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Brink Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia Game

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Psychology & Violence Link This game, played in memory and honor of the American film director, Sam Peckinpah (who manages both teams) includes the characters and actors (who played the characters) from his 1974 film Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia.

This game was devoid of violence, misogyny, and nihilism, all words used to describe the film. Garcia has also been described as a "bizarre Peckinpah cult classic." Reviewers have called the film the "saddest strangest hood movie ever made", "an ugly vicious film", "a potent ride through humanity's dark side". Now considered a cult classic film, it was unsuccessful at the box office. It competed at the time with softer films such as Save the Tiger, Carnal Knowledge, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia falls into several popular film genres. Critics have called it a drama, western, crime, horror film. Other more subtle genre-slotters call it a vengeance and/or an on-the-road film. This film is considered the director's darkest and most personal film. Peckinpah considered it a favorite.

Peckinpah himself was deeply proud of the film. Never apologizing for it, he often cited it as his purest and most personal work, and the only one of his films that was completed without any compromises to studio or audience, precisely as he had intended it. (Wikipedia)

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Peckinpah was a great director of Westerns (and one of the last great ones) precisely because the West was, for him, an authentic place and experience that he had briefly encountered in his youth during visits to the Sierra Nevadas and his grandfather's ranch. The loss of that ranch haunted him as an adult and was a paradigmatic experience underlying his treatment on film of a vanishing West. (Stephen Prince, Savage Cinema, 1998)

Slant Magazine Review Link Bennie (Warren Oates), a classic anti-hero tells his lover Elita (Isela Vega), that it takes money ("dinero") to be happy. In his quest for happiness, he becomes an ersatz bounty hunter and becomes driven by greed. He is hunting for the head of Alfredo Garcia. Garcia's head is wanted by El Jefe (Emilio Fernández), a wealthy but embarrassed Mexican rancher. El Jefe's daughter is pregnant. She is reluctant to confess to her father who the father of her unborn child is. However, El Jefe finds out that Garcia is the father of the child after humiliating his daughter (El Jefe strips his daughter and takes the necklace that has a locket with Garcia's picture, off his daughter's neck.) El Jefe wants Garcia's head as proof that the scoundrel is dead. He offers a one million dollar reward. Bennie learns from Elita that Garcia died in a car accident and is now buried in his village. Bennie's girlfriend knows this because she was once Garcia's lover and/or prostitute.

On the road to the village where Garcia is buried, Bennie and Elita are attacked by two men who intend to rape Elita. Bennie kills them both. After Bennie has dug up the corpse of Garcia, other greedy bounty hunters attack them, kill Elita, and leave Bennie for dead.

The rest of the film spins into further darkness as Bennie kills the bounty hunters who killed his girlfriend and travels with Garcia's head, talking to it as if the skull was just another passenger sitting to the right of the driver. The film's conclusion has no happy ending and many people end up dead...including Bennie and El Jefe.

This film's narrative is as hopeless as that of Pat Garrett and the Billy the Kid (1973), but similarly it has a rich aural and visual texture that grants us a poetic and sensual experience. (Gabrielle Murray).

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Bring Me the Films of Sam Peckinpah

David Samuel Peckinpah was born in Fresno, California on February 21, 1925 into a family of lawyers and judges. He was a protestant Pisces. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1943 but had no combat experience. He earned a college degree in drama from Fresno State College in 1949 and two years before that he got married. He did some work towards a master's degree at the University of Southern California. In 1961 he was hired to direct his first film Deadly Companions. In 1962 he directed the highly regarded film Ride the High Country, which won an award at the 1963 Belgium Film Festival (beating out Fellini's 8 1/2) and was named the best foreign film at the Mexican Film Festival. In 1969 he directed The Wild Bunch which is currently listed #80 on the American Film Institute's list of 100 best films. In 1971, Straw Dogs was released starring Dustin Hoffman and Susan George. After Garcia was released in 1974, Peckinpah made five more films before passing away at the age of 59 on December 28, 1984 in Los Angeles. During his life, he married two women (Mary Sellard and Begona Palacios) and fathered five children (Sharon, Kristen, Melissa, and Mathew with Sellard and Lupita with Palacios. His eldest daughter, Sharon, was the credited dialogue director for Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia; Sharon also played a nun in the film, uncredited).

Sam Peckinpah also wrote a song for Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. "Bad Blood Baby" was a blues tune played by one of the characters in the film (who didn't play in this cosmic baseball game).

Trying to live up to being a tough guy was very difficult for Sam. (Fern Lea Peter, Peckinpah's younger sister)


