Sam Peckinpah - Man of Iron

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Biography Documentary published by BBC broadcasted as part of Moving Pictures series in 1991 - English narration

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Image: Sam-Peckinpah-Man-of-Iron-Cover.jpg

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Sam Peckinpah was a paradox who both cultivated and disdained his own legend as one of Hollywood's most difficult directors, his often violent films evoked strong responses and varied, almost contradictory, readings. Born to a California legal clan, Peckinpah served in the Marine Corps and earned a master's degree from USC in 1950. He spent his early career as a theater and television director before becoming an assistant on five films to director Don Siegel, famed for his hard-bitten action films (Peckinpah even played a small part in Siegel's INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, 1956). Peckinpah soon became associated with the western genre, writing and directing episodes of "Gunsmoke," "The Rifleman," "The Westerner" and other TV series. His 1957 script on the legend of Billy the Kid eventually became, without his participation and with many changes, Marlon Brando's eccentric ONE-EYED JACKS (1961). Peckinpah's first film as a director, THE DEADLY COMPANIONS (1961), plus RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY (1962), MAJOR DUNDEE (1965), THE WILD BUNCH (1969) and PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID (1973) form an arc in the stylistic span of outlaw mythology; among other accomplishments, they raised to the level of perverse sacrament the male gesture of mutual respect that supersedes fear of death. His "semi-westerns," THE BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE (1970) and the director's personal favorite, JUNIOR BONNER (1972), extended his theme of the demise of a noble way of life in the face of a modern world. THE GETAWAY (1972) and CONVOY (1978) put contemporary anti-heroes ahead of as well as outside the law. Perhaps his most controversial film was STRAW DOGS (1971); the inevitable brutality of its protagonist, ostensibly a man of reason, offers a metaphor on the ancient bent of the human psyche vis-à-vis personal territory and blood rites. BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA (1974), reputedly autobiographical, was a psychodrama refracted through a tequila haze, a saga of a loner/artiste who reaps the grotesque wages of sin on a desperate trek of atonement. Peckinpah's distrust of policymakers was reflected in THE KILLER ELITE (1975) and his last film, THE OSTERMAN WEEKEND (1983), both essays on vicious tactics and dissolute friendship in the CIA. CROSS OF IRON (1977), Peckinpah's largest production, is a fiercely edited view of World War II slaughter where the Wehrmacht wear the patented scars of his honorable killers. Few directors have had more conflict with studio heads and producers than Peckinpah. Feuds over the content and final cuts of MAJOR DUNDEE (after which Peckinpah was blacklisted for three years), THE WILD BUNCH and PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID (1973) are the stuff of Hollywood legend. Critical response to his work has often been as violent as the films themselves, with Peckinpah frequently berated for demeaning women and excessively glorifying male exploits. On an aesthetic level, Peckinpah is celebrated for his slow motion furies, first employed in a 1963 entry of TV's "Dick Powell Theater" called "The Losers," exercised to startling effect in THE WILD BUNCH, but somewhat overused in subsequent work. "Cathartic violence" was a term that seemed coined to define his iconoclastic postures. In Peckinpah's Conradian scheme that mixes nobility with tragedy, all are guilty to some degree and all have their reasons. His work typically exists on a skewed moral plane between eras and cultures, with ambiguous quests for identity and redemption undertaken by hopelessly lost outcasts and enemies. He vividly defines the thin line between internal conflict and external action, and, perhaps most importantly, the violent displacement of a false code of honor (and law itself) by another more enduring and devout. As thorny as his relationships with producers and executives were, Peckinpah could inspire extraordinary loyalty among actors and technicians. An ensemble of notable Peckinpah players would include David Warner, Warren Oates, L.Q. Jones, Strother Martin, James Coburn, Kris Kristofferson and Ben Johnson. Peckinpah also enjoyed repeated and fruitful collaborations with cinematographers Lucien Ballard and John Coquillon and composer Jerry Fielding.

This is part of the Moving Pictures television series devoted to cinema that aired on BBC 2 from 1991 to 1996. There is some difference in this edition from the original, scenes from other movies that originally appeared in the film have been edited out. The original length of the documentary is about 86-minutes, but without the movie scenes this runs at about 82-minutes. The story begins from his childhood and then soon moves through his acting career, with interviews from family and friends, including James Coburn, Kris Kristofferson, Jason Robards and a many others. It also covers his views of women, the ways of directing his actors and then also touches on his alcohol and drug problem.

Executive Producer for Moving Pictures : Daniel Wolf Series Producer : Paul Kerr Directed by : Paul Joyce

Lucida Productions for BBC Television in association with the Arts and Entertainment Network (1991)

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Video Codec: XviD ISO MPEG-4
Video Bitrate: 1188 kbps
Video Resolution: 704x544
Video Aspect Ratio: 1.294:1
Frames Per Second: 29.970
Audio Codec: 0x2000 (Dolby AC3) AC3
Audio Bitrate: 128kb/s CBR 48000 Hz
Audio Streams: 1
Audio Languages: english
RunTime Per Part: 1:22:21
Number Of Parts: 1
Part Size: 820,215,938 Bytes
Ripped by: DocFreak08

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