“The Wild Bunch” Rides Into Town For A 50th Anniversary Celebration!
One of the greatest films ever made is returning to Hollywood for two special screenings to celebrate its 50th Anniversary!
“We’re gonna stick together, just like it used to be! When you side with a man, you stay with him! And if you can’t do that, you’re like some animal, you’re finished! *We’re* finished! All of us!”
“The Wild Bunch” is the western from 1969 that was as controversial as it was brilliant. It’s the story of a gang trying to stay alive in a changing world. Director Sam Peckinpah wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay with Walon Green.
Legendary Actor William Holden stars as the leader of a gang, a “wild bunch”, who are looking for one last score – because the times are changing. The film is set in 1913, on the eve of World War I and in the midst of the Mexican Revolution. A botched robbery in the opening sequence leads the outlaws to seek refuge in Mexico, where they continue to be pursued by a group of bounty hunters hired by the railroad company they have robbed. Robert Ryan, cast as a former friend of Holden’s character, leads the pursuers.
Here is the trailer:
The supporting cast includes Ernest Borgnine, Ben Johnson, Warren Oates, L.Q. Jones, Bo Hopkins, and Strother Martin. A press release for the 50th anniversary screening notes that Lucien Ballard provided the rich cinematography, and Jerry Fielding wrote the Oscar-nominated score.
This is a beautiful film, and this one scene, when the gang is fleeing from the posse, is a masterpiece of filmmaking…
But perhaps the most crucial creative collaborator was editor Lou Lombardo, who worked closely with the director to perfect an innovative editing style that incorporated quick, almost subliminal cuts masterfully interspersed with slow motion shots.
As the press release goes on to note:
The film’s violence was shocking to many viewers at the time, and some critics denounced the film. Others, however, saw the violence as reflecting the disruptions in American society, along with the chaos of the Vietnam War. Life magazine’s Richard Schickel called the film “one of the most important records of the mood of our times and one of the most important American films of the era.” The New York Times’ Vincent Canby hailed the film as “very beautiful and the first truly interesting American-made Westerns in years.” When cuts that had been made shortly after the film’s release were finally restored for a 1995 reissue, critics were even more ecstatic. Writing in The Baltimore Sun, Michael Sragow declared, “What Citizen Kane was to movie lovers in 1941, The Wild Bunch was to cineastes in 1969.” The film was added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 1999.
Two Chances To See “The Wild Bunch” On The Big Screen – The First One TONIGHT!
Here are details on the two special screening, both with Guest Speakers and Original Cast!
Screening #1 is TONIGHT at the Playhouse 7 in Pasadena, and at press time W.K. Stratton, the author of a new book, “The Wild Bunch: Sam Peckinpah, a Revolution in Hollywood, and the Making of a Legendary Film”, will participate in a discussion after the screening. He will also sign copies of his book at the theater.
A Beverly Hills Star-Studded Screening!
Here is the screening I bought my tickets for:
Screening #2 is at the Ahrya Fine Arts in Beverly Hills on Saturday at 7:30. Mr. Stratton is also scheduled to be on hand. In addition, screenwriter Walon Green is scheduled to appear. He won an Academy Award in 1971 for directing the brilliant documentary, “The Hellstrom Chronicle”. He went on to write such films as “Sorcerer” and “The Brinks Job” for director William Friedkin, who also made “The Exorcist” and “The French Connection” among many other classic films.
Actor L.Q. Jones is on the list, too. He worked on several other Peckinpah movies, beginning with “Ride the High Country”, along with “The Ballad of Cable Hogue”, and “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid”.
Actor Bo Hopkins is also scheduled to appear. He co-starred in Peckinpah’s “The Getaway” and “The Killer Elite”, and he also appeared in such films as “American Graffiti” and “Midnight Express”.
What a night!
Here is more about Director Sam Peckinpah’s incredible career….
This is a shot of the “Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid” cast surrounding a bed-ridden Director, a joke photo sent to dispel rumors of Peckinpah’s wild antics on set…he was a visionary who lived it as wild as he filmed it…and he poured hot soup on a friend of mine!
See that true story here:
What a great night in Hollywood to celebrate a brilliant film!