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Films of Sergio Leone => Other Films => Topic started by: redyred on May 24, 2004, 05:37:37 PM



Title: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: redyred on May 24, 2004, 05:37:37 PM
Well, I just finished watching the DVD of "il mercenario" aka "Professional Gun" and it was, in a word, disappointing. It ought to have been a winner - directed by Corbucci, starring Franco Nero and Jack Palance - but I really think I've found my least favourite spaghetti western so far. The plot was almost identical to Corbucci's later Companeros - Franco Nero playing a self serving European weapons expert who is thrown together with a dedicated yet bungling revolutionary, opposite Jack Palance playing a cruel and sadistic villain. The difference with "professional gun" is that the characters were nowhere near as good - the heroes weren't likeable or even particularly heroic. Jack Palance spent all of 5 minutes on screen, in a rather bland performance, which is strange since the double DVD I got was supposed to be a Jack Palance combo. Also, either it was really badly edited or it was just a badly written screenplay. The plot kept jumping ahead in some parts. The final gun battle was pure Leone, which was interesting but not pulled off at particularly well, and just didn't seem to fit in. Having said all that, there was plenty of good Mexican Bandit action, much like in Bullet for the General, and a kind of clever twist at the end, but it wasn't really enough to make the rest worthwile.

My advice to people considering getting it would be to grab it if you see it cheap, but it's hardly worth hunting down or paying a large amount for.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: cigar joe on May 25, 2004, 04:55:46 AM
thanks redyred


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: KERMIT on May 25, 2004, 10:58:32 AM
when, sometimes watching ( enduring) these spags. is is possible we forget what kind of mood we're in before we watch ?  someday someone might cut you off in traffic or disrespect you.
THEN  is the time to watch a good, bad non-leone spag.
with a fistful of bourbon and some branch water.  ;D



Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: rddesq on May 25, 2004, 03:29:19 PM
Just got my DVD in the mail today.  Plan to watch it in the next few days.  Think I paid 14$ for it from Video Values.  I also ordered My Name is Nobody.  After reading the review above I am not expecting much of Professional Gun.  Is the score any good?


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: redyred on May 25, 2004, 06:29:06 PM
The score was pretty good, it was Morricone after all. The main theme was brassy Mexican style, very similar to the one from Bullet for the General. And the Leone-esque gundown was accompanied with Dollars trilogy style final scene music.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't absolutely dreadful. Just compared to other Spaghetti Westerns, particularly Corbucci's other films, it really didn't stand out. In many ways it seems like an early version of Companeros, which he made two years later and is much better.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Nobody on May 29, 2004, 03:18:00 AM
I didn't dislike as much as you did, but I must admit that I was a bit disappointed. As a whole, the film did suffer, but it was great in parts. What makes Companeros, its sequel, better, is Thomas Milian. He was sorely missed here. Still, there were several things to enjoy. I guess everybody on this site loves the scene in FAFDM, where Van Cleef lights a match on Klaus Kinskis face. Well, in this film, Franco Nero lights matches on every face he can find, and it always made me laugh. These scenes can't compare with the one in FAFDM though, because only Kinski gets that extraordinary look on his face afterwards. Priceless.

The dvd was terrible, transferred from an old vhs tape. It also looked as though it was a tv-version. Scenes suddenly faded into black, as if it was a commercial break. The fades usually came in the middle of a dialogue scene, and we never got a chance to hear what they actually said.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: redyred on October 28, 2004, 11:55:32 AM
Just watched this again and liked it much more this time. I'd say it's the first Corbucci film where he had perfected his skills as a director. There are some really nice moments, like for example when Curly is shot and doesn't realise it, but then notices the blood slowly seeping through his white carnation. Also Columba, the obligatory female revolutionary character that seems to be in pretty much every Zapata western is much more developed and prominent than her equivelents in say, Companeros or Bullet for the General (it's actually her that rescues the male heroes at the end). The gundown music is one of Morricone's best - it's the same theme used in Kill Bill vol 2 when Kiddo is breaking out of the coffin. The eerie theme that accompanies Franco Nero's character is very good too.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: cigar joe on October 28, 2004, 03:44:54 PM
Well I guess I'll be able to add my two cents soon, have some DVD's of A Professional Gun & Navajo Joe on the way. I'll let you know what I find out running times, quality etc., etc.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: cigar joe on November 02, 2004, 08:44:46 PM
The Mercenary

Corbucci is the Dr.Jeckel /Mr. Hyde of SW directors, its either quality or crap. Quien Saba Corbucci ?

Watched Corbucci’s The Mercenary/A Professional Gun tonight, and was blown away, this is Corbucci’s best serious Zapata/Western beautifully shot and a great DVD transfer (Japan). It’s a very similar story to Companero’s,  but it is not played for laughs. There are some humorous moments but it is a good story that moves right along Nero and Musante are great in this and very believable and they look cool, Nero reminds you of Lee Marvin in The Professionals. Jack Palance plays Curly a weird mob boss sort of a Dude/Dandy, why he’s called homosexual by Howard Hughes in Pocket Essentials Spaghetti westerns is not very apparent. Anyway it even quotes Leone by having a corrida shoot out near the end. And it has a Morricone score that any body who’s seen Kill Bill will instantly recognize.

Corbucci remains an enigma to me so anyone that can explain why his films run the gamut from Good, Bad, too Ugly besides my learning curve theory chime in please.

Of what I’ve seen Django 1966 has some inspired gimmicks but its mostly Bad mostly crap. Navajo Joe 1966 is mostly Ugly it doesn’t have any quality of believability, the costumes and Native American sets are ridiculous. I haven’t seen the Hellbenders but getting burned on the first two I’m not inclined to go out of my way to look for it. The Big Silence 1967 is what I’d rate Good for Corbucci based on what I’d seen until Companero’s  and The Mercenary,  which are really GOOD.

So how to explain this enigma, maybe it lies in Corbucci’s collaborators

The Mercenary 1968 was produced by Alberto Gimaldi  (FAFDM & GBU) it was written by Corbucci, Vincenzoni (FAFDM & GBU & DRAH ) and Spina. It has beautiful cinematography by Alejandro Ulloa and of course a fine Morricone score. Actrors, Franco Nero, Tony Musante, and Jack Palance. So the question begs to be asked was it the influence of the people around him and the bigger budget?

Companeros 1970 had almost the same general story it too was photographed by Ulloa and had a Morricone score. Had Nero, Tomas Milian, Jack Palance, and Fernando Rey.

In between these films Corbucci made The Specialist never head about it one way or another. After Companeros  he made a  film called Sonny & Jed 1972 then What Am I Doing In The Middle Of The Revolution in 1973 which was not very good, then The White The Yellow And The Black in 1975 (with Eli Wallach),  which I believe was his last western. He continued to make movies until 1990.

So I recommend The Mercenary to Leone fans.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: DJIMBO on November 03, 2004, 04:21:54 AM
you mention howard hughes' pocket spaghetti westerns. ive read it and decided he rates non-leone's far too highly. He gives Django 5/5 (i might give it 3 at a push), The Big Gundown 5/5, ok so its a good film but its not a great film, and certainly not as good as leone. theres some other massive overrating as well though i can understand why he gives Great Silence 5/5. id probly give it a 4/5 but i can see why.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: spag fan on November 03, 2004, 06:51:43 AM
I've been meaning to pick up the cheapie of that one. I see it all the time for $5. I'm sure the transfer sucks though.

I really enjoyed Hellbenders, but I don't expect Leone when it's not Leone! It's damn good none the less with a killer Morricone score. A fairly watchable full screen version is available on the 10 movie brentwood collection Tales of The Gun.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00008OM7A/qid%3D1099489983/sr%3D11-1/ref%3Dsr%5F11%5F1/103-0859585-4872644

It also has some pretty poor prints of "A Town Called Hell", "Captain Apache" and "Badman's River" as well as others. Hellbenders is definitely the highlight.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: cigar joe on November 03, 2004, 04:25:24 PM
Spag fan, I wouldn't get the cheapie you'll really spoil the effect, the Japanese DVD release was just pristeen, this one really needs a R1 release for us in NA.

