(David) Sam(uel) Peckinpah John Simon - Essay

John Simon

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[The Wild Bunch is] an important bad film, avoidable by people who want genuine art, but recommended to all those interested in the faltering steps by which the American cinema might titubate into maturity.

There is no doubt that Peckinpah has a nice sense of time and place; that his locations and groupings, as well as the faces and peripheral activites that fill a shot have the right look and feel about them. But he is much less sure about the staging of the main action in a scene, except where seedy debauchery or sudden flare-ups of violence are concerned. (p. 173)

Despite an inventive twist or two, the plot settles all too comfortably into the usual western groove with all...

(The entire section is 743 words.)