Blu-ray Review – The Ballad of Cable Hogue – Warner Archive

The Ballad of Cable Hogue

Director: Sam Peckinpah 


Minutes: 121

Year: 1970

Score: 7.60

Release: WA

I knew that if I tried enough Peckinpah I would find something that sucks me in and before spinning this disc I have found everything I had seen was a bit too rough for my taste. Cable Hogue makes me a believer.


It’s 1908. The West has changed. Grizzled frontiersman Cable Hogue (Jason Robards) hasn’t. Despite the fortune he’s made selling water to thirsty desert travelers, he lies in wait. Someday two no-account desert rats – who long ago robbed Hogue and left him to die in the baking Arizona sand – will drop by for a drink.

After the violence of The Wild Bunch, director Sam Peckinpah shifted moods with this memorable fable, less a tale of revenge than it is a lyrical, touching tribute to the last days of the West’s pioneering spirit. Stella Stevens and David Warner lead an excellent supporting cast that also includes L.Q. Jones and Strother Martin as Hogue’s old enemies.

One of the quickest way to hook me into a film would be to cast Jason Robards. He always comes off as one of the most genuine humans and is a man I wish were a grandfather of mine. Which is good since he is on screen about 98% of this film. And he shared it with Stella Stevens, who is a wonderful co-star.

It wasn’t until about a quarter of the way in to the film that I found my first clear indication that it is a Peckinpah film, if you have seen the film you probably know the scene.

I am very glad that the Warner Archive has released this in high definition. The picture quality is top notch, but there are some audio issues throughout the first half of the film, that I noticed. It sounds like the audio track has warped and they could not find a better version. It doesn’t take much away from my experience, but I was not distracting.

I definitely recommend this to anyone. It is not good for children, so I guess not everyone, but most everyone else. I would like to get the opinion of a lady-reviewer on the characterization of Steven’s hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold.

Director: 9 – Cinematography: 10 –  Edit: 7 – Parity: 4 – Main performance: 10 – Else performance: 4 – Score: 9 – Sound: 6 – Story: 6 – Script: 9 – Effects: 7 – Design: 6 – Costumes: 8 – Keeps interest: 9 – Lasting: 10