Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 33, No. 3 18 March 1970
Some time ago I chanced to find a yellowed and crusty copy of Salient lying in the gutter. Flicking away the road dust and wood lice I discovered your farcical comment on The Wild Bunch. How could you conceivably feel that this magnificent movie was "utter rubbish"? I can only conclude that you wrote the criticism as a monstrous practical joke calculated to attract 50,000 letters of protest like this—perhaps to sell to a Boy Scout paper drive.
The film was glorious! What's wrong with you, man? Suffer from a morbid fear of death or something? Take that final scene, for instance. How superb! Blood didn't merely stain a guy's vest when he was hit by a high-velocity slug—it flew through the air like crimson porridge. The screen was wondrously ensanguined by a huntingly beautiful liquid amalgam of lymph, flesh and brains, bursting from Mexican bodies like mud from a Rotorua pool. The screams of the dying were as a fairy melody between the stereophonic speakers, and the smell of rotting flesh hung on the air like the breath of a summer breeze.
I grant you that the story was not all that great, but why worry about trivia in the face of such illustriously portrayed violence? Wait until you see Soldier Blue, a film that makes the slaughter in The Wild Bunch seem as tame as a bathtub squabble between two rubber ducks. Until then, may a murrain fall and blast your criticism.
Peter J Needham