A Wild Bunch…

WildBunchWow…the third time that I’m having a chat about William Holden. But the weird thing is that I’ve only ever seen him in westerns (I’ll try change that for next year’s Blogathon). To me, he’s always that aging mature cowboy or outlaw (even father).**

Seriously, all three of his roles he’s been thoughtful, mostly level headed, even while on the run. He’s calm and collected. And in The Wild Bunch (1969), he’s no different. Yes, he’s an outlaw who’s pulled off some mighty big jobs and is planning one last big one…but, there is always a controlled air to him. And that approach of a planner.

the-wild-bunch-original+posterWhat a movie this is. The opening was quite hefty…wow. And visually…it is something else. The imagery is so well done. I mean really…just think about those poor scorpions being eaten alive by ants…to be burnt to a crisp. It sets the scene for what is to come more than any other scene ever could. What also struck me is the use of laughter…have you noticed how many scenes have big loud, overstated laughter…

Oh…I forgot to tell you…William Holden plays Pike Bishop, the gang leader who, with his men is fleeing from a group of bounty hunters led by his former partner Deke Thornton (played by Robert Ryan). Across the Rio Grande, they steal some weapons (that must be the best executed railway robbery I’ve ever seen) for a Mexican officer (he’s a nasty piece of work) and a whole lot of double-crossing and shooting ensues. That’s roughly the story.

Holden is the perfect fit for his role – a  leader who is firm and fair, believable yet has enough meanness in him to be a successful (?) outlaw.

While I “enjoyed” (not sure “enjoy” is the right word for this one) this movie, I found the violence extremely brutal and I was struck by how much torture was presented in this one (be it animal or human torture). Add all the “massacre” scenes and it makes for viewing that you really need to be in the mood for. (I believe it was/is quite controversial because of all this violence) But don’t get me wrong…it is an excellent movie.

Directed by Sam Peckinpah, it also stars Ernest Borgnine (I always enjoy watching him especially in The Revengers which also starred William Holden),  Edmond O’Brien, Warren Oates, Jaime Sánchez, Ben Johnson, Emilio Fernández amongst others. The musical score is fantastic and deserves the Oscar nomination. Likewise the Oscar nomination for screenplay is well deserved.

To change the topic…I really want to know which movie this banner comes from because darn, I want to watch that one…clearly not the aging cowboy:

Golden Boy banner_Picnic

Head on over to The Flapper Dame, Love Letters to Old Hollywood or The Wonderful World of Cinema to read some more about William Holden.

And for my past entries into this blogathon, click here for The Revengers and here for Wild Rovers.

**Ooh…I lie…I did see him in The Bridge on the River Kwai…aeons ago.

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18 comments

  1. Like you I haven’t seen much of William Holden, outside of this film The Towering Inferno is the only one that springs to mind. The Wild Bunch is great. I know this is William’s party but what a cast for lovers of westerns, including the great Warren Oates who lit up every film he appeared in.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tes that Picnic banner- Bill is so sexy in that role.
    Since Im a big John Wayne westerns person- wow yes the Wild Bunch was brutal- its interesting for sure- and maybe I need to give it another chance?
    But thank you! For particupating in this blogathon- Its really awesome everyone just sharing their Holden Love!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m definitely going to check out that sexy role. The Wild Bunch – you need to be in the mood. In fact, this was my second attempt as I tried to watch it a few years back and couldn’t get past that brutal shootout at the beginning – wasn’t in the right state of mind. I must admit that I prefer the John Wayne ones – not as heavy. Have a lovely day.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is one of those films that I always feel embarrassed to admit I haven’t seen yet. I’ve heard about its violence, which usually causes me to chuckle to myself and think “It was just 1969, how bad could it be?” I’m starting to think that’s my naivety coming through, haha.

    Thanks for your contribution, and I’m glad the Picnic banner intrigued you. As soon as I saw that poster, I knew I had to use it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well…hmmm…yes…that’s the thing – I also thought along your lines but it really puts our modern violent movies to shame. I only got through the full movie this time round. A few years back I tried and couldn’t get past the opening shootout – just wasn’t in the right frame if mind. I couldn’t believe it…for an „oldie“.
      Have a lovely day!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Superb review! I agree with everything you said! Bill is brilliant in this and the score is indeed unforgettable! This film certainly was an important step in movie history
    “he’s a nasty piece of work” –> He is!
    And yes, you need to see more than his westerns haha! I could suggest you a bunch (I HAD to use this word) of other films, but you could start with the timeless classic Sunset Boulevard! To me this is the best movie ever made (not Citizen Kane!)
    Thanks so much for this contribution to our blogathon!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Glad you enjoyed this one. It sure is violent though. I like that it still shocks when compared to modern films featuring more graphic violence.

    The banner image is from the film Picnic. William plays a drifter who falls in love with Kim Novak’s character. It’s a brilliant film and Kim and William share one of the most romantic and sexy dance scenes in American film history. William is so hot in this one. Enjoy! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oooh Maddy…guess what I’m going to try track down to watch this weekend 🙂
      I agree with you – the violence of The Wild Bunch doesn’t have all the gore like modern ones but it comes across more brutal that way. My worst is the little bird scene…

      Like

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