RARA-AVIS: Re: Straw Dogs

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 29 Jun 2003

Dave Z. wrote:

>And as far
>as Kevin's comment about this movie being unavailable in Britain until
>recently sounds like pure hypocrisy - I'm sure far worse has been shown
>over the years there.

Oh, no doubt. The nightly news, for example. Soccer games. Lady Di documentaries.

>If you're going to discredit a movie or book
>because it's been banned somewhere, than you're going to have to include
>"Paths of Glory" (banned for years in France) and "Solomon's Vineyard"
>(banned in US for a number of years) and a large number of other great

... and also a lot of tasteless, gratuitous stuff by faux-tough wankers who think offending people has anything at all to do with toughness. It doesn't.

Just because something's banned doesn't mean it's good. STRAW DOGS is not a great lost masterpiece, nor is it one of Peckingpah's best. And it certainly doesn't rank up there with either PATHS OF GLORY or SOLOMON'S VINEYARD.

Anyway, my comment about the film STRAW DOGS being banned in England for several years is just a statement of fact -- there's nothing hypocritical about my statement. I hope you weren't suggesting otherwise.

But if you mean the actual censorship of it is hypocritical, well, that's different. Because almost all censorship --whether it's pulling for movie for juicy bits, banning a rap song from the airwaves or pulling the plug on Tim Robbins in the middle of a national television broadcast -- is ultimately inherently hypocritical.

And Peckingpah did change the story when he filmed it -- Hoffman's character may have wondered about his wife, but it's in the novel, at least, it's clear she didn't enjoy being raped. I mean, does anyone besides Andrew Luster think people WANT to be raped?

A lot of people might find that offensive -- which I'm sure was Peckingpah's intention -- but that doesn't mean I think it should have been banned.


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