A slow execution: Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid

September 4, 2007 at 8:50 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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So another Sam Peckinpah was on Sunday: Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (USA 1973). It does not offer the same kind of blood-gushing ecstasy as The Wild Bunch, but has many worthwhile moments to offer, in particular if you have seen TWB just a few days before. It’s a slower, not quite as gory, but actually more even more cruel rendition of the old Western tale: two befriended gunslingers become enemies when one of them (Pat Garrett, i.e. James Coburn) is elected sheriff, his first task being to get rid of his former drinking buddy (Billy the Kid, Kris Kristofferson).

A number of reasons to watch PG&BTK, even if not ten:

_The opening scene once more is immaculate. A similar freeze frame design for the credits, and the remarkable idea of sticking hens in a wall of mud with just their heads sticking out, offering as targets for the shootists. Did you know the body continues to twitch once you have busted the head?

_The special treat of that film: Bob Dylan as the greenhorn Alias – his response to the initial question “And who the hell are you?”, namely “That’s a good question” is a cheap laugh, but worked nonetheless. His wandering elusive glance was a pleasure to look at, any time he appeared in the frame.

_And in case anybody ever forgot: James Coburn is about the most handsome sheriff dressed in black ever to be seen on the silver screen.

_The incredible amount of whiskey being inhaled in 122 minutes.

_And of course: The moment when Billy shoots Bob, who wants to make him repent before Jesus, with one dollar and 60 as ammunition – for a slot second, we see the coins twinkle before the blazing gun.

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