Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973)

To quote my father, "spoiler alert: he kills him." But it looks like the fun of this Sam Peckinpah-directed Western is going to be in how we get there. First of all, we've got some fun performers. James Coburn plays the legendary sheriff, and Kris Kristofferson (!) plays Billy, though he was a good decade-and-a-half older. His band and wife were cast as Billy's gang, and none other than Bob Dylan (!!) has a small role. Dylan wrote "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" for the movie, and cover artists the world over are grateful. The supporting cast is chock-full of Western character actors past and present, and Martin Scorsese called PG&BtK Peckinpah's best movie since The Wild Bunch. It also turns out that the post-production has a Orson Welles-esque saga of drama and studio overreach. The powers that be were furious with Peckinpah's over-budget production (and probably weren't thrilled that the diva director urinated on some dailies) and slashed the film to bits. The director's cut has finally been discovered and restored. I think we're in for a wild ride. All puns intended.

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