Posts uit 2017 weergeven

Kill the Poker Player: Sherlock out West

Kill the Poker Player - Sherlock out West 
A spaghetti-paella western that plays more like a mystery thriller. Several Italian westerns had Giallo influences, but this one presents it thriller elements in the style of the British whodunnit à la Agatha Christie or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Robert Woods actually plays a character of British descent, an insurance investigator called Jonathan Pinkerton, working for Lloyds of London, investigating a bank robbery that ended in bloodshed. Two bandits made several victims during the robbery, but they were eliminated themselves by a third person, the man on the background who masterminded the crime and ran off with the money.
At one point it is suggested that Woods' character is not a detective but a federal agent. An undercover agent going undercover as a British detective? The plot is a bit haphazard, but offers enoughs red herrings to keep you guessing who will eventually be revealed as the culprit. The killings are performed with the help…

Death Walks in Laredo: Spaghetti western lunacy in Algeria, not Almeria

In the opening scene a cowboy named Selby is accused of cheating and challenged to a duel by the four men he had beaten in a game of poker. It's a scene that looks like dozens of other scenes from spaghetti westerns, until Selby pulls out a four-barreled gun and shoots all four opponents with one single shot. We're not only supposed to believe that this fantasy gun works, but also that it can shoot in four different directions at the same time. This is western wonderland ...
The movie was a personal idea of producer Dino de Laurentiis, who was fascinated by the success of Leone's A Fistful of Dollars and wanted to copy (or even double) it by producing a western that was at least twice as extravagant. As far as I know it's the only spaghetti western that was shot in Algeria and I guess it's also the only one to feature a villain called Julius Cesar Fuller, a lunatic who lives in a imperial palace, located on a hilltop and has surrounded himself by a harem of young g…

The Road to Fort Alamo: western between Peplum and Horror

The Road to Fort Alamo 
western between peplum and horror
The first of three westerns directed by Mario Bava (the other two being Ringo from Nebraska and Roy Colt and Winchester Jack), made at a time when the Leone style of film making was still in the future and Italian directors were trying to emulate American westerns. Not surprisingly, the movie has a storyline that was very popular in Cavalry westerns from the fifties set in post-Civil War days: a Southern renegade first turns to brigandage but comes to his senses and redeems himself during the Indian wars. Eventually all people involved are forgiving and realize that the war is over and the North and South are One.
Ken Clark is Bill Mannesey, a man whose properties were destroyed during the war. He joins a group of southerners who all suffered considerable losses during the war and want to get even - if only financially - with the Union. Dressed up like soldiers, they try to convert a check that was given to Bill by a moribund sol…

R.I.P. Giorgio Capitani

Giorgio Capitani dies at the good age of 89
And yet another one has left us: Giorgio Capitani, director of Ognuno Per Sé passed away in his home town Viterbo at the ripe old age of 89.
In his home country Giorgio Capitani was best known among large audiences for directing a long-running crime televison series, Il Maresciallo Rocca, situated in his beloved hometown Viterbo. But Capitani was also a very prolific film maker who directed more than fifty movies. At a very young age he already made a couple of home movies (they served as an introduction in the real movie business). He made his debut in the 1950s and worked within various genres such as romantic drama (Delirio, 1954), peplum (Ercole, Sansone, Maciste e Ursus gli invincibili, 1964), and especially comedy (L'arcangelo, 1969; Pane, burro e marmellata, 1977).
# Ognuno Per Sé (1968)
Capitani made only one spaghetti western, but it was a good one and it was also one of his own favorite movies: Ognuno per Sé, internationally b…

R.I.P. Tomás Milián - Cuchillo forever

R.I.P. Tomás Milián - Cuchillo forever
Tomás Milián who died last week from a stroke in his apartment in Miami, was born in Havana, Cuba, on March 3, 1933. His father was an army general under Gerardo Machado, president of Cuba between 1925 and 1933. After the collapse of Machado's government, Tomás' father was arrested and jailed; he was released later, but denied most of his civil rights.  In 1946, a 12-year old Tomás witnessed the suicide of his father, an event that would scar the young man for life. In 1957 the family moved to the US.
Tomás became a student of Lee Strasberg, studying method acting at the Actors Studio in New York City. He was offered a few minor roles in major productions but decided to move to Italy to prove his luck in the then flourishing Italian movie industry. In the late 1950s and early 1960s he appeared as a supporting actor in several movies produced and directed by Mauro Bolognini.
In 1965 Spanish director Eugenio Martin offered him a role in th…

Silence: The Happy Ending

Silence: The Happy Ending 
The Great Silence, or in Italian Il Grande Silenzio (1968, Sergio Corbucci) is generally referred to as 'that western in the snow'. Snow-capped hills are an unusual, but not unique setting for a western, and what really sets the movie apart is the bleak ending that seems to turn ever western cliché upside down, including the often heard idea that in a western the good guy always wins. Yes, in this movie the bad guys win, in gruesome fashion. People who watch the movie unprepared, are often shocked by the grim, ultra bleak ending. I remember that I was nearly blown out of my socks when I first saw the movie, in the Eighties, on a French VHS. Mon Dieu, good grief, what the hell was that ?

Upon its original release, The Great Silence was not very successful in Italy, even though several reviews were positive. Very violent for its time, with thumbs shot off and blood dripping from fractured skulls, the film got an ’18 rating’, which meant young Italians, …

The Magnificent 7 Ride

The Magnificent 7 Ride (No, not a Spaghetti)
No, this is not a spaghetti western. It's the third and final sequel to Sturges' classic (not counting the recent re-imagining starring Denzel Washington). It's also the only sequel that was entirely shot on American soil, but it stars one of the most iconic actors of the Italian western and uses his screen persona to nourish the script: Lee van Cleef's Chris, the leader of the original Seven, has become the sheriff in a border town and he is accompanied throughout the movie by a journalist who wants to immortalize him by writing his biography. Furthermore the script mixes the familiar premise of the seven men coming to the rescue with a revenge story, the type of story that brought Van Cleef eternal fame thanks to his adventures with Leone in Italy.
Our Chris has a good, almost peaceful life as a lawman, but now his much younger wife Arilla (Mariette Hartley) thinks one of his latest arrests, a 18-year old small time crook na…