Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Overlooked Movies: Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia

Directed by Sam Pekinpah, this movie opens looking for all the world as if it's going to be a traditional western, but as the scene ends, we see that we're in modern times.  That's the first surprise.  Another might be that the lead is played by Warren Oates, who was thought of mostly as a character actor at the time.  Here, he's a piano player in a bar in Mexico.  He gets the opportunity to earn big money to bring the head of Alfredo Garcia to El Jefe, whose daughter has been impregnated by Alfredo.  So Oates and his pregnant girlfriend set out to get the head.  
Garcia is already dead and buried, so the head's not going to be that hard to get, or it wouldn't be if others weren't after it as well.  Oates finds the body first, but bad things happen, after which Oates, maddened and enraged, goes on a killing spree unlike almost any other.  The usual Peckinpah blood and guts and slo-mo deaths abound.  Oates and the head, with which he holds one-sided conversations, go on a road trip.  Oates spreads destruction like a crazed avenger, and in the end [SPOILER ALERT] everybody dies [END SPOILER ALERT].

Heads roll, go on road trips, take a shower.  Critics hated this movie on its release, as do a lot of people now.  Others find it an allegorical dark comedy that's a modern classic.  You pays your money and you takes your choice.

6 comments:

Deb said...

Whatever the movie's shortcomings, you just can't deny the pop culture resonance of that title!

Unknown said...

One of the great titles, for sure.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I know I have seen it but I can't remember if I liked it or not. I like Warren Oates so maybe I did.

Paul D Brazill said...

Obviously, I love it.

Lon Bennett Glenn said...

Great title: I didn't think this movie was one of Peckinpah's better efforts, but the narrative was uniquely original. I suspect with a bigger named star in the role, this could have been a real classic film.

Matthew said...

One of Simon Greene's Nightside stories mentions someone selling Alfredo Garcia's head in the titular Nightside, the secret interdimensional pocket in London.

When I read the story I had no idea what that was a reference to, so I had to look it up on the internet. Now I'm curious about the movie.