Sergio Leone Web Board

Films of Sergio Leone => Other Films => Topic started by: cigar joe on September 26, 2004, 09:17:43 PM



Title: Keoma (1976)
Post by: cigar joe on September 26, 2004, 09:17:43 PM
Well, finally saw this little gem of a SW, I got a replacement copy from Anchor Bay finnaly.

I liked it a lot, its good, its very good, its innovative, different and yet familiar and homages Peckinpaw style also. Franco Nero's and Castellari's masterpiece western.

Ok, it takes place post Civil War in a high elevation mining town Skidoo City struck by the palgue and taken over by a ruthless town boss who carts the sick off to die. Keoma a half breed returns to his home town and disrupts the status quo with violent results.

Keoma is kick ass, Woody Strode plays his cildhood mentor now town drunk who helps in the final clean up. The action sequences are well done, slow mo references the "Wild Bunch" ballet of death shots the innovative flash backs are done well. The special effects are great. It will be familiar to Leone fans because it has a Leone look compliments of the very realistic sets of Giancarlo Simi. It looks exactly like a lot of the old western mining ghost towns that I've been too with deleterious mining equipment strewn all over the place. Its all very believeable. It will remind Eastwood fans of Unforgiven.

Now the music, its not Morricone, but its not as bad as some have described it, I was expecting nails scratching against a blackboard, its female and male vocals accompanied by folky sounding music in fact the female reminded me of Joni Mitchell's style of singing (dating myself here, lol) and the male is Leonard Cohen sounding,

This should be part of any SW collection.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: leonefan on September 26, 2004, 10:23:26 PM
I saw it a couple of weeks ago, thank god for the fastforward button on my remote.  Total trash.  Gotta love the lame dialogue like when Keoma calls his so called "childhood idol" (Woody Strode) the N-word then appologizes.  It tries to be so artistic yet falls flat on its face.  Don't even get me started on the music, if you can call it that.  


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: cigar joe on September 27, 2004, 05:41:06 AM
I'm sorry my friend but I beg to disagree, I'm a pretty hard to please critic of all westerns, there are 100's of worse SW's out there, this one was different and passed my test.

Basically if its not Leone, I'm looking for a believeable story, and this story has to fit within the mythologic west that Leone created, which it does, believable sets, good camera work, good action  & actors and the dubbing well syncronized.

Its artistic but in a different way than Leone its a beautiful print, I say rent it if you can find it buy it if you can.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: spag fan on September 27, 2004, 06:43:07 AM
I guess if you can stand the soundtrack determines whether you like Keoma or not. I hated it. I wanted to like it, but that soundtrack....  :P


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: cigar joe on September 28, 2004, 04:25:01 AM
Well I guess you just had to be living about that time, a lot of popular counter culture folky music sounded exactly like that.  For me its a time travel way back machine to a different time late 60's to mid 70's. Probably what Rap soundtracks are gonna sound like 30 years from now.

Lol, I was thinking to myself who the female voice sounded like the most and I think I settled on a tie between Joni Mitchell and Tiny Tim!

Artists, groups, and performers the likes of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Phill Ochs, Dave Van Ronk, The Band, sounded very much like this sound track.

There was a pop song by Lee Hazelwood & Nancy Sinatra called "Some Velvet Morning" that had answering male /female vocals very similar to Keoma's soundtrack.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: spag fan on September 28, 2004, 07:16:54 AM
Tiny Tim! ;D You nailed it CJ!

Actually, I'm a big fan of 60's and 70's music, but never really cared for the voices of Leonard Cohen or Bob Dylan, or for that matter, Janis Joplin. It's the particular quality of shrillness and the overuse of the female voice in Keoma that ruins it for me. When the male voice comes in, it sounds downright cartoonish to me, but at least it's a break from her!

After seeing Keoma, I bought "Mannaja: A Man Called Blade" not realizing it had a vocal soundtrack by the same composers as Keoma. When I found out, I was really bummed, but as it turned out, I actually liked it and preferred it to Keoma. Maybe Keoma primed me for it! That, and it didn't have the female voice at least!

Vocal soundtracks are a tricky thing. Music is very subjective and with the addition of vocals only becomes more subjective. For example, lot's of people complain about the soundtrack for "Four of The Apocalypse". I liked that one quite a bit myself as it sounded a bit like Bread meats Pink Floyd meats Simon & Garfunkel, which is more my speed!

