Sam Peckinpah’s Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973) is most certainly a Revisionist Western in every fiber of its being. As Joseph H. Kupfer correctly defines the sub-generic style, “Revisionist Westerns are viewed as questioning or attacking the structure and norms of the genre” (Kupfer 103) whereas “Traditional Westerns clearly demarcate the forces of good and evil and endorse expert gunfighting in the cause of justice” (Kupfer 103). The concept of Justice in Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid, therefore, becomes a complex one. Continue reading
Robert Redford’s Quiz Show (1994) examines with sparkling wit, breathtaking detail and brutal honesty the scandal over alleged corruption of the 1957 hit NBC game show, Geritol Presents: Twenty-One. The screenplay by Paul Attanasio (creator of TV’s Homicide: Life on the Street) is a literate, often funny, and ultimately near-tragic morality play with three key players: Herb Stemple (John Turturro), a Jewish New Yorker with a sponge memory whose family is living off generous donations from his mother-in-law; Charles Van Doren (Ralph Fiennes), a Columbia literature professor whose familial reputation precedes him (his father is a poet and professor, his mother wrote The Country Wife, his uncle is another famous author); and a Congressional investigator named Richard Goodwin (Rob Morrow), who begins to suspect the executives behind the quiz shows of rigging the game and doggedly pursues the truth wherever it leads, including the well-to-do Cornwall family estate of Van Doren, where Goodwin’s Boston accent sticks out like a sore thumb.