PECKINPAH: A Portrait in Montage
By Garner Simmons
First published by the University of Texas Press in 1982, it remains one of the pivotal studies on the life and career of American film director Sam Peckinpah. The current revised edition including a new preface and postscript was published by Amadeus Press/Limelight Editions in 1998.
- “Sam Peckinpah is, by his own admission and that of almost everyone else in this richly entertaining book, a director who needs adversity to get the juices flowing. As shooting goes on, complications multiply and tensions increase. The wild man, fortified by booze and shots of vitamin B12, rides the whirlwind he creates, firing the incompetents beneath him, baiting the ones over him and bullying and testing and goading the rest… [This book gives] a nuts and bolts account of the… complex interplay of power and art or movie and mythmaking as practiced by an idiosyncratic but skillful manipulator…” — Molly Haskell, The New York Times Book Review
- “Simmons has taken a richly anecdotal approach to Peckinpah’s life and work which… takes off and soars into a very interesting overview of one of our more brilliant and ‘difficult’ directors, and the system in which he works…. I have been waiting a long time to read a book as insightful and well written as Lillian Roth’s Picture… This book is a much needed update on the apparently suicidal crosscurrents of political, economic, and personal intrigues which have threatened to ruin many of our best films…” — G. William Jones, The Southwestern Review
- “Excellent study of the director, exhaustively researched, thoroughly detailed. Simmons centers his book on the director in his workplace, the set, and examines the actual process of filmmaking by meticulously exploring the pressures and creative energies unleashed (and perhaps unleashed more violently on a Peckinpah set than on most others). Simmons has talked to a lot of people and uncovered a lot of conflict. A book that has received less recognition than it deserves.” — Quarterly Reivew of Film Studies
Also various articles on topics ranging from filmmaking to Sam Peckinpah to politics and travel. Available upon request (for samples click on Writer tab).
Published in 2012, Peckinpah Today is a compilation of new essays re-examining the films of Sam Peckinpah by some of the writers, critics and film historians most familiar with his work. The opening essay, “The Deadly Companions Revisited” by Garner Simmons, is a fresh look at Peckinpah’s underrated and frequently maligned first feature film. Incorporating much original research, Simmons draws on interviews with the late screenwriter A.S. “Sid” Fleischman as well as an in-depth comparison of the film to Fleischman’s screenplay and his novel based on that screenplay to demonstrate the important role this film played in Peckinpah’s emerging career.