In this, the 40th anniversary of director Sam Peckinpah’s “The Wild Bunch,” a movie that changed the face of international cinema, it’s worth noting that the maverick auteur’s impact is still being felt around the world, even if the Oscars are a sobering reminder of how many times the innovators and giants of film are overlooked on that most golden of evenings.
While Peckinpah’s sole career Oscar nom came for co-writing “The Wild Bunch,” with no Academy recognition of his directing work on other acclaimed and groundbreaking films such as “Straw Dogs,” “Ride the High Country,” “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid,” etc., those landmark movies and others from his canon are currently on display in a career -spanning series at the Filmhouse in Edinburgh (through Feb. 19) after a major retrospective last month at the British Film Institute in London.
On the homevid front, blogger Jeffrey Wells has reported that the upcoming Blu-ray release of “Straw Dogs” is being rolled out in the British Isles, as is a theatrical release of Peckinpah’s critically maligned (now enshrined) out-there actioner “Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia.”
2009 represents the 25th anniversary of Peckinpah’s death. The director’s legacy, however, seems edgily alive and well.