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70 of 71 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2006
Format: DVD
The Ballad of Cable Hogue is buried treasure - an outstanding film by a legendary director with brilliant performances that is still little known and rarely seen. Sam Peckinpah made it just months after his groundbreaking film, The Wild Bunch, and both films deal with the same topic - the end of the western frontier, although in radically different ways. While The Wild Bunch is a violently realistic film about a breed of western gunmen who had outlived their day, The Ballad of Cable Hogue is a stylized fable, by turn tender, dark, comic, and tragic that depicts the last days of another sort of western archetypal man. It may be that the film's resistance to easy categorization (is it a comedy? a tragic love story? a morality tale of revenge? a musical?) is responsible for its continued obscurity, but I find it an element of its greatness, and concur with Peckinpah, who characterized the film as part Keystone Cops, part Sartre's The Fly, and considered it his favorite of all his movies.

There are many reasons to love this film, including its stunning scenery of awesome, big sky desert landscapes, and a unique, lilting soundtrack with songs that become mysteriously etched in your mind. Yet its foremost strength is its brilliant performances from an impressive cast. Jason Robards plays the title role, brilliantly rendering the tough as boot leather yet vulnerable Hogue as charming and totally unforgettable. Stella Stevens delivers the crowning performance of her career as Hildy, a prostitute who aspires to go to San Francisco to become the "ladiest damn'd lady", yet unaccountably falls in love with the desert rat Hogue. Stevens and Robards together create an utterly believable screen romance that not only crackles with passion, but conveys real depths of caring and emotion. David Warner adds color and comic relief to the story as Josh, a lascivious traveling preacher who becomes side-kick, foil, and nemesis to the no nonsense Hogue. Several great character actors all at the top of their form, including Strother Martin, Slim Pickens, and L.Q. Jones, round out this first rate cast.

This DVD release includes several excellent special features. There is a mini feature called The Ladiest Damn'd Lady: An Afternoon With Actress Stella Stevens, in which Stevens talks about her career, Director Sam Peckinpah (she didn't much like him), and her experiences working on The Ballad of Cable Hogue. Also included are trailer galleries from five Peckinpah movies - Ride the High Country, The Wild Bunch, The Ballad of Cable Hogue, The Getaway, and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Most importantly, however, is an outstanding commentary track featuring four Peckinpah scholars. Their commentary covers the symbolism and philosophy of the movie, Peckinpah's filming technique, and the movie's relationship to Peckinpah's larger body of work. Unlike many commentary tracks that seem to add little value, this excellent track is both entertaining and useful, and leaves you wanting to watch the movie yet again with the new perspectives you have gained from it.

The Ballad of Cable Hogue is a film that will stick with you, and one you will want to revisit frequently. It is not only my favorite Sam Peckinpah film, it is one of my top five all time favorite Westerns. If your Western collection lacks this quirky gem, it is not yet complete, so go discover it for yourself.

Theo Logos
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Starring Jason Robards & Stella Stevens and Directed by Sam Peckinpah, The Ballad of Cable Hogue is a brilliant little gem of a movie that somehow never made it onto the national radar screen when it was released. A major departure for Peckinpah, whose forte back then was the ultra violent epic-movies like The Wild Bunch and the highly acclaimed Straw Dogs-The Ballad of Cable Hoague tells the tail of a fellow abandoned for dead out in the western desert who is lucky enough to find the equivalent of an oasis and converts the spot into a way station for the pony express and the stage coach runs of the time. Wonderfully acted by Robards as Hoague and Stella Stevens as the nearby town's "working girl" as his romantic interest, the story is in essence a depiction of western life and the characters of the time.
This was a wonderful vehicle for may well know western character actors of the day: It's full of those sort of actor you recognize in an instant and have no idea what their name is. The story is sweet and engaging and the movie is totally devoid of the violence and gore that Peckinpah was famous for at the time.
So, if you are the sort of person who wants a movie to actually tell a story, actually present real characters, and warm your heart-this is definitely a choice you should make. You will not be disappointed.
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93 of 113 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2005
Format: DVD
This upcoming release from Warner bros will contain the following:

-The Wild Bunch Two-Disc Special Edition, Disc 1:

* Commentary by Peckinpah biographers/documentarians Nick Redman, Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons and David Weddle

