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Drama - No Category

Straw Dogs (1971)


Duration 1h 53m Rating (UK) X
Source of story A book “The Siege of Trencher’s Farm” by Gordon Williams
Director Sam Peckinpah
Writers/Script David Zelag Goodman, Sam Peckinpah
Starring Dustin Hoffman, Susan George, Peter Vaughan, T.P. McKenna, Sally Thomsett, Colin Welland, David Warner

Elevator Pitch: American academic, David Sumner, comes to live in the Cornish village where his English wife, Amy, was brought up. There is tension between the two and this is not helped by the indolent quartet of locals, one of whom had had a relationship with Amy, hired to repair the roof of their garage. The village men decoy David into going on a shooting trip, and meanwhile two of them rape Amy. Even though she says nothing, tensions increase when they go to a village social, which also results in the local dimwit accidentally killing a young woman and thereafter taking refuge with David and Amy, as he is hunted by the men of the village.

Content: There is some female nudity, particularly in the rape scene where Amy’s clothing is literally ripped off. Lots of drinking. It is implied that the locals are in a constant state of inebriation. The couple are seen not enjoying life together much, Amy being irritated by David’s reluctance to confront anybody. David goes to the pub, where he is treated with hostility, they go to the social and Amy sees the rapists. There is a lengthy siege of the house with a great deal of violence.

A View: The film came out to mixed reviews and was banned in some countries, due to its violence, particularly the rape scene, mainly because it was thought that Amy was portrayed as enjoying it. I though that the director completely misjudged the tone of west country village life; I know, I was brought up in such a village. He had started off with a book, which he did not like and so wrote something more suited to some other country in some other time.  Much of the violence was at the very least unmotivated. So I am adding it to the list of DON’T SEE on this site.

Additional Info: According to the director’s biography about a third of the audience walked out during the first preview, he presumed bacuse of the violence; or maybe they were bored.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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