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