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The Getaway
cast: Steve McQueen, Ali McGraw, Ben Johnson, Slim Pickens, and Bo Hopkins

director: Sam Peckinpah

118 minutes (18) 1972
widescreen 1.85:1
Warner DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by Jai Clare
The Getaway by Sam Peckinpah dates from 1972. Steve McQueen, though looking good, is past his best-looking charm, while Ali McGraw is chicken-skinny. Both add depth to the movie.
   It's a very tense movie, and which is created by the use of hard editing - the use of temporal distortion, the imaginary bits, and in the closely plotted tension of the bank scene which of course goes wrong, the chase across the Texas, losing cars, going on buses, the chase for the bag of money, the double crossing - all the time you know they have to get to El Paso; the sexual tension because of what she did to get him out of jail with Benyon. Will he leave her? There's another thread with the hood that kidnaps a vet and his saucy wife who rather likes being his plaything.
   The scene in the dumper truck, with them ending up in the rubbish tip where they decide to continue together is the nadir of their relationship and it's so well done. There's very little dialogue but it doesn't seem to matter. Peckinpah tells the story well through other means. Finally, in the scene at the hotel with everyone coming together I have to ask how he manages to miss those bullets! And in the meeting with Slim Pickens, we know he won't kill him because actually he's a good guy! But the cowboy doesn't know. Slim comes out with some homespun homilies that seem to promise that once they are over the border everything will be happy and they will settle down and grow kids. Despite that it is a good movie - good fun, and the editing is wonderful.
   DVD extras: no camera angles, but zoom and choice of two ratios. Some great background info on the location filming: shot in sequence using authenticity where possible - Huntsville prison, real-life guards, etc. There's also some info about McQueen's immersion in the role - going to prison shops: textile mills, licence making, also going into detail about firearms and clothes. Apparently, McGraw had to learn quickly about firing a gun and driving a car - both of which she had never done before. These kinds of details fill out the film. But the great thing about this disc is the biographical details about the major players, including the filmography and listing the writer's credits. Thompson also wrote the novel on which The Grifters was based. This kind of information is wonderful! There are also recommendations of other films for the actors, genre, writer, director, etc.
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