50 Years Ago This Week – Sam Peckinpah’s Major Dundee

Major Dundee, Sam Peckinpah’s ill-fated Western starring Charlton Heston and Richard Harris, opened in New York City on April 7, 1965—or at least some version of it did.  Taken out of the director’s hands and cut by almost a third (an “extended version” DVD release restores some of the lost material), the movie was a textbook example of the “troubled production.”  Unsupported by an ambivalent studio that got cold feet just before production, Peckinpah—as he would do repeatedly in the future—led his large cast and crew deep into Mexico on the wings of an unfinished script and with m

News And Commentary – Alice’s Restaurant

Alice’s Restaurant is out this week on DVD and Blu-Ray (Olive Films).  Arthur Penn’s 1969 film, inspired by the Arlo Guthrie song/shaggy dog story (and starring the young singer), is a sympathetic but cautionary ode to the counter-culture.  Made in the midst of Penn’s most fertile period as a director—after Mickey One and Bonnie and Clyde and before Little Big Man and Night MovesAlice does not stand in the first rank of his best work, but it is a thoughtful and serious film.