Score Card

Inn. 1: Characters
Oates  [Starter]
Max          4-3        . . .
Elita        3-1        . . .
Biker        4-3        . . .
   Inn. 1: Actors
Bennie       [Starter]
Dantine      1B         . . X
Vega         1B         X . X
Kristofferson3-1        . X . 1
Urueta       9          . X .
Fernandez    4-3        X . .
   Inn. 2: Characters
Manchot      3-UN       . . .
El Jefe      3-1        . . .
Sappensly    5-3        . . .
   Inn. 2: Actors
Webber       7          . . .
Young        9          . . .
Hernandez    5-3        . . .
   Inn. 3: Characters
Dobbs        1B/E-2     . X .
Nun          7          . X .
Bennie       5-3        . X .
Max          1B         . X .
- Dobbs      X-@Home    . X .
   Inn. 3: Actors
Oates  7          . . .
Dantine      1B         . . X
Vega         1B         . X X
Kristofferson1B         X X X
Urueta       BB         X X X 1
Fernandez    BB         X X X 1
Webber       1B         . . X 2
- Fernandez  X-@3rd     . . X
Young        4-3        . X .
   Inn. 4: Characters
Elita        1B         . . X
Biker        1B         . X X
Manchot      1B         X X X
El Jefe      1B         X X X 1
Sappensly    7 SAC      . X X 1
Dobbs        4          . X X
Nun          5-4 FO     X . X
   Inn. 4: Actors
Hernandez    8          . . .
Oates  6-3        . . .
Dantine      4-3        . . .
   Inn. 5: Characters
Bennie       7          . . .
Max          2B         . X .
Elita        1B         X . X
Biker        3-3 DP!    X . .
   Inn. 5: Actors
Vega         9          . . .
Kristofferson1B         . . X
Urueta       9          . . X
Fernandez    4-6 FO     . . X
   Inn. 6: Characters
Manchot      3-1        . . .
El Jefe      2B         . X .
Sappensly    7          . X .
Dobbs        8          . X .
   Inn. 6: Actors
Webber       K          . . .
Young        6-3        . . .
Hernandez    5-3        . . .
   Inn. 7: Characters
Nun          5-3        . . .
Bennie       5-3        . . .
Max          9          . . .
   Inn. 7: Actors
Oates  7          . . .
Dantine      4-3        . . .
Vega         3-UN       . . .
   Inn. 8: Characters
Elita        9          . . .
Biker        8          . . .
Manchot      2          . . .
   Inn. 8: Actors
Kristofferson1-3        . . .
Urueta       6-3        . . .
Fernandez    6          . . .
   Inn. 9: Characters
El Jefe      3-1        . . .
Sappensly    1B         . . X
Dobbs        E-1        . X X
Nun          6          . X X
Bennie       5-3        X X .


Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia opened in New York City on August 14, 1974 six days after Richard Nixon resigned from the U.S. presidency.
Bennie is a lowlife lounge singer working in a seedy Mexican dive, experiencing life through the filter of a drunken haze and his enormous sunglasses (which he even wears to sleep). He is hired by two businessmen (Robert Webber and Gig Young) to find a lothario named Alfredo Garcia in exchange for $10,000... Peckinpah, using a well placed Time magazine cover, links these evil corporate wonks with Richard Nixon (one can even spot a caricature of the former commander-in-chief on a faux dollar bill behind Bennie's piano)...these presidential allusions merely reinforce the director's anti-establishment leanings and general distrust of corporate America. Bennie is the common man disenfranchised by a mainstream capitalist society that seeks the eradication of a rural life that Peckinpah holds dear—just another pawn to be used and abused as the powers-that-be see fit. (Nick Schager, © slant magazine, 2003.). Upon its release, the film was banned in Argentina, Germany and Sweden. The initial reviews were poor; many considered the film too violent and hard to understand.

In 1978 the book The Fifty Worst Films of All Time by Harry Medved with Randy Dreyfuss, and Michael Medved listed Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia as one of the fifty worst. (The book represents the authors' nominations for the 50 worst sound films ever made, in alphabetical order).

Amores perros

Peckinpah quote

Warren Oates' performance was flawless, as he actually assumes the identity of Sam Peckinpah as a gesture of appreciation for gracing him with his first starring vehicle...Warren Oates was taking Sam's journey for him, as Sam looked from behind the lens. This movie was Peckinpah at his best and his worst at the same time. The old Peckinpah themes are there; Mexico is the final frontier, where one can continue to be what he once was in a changing world. (Peckinpah has come full circle, 27 January 2005, Comment at IMDB by author: norm1972_8 ).


Game Notes

Game Time: 113 minutes

Helmut Dantine at the New York Times Game Weather: Cloudy

Game Most Cosmic Player: Helmut Dantine

Attendance: undisclosed

Umpires: X, X, X

Official Scorer: X

Simulation Model: undisclosed

The Garcia Actors won this game because they scored more runs than their Garcia Characters. Beneath that truism, the relationship between Peckinpah the field manager managing both competing teams is of some interest. Did he manage fairly and objectively in all cases or did his in game activities, even upon reflection, suggest there might have been some bias in his tactical and strategic management decisions. And if we find such bias, can we conclude that Sam Peckinpah is more realist than romancer? Some will interpret the cosmic baseball game data in connection with other biographical and cinematic data in a novel way. It will ultimately get down to basics...

What drives the beast in man? What ignites the blood of a poet?

[Peckinpah] was the model of the hard-luck passive/aggressive...There's a tendency among some young film enthusiasts to view [Peckinpah] as an icon of artistic integrity. I don't think they want to understand the role he played in baiting the executives. He needed their hatred to stir up his own. He didn't want to settle fights or to compromise or even, maybe, to win. He wanted to draw a line and humiliate the executives. He simply wasn't a reasonable person. He made it impossible for the executives to keep their dignity.(Pauline Kael, "A Glorious High", 1999)

No doubt the romance with Peckinpah will continue.

Isela Vega Link



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Brink Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia Game
Published: April 23, 2006