Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Sam sows his wild Oates
By Edward Copeland
Leave it to Peckinpah to fashion a love story between a man and his friend's severed head, but that's exactly what he did with 1974's Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. More importantly, he took one of his most dependable character actors, Warren Oates, and lifted him from his usual supporting roles as a heavy and gave him a lead that truly showed the range of which he was capable.
While Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia doesn't quite rise to the level of Peckinpah's greatest works such as The Wild Bunch or Straw Dogs, it is quite good. It also seems grittier and dirtier than many of Peckinpah's efforts from this same time period. It's almost as if they took the celluloid and ground it into the mud.
It's not the case of making a DVD from a bad print, it seems very purposeful. Compare it to Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid from the previous year, an inferior film to Alfredo Garcia, but which looked great. However, given the tale Peckinpah is telling in Alfredo Garcia, shimmering cinematography would have been wholly inappropriate.
There are some weaknesses — some of Peckinpah's trademark slow-motion violence starts to overstay its welcome here and aside from brief turns by Robert Webber and Gig Young, there isn't much in the way of performances to back up Oates' great work — though there is one helluva great final shot. This is the Warren Oates' show and in this case that is more than enough.
It's a shame he didn't get more opportunities to carry a film, because Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia certainly shows he could.
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Thank you for your appreciation of my old man's work! My sister just made me aware of your blog and it is great to see that there are those who still watch those movies more wish they saw. Keep up the good work, I trust your judgement!!!
Wow. I can't outdo praise from Warren Oates' son! I know THE WILD BUNCH has to top the list of Peckinpahs, but on my personal list, it will always be GARCIA. If nothing else, he outdoes Tom Waits in the category of grungy saloon singer. And those great road scenes in that dusty convertible. And the cemetery scene! And getting ice for the head! Man, I love Warren Oates and I love BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA!Post a Comment
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