I myself am a musician, and I really focus on music no matter where I am. If I'm in a restaurant that's playing music I don't like, I can't ignore it and enjoy the dining experience like many of my non-musician friends. It's kind of a curse really! Otherwise, I may have really enjoyed Keoma.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: grandpa_chum on September 28, 2004, 09:14:20 AM
i agree completely CJ... i think it's one of the very best SW's out there... and personally i don't mind the music... it gives it a different feel than anything i've seen before and it's a very different story... not the usual adventure then a big shootout at the end like so many other SW's.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: redyred on September 28, 2004, 10:10:03 AM
I think Keoma does overdo the cinematic techniques a bit. I mean, the 20th time you've seen a guy die in slow motion its lost all impact.

As far as the music goes, I thought the lyrics were probably the worst thing, especially when the male voice first comes in when Keoma confronts his brothers and it's all "oh papa why do they hate me so?".


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: DJIMBO on September 28, 2004, 11:34:48 AM
sounds like this is one of those love-hate films like Django - which some people are obsessed by but i think is utter shite. Heard some good and bad things about Keoma.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: redyred on September 28, 2004, 12:24:39 PM
I loved it the first time I saw it, the second time I thought it was ok but it pissed me off in quite a few places


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: grandpa_chum on September 28, 2004, 02:31:22 PM
i think djimbo is right... i've heard great things about django but i still hate it... and i've heard some bad things about keoma but i still love it


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Nobody on September 29, 2004, 06:27:00 AM
Keoma is easily one of my favourite non-Leone SW. But then again, I didn't have any problem with the soundtrack. Spag Fan's theory may be correct.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: rddesq on October 01, 2004, 11:00:08 AM
Keoma is in my opinion one of the top 5 non-leone Spag. Westerns.  Django and Django Kill don't even belong in the top 15.   I really like Keoma and not counting Leone's movies it is the Spag. Western I have watched more than any other.  I found the music haunting particularly the female vocale singing "keoma".  


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Two Kinds of ... on October 23, 2004, 02:59:30 PM
I have it but have only watched it once.  It didn't make a hug impression.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: grandpa_chum on October 23, 2004, 04:43:16 PM
I have it but have only watched it once.  It didn't make a hug impression.

then i suggest you watch it again... truly a masterpiece.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: cigar joe on October 23, 2004, 06:35:59 PM
The whole bar sequence near the beginning is great.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: indio on January 06, 2005, 11:47:14 AM
i saw Keoma last week for the first time and totally fallen in love with the movie.
Franco Nero is and looks fantastic. The visual way the director ises flashbacks, the father and son relationship, the fact that only keoma can see and speak to death and he gives death life at the end! i love the brothers shoot out useing the sound of the woman screaming instead of gunshots.
its great to see a film this fresh at the end of a genre.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: grandpa_chum on January 19, 2005, 08:51:12 AM
i was watching the keoma commentary last night and castellari mentioned that he was working on getting a western into production directed by him and starring franco nero and an "interesting" american cast... can't find any info on it... but it sounds really interesting... you guys want your true spaghetti western, this may be it.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: cigar joe on January 19, 2005, 04:53:19 PM
Yea I remember that, wonder when the commentary was recorded?


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: grandpa_chum on January 19, 2005, 07:00:13 PM
Sometime between 2003 and the release in 2004... they talk of a screening in london that happened in 2003... i just wish there was some info on it somewhere... they way he talked about it, it seemed as though there is a little more than just an idea... sounds like they have some of the legwork done.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Leonardo on January 20, 2005, 06:26:16 AM
Sometime between 2003 and the release in 2004... they talk of a screening in london that happened in 2003... i just wish there was some info on it somewhere... they way he talked about it, it seemed as though there is a little more than just an idea... sounds like they have some of the legwork done.
Grandpa, I've just read an interview in italian with Enzo Castellari dated November 30, 2004, so fairly recent.
He confirms that he will start shooting a western  in Almeria, Spain in spring 2005. The title should be "The angel, the brute and the sage", the title according to him was selected by Mickey Rourke who is supposed to star in it. Enzo Castellari wanted to call it "The Badlanders".
Also Floyd "Redcrow" Westerman (he was in Dance with wolves and Hidalgo) will be in it. The movie will be dedicated to both John Huston and Sergio Leone.
Cameo roles by Mel Brooks (strange...) and Quentin Tarantino (which makes more sense, as QT likes Castellari's work). There is a brief outline of the plot in this interview, but I will not spoil the movie.
Guess the movie will be ready by the end of this year.



Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Sentenza on January 20, 2005, 09:07:43 AM
Grandpa & Leonardo, thanks a lot for sharing this interesting bit of information!  :)

But for heaven's sake, Rourke and Tarantino?! Ugh! >:( :-X


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: grandpa_chum on January 20, 2005, 10:42:38 AM
any word on Nero being a part of it? I can't see enzo doing it without him


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Danny on January 20, 2005, 10:44:19 AM
Anyone know where this movie was shot?
Saw a preview yesterday and the area looks a bit like the Tabernas dessert, Spain, the same place of the Dollars trilogy and OUAITW.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: indio on January 20, 2005, 03:18:47 PM
i havn't got a clue but i have to agree with Joe i LOVE this movie it has everything i want as a film. Franco Nero is the man is this!!


