of his interviews.

Sam Peckinpah: Interviews features the combustible director discussing his best-known films, including the gory western The Wild Bunch, the unsettling and controversial Straw Dogs (which Pauline Kael described as "the first American film that is a fascist work of art"), and the crime thriller The Getaway. In these conversations, Peckinpah's candor-about himself, filmmaking, studios, male/female relations, violence, and contemporary politics-provides a thoughtful portrait of a polarizing filmmaker.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

This long-running series is the jewel in the crown, giving directors the opportunity to sound off on their careers and illustrating the diverse paths taken to the director's chair. Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembène (d. 2007) is hailed as the father of modern African cinema. An established writer, Sembène didn't begin making films until age 40, and his output was not large. This book includes interviews with Sembène from the mid-1960s until shortly before his death and covers topics like cultural taboos, political censorship, and the problems of making films on a continent divided by so many different languages, as well as Sembène's take on the role of women in African society. Sembène's wisdom, humor, and humanity shine through the pages and should stir a desire to see his films.

Like Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni (d. 2007) directed films that articulate the alienation of postwar European society. La Notte and The Eclipse found favor with critics, but the director says here, "I never think of the public. I think of the film." He scored a surprising mainstream success with his first English-language film, Blow-Up, but his follow-up film, Zabriskie Point, was a commercial and critical disaster. That failure and a stroke in the 1980s curtailed Antonioni's career but didn't end his creative work in the industry. Here, Antonioni talks about his ventures in Italian neorealism, his outlook on the human condition, his opinions of other contemporary film directors, and why he remained perpetually dissatisfied with his work. Antonioni's films may be indirect and ambiguous, but as an interview subject he'sremarkably straightforward and unpretentious.

Few directors were more colorful and controversial-or relished it more-than "Bloody Sam" Peckinpah. Although he acquired a reputation for violence (e.g., with The Wild Bunch), Peckinpah was equally known for his gentle, elegiac Westerns (e.g., Ride the High Country). An interview with him could be explosive and quotable (bemoaning his lack of creative control, Peckinpah snarled, "I'm a whore. I go where I'm kicked"). This fine collection sheds light on Peckinpah's early television career, his epic battles with studio bosses, and his enduring love for the West. The series is well suited for academic libraries, but the Peckinpah entry will appeal to public collections as well. The Antonioni volume is highly recommended for all foreign film book collections.
—Stephen Rees

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781934110645
Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
Publication date:
05/01/2008
Series:
Conversations with Filmmakers Series
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
830,531
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

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