* New digital transfer (16x9 2.35:1)

* Peckinpah trailer gallery

* Languages: English and French

* Subtitles: English, French and Spanish

Special Features Disc 2:

* Never-before-seen The Wild Bunch outtakes

* Additional scenes

* 3 documentaries

o Sam Peckinpah's West: Legacy of a Hollywood Renegade - A feature-length biography of the legendary director, featuring rare film clips, interviews with family and colleagues, and narration by Kris Kristofferson.

o 1996 Oscar Nominee The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage

o A Simple Adventure Story: Sam Peckinpah, Mexico and the Wild Bunch

-Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid Two Disc Special Edition, Disc 1:

* 2005 Special Edition: (115 Mins.)

* Commentary by Special Edition Producer Nick Redman, Supervising Editor Paul Seydor and fellow Peckinpah biographers/documentarians Garner Simmons and David Weddle

* Peckinpah trailer gallery

* Languages: English and French

* Subtitles: English, French and Spanish (Feature Films Only)

Special Features Disc 2:

* 1988 Turner Preview Version: (122 Mins.)

* Commentary by Nick Redman, Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons and David Weddle

* 2 new featurettes:

o One Foot in the Groove: Remembering Sam Peckinpah and Other Things

o Deconstructing Pat and Billy

* One for the Money: Sam's Song

* Languages: English and French

* Subtitles: English, French and Spanish (Feature Films Only)

-The Ballad of Cable Hogue:

* Commentary by Peckinpah biographers/documentarians Nick Redman, Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons and David Weddle

* New featurette: The Ladiest Damn'd Lady with Stella Stevens

* Peckinpah Trailer Gallery

* Languages: English and Spanish

* Subtitles: English, French and Spanish

-Ride The High Country:

* Commentary by Peckinpah documentarians Nick Redman, Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons and David Weddle

* New documentary: A Justified Life: Sam Peckinpah and the Hogue Country

* Peckinpah trailer gallery

* Languages: English and French

* Subtitles: English, French and Spanish
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2006
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
We finally get treated to pristine quality discs of what are, for me, the greatest group of Westerns ever made. By any filmmaker. Ever. Great widescreen renderings of beautiful works of art previously relegated, with the exception of Wild Bunch, to full screen vhs that did not begin to do them justice. P. G. & Billy the Kid is a dvd revelation, offering two different cuts to enjoy and mull over. Yes, the extras are a mixed bag, with those attached to Wild Bunch providing the best of the group, although the commentaries by these Peckinpah scholars are worthwhile on all 4 films. All I can say is, it certainly is about time to provide quality transfers of some of the finest films from this brilliant, uncompromising filmmaker. Often imitated but never equalled, there will never be another Sam Peckinpah. Wild Bunch is not just my favorite Western, it has to stand as my favorite movie of all time, and the other three aren't far behind. It is still amazing to me that, for the 1994 reissue to theatres of The Wild Bunch, the film-lovers at MPAA almost slapped their infamous NC-17 on this classic Western, which had been made 25 YEARS previously. In 1994, mind you, these champions of morality and good taste in movies were calling THIS film a piece of pornography. Talk about a film with astonishing powers that cannot be eroded by the passing years! Can certainly recommend this exciting set to all fans of the genre, and to all fans of flat-out great fimmmaking.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format: VHS TapeVerified Purchase
When I was younger, Sam Peckinpah's more violent films were my favorites, now, as I approach the age of the title character, this film is far and away my favorite. Peckinpah came up with a philosophical, almost biblically themed picture here- yet it is also filled with the most laugh-out-loud humor of any of his films. It had to be an accident, it just works too perfectly to have been done on purpose....
This is the story of Cable Hogue, a prospector in the Arizona territory of 1908. He is left to die without water by his two partners. Not only is he left to die- he is laughed at because of his "yellowness" at not doing the same to them when given a chance. So Cable tries to walk out of the desert knowing that he has no chance. He talks (he never prays) to the God that he has never had much use for. As a result, he finds water; water where it never was and could never possibly be.
This is the start of Cable's desert kingdom. He builds it out of nothing and out of bluff. He builds it with his own hands, out of what the desert provides. When necessary, he defends it with deadly force. Yet Cable gains respect and friends along the way. Sure, he can be mean and ruthless when he has to be, but to those who prove worthy, he can be a generous and loyal friend. He even wins the love of the most beautiful woman in a land where women are scarce (Stella Stevens- she never looked better than she did in this film.)
Then, at the height of his success, the two former partners that left him to die are delivered into his hands....
I used to wonder at the name "Cable", since I had never heard it before. Then I got it, Cable is a combination of Cain and Abel. This is because Cable is a combination of good and bad. On the one hand he is capable of hardness, even to the point of taking a life, but on the other hand he can show justice and mercy in sparing a life. To paraphrase the phoney preacher at the end of the film, Cable wasn't strictly a good man, and he wasn't strictly a bad man, but Lord- he was a MAN!
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
hi folks...
RE: the films...all are painfully important to fans of Westerns and renegade director Sam Peckinpah...and the set gets 5 stars..
the ONLY reason I deduct a star...is because the bonus features are the worst produced...amateurishly filmed that I have seen in years!!! I can't believe the same Studio that produced the exceptional Wizard of Oz DVD with discs of bonus features let an amateur loose on the featurettes for these films...they are boring, rambling, non scripted and snooze inducing. Stella Stevens should sue for the way they filmed her and Kris Kristofferson was out of focus for most of his while the interviewer was given allmost as much face time and the light behind Kris kept crisp in the shot (must be the autofocus amateur equipment used...focus' on the brightest thing in the scene).