Hint (a certain member of SW board can burn you an R1 disc) lol.

Djimbo I've had mixed results with following Howard Hughes "Pocket Essentials Spaghetti Westerns", what we really need is a "Leone Lovers Guide to Spaghetti Westerns. Hughes is giving a more historical perspective covering the essential SW's of the genre, films that set precidents, benchmarks, etc.

If I had to compile a list of the Leone Lover's Guide to SW DVD's this would be my current list with the most similar in style and quality to Leone at the top and farther down the more they stray. Some of my criteria would be story, entertainment, cinematography, quality, look, actors, sets, score. This list only includes the the DVD's I've seen and the Zapata Westerns also.

The "A" list:

The Big Gundown
The Mercenary
Companero's
Run Man Run
Face To Face
Death Rides A Horse
The Great Silence
Keoma
A Bullet For The General

The "B" List:

A Man Called Slade
A Minute To Pray A Second to Die

The not sure if they are classified as Spaghetti Western List:

Red Sun
Shalako
100 Rifles

To Stay away from List:

Django
Navajo Joe
Captain Apache (the worst so far)
A Bullet For Sandoval (VHS)


OK spag fan now you have me thinking of getting Hellbenders, tell us a little more so we can get an idea how its similare and how it differs from the master Leone. Another one I'm considering is Valreri's "Day Of Anger" with LVC as Leone assistant on both Dollar films something may have rubbed off no? Also he did "THe Price of Power". I might even check out "Sabata" again.




 


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: The Smoker on November 04, 2004, 07:45:12 AM
The Stingray version (Japan) DVD of 'The Mercenary' has a Easter Egg on it. if you move around the main menu until Kowalski's pistol end is high-lighted. You can watch the edit version of the film. Excluding about 40 mins of footage,  which brings it down closer to the US release. Not to sure if it is 'A Professional Gun' shot for shot. But quite a few chapters are missing.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: spag fan on November 04, 2004, 08:53:42 AM
Spag fan, I wouldn't get the cheapie you'll really spoil the effect, the Japanese DVD release was just pristeen, this one really needs a R1 release for us in NA.

Hint (a certain member of SW board can burn you an R1 disc) lol.

OK spag fan now you have me thinking of getting Hellbenders, tell us a little more so we can get an idea how its similare and how it differs from the master Leone.

Thanks for the tip CJ.

As far as Hellbenders, it's been awhile since I watched it, but it had some Leone-esque twists in the plot and a memorable opening sequence. However,  the story really bares no resemblence to any of the Leone films. It's really rather unique. The Wild Bunch, which came out a couple of years later, is similar in minor ways. Some say it's a mess and drags in spots, but  I was surprised at how enjoyable it was compared to some of the lesser spaghettis I've seen... and that Morricone score...Excellent! I'd really like to see a restored version of this one. It get's slammed a bit, but I think its underrated. It ain't art (except for the score), but it's definitly some Prime grade-A cheese at the very least!


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: The Smoker on January 31, 2005, 05:25:56 AM
Ive said this before but corbucci really hung on brooding twilight in this movie.

(http://img182.exs.cx/img182/7162/sunset31dk.jpg)
(http://img182.exs.cx/img182/7030/sunset11ue.jpg)
(http://img182.exs.cx/img182/7637/sunset20wt.jpg)

Very big contrast from Great Silence and its forunners. Corbucci cleaning alot of his camera techniques up. Much more polished visually.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: cigar joe on January 31, 2005, 04:31:51 PM
Read the rumor that Hellbenders was going to be released by I think Anchor Bay or Blue Underground.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: bronsky on February 01, 2005, 12:11:11 AM
To Stay away from List:

Django

Django was the biggest success of Corbucci. It inspired  really a  lot of other films. If you skip it you lose judgement. Django is the embittered hero whom we hadn't seen before.

The Mercenary is a favourite of mine, just like Companeros. The first can claim to be the original.

Read the rumor that Hellbenders was going to be released by I think Anchor Bay or Blue Underground.

Anchor Bay has it on its page. Release is supposed to be this fall.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: cigar joe on February 01, 2005, 04:33:04 AM
Django is worth a look but its not worth buying at the git go, IMO, its essential to the Genre but it is not the film I would recommend to anyone trying to break/wean buddies, friends, relatives away from the master Leone.

Just as a hard core Leone fan who's willing to give other films a go and one who has been inpressed by Corbucci, I would say show them Companeros or The Mercenery, The Great Silence, once they are hooked go back and show them his earlier films.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: The Smoker on February 01, 2005, 06:07:57 AM
Another thing ive been thinking about.
When Tarrantino wrote that ear cutting sequence into Reservoir Dogs back in 1992. I remember him name dropping Corbucci's Django as a inspiration. Can't remember the source exactly.
Name dropping like this does wonders for a forgotten so called 'cult' film.. well in the UK it did.
There was the first VHS release in the UK around 1995, previously it was banned out right.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: DJIMBO on February 01, 2005, 05:26:49 PM
i think its important to stress here that however IMPORTANT as a film Django may be in the development of Spaghetti Westerns, it doesnt mean its any good.  :-[


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: cigar joe on February 02, 2005, 04:55:52 AM
Quote
i think its important to stress here that however IMPORTANT as a film Django may be in the development of Spaghetti Westerns, it doesnt mean its any good.

exactly!


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Christopher on March 21, 2005, 04:41:30 PM
A Professional Gun is the cut version of The Mercenary right? I was browsing the video store today and saw it on video and read about it. Is A Professional Gun worth watching or should I try to see The Mercenary instead?


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: cigar joe on March 22, 2005, 04:40:33 AM
The Mercenary, read the IMDb reviews they describe a lousy film transfer, get ahold of FrancoCleef on the SW in Amercica board (links page) he can burn an R1 version for you  ;D


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: The Smoker on March 29, 2005, 12:46:52 PM
The Mercenary, read the IMDb reviews they describe a lousy film transfer, get ahold of FrancoCleef on the SW in Amercica board (links page) he can burn an R1 version for you  ;D


See for your self.
The images i posted at the end of January (7th down on the 1st page) are from the Japanese MGM/Stingray Transfer is letterbox but it does look stunning.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: cigar joe on March 29, 2005, 03:39:55 PM
You should do a few more  ;D


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: The Smoker on April 02, 2005, 12:42:40 PM
No Problem. 
If you want screenshots for Spaghetti DVDs just ask, well of the one ive got. I can stick them to the relative disscussions on the forum. So people can get a feel for them.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: cigar joe on April 02, 2005, 04:11:11 PM
great


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: titoli on July 17, 2005, 01:59:59 AM
How many similarities with DYS? Well many, I'd say. Useful to show all the difference between the master and the others.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: HEX on September 21, 2005, 10:53:16 PM
THE MERCENARY IS CORBUCCIS BEST(NEXT  TO SILENCE)






DJANGO ROCKS!


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Poggle on February 25, 2006, 12:18:16 AM
Without revealing any major plot points, what would you say makes Mercenary superior to Companeros?(Which I just saw today for the first time ;) )?

Better acting, production design, cinematography, story, characters, etc.?


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Banjo on February 25, 2006, 08:08:08 AM
The storyline flows better in Mercenary and is less bogged down with the (Xantos) political waffle in Companeros and the set pieces are more numerous and superior-apart from the head in the sand scene which is better handled in Companeros.Morricones music is preferable and alot more varied in Mercenary and Jack Palances performance as Curly is the best i've seen him in.Finally i'd say the general look and photography of the Mercenary is far better than Companeros.
Thats not to say Companeros isn't a great film which of course we all know it is!!!


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: cigar joe on February 25, 2006, 11:54:04 AM
I agree with all that banjo says, the cinematography is by the same cinematographer on the releases I have I don't see much of a quality difference, the subjects though, in The Mercenary are more stunning, the sunsets, the white washed viliages against a stormy sky, etc.  Its just Companero's is a bit looser in its continuity, played more for laughs, but is way short of an actual comedy, it has the sight gags that begin showing the comedy influences in the SW genre at the time.