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: cigar joe on January 20, 2005, 05:06:36 PM
This was shot all in Italy believe it or not.

No big budget money anymore for Spanish desert locations in 1976.

There is a high alpine area in the Appenines (the central mountain range that runs down the "boot") that's dry and looks very much like the northern plains along the Rocky Mountain Front. One of the commetaries mentions exactly where it is.

The interiors were at Elios Studios in Rome I believe.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Leonardo on January 21, 2005, 02:53:28 PM
any word on Nero being a part of it? I can't see enzo doing it without him
No, unfortunately he isn't mentioned at all in that interview, so I guess he wont be starring in this movie.
Pity, I kinda like him and he was great in Keoma.
Incidentally, I've just heard Franco Nero talking on the italian radio today: his voice sounds pretty old, gasping for breath like somebody smoking 60 cigarettes a day...


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Danny on January 23, 2005, 11:58:44 PM
Saw it yesterday, great movie. It was a double DVD from Franco Nero. So I still have "Texas Adios" to go. I hope it is great also. I'll let you all know ;)


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: indio on January 24, 2005, 12:35:50 AM
i have that dvd, and adios is not as good.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: cigar joe on January 24, 2005, 04:14:08 AM
Thats what I heard about Texas Adios too. They can't all be great ones,  ;)


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: grandpa_chum on January 24, 2005, 09:59:08 AM
I'm still holding out hope that he's in it in some way, maybe not starring but...


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Danny on February 15, 2005, 06:48:36 AM
i have that dvd, and adios is not as good.

Yes, you're right. Saw it sundaynight, it's not even close to Keoma.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: pixelated on March 03, 2005, 01:51:17 PM
this film is beautiful. i even expected to hate it when i skimmed through it before watching, because it looked cheesy. but it is directed extremely well. i agree that the slow motion shots were overused, but that's the only drawback to the directing for me.. filled with artistic shots, constant pans, and interesting scenes..

i gotta say, i do hate that music though.. i love the movie so much im tempted to edit a new soundtrack into it.. ha... but it also makes it kinda funny i guess..

if you're not feelin keoma, you probably dont have a taste for cinematic qualities... i guess if i was just looking for a good movie, i probably wouldnt appreciate it all that much.. but i think its brilliantly done.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: cigar joe on March 03, 2005, 09:30:57 PM
Hey pixelated, would it be possible to edit out just the vocals of the score and leave the music?


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: pixelated on March 03, 2005, 11:44:28 PM
well, generally editing out vocals doesnt work all that great unless they arent too dominant in the mix.. which these vocals definitely are... hah

but there are some moments where there is music with no vocals, some of its not all that bad... could use those and also could do some cut ups of the sections with vocals and then make a new vocal-less soundtrack out of the original music.. but i dont think you could ever have all of the original songs/song without the vocals.


i think this movie would be waaaay better if you didnt have to listen to that woman or man... geez.. soooo bad.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: indio on March 04, 2005, 01:05:32 AM
the woman is death singing to keoma, the man from what i've read is Franco Nero. the music tells the story .
i thought it was really bad when i first heard it but it strangly grows on you, when his father is killed it works really well.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: pixelated on March 04, 2005, 01:19:00 AM
i did notice that the music worked well with the story at certain points. the singing itself is just so horrible though... its hard to get past it for the most part.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: cigar joe on March 04, 2005, 04:34:45 AM
They were trying to copy Leonard Cohen in "McCabe & Mrs. Miller". (much better)


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: redyred on March 04, 2005, 11:37:15 AM
Keoma is actually my least favourite SW.

I did a review of it on IMDb a while back - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074740/usercomments-13


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: pixelated on March 04, 2005, 12:27:37 PM
Keoma is actually my least favourite SW.

I did a review of it on IMDb a while back - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074740/usercomments-13

i thought the directing techniques were used very well. i agree on the slow motion shots, way overused and not even use properly in my opinion- but camera angles/different point of view shots, the pans, and the flashbacks.. loved em all.

the dialogue did also leave something to be desired, but i wrote it off as a bad dubb since i saw the english version.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: spag fan on March 04, 2005, 02:26:35 PM
My take on it:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074740/usercomments-11


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: pixelated on March 04, 2005, 02:47:38 PM
i agree... but you cant judge a film by its music alone! the score compliments the movie, not makes it(imo)

how about a review for the movie instead of the soundtrack?  ;)


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: cigar joe on March 04, 2005, 04:22:58 PM
Quote
Keoma is actually my least favourite SW.

