Review: ‘Straw Dogs’

Director Sam Peckinpah indulges himself in an orgy of unparalleled violence and nastiness with undertones of sexual repression in this production.

Director Sam Peckinpah indulges himself in an orgy of unparalleled violence and nastiness with undertones of sexual repression in this production.

Dustin Hoffman appears as a quiet American mathematician who has married a lively, sexy English girl, played by Susan George, and goes to live on her isolated West Country farm. They get on reasonably well with a moronic assortment of locals, most of whom are heavy drinkers. Some are sexually repressed and the wife is seduced while her husband is hunting.

When the village dolt accidentally kills a teenage mini-skirted flirt he takes refuge at the farm. Hoffman refuses to give him to the enflamed villagers. Count is lost of the gruesome killings and bestialities that ensue.

The script [from Gordon M. Williams’ novel The Siege of Trencher’s Farm]relies on shock and violence to tide it over weakness in development, shallow characterization and lack of motivation. Hoffman scores as the easy-going American who rises to heights of belligerence when he considers the dolt is being wronged.

1971: Nomination: Best Original Score

Straw Dogs

UK - US

Production

ABC/Talent Associates/Amerbroco. Director Sam Peckinpah; Producer Daniel Melnick; Screenplay David Zelag Goodman, Sam Peckinpah; Camera John Coquillon; Editor Roger Spottiswoode, Paul Davies, Tony Lawson; Music Jerry Fielding; Art Director Ray Simm

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1971. Running time: 118 MIN.

With

Dustin Hoffman Susan George Peter Vaughan T.P. McKenna David Warner Colin Welland

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