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Macmillan Higher Education

Straw Dogs

Author(s):
Publisher:

Palgrave

Pages: 176
Series:

Controversies

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AVAILABLE FORMATS

Paperback - 9780230296701

15 September 2011

$29.99

In stock

Ebook - 9780230344976

12 September 2011

$29.99

In stock


Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs ignited fierce debate among censors, critics and audiences on both sides of the Atlantic on its release in 1971. When Amy (Susan George) returns to her home village with her American peacenik...

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Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs ignited fierce debate among censors, critics and audiences on both sides of the Atlantic on its release in 1971. When Amy (Susan George) returns to her home village with her American peacenik husband David (Dustin Hoffman), the residents of this tight-knit Cornish community slowly turn on them. The sexual tension and latent violence finally erupt in an explosion of violence that includes a rape scene that has remained controversial to this day. The film was heavily cut for theatrical release in the US, and the pressinspired furore in the UK led to several local councils cutting or banning it outright. Later, caught in the wake of the 'video nasties' panic of the 1980s, Straw Dogs was refused a home-video certificate in the UK for nearly twenty years.

Stevie Simkin's study sheds light on the film's treatment by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) and tracks its subsequent tortuous journey towards home-video release, buffeted by various shifts in the BBFC's policy on representations of sexual violence. But, equally importantly, Simkin provides a highly original accountof themaking of the film, drawing on extensive research in Peckinpah's archive, including analysis of draft scripts, notes, memos and contemporary press items, as well as insights from a number of Peckinpah's associates, and key figures at the BBFC.

'A swift, compelling read. Thorough and scholarly without the faintest whiff of academic stuffiness, Stevie Simkin's study of Straw Dogs summons up the turmoil of the 1960s and 70s and illuminates the highly charged subject of sexual violence on film.'
Stephen Farber, Film Critic, The Hollywood Reporter

Stevie Simkin is Reader in Drama and Film at the University of Winchester, UK. He is the author of, among other works, Revenge Tragedy: A New Casebook (2001), Early Modern Tragedy and the Cinema of Violence (2005), and, also in the Controversies series, a volume on Basic Instinct (forthcoming, 2013).

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First single volume study of Straw Dogs
Research benefited from exchanges with key Peckinpah associates, including Katy Haber and Stephen Farber
Resituates the film in its context, particularly in terms of gender politics and the Vietnam War
Detailed analysis of press response to the film both in the US and the UK
Reassessment of the film's history at the BBFC, via archive research and exchanges with a senior examiner involved in deliberations over its home video certification
Considers the film's centrality in determining BBFC policy on representations of sexual violence
Published in the same year as a Hollywood remake of the film is due in cinemas
Published in the fortieth anniversary year of the film's original release

Contents
Acknowledgements
A Note on References
Introduction
Synopsis
PART I: STRAW DOGS THEN
Production History
Genesis and Pre-Production
Shooting and the Problem of Susan George
The Editing Process: Shaping an Ending
Original Release and Reception
England Swings, America Rocks: Straw Dogs in its Cultural Context
Feminism and the Sexual Revolution
Backlash: Morality, Censorship and the MPAA
Straw Dogs and the American Censors
Straw Dogs, American Audiences and American Critics
Sixties Britain: a Quieter Revolution
Straw Dogs and the UK Critics
PART II: STRAW DOGS NOW
Home Video Release: the Video Nasties Debate
Eighteen Years in the Wilderness
Moving with the Times: the BBFC and sexual violence
Straw Dogs Unbound
PART III: KEY THEMES AND IDEAS
Introduction
Straw Dogs, Masculinity and Violence
Straw Dogs and Vietnam
A Man's House Is
The Problem of Amy
PART IV: KEY SCENE ANALYSIS
The Rape Scene: Introduction
Venner's Arrival
The First Rape
The Second Rape
Script Development
Eroticising, Endorsing
PART V: THE LEGACY OF STRAW DOGS
Straw Dogs, Survival Horror and Rape Revenge
Remake/Remodel
Closing Thoughts
APPENDICES
Appendix A: Key Details
Appendix B: List of References
Endnotes.

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STEVIE SIMKIN is Reader in Drama and Film at the University of Winchester, UK. He is the author of, amongst other works, Revenge Tragedy: A New Casebook (2001), Early Modern Tragedy and the Cinema of Violence (2005), and, also in the Controversies series, a volume on Basic Instinct (forthcoming, 2013).

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STEVIE SIMKIN is Reader in Drama and Film at the University of Winchester, UK. He is the author of, amongst other works, Revenge Tragedy: A New Casebook (2001), Early Modern Tragedy and the Cinema of Violence (2005), and, also in the Controversies series, a volume on Basic Instinct (forthcoming, 2013).

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