Straw Dogs Then ... and Now

Is anyone shocked Hollywood remade the 1971 Sam Peckinpah classic Straw Dogs?

Heck, if they’re plotting a new version of Dirty Dancing, anything is fair game.


But Straw Dogs isn’t so easy to duplicate. The original, starring Dustin Hoffman and Susan George as a young couple tormented by British thugs, explored screen violence in ways that made previous exploitation films seem tame. Not only did Hoffman find his inner Paul Kersey, but George’s performance during the film’s critical rape sequence shocked many viewers. George’s character seemed to enjoy portions of the forced sexual encounter, something rarely seen in movies then … or now.

Will the minds behind the new Straw Dogs replicate those conflicting emotions? Dare they even try?

The new version, from liberal filmmaker Rod Lurie of Commander-in-Chief fame, isn’t being screened for Denver-based film critics like myself. That likely means most movie scribes won’t see it until its Sept. 16 release.

The original Dogs hit theaters long before Quentin Tarantino re-set the bar on-screen violence with every new film. Is it possible to shock modern audiences, and will Straw Dogs give it that old college try?

Note: The Hoffman original just came out on Blu-ray. And while the disk lacks the usual array of extras it’s still a fine investment.


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