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Author Topic: The Wild Bunch (1969)  (Read 91245 times)
cigar joe
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« on: July 12, 2004, 05:02:37 AM »

I've been very flush lately so continuing my binge buying I picked up the directors cut  DVD of "The Wild Bunch" it was contemporary to Leone's films. Upon viewing it again I found it a very good western and would recomend it to the board its probably Peckinpah's masterpiece. It doesn't lack in any department except maybe for the score which is forgetable. It reminded me of "A Bullet for the General" and I wonder if this had any influence on Peckinpah.

Peckinpah did a great job and it was a good story, its probably one of the greatest Hollywood westerns made that borrowed Leone's anti-hero theme. It doesn't have Leone's surrealistic style but it used slow motion cuts in the action which were innovated in this movie. It was a big budget western with some great set pieces, got it all trains, bridges blowing up, machineguns, pick it up if you can.

If I remember at the time it was said that Leone's violent westerns opened the door for Peckinpah to make this, anybody remember this.

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« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2004, 10:56:56 AM »

I saw the Wild Bunch when it came out, one of my favorite movies.  When the movie premiered, the level of violence in this film caused a great stir, especially the spurtting blood.   In contrast the contemporary Hollywood Western (1970?) still had gun fights where the bad guy falls in the street with no real blood.   Even Spagetti Westerns including OUATW were light on bloodshed.

The critical reaction though seemed to condem the bloodshed, even if hailing its greater realism.

Although Bonnie and Clyde was the first in my memory to use slo mo death scenes, there was a difference between its use as the peak of the movie and the almost immediate "ballet of death" present in Wild Bunch.  

At the film's 20th or 25th anniversary (I'm thinking 20th so 1990) the film was re-released in limited markets.   Atlantic Monthly had a great article on the film and its impact when it was made.   They particularily commented on the opening robbery shoot out, and how as the credits played out , William Holden tells his low level robbers:  "If anybody moves:  Shoot 'em."   The frame freezes and Directed by Sam Peckingpaugh rolls by. ( The article called this the strongest opening film statement ever.)

I think this movie is under appreciated on this forum, thanks for bringing it up.

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« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2004, 01:07:49 PM »

i think the wild bunch is a very good film and peckinpah is great but i resent the american idea that Peckinpah reinvented the Western, which is clearly not true. Leone reinvented the Western from some developments made by Ford and a few others, Peckinpah just built on Leone's films. Typical of some americans' attitude to ignore leone's massive influence, ive read a peckinpah book where there is no mention of leone at all.

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« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2004, 05:42:00 PM »

Djimbo,

At the time of Wild Bunch and for many years following I would say that most Americans did not know of Leone - the spagetti westerns were known as Eastwood vehicles.

But in Peck's defense, Wild Bunch is very much its own film.  The slo-mo wholesale blood shed you have to give to Peckinpaugh, I don't know that Leone really had that.  As to the heros being outcasts, and the so called good guys being compromised characters, Wild Bunch was a late 60s film building on the developement of these characters in American films such as Bonnie and Clyde (as much an influence for Peck as Leone) or even the Graduate.

I think it is clear Peck took the whole Mexican Revolution theme from Spagetti Westerns, but I would argue the rest was his own film.

Now don't get me wrong, I think Leone was among if not the best director of all time, but I am not sure that Peck has been more influential on following American cinema  than has Leone.   Peck's violence is still with us, where as Leone's pacing is pretty much lost and I don't see his innovative camera work showing up, mainly because no one seems to be as talented as he.   On the otherhand, I would say Leone was more groundbreaking than Peckinpaugh when viewing cinema before each director.

You are right that a discussion of the Widl Bunch should involve Lenone and Spagetti Westerns,  it is a shame that it didn't.  But give Americans a break, with the long history that is Hollywood and the high technical quality of its best films, international cinema never gets its proper due -- it is viewed as a niche product at best and most of it doesn't get seen outside of critics.   A lot of Leone's audience in the US came from the US actors he employed.

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« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2004, 10:00:01 PM »

I agree with what you say Frank, I know also where Djimbo is comming from. I was flipping throught my copy of "The Life and Times of the Western Movie" 1983 by Jay Hyams and he has exactly the the attitude that Djimbo is talking about.

Here is a little of Hyams on GBU....

The dense iconography and fetishism of Leone's previous two films reach their peak in this film..... the anarchy of war means freedom, but it also means that moral judgements - even such simple ones as "good," "bad," "ugly" - become meaningless.

Before the arival of Leone, romanticism was on its way out of westerns and graphic violence was on its way in, but Leone managed to rearrange the essential ingredients of the western film in a way that, perhaps unfortunately, made sense. Westerns were already headed in the direction of that place "where life had no value"; Leone and the music and soundeffects of Morricone helped make that wasteland seem like a reasonable substitute for the real West.