anyway...you will LOVE The films...but don't waste your time with the bonus features....other than the exceptional COMMENTARY tracks..
hey WB...whats up? You have done a better job on films 30 years older than these with NONE of the participants even alive...how can you squander this opportunity to really inform and entertain folks about these great flicks and Peckinpah himself?

and the biggest suprise?
"Ride the High Country" ...just may be the BEST of all the films...just a treat to see in all its widescreen glory and the acting is top notch....design...story...a masterwork.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEon October 12, 2006
Format: DVD
Cable Hogue is the most poetic film of an epic filmmaker as Peckinpah was. This is the portrait of human being who will make the best he can in order to achieve his personal bliss, far from the madding crowd. Intense, lyric and heartfelt rendition of the most representative North American genre: The Western considered as a mythic universe.

Jason Robards and Stella Stevens are superb in this vibrant and touching film.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Whenever I catch this film on The Western Channel, I get sucked into it every time and watch the whole thing.

My favorite Peckinpah film was and probably always will be THE WILD BUNCH, in my opinion the greatest Western ever made, but I still really enjoyed CABLE HOGUE. Loved the cast, loved the offbeat characters and storytelling, loved the "community" that forms in the last gasp of the Western frontier. It's an affectionate take on the humanity so often missing in shoot-em-up Westerns.

Plus, Stella Stevens is absolutely stunning. She's photographed in such a way that she doesn't look like she's wearing a molecule of makeup, making her look like a natural knockout.

I haven't seen all of Peckinpah's films but I think this one shows us his heart more than any of them.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2006
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I,ve must tell you after Receiving Sam Peckinpah's Legendary Collection and Watched for the First Time Ride the High Country i realised, Just For that Movie was Worth Buying This Box,not to say that the Wild Bunch is one of the Best Westerns ever made and one of my Favorites.

This Collection is the best money can buy A lot of Extras Documentaries interviews with actors family members,who knew the man also called Bloody Sam.

I also recommend Sam's Biography If they move Kill'em
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2006
Format: DVD
Another long-awaited Peckinpah DVD, courtesy of the newly-released Peckinpah Westerns collection. Rather than take up space recounting plot, etc, I will focus on the disc. The film looks great, with its widescreen desert vistas, and offers a commentary track that does a lot to boost appreciation for the film as a whole, and for the many contributors to the effort.

In fact, the film plus the commentary are good enough to overcome the unfortunate addition of a weak, rather counter-productive "extra" featuring Stella Stevens. She appears to have loved the film also, and loved working on it, and has kind things to say about her fellow actors. Sam, however, rates only cruel, dismissive insults from the woman, which only comes off the worse for the fact that he isn't around to defend himself. Less interview than monologue - it's just Stella talking, no interviewer, no one to maybe question why, if she found the man so repugnant, did she want so much to work with him on another picture?

While it would have been nice to have a more worthy extra, Sam's poignant desert ballad does quite well on its own.
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