Sweet and lyrical are not terms usually associated with Sam Peckinpah, the man who directed THE WILD BUNCH, the man whom Western author Max Evans called the “Master of Violence.” Most of Peckinpah’s films are violent, one way or another, and most of them depict scenes of bloody mayhem and death. The one exception, though, was JUNIOR BONNER released in 1972. David Morrell chose it for our Western Night at the Movies meeting this past Sunday.
The Western had been a staple during the silent era and into the talkies, but from 1931 to 1938, it was relegated to B pictures and serials with a few exceptions such as THE PLAINSMAN (1937) and THE TEXANS (1938). Then came 1939 which saw the release of STAGECOACH, JESSE JAMES, DODGE CITY, UNION PACIFIC and DESTRY RIDES AGAIN.
As it was my turn to curate the film for our Western film gathering last night, I brought one of my favorites. Jeremiah Johnson, the opening ballad in the film goes, went into the mountains, betting on forgetting his troubles.