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Junior BonnerThe best homevideo format for this film is DVD. Get the MGM version. It's NOT 16/9 enhanced, but is presented in the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio, and has an audio commentary track.
Avoid the inferior Anchor Bay version which does not have the commentary track.
Steve McQueen and director Sam Peckinpah produced two films together in 1972: Junior Bonner and
The Getaway. The hard edged, brutally violent style of The Getaway proved to be highly successful with the public. |
Junior Bonner however was a very different film to The Getaway. The trademark ultraviolence that people had come to expect from Peckinpah was absent.
Junior Bonner is a gentle slow moving exploration of life through the eyes of an ageing rodeo legend who believes he still has what it takes to be the best. This is a very nostalgic movie, which looks at the themes of change in the world's attitudes, and in each individuals life.
|McQueen and 'Sunshine'|
Junior (McQueen) returns to his home town after what must have been a fairly long absence. His primary reason for this visit is the local rodeo. His goal is to successfully ride and conquor a particularly nasty past nemesis in the form of a bull called 'Sunshine'.
|He dearly wants this victory in front of his family and his home town.|
|During the town's festive buildup to the rodeo Junior reconnects with his family, and discovers that a lot of big changes are occuring in their lives. His ex-rodeo champion father Ace (played by Peckinpah regular Robert Preston) is planning a journey to Australia in search of gold. His brother Culy (played by Joe Don Baker) has become a land developer and is well on his way to making his first million dollars. His mother Ellie (played by Ida Lupino) is going through some forced changes as well. Not much of this sits well with Junior.|
|McQueen and Ben Johnson|
He also finds himself under pressure to make changes, as his father encourages him to come Down Under, his brother tries to get him on board as a partner, and even the rodeo boss (played by McQueen regular Ben Johnson) tries to get him to try his hand at managing the rodeos instead of competing in them. And so as those around him try to convince him to join them and move with the times, he must choose between his manly ideals and financial advancement.
|McQueen and Barbara Leigh|
There is plenty of great rodeo action in the film, and in between all the family turmoil and rodeo riding Junior also finds the time to spark up a romance with a young beauty (played by Barbara Leigh).
The only extra feature on the disk is a commentary by 3 Peckinpah authors. Naturally they talked a lot about Peckinpah. None of them had much to say about Steve McQueen.