Barry Marbles worked for forty five years in the British film industry, working his way up from tea boy to gaffer, via key grip. And now he is prepared to let you in on the behind the scenes of what he personally has never called the Dream Factorium. This week he lifts the lid on one of the most controversial films of the seventies: Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs.
When Mr. Peckinpah came over to England he was famous for two things: slow motion violence and hating women. It also turned out he didn’t like men none to much neither.
I was preparing the lighting rig inside the cottage where much of the film was done and it was very complex. There were quite a few of us on the job and in comes Mr. Peckinpah wearing a bandanna and shouting and hollering all sorts of profanity. The air turned quite blue. And this in front of the apprentices.
So I stood up and I said, ‘Mr. Peckinpah, I shall be needing you to lower your voice.’
Of course, that set him off even worse and he started effing and jeffing and calling me all the names under the sun. The air turned quite blue. So very gently I took his hand as if to shake but then quick as a light I slapped it on the kitchen table and drove the Philips head screwdriver right through the back of his hand effectively nailing it to the wood. Oh, he did scream and rock about and beg and scream again, weeping and begging me to stop grinding at it the way I was doing.
‘It happens quite quick in real life, doesn’t it sir?’ says I.
After that we had what I would call an understanding and the rest of the shoot went very smoothly.
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