The Mercenary is a very polished western. The next step for Corbucci if he was following in Leone footsteps, would have been an (OUATITW) style opus, instead he made the very similar Companeros.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: titoli on February 25, 2006, 04:54:06 PM
The main fault with the Mercenary lies in the fact that you see Musante and think of Milian all of the time: all of the time! Why did he ever got the part at all is beyond me. With Milian the movie would have made it easily in the Top Three non Leone's  SWs of all time. Maybe for some it is in those best 3 (maybe for me too) but still the Musante's performance is a major flaw. He's boxing his part all the way through. When you think how Volonté or Kinski played mexican roles in spite of looking less the part, it really does irritate how he couldn't manage anything, if not memorable, at least tolerable. Of course he was not in the same class as those two (few were), still I feel he could have played better his character. But maybe I expect too much of what, in the end, was just an average actor who had the fortune of coming to Italy in the best period of that cinematograohy and playing lead in 2 blockbusters.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: cigar joe on February 25, 2006, 07:40:28 PM
Yea I do agree that Milian would have done the part immensely better, for me though it doesn't detract all that much that I notice it (in that respect Steiger's even more miscast in GLT/DYS) but I do prefer Giovana Ralli's  performance to Iris Berben's in Companero's.



L'Uccello dalle piume di cristallo, (1970) is the other blockbuster that you are referring too I presume?

 


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Christopher on February 25, 2006, 07:58:32 PM
Is there a Region 1 DVD of The Mercenary? I remember seeing a VHS of A Professional Gun at a video rental store, but I'd rather see the original version.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: titoli on February 25, 2006, 08:00:51 PM
Of the two blockbusters I was referring to, one is the Argento movie, the other is the top grossing movie (in Italy) of 1970:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065408/

I don't know whether the Mercenary was a hit to be compared to these ones: which would make three.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: titoli on February 25, 2006, 08:09:00 PM
Quote
in that respect Steiger's even more miscast in GLT/DYS

But he's saved partially, in the italian version, by the great dubber Carlo Romano. As I have already said elsewhere in this forum, when watching the movie the last times I was thinking of Eli Wallach all the time in his place. We'll remain forever with the doubt whether he could have topped Tuco. I think he could, as Juan is a more rounded character. A pity.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Poggle on February 25, 2006, 09:40:30 PM
Juan has more of a Latino wiseguy accent than Tuco, who has more of a rotten Mexican immigrant accent. I never thought of Tuco when watching Juan.

Man, now I'm desperate to see The Mercenary ;D

I don't want to sway away from the topic of Mercenary, but since we're talking about cinematography did anyone else notice how the cinematography in the Mexican town in the first half an hour or two of Companeros was sloppy and amateurish(I thought that Django's cinematography, which I enjoyed, was miles ahead) but by the second hour and after Xantos enters the picture it becomes very polished and stylized? Look at the scene in the church ruins with Xantos' gang, it's almost on a Leone/Visconti level.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: boardwalk_angel on February 25, 2006, 11:26:46 PM
I like Musante in this...I think he works well w/ Franco Nero...and I like Steiger in Giu La Testa...I see Milian & Wallach enough. It's nice to see fresh faces.

The only properly presented, uncut dvd release w/ an English soundtrack (The Italian release has no English subs) is the Region 2 Japanese dvd--->
http://www.xploitedcinema.com/dvds/dvds.asp?title=2419

Currently out of stock (until July) and very pricy.
It's a damn shame.



Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: cigar joe on February 26, 2006, 07:05:03 AM
I didn't notice the cinematography being that different from begining to end in Companero's, you are talking about the Anchor Bay DVD with the English subs for the Italian beginning right? The whole movie is flashback more or less.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: titoli on February 26, 2006, 05:19:35 PM
Quote
Juan has more of a Latino wiseguy accent than Tuco, who has more of a rotten Mexican immigrant accent.

Y0ou're talking about  the english versions. But in the original italian versions the voice and the language are same for Tuco and Juan. 


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Sundance on February 26, 2006, 07:27:42 PM
The only properly presented, uncut dvd release w/ an English soundtrack (The Italian release has no English subs) is the Region 2 Japanese dvd--->
http://www.xploitedcinema.com/dvds/dvds.asp?title=2419

Currently out of stock (until July) and very pricy.
It's a damn shame.

The japanese disc has been completely out of print since before summer 2005 I think. (I have tried finding it for almost a year now :P )


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: dave jenkins on February 26, 2006, 08:16:31 PM
Y0ou're talking about  the english versions. But in the original italian versions the voice and the language are same for Tuco and Juan. 
Why do you call the Italian versions "original"? This may be appropriate for GBU, which did follow BBC by several months, but for DYS Juan's English can be said to be the original in that much of it was recorded directly at the time of shooting (which was a first for an SL picture, and occurred only at Steiger's insistance). The Italian dubbing of Juan came later.



Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Banjo on February 27, 2006, 05:17:42 AM
I like Musante in this...I think he works well w/ Franco Nero
I agree,although Milian may possibly have been more entertaining,i still feel Musante was well cast and i enjoy his performance as Paco.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: cigar joe on February 27, 2006, 06:44:24 AM
Quote
agree,although Milian may possibly have been more entertaining,i still feel Musante was well cast and i enjoy his performance as Paco.


Don't get me wrong, Musante isn't detracting at all from the film, which I think is Corbucci's best,  he just doesn't quite come off quite as latin as Milian.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: titoli on February 27, 2006, 11:25:54 AM
Quote
Why do you call the Italian versions "original"? This may be appropriate for GBU, which did follow BBC by several months, but for DYS Juan's English can be said to be the original in that much of it was recorded directly at the time of shooting (which was a first for an SL picture, and occurred only at Steiger's insistance). The Italian dubbing of Juan came later.

Because the dialogues were thought up and written in italian and then adapted (don't know how well) intp english.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Poggle on February 27, 2006, 02:54:12 PM
No, after filming begins there's eventually no "original" version except the original script.

OUATITW for example we have five actors who speak English translated from Italian, a bilingual actress(Cardinale, who speaks English with the Americans, Italian with the Italian), and the rest are either Italian or German. Since the Italians are the best at dubbing to make sure that the lips and the words go together(And they usually do perfectly!), you know they have to alter lines, titoli :P Ferzetti and Stoppa are among the few actors whose lines were probably from the original Italian script.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: titoli on February 27, 2006, 03:31:36 PM
Quote
No, after filming begins there's eventually no "original" version except the original script.

The original version is the one planned by Leone. And Leone planned it in italian (better, in roman dialect). Otherwise we ought to credit Mickey Knox as co-author, which is not the case. And Leone couldn't care less about what the actors were saying, as he knew that in dubbing he would have decided what was going to be said and what not. Movies were shot in Italy with actors reciting numbers (everybody knows that). Vittorio De Sica used to arrive on the set of a movie where he was just playing without knowing one line of dialogue, just being told the gist of  the scenes. He improvised and then dubbed himself with the original dialogue he shlould have known. Leone had no control whatever on the english version as he knew not the language. The one he cared about and controlled was the italian. The screenplays were written in italian. Be sure that if one wants to study the characters he must analyze the italian dialogues, not certainly the english ones.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: dave jenkins on February 27, 2006, 07:51:57 PM
Leone had no control whatever on the english version as he knew not the language. The one he cared about and controlled was the italian. The screenplays were written in italian. Be sure that if one wants to study the characters he must analyze the italian dialogues, not certainly the english ones.
This is just so wrong-headed I can barely contain myself. If Leone didn't care about the English dialogue, then why was it he just happened to use excellent writers of dialogue on all the English dubs of every one of his films? There is a HUGE difference between the English dubs of Leone's films and those of his fellow SW directors. We can be confident that Leone DID care about the English dubs: the proof is in the pudding.

