(David) Sam(uel) Peckinpah Peter Biskind - Essay

Peter Biskind

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

It has been clear for some time to all but the most dogged of cultists that Sam Peckinpah's reputation, based on the undeniable merits of Ride the High Country, Major Dundee, and The Wild Bunch, but inflated beyond all recognition by his auteurist admirers, had to be scaled down in the light of his last four films. From Ballad of Cable Hogue to The Getaway, from bad to worse, Peckinpah's talent seemed to have faltered, to have wandered from the material that engaged it most centrally, into a marsh of mushy masculine sentimentality. Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid changes all that. It is a brilliant and perverse film. Part of its brilliance lies in its very perversity: its lack...

(The entire section is 860 words.)