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    By: Stevie Simkin

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    Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs ignited fierce debate amongst censorship bodies, critics and audiences on both sides of the Atlantic in 1971. When Amy (Susan George) returns to her home territory 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, culminating in a farmhouse siege and, along the way, leading to a rape scene that has remained controversial to this day. The film was heavily cut for theatrical release in the US, and the press-inspired furore in the UK led to a number of local councils cutting or banning it outright. Later, caught in the wake of the so-called 'video nasties' panic of the 1980s, Straw Dogs was refuseda home video certificate in the UK for nearly 20 years. Stevie Simkin's study sheds light on the film's (mis)fortunes at the BBFC in 1971 and tracks its subsequent tortuous journey towards home video release, buffeted by various shifts in the Board's policy on representations of rape, and of sexual violence in general. But, equally importantly, Simkin provides a highly original account of the making of the film, which draws on extensive research into Peckinpah's archive, including analysis of draft scripts, notes, memos and contemporary press items. The book also benefits greatly from recent correspondence between the author and a number of Peckinpah's associates, as well as key figures at the BBFC. -- Back cover.

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