Sunday, July 04, 2010


In honor of the Fourth of July, a celebration of the work of a great American artist, Sam Peckinpah.  This is an odd, sweet little musical number that appears out of nowhere in his oddball 1970 near-masterpiece The Ballad Of Cable Hogue.  I say "near-masterpiece" because it is a mostly beautiful, deeply moving film for the most part, but it has some amazingly misjudged sequences that unfortunately undercut the elegiac tone Peckinpah was clearly going for.  You can see some of that at the end of this sequence, with the goofy sped-up slapstick that looks like something off of Gilligan's Island.

Though in this case, that particular sequence involves naked Stella Stevens, and...Who am I trying to kid?  Peckinpah is one of my absolute heroes, but let's be honest: the only reason I'm posting this is because of the sweet, sweet Stella footage.  What can I say?  Seeing her on the big screen forever altered my eight-year-old self. Never before had I performed the flag salute, or let my bombs burst in midair, or felt my oceans white with foam.  Dear God, how I longed to explore her purple mountain majesties, as well as her fruited plain. And...well, I'll just stop now.  Except to note that the sight of the Mississippi-born Stevens in all her glory makes me truly want to say, "God Bless America!"