The Ballad of Cable Hogue Reviews

  • Oct 17, 2018

    this is a ridiculously cute western

    this is a ridiculously cute western

  • May 05, 2018

    Sam Peckinpah was and still is synonymous with violence as many of his films remain highly controversial. Those films are also his most well known, which unlike many would believe, actually troubled the director as he wanted to make a statement against violence. It would probably also come as a shock to those people that not only did he direct a mostly nonviolent film, but of his works it was his favorite. That film is The Ballad of Cable Hogue - a strange hybrid of drama, western, comedy, and romance that was a box office flop at the time of its release and still remains only a niche film for all but the most die hard of Peckinpah fans. While I haven't seen all of his films, I will say this: I do agree with him that it was his best work. It's an unexpectedly tender, warm-hearted, and beautiful film in contrast to the blood-soaked grit of his other films. The story follows a prospector named Cable Hogue whose associates rob him and leave him to die in the middle of the desert. After four days without water and on the brink of death, he finds a spring where no one thought there was a spring. It also happens to be the only spring for 40 miles between Dead Dog and Gila. So, Cable founds a way station and becomes a wealthy businessman. He also befriends a sleazy, womanizing preacher named Joshua Sloane, falls in love with a prostitute named Hildy, and plots his revenge against the men who left him to die on the off-chance they stop by his station. While most films would struggle with so many genre and idea blends, The Ballad of Cable Hogue is a masterful blend of all these elements offering moments of beautiful drama or moments of gut-busting hilarity that will leave you red in the face and tears in your eyes. Not to mention, Jason Robards as Cable Hogue has got to be one of my favorite performances in a film, and the other cast members are brilliant as well. It also features a phenomenal soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith. This a very out-of-the-box Sam Peckinpah film, but it's a film that showcases how much depth he truly had as a director. He certainly had a flair for violence, but he also had a tremendous gift for drama that is sadly overlooked. The Ballad of Cable Hogue is destined to go down as one of the greatest films I've ever watched. It warmed my heart, it put a lump in my throat, I laughed hysterically, and I loved every damn minute of it. It is a glorious film.

    Sam Peckinpah was and still is synonymous with violence as many of his films remain highly controversial. Those films are also his most well known, which unlike many would believe, actually troubled the director as he wanted to make a statement against violence. It would probably also come as a shock to those people that not only did he direct a mostly nonviolent film, but of his works it was his favorite. That film is The Ballad of Cable Hogue - a strange hybrid of drama, western, comedy, and romance that was a box office flop at the time of its release and still remains only a niche film for all but the most die hard of Peckinpah fans. While I haven't seen all of his films, I will say this: I do agree with him that it was his best work. It's an unexpectedly tender, warm-hearted, and beautiful film in contrast to the blood-soaked grit of his other films. The story follows a prospector named Cable Hogue whose associates rob him and leave him to die in the middle of the desert. After four days without water and on the brink of death, he finds a spring where no one thought there was a spring. It also happens to be the only spring for 40 miles between Dead Dog and Gila. So, Cable founds a way station and becomes a wealthy businessman. He also befriends a sleazy, womanizing preacher named Joshua Sloane, falls in love with a prostitute named Hildy, and plots his revenge against the men who left him to die on the off-chance they stop by his station. While most films would struggle with so many genre and idea blends, The Ballad of Cable Hogue is a masterful blend of all these elements offering moments of beautiful drama or moments of gut-busting hilarity that will leave you red in the face and tears in your eyes. Not to mention, Jason Robards as Cable Hogue has got to be one of my favorite performances in a film, and the other cast members are brilliant as well. It also features a phenomenal soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith. This a very out-of-the-box Sam Peckinpah film, but it's a film that showcases how much depth he truly had as a director. He certainly had a flair for violence, but he also had a tremendous gift for drama that is sadly overlooked. The Ballad of Cable Hogue is destined to go down as one of the greatest films I've ever watched. It warmed my heart, it put a lump in my throat, I laughed hysterically, and I loved every damn minute of it. It is a glorious film.

  • Sep 17, 2017

    Way overrated here. I've rarely seen a film start so well and slide into stupidity so quickly. Robards is great as is the film,until he meets Stella Steven's hooker. What was gently humorous and poetic then turns slapstick, mysogynistic, and adolescent. The interior sets are cheesy, cheap, and filmed like a skit on Laugh-In. The David Warner character using religion for sex, and passed off as humor, is dated and contemptable. I wonder why Peckinpah, even at his best, reduces himself to a horny 14 year old in his storytelling. Oh and of course things are always funny when you use speedy motion in scenes! God I wish this film maintained it's tone from the first 30 minutes. Gets back on track at the end though.