Leone was not De Sica or Visconti or anyone else. Today it is standard to watch Italian films in their original language with the appropriate subtitles (which can be done badly or well). This is not true of Leone for a very good reason: There is no definitive version of each of his films (the exception may be OUATIA); as the language changed in the dubbing so did the films. Mickey Knox SHOULD get some credit for the films he wrote dialogue for. The Italian version and the English version (and the French and German et. al.) of any given Leone work represent different films.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Poggle on February 27, 2006, 08:30:02 PM
Leone may be responsible in specifics with the Italian version during the dubbing stage, but it is not to say that the way he has his films dubbed in Italian based on the actors' lip movements is different from how other countries will do it, besides doing it the best, of course :P
His intent for the Italian version being what it is because of his first hand involvement in it vs. being the original are far from the same thing. When an Italian movie has actors from various countries, the "original" dialogue of the script is just framework for something that takes on a life of its own depending on the actors + the people who are responsible for translating the dialogue for the actors. It's almost an organic creature :o

I agree with dave jenkins, Leone is way ahead of guys like Bertolucci(1900 English dub = :( ) and Corbucci when it comes to dubbing. Even the Bergman English dubs were terrible and he's the auteur of all auteurs :P Ever listen to the French version of OUATITW? TERRIBLE! Jack Wolff's lines sound like they were recorded in a portable toilet.

Leone could also intend for a movie to be a certain way to another country, too. You could even say OUATIA's "original" version was Italian because the script was Italian, but the result was determined by the fellow who translated the script and eventually the people responsible for the dub in other languages. An "original version that the movie was intended to be" is a myth, buddy!


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: titoli on February 28, 2006, 11:04:23 AM
The problem is whether we intend Leone to be an author or a hack. I think he was an author, so he wanted to have control of any aspect of his work and dialogues were just after images and actors. How could he have any control on english language if he didn't speak it at all (I don't believe he could catch subtleties in the english adaptations of Knox, about whose renditions I'm not over-enthusiastic, judging from FADM and GBU). And in any case, it is sufficient to compare any italian version with the english one to understand the control behind the first completely absent from the second. You argue that Knox' versions are better than those made for other movies. Good. The merit goes to Leone and to those who saw behind his movies potential blockbusters (which they were, at least partially)  : nobody in USA could see money earning potential and care about a good  Bergman or Bertolucci. The fact that you tell me the french version is awful confirms how much he cared about the foreign versions of his movies.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: dave jenkins on February 28, 2006, 11:28:17 PM
1.The problem is whether we intend Leone to be an author or a hack.

2.And in any case, it is sufficient to compare any italian version with the english one to understand the control behind the first completely absent from the second.

3.The fact that you tell me the french version is awful confirms how much he cared about the foreign versions of his movies.
1.Why must we choose between "hack" and "author"? Isn't it possible that Leone was neither hack nor author, yet still responsible for bringing the world some of the greatest movies ever made?

2.Also, even if we grant that the Italian versions of the films are products of Leone's "control" and other versions are the result of the complete absence of control (whatever that means), how does that signify? Maybe the absence of control is exactly what was required to make, for example, the English-language versions as good as they are. Perhaps "control" works well in Italian, but not in English. Anyway, we have SL English films that are great. Let's suppose that the Italian versions are great too. Is it necessary for one version to be better than another? I say tomato and you say la tomatina (maybe that's Spanish; you take my meaning).

3. The fact that the French language version in one particular case is bad doesn't mean all non-Italian versions are bad. (Actaully, I recall people on this board liking the French dub of OUATITW). We need to examine every version on its merits.

Titoli, I'm sure the Italian versions of Leone films are excellent, and I would love to learn more about them, but that doesn't change the fact that the English language films have critical and popular reception histories of their own and can be admired without reference to the Italian versions.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: titoli on March 01, 2006, 05:06:43 AM
Dave, we are not discussing whether this or that foreign version of the movie is excellent or not, we are discussing whether the italian versions are the "Ur-text" (sorry to have to write this german expression) on which to base any critic of Leone's work. If he's a hack, you don't mind. If he isn't, then, to understand what his "poetics" are, you have to take into consideration the only one on which he could have (and actually had) control. I could tell you that many (most?) italian versions of foreign movies are probably better than the originals, a work unfinitely better than that made by Knox for Leone. Still I wouldn't make a serious consideration of the director's work without having the original version at hand. This has been made possible by DVD, where the subtitles allow you not to lose a word. This is also why I wouldn't ever try to make a serious critic of films coming from places whose language I don't understand. I never feel at ease watching japanese movies because, in spite of Japan being probably the non western country more near to us, I can't relate to it the way I can with western world movies. So I just watch them but I wouldn't even dream of writing something worth of consideration about them.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: dave jenkins on March 01, 2006, 05:35:48 PM
The Ur-text of a film is its visuals: photographic compositions in montage. Pure cinema does not rely on dialogue to tell its story or announce its themes. Even the music in a film is more important than what the actors say to one another. Cinema is not filmed theater. Words are always of lesser importance in cinema, and this is particularly true of the genre we call Sergio Leone.

Also, it IS possible to comment on the films of other countries even when you do not know the language, if the films are sufficiently cinematic to begin with. Are you telling me you can watch, say, a film by Kurosawa and remain unable to communicate anything intelligent about it? Leone didn't speak Japanese, and he had no such problem: in fact, he was probably Kurosawa's greatest interpreter. The reason is that Leone understood the universal language of images.



Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Craig on March 06, 2006, 08:58:26 PM
The Menu is in Japanese (of course) so I can't read the selections. I'm wondering what the choice on the bottom left is (3rd down on the left side)--when I press it my DVD freezes up. All the other selections work fine.

Anyone know?


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: dave jenkins on March 07, 2006, 09:01:13 PM
It plays the trailer. Too bad it's not working for you.

BTW, do you know about the easter egg? This was mentioned on another thread, but I'll repeat it here. On the right side of the menu you have selections for the audio, and below that whether you want the Japanese subtitles displayed or not. The audio has two options, English and Japanese. I can't remember which choice comes first, but you want to position the cursor on the second option from the top. Then move the cursor left until the gun Franco Nero is holding is highlighted. Press enter and you will get to view the shorter cut of the film, A Professional Gun. The longer cut is better, but it is kinda fun to have this other version included.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Craig on March 07, 2006, 09:10:07 PM
It plays the trailer. Too bad it's not working for you.

BTW, do you know about the easter egg? This was mentioned on another thread, but I'll repeat it here. On the right side of the menu you have selections for the audio, and below that whether you want the Japanese subtitles displayed or not. The audio has two options, English and Japanese. I can't remember which choice comes first, but you want to position the cursor on the second option from the top. Then move the cursor left until the gun Franco Nero is holding is highlighted. Press enter and you will get to view the shorter cut of the film, A Professional Gun. The longer cut is better, but it is kinda fun to have this other version included.

Yeah, I actually saw that somewhere on this board. I tried the easter egg and it works, but I really have no desire to see the same film cut to pieces. :P


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: mezcal on September 30, 2006, 11:59:45 AM
I just picked up the 'time in italy' set and the first thing i watched was companeros.
great story, great cast and great print
I've now seen django, navajo joe, hellbenders, great silence and companeros by corbucci.
Stylewise, unlike Leone, corbucci is all over the place, each film and story are wildly different.
The comedy element introduced in companeros worked very well, it may have been more down to the actors and their sparing, but i enjoyed it.
I'm intrigued to hear about 'the mercenary' now as i've read that companeros was basically a remake.
please let me know if its worth getting a copy.
As far as corbucci, i'd also be interested to hear if his other ess well known westerns and other films are worth seeing
thanks


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: The Peacemaker on September 30, 2006, 12:52:45 PM
The Mercenary came before Comapneros, so if anything, Companeros is a remake of The Mercenary.

