PO: “Times Change, Not Me: The Eternally Youthful Sam Peckinpah’s Rise and Fall in Hollywood”

“The skit begins with an overly sniffling film commentator speaking about his favorite cheese westerns. He then segues to a bit about his favorite director of the moment, Sam Peckinpah, and his latest film Salad Days. He introduces a clip from the film, which depicts a number of preppy-dressed men and women relaxing in the park on a splendidly sunny afternoon. One man asks the group if anyone would like to join him in a tennis match. After a few agree that this would be a jolly good activity, one man throws a tennis ball at the man making the suggestion. When the man doesn’t catch the ball and it hits him in the eye, a geyser of blood shoots from his head, and the madness ensues. The scene ends in a bloody mess with almost each character dying in the most ridiculous ways.

Such were the scenes in Monty Python’s Flying Circus’s third season episode “Salad Days.”Perhaps it represented why Peckinpah earned his ‘Bloody Sam’ nickname in hyperbolic fashion, but it represented what has sustained his legacy, nonetheless. With classic, yet notorious films such as The Wild Bunch (1969), Straw Dogs (1971), and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia(1974) in his catalogue, Peckinpah will forever be associated with his ‘innovations,’ so to speak, in the depiction of graphic violence. Unfortunately, his career in Hollywood was short-lived, but there is certainly no shortage of interesting stories coming from his life as a big-time director.”

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