    Way overrated here. I've rarely seen a film start so well and slide into stupidity so quickly. Robards is great as is the film,until he meets Stella Steven's hooker. What was gently humorous and poetic then turns slapstick, mysogynistic, and adolescent. The interior sets are cheesy, cheap, and filmed like a skit on Laugh-In. The David Warner character using religion for sex, and passed off as humor, is dated and contemptable. I wonder why Peckinpah, even at his best, reduces himself to a horny 14 year old in his storytelling. Oh and of course things are always funny when you use speedy motion in scenes! God I wish this film maintained it's tone from the first 30 minutes. Gets back on track at the end though.

  • Apr 24, 2017

    Peckinpah's lighter side and, perhaps, most interesting side.

    Peckinpah's lighter side and, perhaps, most interesting side.

  • Apr 19, 2017

    Predictable, but lighthearted fun. And you get to see Stella Stevenson's nipples.

    Predictable, but lighthearted fun. And you get to see Stella Stevenson's nipples.

  • Jul 07, 2016

    good '70's western minus the violence that usually comes with a sam peckinpah movie

    good '70's western minus the violence that usually comes with a sam peckinpah movie

  • May 08, 2016

    Unlike the typical Peckinpah film, which is typically caught somewhere between ruthlessly violent or ruthlessly boring, The Ballad of Cable Hogue is a much more entertaining film that touches on the usual Peckinpah themes. The performances actually make you like the characters, and the tone of the film is decidedly lighthearted. It won't be branded onto your memory, but it's a breezy piece of unique fun that can't be found elsewhere in the genre.

    Unlike the typical Peckinpah film, which is typically caught somewhere between ruthlessly violent or ruthlessly boring, The Ballad of Cable Hogue is a much more entertaining film that touches on the usual Peckinpah themes. The performances actually make you like the characters, and the tone of the film is decidedly lighthearted. It won't be branded onto your memory, but it's a breezy piece of unique fun that can't be found elsewhere in the genre.

  • Apr 30, 2016

    Uneven but entertaining. Nevada, early-1900s. Cable Hogue (played by Jason Robards) is double-crossed and robbed by his two partners. he is left for dead, wandering the desert without water. However, Hogue manages to survive and sets about restoring his fortunes. He finds water near a main road, buys a small plot of land around it and sells water to passing travelers. He also falls in love, with Hildy (Stella Stevens). Directed by Sam Peckinpah, who gave us The Wild Bunch, Cross of Iron, Straw Dogs and The Getaway. Peckinpah movies are generally known for being violent dramas, with the violence being quite graphic. This movie, however, is more of a comedy than a drama, and thus a bit of a departure for Peckinpah. It still has, at its core, a dramatic plot, one of recovery and revenge, but it is difficult to take seriously with some of the hilarious scenes that we see. Very funny at times, with some wonderful lines and physical comedy. Peckinpah also makes use of the Benny Hill-like sped up footage for comedic effect. If anyone was under the illusion that this was purely a drama, that device would have shattered that illusion. However, as mentioned, it retains a dramatic core and the ending is particularly sombre (and unsatisfying). Therein lies the problem with the movie. One moment its a comedy, sometimes to the point of being quite silly, next it is deadly serious. Very uneven. Still, quite entertaining. Just best to not take it too seriously.

    Uneven but entertaining. Nevada, early-1900s. Cable Hogue (played by Jason Robards) is double-crossed and robbed by his two partners. he is left for dead, wandering the desert without water. However, Hogue manages to survive and sets about restoring his fortunes. He finds water near a main road, buys a small plot of land around it and sells water to passing travelers. He also falls in love, with Hildy (Stella Stevens). Directed by Sam Peckinpah, who gave us The Wild Bunch, Cross of Iron, Straw Dogs and The Getaway. Peckinpah movies are generally known for being violent dramas, with the violence being quite graphic. This movie, however, is more of a comedy than a drama, and thus a bit of a departure for Peckinpah. It still has, at its core, a dramatic plot, one of recovery and revenge, but it is difficult to take seriously with some of the hilarious scenes that we see. Very funny at times, with some wonderful lines and physical comedy. Peckinpah also makes use of the Benny Hill-like sped up footage for comedic effect. If anyone was under the illusion that this was purely a drama, that device would have shattered that illusion. However, as mentioned, it retains a dramatic core and the ending is particularly sombre (and unsatisfying). Therein lies the problem with the movie. One moment its a comedy, sometimes to the point of being quite silly, next it is deadly serious. Very uneven. Still, quite entertaining. Just best to not take it too seriously.