I liked Companeros much more than The Mercenary. It's much more fun, even though it gets a bit too preachy about the " wonderful " revolution.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Silenzio on September 30, 2006, 01:54:04 PM
I have yet to see The Mercenary, but Compañeros was super great.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Sanjuro on September 30, 2006, 02:01:57 PM
"Companeros" is a fun movie. But when I compare it with "The Mercenary", I prefer latter. As an action-advernture film, I enjoy "Mercenary" more.  And as a film making, it's better constructed in my opinion. Also I prefer Morricone's music in this movie (sometimes I think the music is better than film itself too).  I especially like the duel scene in the climax of "Mercenary". Corbucci is trying to be as stylish as Leone.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Leone Admirer on September 30, 2006, 04:17:23 PM
I prefer Companeros a lot more but I find Jack's performance much more creepier in The Mercenary


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: dave jenkins on September 30, 2006, 05:30:38 PM
I think I like Companeros better also, but you really want both movies. Maximum Palance!


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: cigar joe on September 30, 2006, 06:31:00 PM
I like The Mercenary because its less comedic than Companeros, but they are both great.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: The Firecracker on September 30, 2006, 11:36:42 PM
Both films have their good moments and short comings.


"The Mercenary" mainly suffers from it's lack of flow in the first 15 minutes. However I think the entertainment value is more consistant than in "Companeros"
where things get a little draggy when Vasco and Yodlaf meet up with the Blonde saloon girl and plan to break Xantos out of the military prison.

Then again, "Companeros" seems far more polished then the sometimes sloppy "Mercenary". Mercenary goes on for 10 minutes too long and has several false endings while Companeros ends when it should.

Both are equally great films. I think that "Mercenary" takes the cake though (just barely).


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Banjo on October 01, 2006, 01:39:10 AM
The Mercenary is officially the best non-Leone sw on this forum:-

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=3014.45

 ;)




Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Sanjuro on October 01, 2006, 03:07:06 AM
The Mercenary is officially the best non-Leone sw on this forum:-

http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=3014.45

 ;)


Yay!!
(http://img520.imageshack.us/img520/810/pgzb0.jpg)


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Poggle on February 15, 2007, 01:03:19 AM
On the beginning General Garcia is there when Paco escapes his execution. Then when The Pollack arrives and everyone else is dead Garcia and the army arrives. What happened? Did he run away to return with the army? If he was chased away by Paco's men then why would they(Paco's gang) stay there?


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: cigar joe on February 15, 2007, 05:04:49 PM
Quote
If he was chased away by Paco's men then why would they(Paco's gang) stay there?

Didn't they stay there to get the silver from the mine?


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Banjo on May 25, 2007, 05:16:46 AM
Leone Admirers review from his SW Virgins Guide:-

The Mercenary

Corbucci gives us another Zapata Western if different to that of his earliers films. The humour that is prevalent in films like Companeros seems to be toned down quite a bit in The Mercenary but it still is prevalent, be it in small doses.
    The film is told in flash back by Kowalski, also known as the Pollack (Franco Nero). Kowalski is a mercenary for hire. He comes across Paco Roman (Tony Musante) who has taken over the mine that the Pollack has come to protect. At first there is mistrust between the two but when the mine is bombarded by Mexican soldiers, Paco agrees to pay Kowalski to become a member of his revolutionary tream. Meanwhile they are both hunted by Curly (Jack Palance) who wants revenge after the pair declothed him.
     The thing that first hits you in this film is how unlikeable Nero's character is. He is completely self serving, he humiliates and extorts the gang who is paying him and hardly ever seems to show any emotion. This is certainly the coldest character I have seen played by Nero but still there is something likable about him. His irreverant striking of the match on any bodypart he can find is rather funny. You also get the feeling that he just thinks that Paco is a simple bandit who doesn't really care about the revolution. At first that seems to be true as Paco seems talk about revolution as a throw away line.
       Paco is a lot like the character that Milian plays in Companeros except that Paco seems to admire Kowalski and most of the derogatory comments come from the Pollack rather then from both sides. I feel he is certainly different to Cuchillo in Sollima's Run Man Run as Milians character in that film is dragged into the revolution whilst Paco naively instigates it.
      Jack Palance's character is rather like a template for his role in the later Corbucci Zapata Companeros.
     All three actors in the film are brilliant with each endowing their character's with their own trates and personalities. Again Nero plays perhaps a prototype for the later Companeros but with less warmth. Musante is also excellent as Paco and seems like a more likably person then Milians character in Companeros. Palance is well, Palance. Brilliant as the creepy heavy.
    Corbucci's direction is mostly of a high quality. The film looks more like that of Leone's then Corbucci's usual fair. His sweeping vistas and use of close ups whilst reminiscant of the Leone style suit the purpose for this film. My only complaint maybe some of the editing which allowed for a jerky movement that at some points of the begining were a tiny bit disorientating. As noted before cinematography is top notch. The score by Morricone suited the film perfectly. The 'whistling' theme for Kowalski is again rather like that found in Companeros and must have laid a basis for Morricones and Corbucci's collaboartion for that later feature.
      Above all I recomend this film to fans of Corbucci spaghettis and Eurowesterns alike. Corbucci is known for being an director of mixed works but this is certainly one of his best and must be checked out.


A snippet from Arizona Colt

A PROFESSIONAL GUN was another Corbucci classic and since everyone here but me had seen it already there's no need to explain anything about it. Great action setpieces, classic morricone score, some strikingly photographed shots and good performances add up to a highly recommended disc. The source here was apparently a british tv station similar to TCM. The film was widescreen and in italian with subs. I'm assuming it's complete although the castration scene is not shown only the man being dragged away and screaming.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: mike siegel on June 23, 2007, 04:45:52 AM
As usual I enjoy the different opinions here. I try widen my horizon in understanding (in this case) why one would prefer COMPANEROS! to IL MERCENARIO. I do know that sometimes these decisions base on how and when one watches a film. A lowdown transfer in Pan-Scan or what have you can't be representative for any film meant to be seen on a widescreen.

I saw them both for the first time at a time, when one could catch these films for the last times in German theatres, the late 70's, early 90's. Back then I started my film studies and immediately disliked COMPANEROS. Sure, it's fun. So I disliked it on a high level so to speak. The PIGUIN'-theme is great, and VAMOS A MATAR COMPANEROS I still sing from time to time. Very catchy tune. Milian is always a winner (though I prefer him, when he's the lead like in CORRI,UOMO,CORRI or TEPEPA!.). But COMPANEROS was made at a time when Corbucci already lost interest in terms of making westerns. I have an interview, in which he even states that. And a buddy of mine worked with him later on and helped me understand the man a bit better. Because for me it was a big mystery when I started out to understand what happened to the man. I can understand why some of you do not like DJANGO, it's not a favorite of mine either. But it's such an important film in this genre, the only one that comes close to FISTFUL OF DOLLARS. Extremely popular in continental Europe. Anyway, his films were o.k. when he started out.

Then a miracle happened and he made IL GRANDE SILENZIO and IL MERCENARIO almost back-to-back in 1968. This brought the man a huge boost with the critics. And rightly so. SILENZIO still is one of the most important films of that era (western AND non-western), a truly original cinematic masterpiece, political but not preachy, uncompromising yet graping. Everything fell into place. IL MERCENARIO has such a high quality in terms of directing, writing, acting, photography, music (of course), composition and content. But it is in a way the complete opposite to SILENZIO. SILENZIO was merely a black & white film in color, 1:1,66 Format, dark, cold, serious, sad... IL MERCENARIO is so much alive. I don't know about the English dubbing but the German is notoriously good. Almost 1:1 to the Italian version. Very witty dialogue. Almost every line matches the one before or after perfectly, almost like a verbal dance.
The photography, as mentioned here, is OUTSTANDING. A couple of rough flaws here and there, but this is 'normal' for the genre. Even Leone wasn't perfect on that account (well, OUATITW may be flawless on that account).
The music is classic from it's start, one of Morricone's best-known ever. Tarantino used it for KILL BILL2. I love his films but hate the fact that he used Morricone music. In the US it might work, but over here we listen to those records for 30+ years. So I can't enjoy a 'new' scene without thinking of Kowalski or Navajo Joe...

