At his peak, from the late 1960s through the early 1970s, Sam Peckinpah was hailed as one of the new masters of the Western film, while simultaneously becoming one of the most controversial American directors of the era. In a time of great social turmoil, Peckinpah's on-screen orchestration of physical and emotional violence drew adamant praise for what some considered fearless realism and vehement criticism for what others called tasteless gore and brutal misogyny. Debate over the violence and sexual themes of Peckinpah's films often eclipsed aesthetic appreciation of his work. A favorite target of 1970s feminist critics, feminist social debate, combined with the director's own combative persona usually prevented reasoned evaluation of his films. A prevalent auteurist view did not recognize how Peckinpah was subject to the whims and character of an industry in which he rarely navigated successfully. While the passage of time has muted the initial shock value of his filmed violence, no similar reappraisal has ever dealt with those initial misperceptions of misogyny, and looked to reevaluate his on-screen treatment of women.Peckinpah's Women examines the confluence of factors that worked with, and often against, Peckinpah's cinematic voice to divine a recurring positive theme regarding women in those films that form the heart of his body of work: his period Westerns.
av Bill Mesce
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