POSTERS: Straw Dogs
In honor of the late director Sam Peckinpah’s birthday we’ve chosen a special furious poster for today’s feature. Enjoy!
Based on the novel “The Siege of Trencher’s Farm” Peckinpah’s 1971 film Straw Dogs was one of the most controversial of his legendary career.
A quiet mathematician David Sumner (Dustin Hoffman) and his wife Amy (Susan George) move back to her hometown in Cornwall, England after leaving America because of the growing anti-war protests. When David’s work becomes his main focus, Amy begins flirting with several local men that have been hired to do construction on their home. This is the spark which ignites the film’s explosive fire. Like his western The Wild Bunch (1969) this film is another study of the male character, in particular what occurs when a peaceful human being is pushed to the brink and reverts back into a primal animal state. Although David is portrayed as the hero/protector, Peckinpah later stated after critical attacks that he felt the character was in actuality the main villain of the piece, a non-communicative man that subconsciously provokes the extreme violence which occurs. His rampage at the climax of the movie, ultimately revealing his true self. This is a perfect example of how Peckinpah’s original intentions and views were often misunderstood by many critics.
The poster art for the movie features Hoffman’s character David enveloped in furious flames juxtaposed with an Ancient Chinese ceremonial straw dog baring it’s teeth. The inspiration for the film’s title. This image is in particular a reference to a Tao Te Ching verse which begins with the line: “Heaven and Earth are heartless / treating creatures like straw dogs”. The straw dog representing a form without true substance.