IL MERCENARIO is next to SILENZIO my favorite non-Leone Italian western. When I saw it first at the age of 14 on that big screen of our local theatre, it blew me away. It fit my political views very well and Kowalski became next to Bogart my favorite cynic. Great stuff. The film has so many memorable scenes. And they're not based on other films, as so often in that genre. They're original. 
I didn't read Vincenzoni's name here. He is largely responsible for the quality of this film. He regarded GIU LA TESTA much higher, because he was so happy to write for Rod Steiger and James Coburn who were movie-heaven for him. IL MERCENARIO is different, but almost equally good & important. When it came out here in 69 audience appreciated it immediately. Students loved it, because of its sarcasm, wit on cynical view of the world (it deals with).

I make a break here before my PC crashes.

PICTURES:
I made my own DVD as the film won't be available here for years it seems:
(http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL1612/7186524/16445514/261434740.jpg)

Here are some frame shots from the gallery I made, which includes 120 images:

Here's the German double panel. The artwork ('2') refers to the title they first wanted to use here (THE DANGEROUS TWO or words to that effect)
(http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL1612/7186524/16445514/261434749.jpg)

Here's are various soundtrack records:
(http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL1612/7186524/16445514/261434748.jpg)


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: cigar joe on June 23, 2007, 03:00:46 PM
Great stuff Mike, I'm really curious about Corbucci also, and want to know what happened and what was up with "The Specialist", some parts of it were great others were ridiculous, (ie., the hippies, the castle in the bg as he rides off into the sunset, and the score which reminded me of something you'd here in a film about French/Italian Riviera jewel thieves) if you can shed more light on this it would be great.



Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: mike siegel on June 23, 2007, 04:15:39 PM
Companero,

where are you settled anyway? If we'd spend time in a bar, I'm sure we'd have a ball.   INSERT:

I did get a personal message recently, which I deleted by mistake before I checked the nameattached to it. Asked me whether PASSION & POETRY is playing in New Mexico or Texas. I'm sorry I didn't answer (by mistake). Actually it plays this June in Santa Fe! We tried to bring in guests(not me, to far away:)) like L.Q. or Ali who lives in NM, but I think nobody has time for attending...

Another one (I didn't delete) asked me about the MERCENARIO DVD, 'sorry, no English soundtrack. Only German. Next to the Italians, the German versions were the very best (dubbed). At that time at least. Since 10, 15 years it changed a little bit. The good old voices were replaced by lesser talent and also the distributors cut the budgets. I only tried English versions a couple of times and they were (for our standards) not very good. They sounded 'fake'. Southern accents that sounded put on to me. In Italy as well as in Germany they used real actors (like E.M.Salerno for Eastwood) who really supplied quality and made those films come alive.

CUT TO
Specialist.

Well Joe, there's this famous line by Corbucci. A journalist asked him in the 70's 'Aren't you ashamed of yourself, making bad films?' 'Yes I am, But when I'm cashing in my cheque, I'm not any longer..' he replied.

That happend after MERCENARIO. I do not really know why. We wouldn't find out if he was still alive. His secret so to speak. You know, making films is a very very though job. After PASSION & POETRY I was so exhausted (doing EVERYTHING), I made some minor films, 'hand for hire', and I really had trouble motivating myself. Everything came out o.k., but nothing more. Maybe he gave in in a way. I mean, to make a film is always a small miracle. To make an inspired gifted special film, that requires not only 100% on everybodies side (you have to make sure of), plus that amount of luck you desperately need (right material, right design etc.). It's very hard to explain. That extra thing is so important.
Funny, in a way that's why I posted here in the first place. MERCENARIO/COMPANEROS is one of the best examples.
Very similar films. Try to seek the differences and you know what I mean (I'm sure you know already). MERCENARIO just works, feels RIGHT. COMPANEROS has its moments, but it's not inspired. It was a commercial thing. GLI SPECIALISTI too.
Johnny Halliday? Pu uh. Mario Adorf told me how it came about that he was a one armed guy. He had trouble getting into his costume so he said 'Sergio, how about me not having a right arm at all?'.

I may write a bit confused right now. We just emptied a bottle of Jack Daniels discussing a project that might never surface. Anyway, I rather write here for half an hour than think of a good film that might collapse because of one stubborn money guy.

So Corbucci just didn't care (much) later on. Leone did. Always. Peckinpah did. Kubrick did. Dozens of others did. I love them all so much, because it IS difficult to fight for your film. From the beginning (Story, script, casting) to the production (getting in the can whatever you need) to the finish (your cut, music, distribution..).

From a certain time on Corbucci just 'made films'. I like his work with Terence Hill, but he has a big bonus with me, because he was like McQueen or Belmondo a big brother and hero in my adolescent years.

MERCENARIO rocks though. I wouldn't say Corbucci wasted his talent or sold-out. His choice. And he gave us SILENZIO and MERCENARIO (and DJANGO). The rest is fine by me.

I'd love to list what makes MERCENARIO so good and special and original. But it would be endless. If it would have been produced with the care for detail (and the same amount of money),as OUATITW, it would be an acknowledged Cinema classic today as well. But even without that it is a treasure of the genre. But don't compare it to Leone, boys. It is another style. When Kowalski enters the silver mine, the pace, the music, lighting his match at the hanged man's boot... When he demands to be paid by Paco while the bombshells get awfully near. Oh, so much more. 'like to do an audio-commentary on this one.

On this one (as on SILENZIO) he really knew were to put the camera. And brought the best of his cinematographers.
Later on it was 'just' filmed. Endless zooms and wild panning. The composition and the framing are excellent. And Nero never looked better. That strange beard, yet it fitted perfectly. His costume, cool. When I see STETSON, Gemma with his 70's Jeans and T-Shirt, or even in COMPANEROS some of the wardrobe... forget it.

CIGAR, my dear, I may delete this posting tomorrow once I sobered up :) !

more stills: English lobby card. French lobby card showing on of my favorite moments (boot).
Nero & Corbucci on the set.  ADIOS COMPANERO.
(http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL1612/7186524/16445514/261434737.jpg)
(http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL1612/7186524/16445514/261434746.jpg)
(http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL1612/7186524/16445514/261528425.jpg)


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: cigar joe on June 23, 2007, 06:09:59 PM
No don't delete, its all good stuff you provided. O0

Is Passion & Poetry ever going to play in New York?

The Mercenary is one of my favorite non Leone SW's, the dub I have is excellent, I have no problems with it, not like I do with Django's.

So let me pick your brain on another question I have, Franco Nero mentions that after Companeros he & Corbucci had a falling out, do you know what that was all about?


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: The Firecracker on June 24, 2007, 02:07:05 AM
I rate most of Corbucci's westerns very highly (haven't seen his final "THE WHITE, THE YELLOW AND THE BLACK). Never had a problem with "Gli Specialist". It grows on you.


Minnesota Clay-**1/2 out of 5
Johnny Oro-**** out of 5
Django-***** out of 5
Navajo Joe-**** out of 5
Hellbenders-**** out of 5
The Great Silence-***** out of 5
The Mercenary-***** out of 5
Companeros-****1/2 out of 5
The Specialist-**** out of 5
Sonny and Jed-*** out of 5
What am I doing in the middle of the revolution?-**** out of 5


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: cigar joe on June 24, 2007, 08:46:39 AM
Here is how I rate thoes I've seen.

Minnesota Clay-  not seen
Johnny Oro-  not seen
Django-*** out of 5
Navajo Joe-** out of 5
Hellbenders-**** out of 5
The Great Silence-***** out of 5
The Mercenary-***** out of 5
Companeros-****1/2 out of 5
The Specialist-** out of 5
Sonny and Jed-  not seen
What am I doing in the middle of the revolution?-  not seen


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: cigar joe on March 19, 2008, 09:09:13 PM
In case anybody's interested on Corbucci's take on a corrida duel between Franco Nero, Jack Palance, and Tony Musante, check out this youtube snippet (it's in Italian though)

La Arena:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=8PykHgkq8-Q&feature=related


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Ben Tyreen on August 18, 2008, 10:26:20 AM
 I posted this in the TCM schedule update yesterday, but in case people don't see that one, here it is again.