  • Feb 19, 2016

    Jason Robards is hilarious and great to watch through this. But it's just an absurd B-movie for the most part in the Spaghetti Western genre.

    Jason Robards is hilarious and great to watch through this. But it's just an absurd B-movie for the most part in the Spaghetti Western genre.

  • May 22, 2015

    As with any film directed by Sam Peckinpah, The Ballad of Cable Hogue sounded like it had revisionist roots waiting to be harvested. The atmosphere in The Ballad of Cable Hogue is not like that of any other Sam Peckinpah. The man is known for his westerns which are extremely gritty in nature and violent, yet The Ballad of Cable Hogue is quite the opposite. The film is a character study, and much of the time it examines the simplicity and slow wit of its titular protagonist by using it to bring comedic value to the film. A lot of The Ballad of Cable Hogue is a gentle moving and sentimental story which is heavily atmospheric in ways other than melodrama, and because of that it is able to maintain a distinctive charm. These scenes are characterized by an overly lighthearted musical score and elements of visual humour, the furthest thing from what I would expect out of a Sam Peckinpah film. He proves that he has a real knack for it. It proves to make the feature rather fun at times due to the easygoing comic charm. This lightens the mood in the film which is great considering that as a slow moving character study set in a civilization developing to modern times without the large use of violence that made Sam Peckinpah's prior film The Wild Bunch so iconic. And though The Ballad of Cable Hogue does not come close to maintaining the same level of quality as The Wild Bunch, it does serve as a strong sign of Sam Peckinpah's sense of versatility within the same genre which pays him a lot of credit. Much of the film simply depicts its titular character wandering around as he attempts to come to terms with changing times, and this gently unfolding narrative allows viewers to embrace the film like a slowly setting sun over the western horizon. It may not always be the most interesting, but it makes an effort to remain consistently emotional and maintain characters who constantly draw viewers in. This mostly proves to compensate for the lack of the better western conventions such as shootouts and horse chases. Some viewers are likely to be bothered by the absence of these themes, but as a whole it is really admirable for Sam Peckinpah to push the limits on the western genre once again and prove to be one of the best men to ever keep the western genre progressing. The Ballad of Cable Hogue is not the quintessential Sam Peckinpah western film, but it proves to have enough innovation to distinguish itself from the crowd, balancing a light sense of humour with a touching sentimentality. The story itself is nothing too amazing and there are many moments where it doesn't feel like the narrative is actually progressing anywhere, but there is always a touch of spirit and real underlying meaning to justify everything well enough. And although it may not maintain the slow motion and quick cuts of a Sam Peckinpah film, the cinematography in The Ballad of Cable Hogue is grand because rather than focusing so much on the large scale of things it maintains a tendency to zero in on the facial expressions of the characters as a constant reminder that the importance of the narrative lies with them and not the setting. But even then, the scenery in The Ballad of Cable Hogue is captured in the background very nicely and there are many shots which emphasize this, the production design and costumes all with a strong sense of colour. And when this combines with the musical score, it ensures that The Ballad of Cable Hogue appeals to both the eyes and the ears of audiences. And with the script being so strong with its characters, the cast in The Ballad of Cable Hogue are handed a huge responsibility which they have no difficulty embracing. Jason Robards is the perfect casting decision for the titular role of Cable Hogue. With a legacy for being table to handle Western films with natural charisma, Jason Robards is able to carry The Ballad of Cable Hogue on his shoulders very nicely. He starts out rough and lost in the Western world which gives him the perfect chance to capture the sentimentality of audiences, and slowly he develops more and so does the connection audiences share with him. He constantly tugs at the hearts of viewers through both the use of his natural charm and the way that he interacts with the surrounding cast members. Jason Robards works perfectly with Sam Peckinpah and grasps all the themes of the film within the one character, giving the film the protagonist that it truly needs. Stella Stevens is also excellent. She plays the prostitute archetype of the story. And as well as capturing the sights of viewers through her sexual appeal, Stella Stevens manages to transcend the limited perspective of her by delivering a truly powerful performance. She clearly expresses the vulnerability of her character and her desire to be so much more, yet also the nihilism of knowing that she is powerless as a woman in the west. She manages to do all that while also not afraid to appear naked for scenes which emphasize her beauty or even her talents for physical comedy. Stella Stevens ensures that her relevance to the story in The Ballad of Cable Hogue is completely embraced, and her performance is just wonderful with the way that she interacts with Jason Robards. Their chemistry is one of the most touching things about the film because they have the bond of two people who truly care about each other. So though The Ballad of Cable Hogue is a slow film which does not always feel like it maintains a progressing narrative, with powerful performances from Jason Robards and Stella Stevens as well as the passionate directorial work of Sam Peckinpah, it manages to succeed as a progressive and innovative western, for better and for worse.

