Controversial for its disturbing depiction of male aggression and sexual violence, Sam Peckinpah’s 1971 suspense film Straw Dogs plays out with all the brutality of the westerns for which the director is most famous, though it takes place very far from the frontier. Set in Cornwall, England, the film tells the story of a noncommittal American mathematician (Dustin Hoffman) who has just moved with his wife (Susan George) back to the town where she grew up—a place where they fail to find the peace and quiet they seek, as they both face increasingly menacing threats from a number of men working on their property. In the clip below, taken from a supplemental piece on our new edition of the movie, film scholar Linda Williams examines how Alfred Hitchcock’s horror landmark Psycho paved the way for Straw Dogs’ intermingling of sex and violence, and discusses her own “conflicted response” to Peckinpah’s masterful and discomfiting work.
Liv Ullmann Recalls “Shattering” Moments on the Set of Shame
While working on Ingmar Bergman’s devastating antiwar film, the actress developed an emotionally intense chemistry with her costar Max von Sydow.
The Real-Life Rage That Fueled Lee Grant in In the Heat of the Night
In this excerpt from a new interview, the actor talks about how she channeled her political anger in the role of a distraught widow in Norman Jewison’s Oscar-winning crime drama.
Writing with the Body: Mikey and Nicky as an Actors’ Showcase
Elaine May populated her gangster-film masterpiece with acting heavyweights who could bring spontaneity to their roles. Critics Richard Brody and Carrie Rickey talk about her approach to performance in this clip.
How Hitchcock Pulled off a Shot for the Ages
Award-winning cinematographer John Bailey discusses the complications that Alfred Hitchcock faced trying to execute one of the most ambitious shots in his filmography.