1:00am  Mercenary, The (1968)   
An idealistic patriot hires a gunman to lead the fight against a crooked mine-owner.
Cast: Jack Pallance, Franco Nero, Tony Musante. Dir: Sergio Corbucci. C-106 mins, TV-14 

And it's being shown in the all-important LETTERBOX! ;)


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: cigar joe on August 18, 2008, 07:24:44 PM
deinitely don't miss this one the DVDr I have is excellent O0


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: cigar joe on January 24, 2009, 04:23:02 PM

A review from our buddy Kermit.

Mercenary has lots of cynical comedy. as gung ho spaghetti western. Nero's in it for the money. Paco for Paco for the righteousness like in clint and col. Mortimer. Music fits perfectly with the movie. Jack "Curley" Palance just might be a lil gay, lol.

Corbucci really likes explotions,.lol

Nero and machine gun go together like noodles and spaghetti sause, lol
solid protagenious, creepy bad guy, a classic. although , at times Corbucci comes close he maintains his own idenity.
Not chalenging leone but offering us a different slant. very different, lol



Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Novecento on June 28, 2009, 11:57:28 AM
A snippet from Arizona Colt

... The film was widescreen and in italian with subs. I'm assuming it's complete although the castration scene is not shown only the man being dragged away and screaming.

Alex Cox mentions that Marco Giusti claims to have seen this scene but that it was omitted from the International print; it is certainly not included on my Japanese R2 release which I had thought was complete.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: stanton on June 29, 2009, 01:58:38 AM
I doubt that this scene was ever included in any theatrical version.

The Japanese disc is believed to be uncut.

The Koch Media DVD is announced for fall.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Dust Devil on August 12, 2009, 11:27:26 AM

Il mercenario (1968) - 8/10

Still great. Sits right after Leone's SWs and Il grande silenzio.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Groggy on September 18, 2009, 06:50:42 PM
Pretty good film. Storywise a very typical Zapata plot but very well-executed, with good shootouts/battle scenes and a lot of neat style flourishes by Corbucci. I thought Palance was rather underused though. 7-ish/10


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Groggy on September 19, 2009, 10:54:41 AM
Da Grog Blog, he say:

Quote
A Professional Gun (aka The Mercenary) is a fairly subdued film by Corbucci's usual standards; compared to the comic book grotesquery of Django (1966) and sadistic nihilism of The Great Silence (1968) it's downright subtle. It's a colorful, action-filled "Zapata Western" with little original in the way of plot or characterization, but the execution makes it an entertaining film.

Mexico is on the verge of revolution, and a group of silver miners revolt against their oppressive overseers. The desperate mine bosses hire Sergei Kowalski (Franco Nero), a Polish gun-for-hire, to transport silver north to America, but Kowalski finds himself reluctantly siding with the miners, led by Paco (Tony Musante). Local tough Curly (Jack Palance) and his gang of henchmen team up with Federales to try and kill Paco, who has gone from uneducated peasant to revolutionary hero; but even as the final showdown nears, Kowalski's loyalty is always in question.

Take an ignorant Mexican peon, a shady foreign mercenary with ulterior motives, throw them in the middle of the Mexican Revolution of 1913, let the sparks, bullets and double-crosses fly, and you've got the model for the so-called "Zapata Western". Damiano Damiani's atrocious A Bullet for the General (1966), inexplicably considered among the genre's best works, was the main basis for this subgenre; as most early Spaghettis shamelessly plagarized Leone's A Fistful of Dollars (1964), so filmmakers flocked to Damiani's banner, mixing bloody mayhem with sophomoric left-wing politics ("Divide the bread equally!") in a series of derivative films. Leone himself would critique this sub-subgenre pointedly in Duck, You Sucker!, mocking the sophomoric Marxism which pervaded these films with a nihilistic depiction of Revolution. In A Professional Gun, however, the politics aren't what matters; the movie's primary goal is blood-splattered, shoot-'em-up entertainment. On this level, Corbucci undoubtedly delivers.

The movie's plot is pretty much standard Zapata fare, but Corbucci executes it with breezy, stylish confidence. The movie has the usual broadly drawn characters, head-turning betrayals and paper-thin plot inimical to the genre. As usual, modern technology - machine-guns, airplanes, artillery - are used to ratchet up the body count to Sam Peckinpah levels. Such politics as the film displays aren't really worth discussion; it's crude Marxism at its most basic. One shouldn't come to this film for an insightful political polemic, but rather a lot of fast-paced shoot-'em-ups.

Corbucci handles the action scenes with his usual flare, and fills the film with his usual grotesque touches: people eating live lizards and a pair of dice, a pitchfork murder, a duel in a bullfighting arena, a carnation spurting blood. Ennio Morricone contributes a lively Mexican-flavored score - not his best work, but memorable nonetheless. The cast is pretty good: Franco Nero is at his stoic best, and Tony Musante does a nice job with the layered character of Paco. Jack Palance is flamboyantly over-the-top as the villainous Curly, though he suffers from relative lack of screen time. Giovanna Ralli is fiery and gorgeous as Paco's love interest.

A Professional Gun is an entertaining, colorful Western that's certainly worth a look. Like most Spaghettis though, it's lacking that special something to make it a truly great film.

http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2009/09/spaghetti-western-double-shot.html (http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2009/09/spaghetti-western-double-shot.html)


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Novecento on September 19, 2009, 12:54:34 PM
New French release with English audio: http://testdvd.westernmovies.fr/testdvd.php?i=183


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: cigar joe on September 20, 2009, 03:16:57 AM
Da Grog Blog, he say:

http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2009/09/spaghetti-western-double-shot.html (http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2009/09/spaghetti-western-double-shot.html)

You didn't mention the soundtrack. You also should give it a proper screening at least on a wide screen TV rather than on Youtube.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Groggy on September 21, 2009, 09:30:35 PM
Quote
Ennio Morricone contributes a lively Mexican-flavored score - not his best work, but memorable nonetheless.

 ::)

I watched Face to Face on YouTube, not APG.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: cigar joe on September 22, 2009, 04:11:29 AM
Sorry didn't see it, I stand corrected,  it but of all the Morricone scores this one is one of the few that is akin to OUTITW in that contains leitmotifs for each character ( Sollima's Run Man Run also does) there may be another but I can't recall it off the top of my head.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Groggy on September 22, 2009, 11:04:09 AM
I liked the whistling theme for Kowalski but the rest of the score was good if unremarkable.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Novecento on February 14, 2010, 03:21:31 AM
Just ordered the new Koch disc to replace my old SPO one. It kind of pained me to do so actually as am still very fond of my old original Japanese disc.

In any case, I'm really looking forward to the remastered anamorphic image and all the extra features with Mike Siegel's subs.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: mike siegel on April 14, 2010, 04:41:19 AM
'got my first MERCENARIO photobustas today. Too late for the recent DVD release, but here they are anyway:

Busta unrestored / bustas restored / 2-foglio poster (100x140cm):

(http://i953.photobucket.com/albums/ae15/peckinpah69/DSC03644.jpg)(http://i953.photobucket.com/albums/ae15/peckinpah69/DSC03649.jpg)(http://i953.photobucket.com/albums/ae15/peckinpah69/DSC03648.jpg)


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: cigar joe on April 14, 2010, 05:06:12 AM
nice Mike O0


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: dave jenkins on April 14, 2010, 11:07:15 AM
Yeah, that last one-sheet is very Kirby-esque!


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: cigar joe on July 09, 2011, 07:46:45 AM
Watched Il Mercenario  the other day I haven't seen it for a couple of years and was all over again impressed with Corbucci's accomplishment. Its the Corbucci equivalent of GBU.