Now Hyams on the Wild Bunch:

The Wild Bunch, one of the most inportant westerns ever made and one of the most important American Films ever made, provides a connection with The Great Train Robbery, another film told from the point of view of the robbers. In that first western, the wounded villans dramatically clutch their bodies and fall to the ground dead; in the Wild Bunch, they remain standing long past all reasonable belief, and the screen is doused with blood. It took a long time to kill the last bad guys-it took even longer to chase them down. The chase that began in the New Jersy woods in 1903 ended across the Mexican border in 1969, where it wasn't the good guys who finally "got 'em." It was the future well armed with modern weapons and a helpful disinterest in individual men. The westerns of the 70's inherited no bad guys to chase and no good guys to do the chasing. The violence of The Wild Bunch became, in the hands of other men, anger, the filmakers anger at the audience for believing in (or putting up with) the western myth. Many filmakers during the seventies seemed to be saying, "Maybe there never were any heros, neither good guys nor bad guys. Maybe we should look again at all those stories and see how evil everyone really was."


And now the test of time twenty years later after those words were written, Leone's GBU is standing tall, on not the violence which by todays standards is hardly worth a mention but on the story, the style, the Morricone music, and the unforgetable acting of Eli Wallach.

The interaction between Tuco and everyone else in GBU is more believable than the friendship portrayed among Pikes outlaw gang who seem to just drink, laugh and whore about, though Peckinpah does include flashbacks to explain some of the backstory (these scenes were cut in the theatrical release).


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« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2004, 01:22:23 PM »

Apart from Leone's movies, which are of course on top of my all time favourites (OUTITW being THE movie!), I also like "The wild bunch" a lot.
Does anyone know whether there is a Special or Collector DVD of this movie for sale (for Europe)? If so, what are the extras? Quality?
Thanks guys. Smiley

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UNKNOWN GRAVE
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« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2004, 03:18:51 PM »

Here is the release info:

While not special editions they were cleaned up, PQ is amazing for a 1960's movie. And the sound is 5.1
It was remastered as part of the 25th anniversary Director's Cut.
It is a flipper and does flip at a weird time but it is a rather long movie.  There is also a r4 release but R1 and 2 seem to be the same. I have the R1 release and it was one of the best remasters of an older movie until OUATITW which was amazingly done.
ENJOY!!!

 R1 America - (Warner Bros Home Entertainment) Extras:Production notes
Theatrical trailer
Documentary Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage, The (1996)
Cast & crew filmographies and biographies
Subtitles:English, Spanish, and FrenchPicture format:2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic NTSC Soundtrack(s):English Dolby Digital 5.1
Case type:Snapper CaseNotes:This disc is a old flipper disc!

 R2 United Kingdom - (Warner Bros Home Entertainment) Extras:Theatrical trailer
Documentary: An Album in Montage
Cast & crew filmographies and biographiesSubtitles:English, French and SpanishPicture format:2.35:1 Anamorphic PAL Soundtrack(s):English Dolby Digital 5.1Case type:Snapper CaseNotes:This is a old flipper disc release!

« Last Edit: August 02, 2004, 03:27:58 PM by UNKNOWN GRAVE » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2004, 11:43:53 PM »

I bought the R1 version you described not two days ago... The flip disc suprised me, as I got a DVD player quite late in the game and I've been spoiled up till now with dual layer discs. Wild Bunch didn't quite live up to my expectations, but the apocalyptic ending was stunning.

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Leonardo
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« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2004, 03:49:20 AM »

Thanks guys, particularly thanks to UKNOWN GRAVE for his detailed reply.
 Smiley Smiley Smiley

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« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2004, 02:52:01 PM »

No problemo...


http://www.dvdcompare.net/comparisons/

This site compares the versions of movies from different regions, just enter the name u are looking for and go through the lists. Lists Easter eggs too.

Here is the link for Once Upon A Time In The West for you to check out to see how detailed the site is...
http://www.dvdcompare.net/comparisons/film.php?fid=4219
At the end of the list is a verdict on the best versions and a list of cuts from each release

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Leonardo
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« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2004, 05:34:31 AM »

Thanks Uknown Grave for the interesting link.
Just ordered the DVD from Amazon UK.
Will see...

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« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2004, 07:17:28 PM »

The Wild Bunch is good, but overrated.   The story is a lot like a number of Zapata weterns, and when Borgnine is your second lead, you're in for some rough sledding.  The second act of this movie is endless.  The coolest character in the flick is Robert Ryan's and you barely see him.    Give me all the Leone's over this one.

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« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2004, 11:51:38 PM »

The Wild Bunch is not overrated. Way before The Wild Bunch, When People got shot on film, They clutching their chests.

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cigar joe
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« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2004, 04:47:43 AM »

I think Shane was the first movie to show what really happens when someone gets shot, Leone took that and ran with it.

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« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2004, 05:14:31 AM »

stylistically theres no doubt that the wild bunch is great, and im not knocking the film and peckinpah as a director, who is obviously great. i just think the themes and cynicism involved owes so much to leone, and people writing about the films dont seem to realise that.

I was sat next to a guy at my uni writing an essay on the use of violence in film and he stated that peckinpah revolutionised the way in which it was used - to me thats bollocks and i had to say to the guy (though obviously not in such language), have you ever seen leone? he hadnt, and that kinda proves my point.  Undecided

Students, eh, what do they know?  Grin

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