Friday, 21 June 2013
The Ballad of Cable Hogue 
Sam Peckinpah’s The Ballad of Cable Hogue was made between two of his most violent and nihilistic films – the revisionist Western masterpiece The Wild Bunch and the highly disturbing Straw Dogs. Yet, interestingly, this light-hearted, gently moving, humorous and satirical dramedy couldn’t be more antithetical to the two sandwiching it. The picaresque storyline follows the fascinating life of its cranky, roguish and enterprising protagonist Cable Hogue (Jason Robards Jr.). Robbed and left to die in the middle of the Arizona desert, Cable, after walking for days without food and water stumbles upon a water source in the middle of nowhere. Realizing the value of this serendipitous discovery once he has quenched his thirst, he goes about building a place for stagecoaches and travelers to stop. While in this entrepreneurial endeavour, he makes the acquaintance of the delectably vulgar and libidinous Rev. Joshua Sloane (David Warner), and falls for Hildy (Stella Stevens), the pretty hooker he “befriends” with the first money he has earned. The love story between these two outsiders provided an affecting emotional core to this darkly comic film. Revenge formed a running theme as, despite his growing prosperity and the passing years, his desire for getting even with the two men who had robbed him many years back is never diminished. Meanwhile, the advancement of civilization, depicted by replacement of horses with automobiles, added another key subtext, and provided for a memorably ironic finale. Both Robards and Warner were excellent in their deadpan portrayals, while the lilting folk-ballads and leisurely pacing provided the right quantum of mellowness to the amusing plot developments and natural crudeness of the characters.
Director: Sam Peckinpah
Genre: Western/Revisionist Western/Social Satire/Romance