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Author Topic: Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973)  (Read 56463 times)
cigar joe
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« on: January 19, 2006, 06:17:13 AM »

Ok picked these up a couple of day'a ago from Target for $19.99 a bargain compared to other stores.

Anyway if I had to pick one word to describe my impression it would have to be "underwhelming". I saw this in the theaters long ago, so its not my first encounter and I've seen an old VHS and probably some versions on TV, so I'm not a virgin to this film. But time had erased a lot of memories so I was viewing with a clean slate.

My first bone to pick is the selection of Kris Kristofferson (now there is a sure fire movie killer, lol, who also added "Heaven's Gate"). Who is responsible for that, I sure it wasn't Peckinpah, probably something the suits forced on him. So from the get go you got a major casting screwup, you got a popular (at the time) singer/songwriter (think Elvis or Ricky Nelson if it had been cast two decades ealier, lol) who's trying to act profound but comes off full of himself, bringing down in the process a very good supporting cast of classic character actors who's miniscule screen times bring flashes of brilliance to the film. The Slim Pickens/Katy Juardo, "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" is one of the great little sequences. On a whole the narrative seens very disjointed.

Bob Dylan was another distraction, he never sould have been in the picture he pulls you out of it everytime you see him, and his scoring of the film didn't add anything to the film, not like a Morricone score to a Leone.

The action sequences seem far and few between, and there is an unbelievably long stretch where after Billy breaks out of jail he seems to take 15 minutes of screen time to get out of time, the point of this sequence was for what? That Billy was so loved by everyone that he could dawdle.

Story wise you get absolutely no back story on the Kid, so since Kristofferson in not believable anyway you don't get any sense of Billy the Kid or what his reputation was for. At least "Dirty Little Billy" with Michael J. Pollard develed into Billy's beginnings as a New York City street punk and town tough, and that approach at least seems more believeable, but there is no inkling of street punk in Brownsville Texas native Kristofferson.

There are not a whole lot of memorable quoteable lines in the films dialogue, "Keep, the change Bob." being the one come to mind, and there are a few others. You get the feeling that they were trying to be profound but with Kristofferson they just don't quite work.

You don't get that iconic feel that you get with a Leone film. Unfortunately what you do get is the feeling that you are watching a bunch of loadies directed by a brilliant drunk who has one hand tied behind his back by the studios.

Now the special features had some interesting tid bits about the goings on on the set, and also a great section
by an editor on the various cuts of the film. One thing interesting that he mentioned was that the "directors cut" wasn't what he considered the final cut, another viewpoint, lol.

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« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2006, 06:22:32 AM »

I'm looking forward to getting my copy as part of the Sam Peckinpah Legendary Westerns set, it should be here soon... hopefully.

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« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2006, 08:05:50 AM »

I taped and watched this movie of TCM channel a little while ago and i did find it a bit dull,depressing and overlong-thats my first impression anyway!
I didn't like OUATITW or DYS to start with so to be fair i'd have to give Peckinpahs movie another look or two.
   I didn't have a problem with Kristopherson as Billy as i think he's quite charismatic but was slightly disappointed with Coburn whose character is a bit dour in comparison with his Sean role in DYS.I thought Dylans scenes provided some of the highlights-he's suitably enigmatic and i just love his musical score-he's obviously sticking to what he knows -American roots music and its not really fair to compare this to Morricone.

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« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2006, 02:49:10 PM »

  I actually really liked this movie, but Peckinpah can do no wrong in my mind.  One of the main reasons I bought the DVD was because I'd never seen the longer Turner preview version or in any form but pan-n-scan, so it was great to see a version close to what Sam originally intended.

  There is a disjointed feel to the movie and some scenes do stretch on too long.   I still like The Wild Bunch and Major Dundee more than PGABTK, but its a movie I'm glad to have in my dvd collection.  The DVD release, and with 2 discs at that, is long overdue.

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« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2006, 04:30:56 PM »

My favorite Peckinpah flicks so far are "The Wild Bunch" and "Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia" then "The Getaway". And I like the bits and pieces of "The Balad of Cable Hogue" that I've seen.