Quick thoughts:

This go round I payed more attention to the the Columba and Curly characters and to the action sequences.  Reassessing Columba (Giovanna Ralli), she is practically the 4th main character and a catalyst to much of the Paco-Polack rivalry, she could have used a bit more screen time.

Palance's Curly is sort of a foppish border town gangster, owner of a gambling hall, surrounded by equally foppish henchmen, his over-reaction to Sebastian's death hints of gay overtones.

Corbucci really excels in his action sequences, all in all its very entertaining "Zapata".


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on September 14, 2011, 06:46:40 PM
just saw The Mercenary for the first time -- with many thanks to cigar joe  O0

A few thoughts: (and I should mention that I didn't have time to read all 7 pages on this thread before posting this, so my apologies if I am repeating anything that has already been discussed here).

This is the first non-Leone SW I have ever seen (actually I saw the first half of The Big Gundown before the dvd crapped out, so I should more accurately say that this is the first full SW I have ever seen  ;) ). Some of you have written here comparing it to other SW's, but since I haven't seen any, I am taking it on its own  :)

From reading these boards (and Frayling's writings), I've gathered that the SW's were pretty outlandish, and this movie sure didn't disappoint in that regard! It was basically saying, "I'll take your Leone, and raise you ten thousand!" Just as Leone had taken the AW and upped the ante tenfold, this film was taking Leone and doing the same thing. So many Leone gags were copied here and multiplied, which will be recognized instantly by the Leone fan. I don't know if they were taken as an overt reference to the Leone films (as Leone did to the AW in OUATITW), or if they were just plain plagiarized. (Even the opening credits are eerily similar to GBU's!)

But they sure were funny as hell! I thoroughly enjoyed this film, from the first minute to the last. Not a moment was wasted!




-- The woman who dubbed the voice for the lead female is definitely the same one who dubbed Claudia Cardinale's in OUATITW...

Two criticisms I have:

-- I absolutely could not stand Nero's voice. I understand (thanks to cj  O0) that he dubbed his own voice in English. Well it was terrible. He basically spoke in a monotone at all times. Generally, IMO the actor's real voice should be used whenever possible. But in this case, while Nero obviously knew English, it's clear that he could not speak it in the same tone as one would ordinarily speak, ie. he could only read it in a monotone. I have never heard him speaking Italian, but I'd guess that he did not speak Italian in the same monotone.

And I am not sure whether his character was supposed to be actually Polish, or an American of Polish descent. But either way, his was accent was in no way Polish or American. Not sure how a Polish or Polish/American man would develop a Mediterranean accent  ;D So they probably should have used a different person to dub his voice, just as Leone used some other woman to dub Cardinale's voice in OUATITW, even though Claudia did know English.

-- I know they want international casts with American stars, but I wish they'd actually use Mexican-looking people (with Mexican accents!) for the Mexican characters. I mean, Musante delivered a wonderful performance, but neither his looks nor his accent are anything close to passable for a Mexican. This issue is certainly not exclusive to this film...

Anyway, those 2 criticisms are relatively minor, of course. The film is awesome  O0 O0

One thing I would like to add: While I understand that many of the SW filmmakers were ardent Leftists, I REALLY LOVED  how this film is very careful -- even in the midst of outlandish stuff -- to emphasize that the idealism of revolution is in fact bullshit. The poor guy wants to rob the banks, so he calls it a "revolution."Also, I wonder if Juan's "Don't Tell Me About Revolution" speech in DYS had anything to do with Nero's character's very thoughtful head-ass speech  ;D


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: stanton on September 15, 2011, 05:40:35 AM
Glad you liked it. One of the 5 best SWs for me.

Nero's Italian voice was dubbed by someone else, and is very different from his original voice. The German version used a voice similar to the Italian one, and I think both sound indeed much better than Nero's own voice.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: cigar joe on September 15, 2011, 06:02:03 AM
For me his English was acceptable I just took it as a generic European Accent.  O0


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on September 15, 2011, 11:06:44 AM
For me his English was acceptable I just took it as a generic European Accent.  O0

I never heard of a "generic European accent"  ;D


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: dave jenkins on October 08, 2016, 09:20:47 AM
88 Films brings this to Blu at the end of January 2017.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Spikeopath on September 23, 2017, 11:07:08 AM
Well I took a gamble and ordered in both this and Companeros from Germany. Having just watched The Mercenary it's already money well spent, I frickin loved it.

Review pending.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Spikeopath on September 24, 2017, 02:46:21 AM
You play by the rules you lose!

Il mercenario (The Mercenary) is directed by Sergio Corbucci and Corbucci co-writes the screenplay with Luciano Vincenzoni, Sergio Spina and Adriano Bolzoni. It stars Franco Nero, Tony Musante, Jacl Palance and Giovanna Ralli. Music is by Ennio Morricone and Bruno Nicolai, with cinematography by Alejandro Ulloa.

It's the Mexican Revolution and Sergei "Polack" Kowalski (Nero) is a gun for hire. Hired by revolutionary Paco Roman (Musante), Kowalski muses on all the scrapes they got into before bringing the story to a present day resolution...

A Technicolor/Techniscope production, Corbucci's Zapata Western is a barnstormer full of political bents, wry humour and searing action. With beautiful Spanish vistas prominent and a musical score that's like a spicy jumping bean, story holds court from beginning to end. Essentially at it's heart it's a buddy buddy piece, though these buddies are hardly what you would call rock solid. Into the mix comes the gorgeous Ralli to add the sauce, whilst as Paco and Kowalski take on the Government and its Army, they also have to contend with Curly (Palance), a camp sadistic dandy with revenge on his mind.

Corbucci has a great eye for action, there's reams of gun fire, with machine guns, artillery and even a plane laying waste to bone and buildings, and usually the cruelty and carnage on show is done with a glint in the eye (milk and dice drink/grenade in mouth), and splendidly so. It's so deft that often a scene is being played out and on the side there is an execution going on, casually unfurled as matter of fact. There's also religious fervour cheekily in place, with Paco's army the Apostles and Polack their Jesus, so it's no surprise that religious imagery is placed within.

Corbucci also likes to let his camera talk. Standard Pasta Western traits operate, such as close ups of the eyes, roving tracking shots, angled up tilts and glides. He also gets lucky with the weather for one shot, capturing a natural rainbow amid some more furious character action. Cast are doing sterling work. Nero is cool supreme, with awesome face fuzz and casually striking matches on various things, Nero proves to be a fine action hero and it's so easy to buy into his character. Musante is also excellent, giving Paco an earnestness that's beguiling, he's a lovable rogue, at times bumbling but utterly heroic within the revolutionary arc. While Palance, though not in it as much as you would think, is giving Curly a most intriguing persona, confusing sexuality and religious alibi.

From a bullring circus opening featuring midget clowns, to a glorious clifftop turkey shoot finale, there is nary a dull moment in the pic. Top dollar Pasta Oater. 8.5/10

German DVD - Region 2 (Gorgeous Print)


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: dave jenkins on October 25, 2017, 07:10:03 AM
http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film6/blu-ray_reviews_79/the_mercenary_blu-ray.htm


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Novecento on October 25, 2017, 11:36:49 AM
Alex Cox commentary to boot  :)

Such an entertaining flick...


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: stanton on October 25, 2017, 02:43:41 PM
I have no idea why of all people Cox made an audio commentary for Il medrceanrio. He does not like the film, actually I think he does not even understand Il mercenario. And the least thing this highly underrated film needs are comments by an anti-connoisseur.


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: mike siegel on October 25, 2017, 03:37:09 PM
I would have loved to do it :).
At least I added two animated galleries I produced...


Title: Re: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)
Post by: Novecento on October 25, 2017, 05:25:28 PM
I have no idea why of all people Cox made an audio commentary for Il medrceanrio. He does not like the film, actually I think he does not even understand Il mercenario. And the least thing this highly underrated film needs are comments by an anti-connoisseur.

I've always enjoyed his opinions regardless of whether I agree or not. I'm looking forward to it.

I would have loved to do it :).
At least I added two animated galleries I produced...

That would also have been a very welcome addition too.