” If they move, kill ’em! “
Golden Anniversaries: Films of 1969 features 6 classic films celebrating their 50th anniversaries. This second edition focuses on 1969 and features a half-dozen films, all screening for free at the St. Louis Public Library (1301 Olive Street St. Louis) over 3 weekends in late summer. (This series kicked off August 31st at 1:30pm with MIDNIGHT COWBOY). On Saturday September 14th at 1:30pm the ’69 film will be THE WILD BUNCH directed by Sam Peckinpah. There will be an intro and post-film Q&A with W.K. Stratton, author of The Wild Bunch: Sam Peckinpah, a Revolution in Hollywood, and the Making of a Legendary Film . W.K. Stratton will be selling and signing copies of his book at the event. Admission is FREE. A Facebook invite can be found HERE
THE WILD BUNCH was a ground-breaking, revisionist western from director Sam Peckinpah, Although violence existed in the cinema before this film, it was Peckinpah’s treatment of violence that opened the gates for every subsequent film-maker to show graphic gunshot wounds, throat-slashing, and the like, with shocking realism. THE WILD BUNCH was beautifully shot by Lucien Ballard and featured memorable performances from William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Warren Oates, and many others.
For the fiftieth anniversary of the film, W.K. Stratton wrote The Wild Bunch: Sam Peckinpah, a Revolution in Hollywood, and the Making of a Legendary Film , the definitive history of the making of The Wild Bunch, named one of the greatest Westerns of all time by the American Film Institute.
Sam Peckinpah’s film The Wild Bunch is the story of a gang of outlaws who are one big steal from retirement. When their attempted train robbery goes awry, the gang flees to Mexico and falls in with a brutal general of the Mexican Revolution, who offers them the job of a lifetime. Conceived by a stuntman, directed by a blacklisted director, and shot in the sand and heat of the Mexican desert, the movie seemed doomed. Instead, it became an instant classic with a dark, violent take on the Western movie tradition.
In his book, W.K. Stratton tells the fascinating history of the making of the movie and documents for the first time the extraordinary contribution of Mexican and Mexican-American actors and crew members to the movie’s success. Shaped by infamous director Sam Peckinpah, and starring such visionary actors as William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Edmond O’Brien, and Robert Ryan, the movie was also the product of an industry and a nation in transition. By 1968, when the movie was filmed, the studio system that had perpetuated the myth of the valiant cowboy in movies like The Searchers had collapsed, and America was riled by Vietnam, race riots, and assassinations. The Wild Bunch spoke to America in its moment, when war and senseless violence seemed to define both domestic and international life.
The Wild Bunch: Sam Peckinpah, a Revolution in Hollywood, and the Making of a Legendary Filmis an authoritative history of the making of a movie and the era behind it.
The Golden Anniversaries: Films of 1969 concludes with Women in Love Sunday, Sep. 15 at 1:30pm
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THE WILD BUNCH Screening Hosted by W. K. Stratton, Author of ‘The Wild Bunch: Sam Peckinpah, a Revolution in Hollywood, and the Making of a Legendary Film’ September 14th at The St. Louis Library – We Are Movie Geeks