In 1864, due to frequent Apache raids from Mexico into the U.S., a Union officer decides to illegally cross the border and destroy the Apache, using a mixed army of Union troops, Confederate POWs, civilian mercenaries, and scouts.
A family scandal causes a wealthy and powerful Mexican rancher to make the pronouncement--'Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia!' Two of the bounty-hunters thus dispatched encounter a local piano-player in their hunt for information. The piano-player does a little investigating on his own and finds out that his girlfriend knows of Garcia's death and last resting place. Thinking that he can make some easy money and gain financial security for he and his (now) fiancée, they set off on this goal. Of course, this quest only brings him untold misery, in the form of trademark Peckinpah violence.Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
According to Gordon T. Dawson, principal photography was marked with an overwhelming sense of melancholy and defeat, perhaps engendered by Sam Peckinpah's use of cocaine (introduced to him by Oates). The screenwriter (a veteran of several Peckinpah films) was so unnerved by the shift in Peckinpah's mental state and mercurial behavior that he resolved never to work with him again. See more »
As Bennie crosses inside his apartment, alone, and talks to Alfredo's head, a crewman in black clothing is visible, ducking behind an adjacent transom. His arm reappears a second later, as Bennie reaches for a bottle in the pantry. See more »
There are only three credits at the beginning of the film: The production credit, the two stars, and the story/screenplay. Everything else is at the end, and the film's title is the very last credit. See more »
First, I'm sure everyone commenting on this film has seen the documentary on Peckinpah, and the comments made by the film critics regarding this film. If I may quote one of the critics, and I'm sure you all agree "It's the one film of Peckinpah's that everyone tries to imitate". Even Tarantino does to some degree. I have issues with Quentin Tarantino from a cinematic and artistic point of view, but that is another review. Warren Oates' performance was flawless, as he actually assumes the identity Of Sam Peckinpah as a gesture of appreciation for gracing him with his first starring vehicle.
Warren Oates was taking Sam's journey for him, as Sam looked from behind the lens. This movie was Peckinpah at his best and his worst at the same time. The old Peckinpah themes are there; Mexico is the final frontier, where one can continue to be what he once was in a changing world, but eventually Mexico begins to change as well. As I said in my review of "Junior Bonner" (be sure to check it out, and get back to me)progress is the main antagonist in the lives of Peckinpah's characters.
Junior Bonner and Bennie (Oates' Character) have a common foe, the twentieth century, which is why we find Bennie in Mexico. The chance to improve his situation, and establish a solid relationship with his hooker girlfriend (played with tough sincerity by Isela Vega) arrives at a time in Bennie's life when he least expects it, but it's not as easy as it is set out to be. All he has to do is bring this head to "El Hefe", and at the last minute BAM!! Bennie grows a conscience. Along the way he loses his woman, and then just goes nuts, thus revealing "The Diseased Soul of Sam Peckinpah".
My favorite scene is actually the picnic, where Elita and Bennie discuss their future. Elita begs Bennie to ask her to marry her, he does and she begins to weep. The simple fact that he says it is a tender moment, and shows how the slightest thing can arouse a woman's emotions. Jerry Fielding's musical score, which successfully created the mood and atmosphere for "Straw Dogs" (my all time favorite Peckinpah film) is present, but very muted. Still, this may be the best scene of the film.
Sam Peckinpah finally had complete control to dictate the direction of this film; Free from the money men, and left to his own devices in Mexico where he felt at home. A lot of people say that Pat Garret and Billy the Kid was the last Peckinpah masterpiece, but I think Alfredo Garcia was the last one. It throws you off at the beginning with the horses, then all of a sudden a Corvette screeches by; This is the paradox that really signifies that "The West" is over, bringing Sam Peckinpah and his love for the west full circle.
The critics literally hated this film, but 30 years later because of it we have a Martin Scorcese, a Robert Rodriguez, and a Quentin Tarantino (yeah) to name a few, as well as achieving underground cult status. I'm proud to call "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia" one of my favorite films.
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