RARA-AVIS: The Getaway & Hollywood

From: Rene Ribic ( rribic@optusnet.com.au)
Date: 19 Feb 2002

. Steve McQueen and Ali Macgraw make a
> good Doc and Carol in Peckinpah's film Getaway. The movie is quite
> from the book however.
I'm not so sure about McGraw. McQueen woul've been a good choice if he hadn't been such a big star that the suits (presumably) decided that you can't have Steve McQueen ruthlessly betraying & murdering his accomplices. "Heroes", even armed robber heroes, just don't do that in Hollywood. (Honour amongst murderer/thieves - pardon me while I chuckle sceptically). Taking away the El Rey ending from the story as well just leaves you with a bog standard caper flick (even though a well done caper flick) & that's definitely not the story Thompson wrote. It's a shame that Peckinpah wasn't able to do a more faithful translation to film, he would've been perfect otherwise.
 Peckinpah's "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia" is much closer to Thompson. The scene where Warren Oates (my hero!) is driving through the desert, with a head rolling around the front seat & floor, flies buzzing around it, while Warren argues with the head, abusing it for screwing his girlfriend & giving it a great whack or two as punctuation is one of the great black comedy scenes in movies, IMO. I remember the critics really hated this one, like they seemed to hate all Peckinpah's movies in the 1970's - "Straw Dogs" (his masterpiece, IMO, though "Alfredo" is my personal fave) & "Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid" were rubbished while earlier films were lauded, at least by some. These same critics also hated the early movies the great Canadian horrormeister, David Cronenberg. (Who's masterpiece, "Dead Ringers" is not just a great psychological horror story but very noir, IMO.)


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