Friday, August 3, 2007

Cable Hogue


Finally, we'll look at a new Western: Cable Hogue, a Sam Peckinpah remake by Welsh auteur John Cale.
Ibert: He gets his shots in, but does he get his man? Let's see.

Cut to clip:
I just wanted to say goodbye
I wanted so much to say goodbye
I wanted to say goodbye to all my friends
In case I die

Ibert: You know, even with all the remakes in recent years, I didn't think we'd be seeing one of this film. Peckinpah's 1970 original, The Ballad of Cable Hogue, was the director's favorite, but not anybody else's, I think. A fine film, but a minor one.
Shackle: I agree with you there, Reg. This is an odd choice for a remake. Cale succeeds, though, by changing the story in surprising ways. He really makes it his own, especially with original scenes like this.

Cut to clip:
Please don't leave me here... like... this...

Ibert: He took a Romantic film touched by revenge, and turned it into a revenge film.
Shackle: Yeah, he really changed it. Now it feels like Poe. The Cask of Tequila or something.
Ibert: It doesn't seem as original or honest as Peckinpah's, to me.
Shackle: I think its honesty is one of its best characteristics.

Cut to clip:
Something inside me tells me that you won't show
I know you carry heat, but what for God only knows.

Ibert: The most impressive thing to me is that he has a coherent movie that splits its action across three settings. In the setting closest to the original, it's a straight, direct movie Western: barroom piano, guitar, a little bass, lots of clumsy mumbled words. Evocative of the old West. In the next setting...
Shackle: It's like Aeschylus.
Ibert: Greek tragedy, yes. Simple staging, oversized characters...
Shackle: Fate.
Ibert: Fate. And then the third setting, it's modern, it's about how we live now. Technology interferes; there's phased instruments and echoes, a clattering, modernistic drum track - a simulacrum of train wheels.
Shackle: That setting seems forced to me, I have to say. And it's a mistake to end it so slowly - the other settings cut off abruptly. Like life. The majestic guitar solo is way out of place here, and it leaves a sour taste in my mouth.
Ibert: It's a clumsy mistake in the midst of some very high-quality work.

The film as a whole is not as good as its source material, but I give it a thumbs-up. Jean?
Shackle: It has its warts, but it's unique and meaningful. I give it a big thumbs-up.


The settings described by my guests were the 1975 original from Helen of Troy, the 1992 solo piano version from Fragments of a Rainy Season, and the 2006 Circus Live recording.

Me, I'm in favor of Greek tragedy. Take a listen to the Fragments version here, or download a low-quality mp3 here.


Inverarity said...

Track lengths -
Helen of Troy: 3 minutes, 32 seconds
Fragments: 2 minutes, 57 seconds
Circus Live: 5 minutes, 5 seconds

Quality varies inversely with duration.

Ian said...

I really liked the format here.

totaji said...

No mention of how the beginning is the same as Charlemagne? Although I think CH is the better of the two.