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Straw Dogs (1971) - Sam Peckinpah

Related: rape - violent film - American cinema - Sam Peckinpah

Straw Dogs (1971) - Sam Peckinpah [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]


Straw Dogs is a 1971 film directed by Sam Peckinpah. Dustin Hoffman and Susan George play the lead roles. David Warner, although uncredited, is also featured. The screenplay is based on the novel The Siege of Trencher's Farm by Gordon Williams.

The film was released theatrically in the US the same year as A Clockwork Orange and Dirty Harry, sparking a heated controversy over apparently excessive violence in films.

The movie gained notoriety in the UK following its being banned in 1984 by the British Board of Film Classification under then newly introduced Video Recordings Act due to a scene of sexual violence wherein Amy Sumner is raped sparked the UK controversy. A portion of the scene had already been cut by the studio, prior to US release in order to obtain an R rating from the MPAA. The film was again refused a licence in 1999, following the distributors refusal to cut the scene cited as problematic. The film was finally certified uncut for video and DVD release on July 1, 2002.

The story is of an American mathematician, David Sumner and his British wife Amy (played by Hoffman and George) who move to Amy's home town of Cornwall, UK to escape crime and violence in the United States. They face increasing levels of harassment by the local residents. Finally David retaliates with extreme violence. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_Dogs [Feb 2005]

One of Sam Peckinpah's most controversial efforts, this film came out at a critical moment in the early 1970s, released in the same month as both Dirty Harry and A Clockwork Orange, causing a furor over film violence. Based on a little-known British novel, the film casts Dustin Hoffman as a bookish American mathematician on sabbatical in rural England, in the town where his young bride (Susan George) grew up. He finds himself forced to defend his home against an assault by local toughs, and discovers a frighteningly feral and vicious side to himself. Though Straw Dogs has a reputation for graphic violence, it actually looks tame by contemporary standards. Instead, the violence is psychological, and the suspense and shocks are induced by the editing--you're more terrified by what you think you see than by what you are actually shown. --Marshall Fine for Amazon.com

British cinema
More relaxed censorship in the 1970s also brought several controversial films, including Ken Russell's The Devils (1970), Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs (1971) and Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange (1971). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinema_of_the_United_Kingdom#The_1970s [Dec 2005]

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