139 of 1001 Movies: Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)

If it is true, then it makes sense as to why Quentin Tarantino would credit Sam Peckinpah as an influence. The way the action is very gritty, has a lot of snappy lines, and builds up good character development in the middle of an odd story line does have it’s similarities. This film somehow gets you connected with the characters without even knowing, and as you see 21 people die in the movie you either care about them a lot, or you don’t. There is one though that is really sad and shocking.

Summary: Bennie is an American Bartender living in Mexico.He is encountered by two bounty hunters while working at a bar as  piano player inquiring about a man named, Alfredo Garcia. Alfredo is being sought because he has gotten the daughter of a powerful and rich Mexican rancher pregnant. Bennie decides to investigate on his own though, and finds out from his girlfriend that she knows where he has been buried after his recent death. Thinking that he can make money with this knowledge, and get his girlfriend away from prostitution, he takes the news to the bounty hunters. They tell him that if he can bring the head of Alfredo Garcia then they will reward him financially.

Acting: There are times this sort of feels like a B movie, and that includes times with the acting. Warren Oates though is the lead as Bennie, and rightfully so. I think he sets up a good range of emotions that I wouldn’t have expected. He expresses his anger with a lot of attitude, and when he is being serious with his girlfriend, Elita, you can feel the chemistry as well. Somehow they just set up everyone else outside of those two to just be bad guys, even the bounty hunters. It only leaves you with you two characters you care for.

Cinematography: There isn’t really anything too catchy about how it is show, and it seems to capture everything about Mexico that people usually shoot when they do a film in Mexico. It’s never portrayed as a pretty nice spot, and most the people there are gritty and rough, even the women.  There are some good shoot out scenes that are well done, and the quickness of the shots really picks up the pace. We never spend too long on any scene either. The setting is portrayed pretty rough though, and there is so many warm colors in orange.

Plot: The plot isn’t one that really becomes too tangled. It’s pretty straight forward, and most people will get that from the title of the movie. Since the movie just seemed to be straight forward I didn’t expect for many emotions to be captured, but there are these scenes that still stand out in my mind, like when Elita went to sleep with a man to try to get him to spare her and Bennie’s life. There a little too many nudity scenes, and there was a lot they could have cut down on as far as that. It just becomes a little obvious when a woman is being exposed just to be exposed sometimes.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia isn’t going to reinvent the action genre for you, but it probably very well established many of the techniques you see in the movies today. While made in 1974 there is something about it that does seem to still carry well now. There are some just gross parts that took away from the movie, but I think the characters and well done action shots move the movie along intriguingly enough.

Rating 7 of 10.

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