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Author Topic: The Westerner (Sam Peckinpah)  (Read 1349 times)
stanton
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« on: November 14, 2011, 02:38:34 AM »

Sam Peckinpah learned his profession by directing some TV stuff in the late 50s and early 60s, before he got the chance for making feature films. His best work in these times was the creating of The Westerner starring Brian Keith, from which a pilot in 1959 and 13 episodes in 1960 were aired. All only with a 25 min runtime.
Peckinpah directed the pilot and 5 of the other episodes, but supervised the whole show, e.g. by checking and rewriting screenplays.

Some of the episodes for The Westerner are excellent. Much better than TV usually was up to the 90s, and even better directed and written than most of the then contemporary films.

Here is the episode Jeff which is probably the best of these, and which already brought Peckinpah in trouble with censorship:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBIum7yJVY0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0_PWqpqo34&feature=related

Watch it soon before it gets deleted again. It contains some great stuff.

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mike siegel
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« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2011, 11:03:06 AM »

You bet.

My favorite is HAND ON THE GUN. The Westerners trying teach a young turk not to play around with guns. Really a strong statement against gunplay and violence. It shows a lot was Sam was really after. But he made his theatrical showdowns SO GOOD later on, people were too much attracted by it. (Men at least, women look away..). He regretted it, but it made him famous. So he was trapped.

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stanton
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« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2011, 03:35:50 PM »

Yes, Hand on the Gun is incredible too. Equally good. I did not expect some of his TV stuff to be that great.

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stanton
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« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2013, 09:33:05 AM »

Here's another remarkable episode of The Westerner called Line Camp:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wLbZclLL8U

This one was written and directed by Tom Gries, who later used some of its ideas for his feature debut Will Penny.
The photography by Peckinpah's favourite DoP Lucien Ballard is remarkable dark. And again the violence is handled with intelligence and with a certain realism. Directing, editing, photography and atmosphere is again closer to cinema than to TV.

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