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Bloody Sam Paperback – January 25, 2006


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Paperback, January 25, 2006
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Miramax (January 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401359728
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401359720
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,721,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Best known for Ride the High Country , The Wild Bunch and Straw Dogs , director Peckinpah (1925-1984) had a reputation for being difficult to work with, for making graphically violent films, for a brutish attitude toward women and, especially in later years, for alcoholism and drug abuse, which helped wreck his career and shorten his life. Much of the reputation is deserved, according to Fine, columnist for the Gannet newspapers, but, he argues, Peckinpah's best films are marked by "skill, artistry and vision"p. xiii and broke new cinematic ground. The author also maintains that despite the filmmaker's image as a "hard-drinking, hard-living maverick," Peckinpah was "a sensitive and poetic soul who tried to hide that side from the world."p. xiii The book supports these points, but the narrative is marred by blocks of meandering commentary from family, friends and colleagues of Peckinpah. In addition, Fine's own writing sometimes stoops to the juvenile: about the decreasing ability of Peckinpah's blood to coagulate, we're told, "During The Wild Bunch , that caused a serious pain in the ass: a raging case of bleeding hemorrhoids."p. 137 Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Peckinpah's films were widely criticized during the 1970s for excessive violence, but they seem almost tame compared to the atrocities portrayed today by his many successors. Syndicated columnist Fine has assembled a rather sad portrait of Peckinpah, who died in 1985 at age 59. Elaborating on old news, Fine portrays him as a hard-drinking, brawling maverick whose rude behavior earned him many enemies in and out of Hollywood. Behind-the-scenes shenanigans are discussed more than the actual films, conclusively showing that Peckinpah refused to compromise his filmmaking principles--or anything else. Perhaps best known for the slow-motion sequences of graphic violence in such films as Straw Dogs (1971) and The Wild Bunch (1969), Peckinpah pursued artistic goals which are better analyzed in previous studies, most notably Paul Seydor's Peckinpah: The Western Films ( LJ 2/1/80). Recommended for subject collections, and general readers hankering for sensationalism.
- Richard W. Grefrath, Univ. of Nevada Lib., Reno
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dr. James Gardner VINE VOICE on October 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
Marshall Fine's biography of Sam Peckinpah is subtitled "The Life and Films of Sam Peckinpah" and the emphasis really is on the "life" rather than the films. For people interested in Peckinpah's life, this is a good thing, although as a biographer, Fine does very little more than describe enumerable life events with little or no attempt to analyze these events and/or talk about how these events contributed to the development of the personality traits that were so memorable, much less talk about how these events helped develop the creative talents which are what draw people to Peckinpah in the first place. Thus what we get are a neverending series of stories about Sam's drinkling, his drug use, his womanizing, etc. This will appeal to some people, but it doesn't to me.

Fine's work on Peckinpah's films is again descriptive, with a reasonable number of anecdotes that readers of books about Peckinpah will be familiar with. There are certainly better books about Peckinpah's films.

Fine is a good writer and the book is an easy read, although after awhile the anecdotes get a little boring. For the "life and times" of a creative artist like Sam Peckinpah, I expected more.

PS - Fans of Peckinpah might be more impressed with the 1994 book by David Weddle entitled "If They Move Kill 'Em". Weedle spends considerably more time showing how Peckinpah's life experiences and his early work in TV are reflected in his later films.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Chris on September 1, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
'Bloody Sam' by Marshall Fine is a very solid book on the great but very self destructive director Sam Peckinpah. Fine has lots of first hand accounts of Sam Peckinpah and his controversial actions. He also has a pleasing writing style that makes the director come to life.

Fine does a good job in depicting the upbringing of Peckinpah in Fresno, California. But the real fun of the book is found when Peckinpah finds his calling as a director and writer. His jobs on the famous TV westerns such as 'The Rifleman' and 'Gunsmoke' are discussed. As is his first feature length film 'The Deadly Companions'. Film buffs will enjoy Fine's depictions of the making of Peckinpah's films such as: 'Ride the High Country', 'Major Dundee', 'The Wild Bunch', 'Ballad of Cable Hogue' 'Straw Dogs', 'The Getaway', 'Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid', and 'Cross of Iron' among others. Fine also tells about projects that Peckinpah never finished such as 'The Cincinnati Kid'. Fine also discusses the famous and very talented actors that worked on these films and their relationship with Peckinpah among them: Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Dustin Hoffman, William Holden, Warren Oates and the list could go on and on.

Peckinpah's personal foibles are also discussed by Fine and are not glazed over. The broken relationships he left in his wake and the daily struggles that he had with alcohol and drugs. His personal life was not a pretty picture much of the time and I believe Fine is fair about it. The reader will also be astounded about the pure joy that Peckinpah seemed to derive from constant arguments with his movie producers. Lesser Peckinpah films are also discussed such as the less than impressive 'Convoy' and the mediocre 'Osterman Weekend'.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By AK on August 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
I think this is the best Peckinpah bio. Yes, even better than the excellent "If they move, kill em". Why? First of all, this book gives MUCH better coverage of his non-western films. I happen to think that "The Getaway", "Killer Elite" "Garcia" "Cross of Iron" are great films. These films get very little coverage elsewhere, but our covered in depth here. I also think Fine has a better sense of the man. How drinking, drugs, fighting and chaotic relationships with women hurt him in the end, but were part of his personality, lifestyle and art. It also covers his political and religous beliefs better, showing them grounded in his anti-establishment views. The other bio gives good coverage on the westerns, and is excellent and in depth on "Wild Bunch", but I think this book gives the best view of the non westerns and the man himself. Great read - funny in many parts, and touching and sad.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Bill Hennessy on July 4, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just another bio that suffers from a lack of editing. M.F. likes to write and write and write and in the end we have a book that boils down to, so and so says he did this and so and so says he did that. It's wears you out.
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By peter j. on October 24, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
an excellent biography of one of my favorite directors.
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