If They Move . . . Kill 'Em!: The Life and Times of Sam Peckinpah

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Open Road + Grove/Atlantic, Mar 29, 2016 - Biography & Autobiography - 592 pages
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“A probing biography of the enfant terrible of 1960s’ and 1970s’ film-making . . . exhaustive and endlessly intriguing” (Booklist).
 
Written by the film critic and historian David Weddle, this fascinating account does critical justice to an important body of cinema as it spins the tale of David Samuel Peckinpah’s dramatic, overcharged life and the turbulent times through which he moved.
 
Sam Peckinpah was born into a clan of lumberjacks, cattle ranchers, and frontier lawyers. After a hitch with the Marines, he made his way to Hollywood, where he worked on a string of low-budget features. In 1955 he began writing scripts for Gunsmoke; in less than a year he was one of the hottest writers in television, with two classic series, The Rifleman and The Westerner, to his credit. From there he went on to direct a phenomenal series of features, including Ride the High Country, Straw Dogs, The Getaway, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, and The Wild Bunch.
 
Peckinpah was both a hopeless romantic and a grim nihilist, a filmmaker who defined his era as much as he was shaped by it. Rising to prominence in the social and political upheaval of the late sixties and early seventies, Peckinpah and his generation of directors—Stanley Kubrick, Arthur Penn, Robert Altman—broke with convention and turned the traditional genres of Western, science fiction, war, and detective movies inside out. No other era in Hollywood has matched it for sheer energy, audacity, and originality; no one cut a wider path through that time than Sam Peckinpah.
 
“Groundbreaking.” —Michael Sragow, The Atlantic
 
 

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'IF THEY MOVE, KILL 'EM!': The Life and Times of Sam Peckinpah

User Review  - Kirkus

Film critic Weddle's first book is a comprehensive, if somewhat overwritten, biography of a legendary Hollywood maverick. Sam Peckinpah's (19251984) career is yet another monument to the ... Read full review

If they move-- kill 'em!: the life and times of Sam Peckinpah

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Known for violent action films such as The Wild Bunch (1969), Peckinpah was dismissed by many critics during his lifetime but is now receiving serious critical attention. The publisher bills this as ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Prologue
Oh Another Black Peckinpah
The Prodigious Interloper
You Cant Kill a Memory That Way
The Bastard Son of John Ford
MobyDick on Horseback
On the Beach
The Wild Bunch
Images They Cant Forget
Caught in the Spotlight
Into the Abyss
It Aint Like It Used to Be But Itll Do
Notes
Copyright

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About the author (2016)

“What Citizen Kane was to movie lovers in 1941, The Wild Bunch was to cineastes in 1969,” critic Michael Sragow wrote in the New Yorker. “Its adrenaline rush of revelations seemed to explode the parameters of the screen.”

If They Move . . . Kill ‘Em! is the first major biography of David Samuel Peckinpah. Written by the film critic and historian David Weddle, this fascinating account does critical justice to an important body of cinema as it spins the tale of Peckinpah’s dramatic, overcharged life and the turbulent times through which he moved.

Sam Peckinpah was born into a clan of lumberjacks, cattle ranchers, and frontier lawyers. After a hitch with the Marines, he made his way to Hollywood, where he worked on a string of low-budget features. In 1955 he began writing scripts for Gunsmoke; in less than a year he was one of the hottest writers in television, with two classic series, The Rifleman and The Westerner, to his credit. From there he went on to direct a phenomenal series of features, including Ride the High Country, Straw Dogs, The Getaway, Pat Garrett and the Billy the Kid, and The Wild Bunch.

Peckinpah was both a hopeless romantic and a grim nihilist, a filmmaker who defined his era as much as he was shaped by it. Rising to prominence in the social and political upheaval of the late sixties and early seventies, Peckinpah and his generation of directors—Stanley Kubrick, Arthur Penn, Robert Altman—broke with convention and turned the traditional genres of Western, science fiction, war, and detective movies inside out. No other era in Hollywood has matched it for sheer energy, audacity, and originality, no one cut a wider path through that time than Sam Peckinpah.

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