    As with any film directed by Sam Peckinpah, The Ballad of Cable Hogue sounded like it had revisionist roots waiting to be harvested. The atmosphere in The Ballad of Cable Hogue is not like that of any other Sam Peckinpah. The man is known for his westerns which are extremely gritty in nature and violent, yet The Ballad of Cable Hogue is quite the opposite. The film is a character study, and much of the time it examines the simplicity and slow wit of its titular protagonist by using it to bring comedic value to the film. A lot of The Ballad of Cable Hogue is a gentle moving and sentimental story which is heavily atmospheric in ways other than melodrama, and because of that it is able to maintain a distinctive charm. These scenes are characterized by an overly lighthearted musical score and elements of visual humour, the furthest thing from what I would expect out of a Sam Peckinpah film. He proves that he has a real knack for it. It proves to make the feature rather fun at times due to the easygoing comic charm. This lightens the mood in the film which is great considering that as a slow moving character study set in a civilization developing to modern times without the large use of violence that made Sam Peckinpah's prior film The Wild Bunch so iconic. And though The Ballad of Cable Hogue does not come close to maintaining the same level of quality as The Wild Bunch, it does serve as a strong sign of Sam Peckinpah's sense of versatility within the same genre which pays him a lot of credit. Much of the film simply depicts its titular character wandering around as he attempts to come to terms with changing times, and this gently unfolding narrative allows viewers to embrace the film like a slowly setting sun over the western horizon. It may not always be the most interesting, but it makes an effort to remain consistently emotional and maintain characters who constantly draw viewers in. This mostly proves to compensate for the lack of the better western conventions such as shootouts and horse chases. Some viewers are likely to be bothered by the absence of these themes, but as a whole it is really admirable for Sam Peckinpah to push the limits on the western genre once again and prove to be one of the best men to ever keep the western genre progressing. The Ballad of Cable Hogue is not the quintessential Sam Peckinpah western film, but it proves to have enough innovation to distinguish itself from the crowd, balancing a light sense of humour with a touching sentimentality. The story itself is nothing too amazing and there are many moments where it doesn't feel like the narrative is actually progressing anywhere, but there is always a touch of spirit and real underlying meaning to justify everything well enough. And although it may not maintain the slow motion and quick cuts of a Sam Peckinpah film, the cinematography in The Ballad of Cable Hogue is grand because rather than focusing so much on the large scale of things it maintains a tendency to zero in on the facial expressions of the characters as a constant reminder that the importance of the narrative lies with them and not the setting. But even then, the scenery in The Ballad of Cable Hogue is captured in the background very nicely and there are many shots which emphasize this, the production design and costumes all with a strong sense of colour. And when this combines with the musical score, it ensures that The Ballad of Cable Hogue appeals to both the eyes and the ears of audiences. And with the script being so strong with its characters, the cast in The Ballad of Cable Hogue are handed a huge responsibility which they have no difficulty embracing. Jason Robards is the perfect casting decision for the titular role of Cable Hogue. With a legacy for being table to handle Western films with natural charisma, Jason Robards is able to carry The Ballad of Cable Hogue on his shoulders very nicely. He starts out rough and lost in the Western world which gives him the perfect chance to capture the sentimentality of audiences, and slowly he develops more and so does the connection audiences share with him. He constantly tugs at the hearts of viewers through both the use of his natural charm and the way that he interacts with the surrounding cast members. Jason Robards works perfectly with Sam Peckinpah and grasps all the themes of the film within the one character, giving the film the protagonist that it truly needs. Stella Stevens is also excellent. She plays the prostitute archetype of the story. And as well as capturing the sights of viewers through her sexual appeal, Stella Stevens manages to transcend the limited perspective of her by delivering a truly powerful performance. She clearly expresses the vulnerability of her character and her desire to be so much more, yet also the nihilism of knowing that she is powerless as a woman in the west. She manages to do all that while also not afraid to appear naked for scenes which emphasize her beauty or even her talents for physical comedy. Stella Stevens ensures that her relevance to the story in The Ballad of Cable Hogue is completely embraced, and her performance is just wonderful with the way that she interacts with Jason Robards. Their chemistry is one of the most touching things about the film because they have the bond of two people who truly care about each other. So though The Ballad of Cable Hogue is a slow film which does not always feel like it maintains a progressing narrative, with powerful performances from Jason Robards and Stella Stevens as well as the passionate directorial work of Sam Peckinpah, it manages to succeed as a progressive and innovative western, for better and for worse.