Quote
didn't have a problem with Kristopherson as Billy as i think he's quite charismatic but was slightly disappointed with Coburn whose character is a bit dour in comparison with his Sean role in DYS.I thought Dylans scenes provided some of the highlights-he's suitably enigmatic and i just love his musical score-he's obviously sticking to what he knows -American roots music and its not really fair to compare this to Morricone.


Well the actual  Billy was either 17 or 21 when Pat Garret shot him, so the 35-40 ish Kristofferson was a bit of mis-casting

http://www.aboutbillythekid.com/early_life.htm

I agree about Coburn, he has a sort of lost look, but maybe he's playing tired.

Dylan's score is ok but it doesn't help to dramatize most of the film, so yea I suppose you can't compare him to Morricone its very effective when dealing with Slim Pickin's death though.

I don't think this film is one that I'll be watching over and over again without tiring of it and that is the true test, lol.

 

« Last Edit: January 19, 2006, 04:44:42 PM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2006, 04:50:42 PM »

I remember having liked it when I first saw it and also when watched it on tv. But this thread makes me wonder whether I should give it another try, this time undubbed: or is better to live with good memories?

Question: how much was this a Peckinpah's movie? I presume that after Wild Bunch he wielded more power than before, so if there were wrong choices maybe they were his own: or not? Expecially the fact that he picked Kristofferson for a later movie makes me think that probably this casting decision was made by him (and, I add, was a right one as I like Kristofferson in this movie). At the same time, I presume that the Dylan character could have only come from him: such a bizarre casting decision it is unlikely could have come from the production (but I leave the word to the P.'s experts, which I'm not).

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« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2006, 08:55:32 PM »

grampa chum is the Peckinpah expert on this board, I don't know a lot about Peckinpah.

Kristofferson in "Bring Me The Head..." had a very, very small part.

As far as memories I guess that's up to you  Grin

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« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2006, 10:16:04 PM »

The fact that P put KK in Alfredo Garcia after having used him in PG&BK would lead me to believe that P cast him for the earlier film. Why would you keep working with a guy who the studio forced on you?

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« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2006, 11:10:25 PM »

I didn't remember him in Bring me the Head. I was rather thinking about Convoy (not a bad movie, BTW).

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« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2006, 12:19:50 AM »

Yeah, you could miss him if you blink, but he's in there. Okay, so we have KK in three Peckinpah films: he was practically a member of the stock company.

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« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2006, 05:20:46 AM »

The only reason I suggested the studio may have  forced him was because of how poor a choice IMO he was for a main lead, and I'd think that Peckinpah would have gotten someone better suited to the part. But like I stated above about this I know almost nothing.  Cool

I've never seen Convoy, but in "Bring Me the Head..." his part is very miniscule.

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« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2006, 07:31:32 AM »

being that my 3 favorite movies of all time are OUATITW, Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia, and PG+BTK I can't say I share the opinion of most on this board, it's a much much better film than the wild bunch in my opinion(which for 3/4 of the film is uneventful and a bit uninteresting). In Alfredo Garcia kristofferson just plays a biker who rapes the lead female and gets killed. I like him as the kid. I love the ending, it's all great stuff... I am curious if they put the lyrics back into heaven's door on the new "2006 directors cut" as opposed to just the music and some oooing on the old directors cut(which I love very much).

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« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2006, 12:16:14 PM »

They've put the lyrics back in. That's what I've read, at least (still waiting for the box set to arrive in the mail). I'm with you all the way Granpa, I love this film. I always felt KK was wonderful, but I only recently learned that The Kid was supposed to be around 20. That of course means that KK was miscast, but doesn't make his performance any worse. And I seriously doubt Peckinpah didn't approve of the casting of him. They were close friends, and there aren't many people who got along with Peckinpah. Kris Kristoffersen was one of the few.

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« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2006, 04:57:14 PM »

Its just not a film I could watch over and over again, the dialogue just seems a bit too contrived.  Its flawed for sure and possibly could have been much better if it was allowed to be edited the way Peckinpah would have been able to if he had the time.

Now BMTHOAG on the other hand is pretty original and off the wall enough to be a favorite of mine, up there with Blue Velvet, Angel Heart, Fargo and the Kill Bill's.

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« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2006, 06:54:43 PM »

My favourite Peckinpah (apart from Ride in the High Country) is The Iron Cross. Apparently though I'm the only one who likes it over here.

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