U.S.A. • 1972 • COLOUR • ANAMORPHIC • 35MM • 122 MIN

Scripted by Walter Hill from a novel by Jim Thompson, The Getaway reunited Peckinpah with Steve McQueen after their fine collaboration on Junior Bonner. In contrast to the gentleness of the previous film, however, this is a cold, brutal thriller. McQueen plays a convict who, through the connivance of his wife (Ali MacGraw), is released on parole to assist in a robbery masterminded by a corrupt politician (Ben Johnson). When things go wrong, the couple go on the run, pursued by mobsters and the law.

The film counterpoints its examination of a marriage under stress with a particularly unpleasant sexual sub-plot where Al Lettieri and Sally Struthers compellingly represent humanity at its most repellent. MacGraw’s performance came in for heavy criticism (‘McQueen and MacGraw don’t even look right together,’ grumbled Pauline Kael, ‘her head is bigger than his’), but McQueen is the super-cool yet smouldering anti-hero par excellence, and Peckinpah’s dynamic handling of the action helped make it his most commercially successful movie.

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