The Ballad of Cable Hogue

The Ballad of Cable Hogue

Sam Peckinpah’s “The Ballad of Cable Hogue” is a splendid example of the New Western. The New Western is usually set at the moment when civilization reached the West. Largely ignored upon its release, The Ballad of Cable Hogue has been rediscovered in recent years and is often held by critics as an example of the breadth of Peckinpah’s talent.

Betrayed by his partners Bowen (Strother Martin) and Taggart (L.Q. Jones), Cable Hogue (Jason Robards) is left for dead in the desert. Miraculously, he finds water.
It turns out that the hole is 40 yards from the stage coach route between the towns of Deaddog and Lizard. Cable obtains claim to the land and convinces the stage-line to sign a contract with him to set up a way station for travellers. On his occasional trips to the closet town, he meets cheerful prostitute  Hildy (Stella Stevens), who joins him in his oasis. He meets Joshua (David Warner), a wandering preacher who applies a liberal interpretation of the bible to suit his own needs.  The old fellow’s project prospers; the sympathetic prostitute pays him a brief but fulfilling visit; he eventually gets revenge on one of the partners who left him to die. The cast are great, Jason Robards is wonderful in the title role, Stella Stevens as Hildy shows a fine actress at work.  David Warner is particularly fine as the raunchy priest and in his relationship to Jason Robards strike real sparks.

It contains an emotive score by the master Jerry Goldsmith, adding various sensitive country-western songs. The film is filled with scenes to cherish . Hildy takes a bath and Cable rubs her in one of the tenderest of moments, and the preacher conducts over one of the sincerest of funerals you can imagine. It’s a stunningly different and more positive film from the director of the nihilistic “Wild Bunch”. At the same time, it works as a reverse examination of his earlier film’s major themes. If “Bunch” is about damnation, “Cable Hogue” is about preservation, and redemption.  A twilight story ,¨Ballad of Cable Hogue¨ is a director Sam Peckinpah’s lovely effort, feeling look at the world of the Western.  


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