Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974), directed by Sam Peckinpah.

El Jefe, outraged at his daughter's pregnancy, brutalizes her until she names the father. He then puts a bounty on the missing man. Or at least on just his head.

Not until after this setup do we see modern cars and jets and realize we are not in the nineteenth century, but rather in contemporary if still medieval Mexico.

Bennie -- somewhere between a wannabe and real tough guy, and all loser -- is friendly with a prostitute who knows how to find Alfredo. Already dead? Perfect, we just need a shovel and a big knife. How grotesque can this get?

Well, little villages in Mexico are actually medieval, and terrible, wrenching things happen. Men go mad. You don't know what you've got until it's gone. All the revenge in the world can't make up for lost love.

Warren Oates is phenomenally fine as a desperate, semi-crazed man with one last chance. He sleeps wearing sunglasses, has a clip-on tie and crabs. He's out of his league and everyone suffers for it.

Isela Vega is the prostitute who loves our hero who doesn't know if he can love her back. She is powerful in her frequent, uninhibited nudity.

In the commentary track on the Blu-ray the critics become most excited about a "rape without rape" scene, trying to interpret exactly what happens. I'll give just an outline of events:

Robert Webber and Gig Young are the last people I would expect to show up in this film: a sarcastic, sadistic bounty hunting couple.

This is another film widely hated at the time, a box office failure, but which is now a "masterpiece". How does that happen? The lesson: disregard film critics and reviewers. Particularly when they move with the herd. (Yes! Disregard me too! Although I haven't heard from the herd for awhile...)

Misc notes:

Jerry Fielding score. Filmed within a day's drive of Mexico City, all real locations with many local people.

Twilight Time Blu-ray with two valuable, uncensored commentary tracks and isolated score.