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Warren Oates Private Investigator Color Theory

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posted by Michael Macfeat alias Michael Macfeat on Monday 6th of January 2014 07:40:29 AM

historywillabsolvemike.blogspot.com/2014/01/warren-oates-... "Nobody loses all the time."Warren Oates is one of my favorite actors. He was the antithesis of the handsome Hollywood actor. Oates did some amazing work with the director Sam Peckinpah. He was part of the remarkable ensemble cast that Peckinpah assembled for "The Wild Bunch." Imagine a director today luring these remarkable actors to work on a film that had little hope of financial reward: Ernest Borgnine, William Holden, Robert Ryan, Warren Oates, Ben Johnson, Edmund O'Brien, Strother Martin, Emilio Fernandez, L. Q. Jones and many other great character actors of the period. It is one of the greatest Westerns ever filmed, set in the final days that peripatetic bandits would exist on the planet.Warren Oates starred in the remarkable and ultra-violent "Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia." A case could be made that Oates was just a supporting actor to the real star of that film, the disembodied head of the title character Alfredo Garcia. The decapitated noggin of Garcia spent most of his star turn in a pillow case plagued by a horde of tenacious flies and their buzzing symphony. Gig Young played one of the gangsters hired to locate Alfredo Garcia, a local Lothario with the misfortune to impregnate the underage daughter of a cruel, wealthy and ruthless rancher. Through most of the film, Gig Young is impeccably clad in a natty suit that defied the coarse landscape. He wore a smile as evil as any in the history of cinema. His frightening smile had no peer until Ian McShane played the sexually indiscriminate criminal mastermind in "Sexy Beast." McShane is in the role of Teddy Bass, described as "Mr. Black Magic Himself." His smile is a greeting from Satan himself.In one disturbing scene in "...Alfredo Garcia" (disturbing scenes would take much more concentration than I could muster to count them) El Jefe orders his henchmen to break his own daughter's arm to force the name of her lover from the recalcitrant teenager.Kris Kristofferson, the former Rhodes Scholar, has a brief role in the film of a rapist biker.Oates as Bennie plays the abject loser on a quest for the unholy grail, the vessel being Garcia's head. To complicate matters, Bennie finds out that his own girlfriend fucked Garcia in recent days. The hunt escalates from mercenary to an act of personal revenge.In an early scene, Bennie is posted up in a seedy bar/brothel in Mexico, employed as a piano player and vocalist of limited skill. His version of Guantanamera is one of the saddest and most pathetic renditions of the song in the history of recorded music.Warren Oates was an original, a free spirit in Hollywood before they were driven out of the film industry by the insatiable greed of late-Capitalism. The social anarchists, free thinkers, hedonists and libertines of independent cinema took either vapid, low paying fare or no work at all. Left to drift into the purgatory of B movies or condemned to years of idle debauchery on a limited budget, the best of them foundered until producers and directors too young to have axes to grind and with no personal experience or vendettas with the breed found the courage to pull their heads out of their asses. Some of the more adventurous would offer the untouchables roles of substance again, despite the warnings of their elders. America's greatest directors such as John Cassavetes would mortgage his home to raise money and take acting parts of disinterest to him (such as Rosemary's Baby) to finance his films. This independence freed him from dependence on the bankrolls of the small minds of the neo-Philistines and dilettantes running the Hollywood racket. His highly personal style of making movies was little affected by producers that were only interested in making money. His actors and supporting crews worked with Cassavetes as a labor of love. Fortunately he had the talented and lovely Gena Rowlands bound in matrimony so his female roles were played by one of the best in the business. Cassavettes ended up cheating the conservative materialistic swing to the right in Hollywood by his financial independence and his fatal cirrhosis. The mighty Sam Peckinpah was a giant talent but constantly plagued by dipsomania. He had a reputation for being difficult to work with and a penchant for violence that extended into his interpersonal relationships. Peckinpah would eventually turn on everyone he was ever close to but he kept Warren Oates employed when Monte Hellman couldn't. An interviewer once asked Peckinpah why he made such violent films. He answered, "I'm a good whore. I go where I'm kicked." The reality of his situation was that no one in Hollywood trusted this loose cannon with a viable script. He would take 3rd rate scenarios and rewrite them to make them palatable to himself. Despite the rewrite, producers would insist on sensational violence to appeal to the baser sensibilities of the audience. He preferred working to not, since long periods between films gave him too much time to sacrifice himself to his predilection to excess. Peckinpah had little choice but to produce gory fair or he would die not trying. Warren Oates and Sam Peckinpah were authentic and human. These two qualities are almost extinct in Hollywood movies today.As far as their aberrant behavior, may the bridges they burn light the way.



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