Straw Dogs (1971)

Straw Dogs (1971)

Starring Dustin Hoffman, Susan George, Peter Vaughan, T.P. McKenna, Del Henney, Jim Norton, Donald Webster, Ken Hutchison, Len Jones, Sally Thomsett, Robert Keegan, Peter Arne, Cherina Schaer, Colin Welland, David Warner

Directed by Sam Peckinpah

Expectations: High. I’m very excited to see this.


Having just read The Siege at Trencher’s Farm, I was thoroughly excited to watch Straw Dogs for the first time. It’s a very well-regarded film of Sam Peckinpah’s and one that is always mentioned when talking about his best work. I knew going in that the film diverged quite a bit from the book, but I had no idea just how off the rails it got. Instead of the taut, thrilling tale that the book tells, Straw Dogs is mostly a very boring and meandering film, and one that simply does not do the book justice.

David Sumner and his wife Amy have temporarily moved to the English countryside of Amy’s youth so that David can finish his mathematics book. He’s working on some deep shit and needs the peace and quiet to sort out his thoughts. A few of the able-bodied townsmen, including one of Amy’s old flames, are building the couple a garage and clearing out the rat infestation in the old farmhouse. Tensions run high between David and Amy because David is focusing all his time on his work when she would rather have that focus pointed squarely on her.

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Book Review: The Siege at Trencher’s Farm (1969)

The Siege at Trencher’s Farm (1969)
by Gordon Williams
Re-published by Titan Books August 16, 2011

Filmed as Straw Dogs by Sam Peckinpah in 1971
and remade as Straw Dogs by Rod Lurie (opening Sept 16, 2011)


Lately my reading has been slacking. Books take me months to get through, as I fall asleep mere seconds after picking them up. When I sat down to read The Siege at Trencher’s Farm, I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to get through it in time to post this review. To my surprise I read the book in a couple of sittings and my eyes never drooped once, in fact, each chapter excited me to soldier on to the next as the sunlight dwindled and day turned to night.

George & Louise Magruder, along with their daughter Karen, move to Louise’s native England, in hopes that George can get some peace and quiet to finish his book. This isn’t a permanent move, it’s something more akin to an extended vacation, so they rent a farmhouse in the quaint village of Dando, where outsiders are not taken to kindly. Tensions run high from the beginning between the townsfolk and the newcomers, but also between the family members, with everything ultimately coming together in a feverish climax of stunning violence.

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