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.
Wim Wenders Looks Back on the Digital Future He Predicted
From search engines to all-engrossing handheld devices, the technologies that the German director conjured for his 1991 opus Until the End of the World are now common features of contemporary life.
John Bailey Breaks Down a Tour de Force of Gothic Lighting
The veteran cinematographer takes a close look at the highly stylized and atmospheric lighting in one of the most pivotal scenes in pre-Code classic The Story of Temple Drake.
All About Mankiewicz
One of the most celebrated Hollywood writer-directors of his time, Joseph L. Mankiewicz offers a window into the way he sees his characters in this illuminating clip from an archival interview.
Charisma to Burn: Béatrice Dalle’s Incandescent Debut in Betty Blue
The young French actor didn’t require much direction for her first screen role. As the film’s director and cinematographer recall, she quickly proved herself to be a born star.