SAM PECKINPAH - February 21, 1925 to December 28, 1984
If you asked anyone of my generation namely anyone born before 1960 to name there top fifty films a Sam Peckinpah film would undoubtedly be on the list.
But it almost certainly wouldn't be the same film on every list such was the diversity of his work.
Equally if you were to ask the same people to name there top fifty worst films
Peckinpah would be on that list as well.
He will be forever remembered as one of Hollywood's most difficult directors but I think he was more than that.
He was born in Fresno, California and after serving in the Marine Corps he went on to earn a master's degree from the University of Southern California in 1950.
He spent his early career was spent as a theatre and television director of sufficient repute to gain him the position as an assistant to director Don Siegel on a handful of picture's.
One of the pictures was the 1956 movie "Invasion of the Body Snatchers
in which Peckinpah played a small part.
About the same time he became associated with western's, writing and directing a number of episodes of popular shows like "Gunsmoke," "The Rifleman," "The Westerner" and many other's.
He then turned his hand to directing movies in his own right with
The Deadly Companions (1961), Ride the High Country (1962) and
Major Dundee (1965).
However disagreement and a long running feud over final cuts and content of Major Dundee led to him being blacklisted for three years.
But he returned with a vengeance with The Wild Bunch (1969) and this was followed with very regular output.
The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970)
Straw Dogs (1971)
Junior Bonner (1972)
The Getaway (1972)
Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973)
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)
The Killer Elite (1975)
Cross of Iron (1977)
Until his final film The Osterman Weekend (1983).
Sam Peckinpah died in Inglewood, California on December 28, 1984.
His work was not always well received and he was often criticized for the excessive violence and his demeaning portrayal of women as well as his glorification of masculine exploits.
He will always be remembered for his slow motion action scenes used to great effect though overused later to the point of clichÃ©.
When I heard the news of his death and the announcer said "Hollywood director Sam Peckinpah died today I expected him to continue "and he was buried in slow motion.