Oh come on, you must never have seen Captain Apache, lol.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: spag fan on March 05, 2005, 06:16:22 AM
i agree... but you cant judge a film by its music alone! the score compliments the movie, not makes it(imo)

how about a review for the movie instead of the soundtrack?  ;)

To me, there is no movie as long as that soundtracks playing! ;D


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: indio on March 06, 2005, 01:24:53 AM
oh come on!!! all together now...
KEEEEEOOOOMMMMMMAAAAAAA...


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Banjo on December 31, 2005, 02:54:46 AM
Don't forget guys in the UK that Keoma is on at 11.15pm New Years Day which is late enough for eveyone to get over their hangovers tommorow!!
I think from Monday everyone should start lobbying ITV4 like mad for more,to make sure we don't have to wait another 25 years for a sw season!!


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: indio on January 01, 2006, 02:12:33 AM
i've been doing that and i will keep on until they do it.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Christopher on January 01, 2006, 03:33:43 PM
I liked Keoma a lot too. I watched the interview with Franco Nero and he says it's one of his favorites, which is understandable, even though I haven't seen a lot of Nero movies yet.

I can see how Mannaja could have been influenced by this movie, but I'm not sure if the makers could have seen this movie before starting Mannaja. I would rate both movies high, though. I hadn't noticed that the music was done by the same guys as Mannaja until I was watching that interview with Nero on the Keoma disc. I don't mind the music in the movie, though at times I guess it doesn't sound so great to me. But I can listen to just about anything, so it didn't bother me or interupt my enjoyment of the movie.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: lemonkey on January 01, 2006, 04:02:55 PM
Errr .... is it. Really ..... Hmmmm

Why did they show clips of Django when advertising the series of films, because I don't actually remember ITV4 showing it.

Damn thought they might of put on the Great Silence.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Banjo on January 02, 2006, 02:19:26 AM
Lemonkey,Django was the first sw itv4 showed out of a total season of nine.
Perhaps we can get itv4 to show Great Silence in the next sw season if we can all rally together and email itv4 enough times!


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: lemonkey on January 02, 2006, 04:10:52 AM
Thanks Banjo.

Right Ok.... must have missed Django. Good job I already have it on DVD.

So from what I remember this is what ITV4 have shown.

Django
Django Kill
Vengeance
My Name Is Trinity
My Name is Nobody
Texas Adios
Bullet for the General
The Big Gundown
Keoma

Thanks ITV4 would have never seen some of these classics otherwise.

Hopefully if there is a next time they could show The Great Silence, Red Sun, the Sabata Trilogy, Run Man Run, A Man called Blade and Let's Go & Kill, Comrades.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: The Smoker on January 02, 2006, 07:47:10 AM
That was the Grand Duel 'Big Showdown' not Gundown on christmas day.

Nice to see Keoma again. Terrible quality thou, yellowed image and the image was a little jumpy.
Must of been from the R2 of last year.

End of the Spag season ITV4?

Smoker: starts banging his knife and fork on the table. "more, more, more!!" 


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Banjo on January 02, 2006, 08:01:54 AM
I was quite surprised about Alex Cox didn't think too much of Keoma mainly because he sees the plot as a rehash of Django.While there are similarities between Django and Keoma-the apocalyptic look and atmosphere,both heros returning from Civil War to aid a woman in troulble and the revenge themes,there are enough differences in Keomas storyline and style to make it as interesting as Django.Why didn't Cox mention the innovation of the scenes combining Keomas past flashbacks with the present and also the influence of Peckinpah in the shootouts?
Django was influenced by FOD and Yojimbo with the hero caught between two warring factions and involving stolen gold.Keoma involved the hero coming to the aid of a plague ridden town and ridding it of a tyrant and his three half brothers-enough differences there i think!
Its very easy to knock a western for using a hackneyed plot but the Americans had run out of ideas by the early 1960's and its not surprising the Italians were also struggling by the time of the mid 1970's.
Alex Cox was also less than impressed about Castellari's Jonathan of the Bears from 1993 but rather than another Django rehash this entertaining movie is more influenced by Costners Dances With Wolves and recent green/conservation issues and succeeded as such.
Amusingly apart from mentioning the Leonard Cohen influence on the soundtrack he didn't comment on whether he thought the music was good or bad!!


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: indio on January 02, 2006, 11:46:45 AM
i thought exactly the same banjo, but i also don't care what cox's thinks its still one of my favs.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Leone Admirer on January 02, 2006, 04:55:38 PM
Didn't get to see this A) I was in Disneyland and B) I don't much like Keoma. I agree with banjo though that its technical merits should be noted.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: tucumcari bound on September 20, 2006, 08:33:57 PM
I just ordered Keoma starring Frank Nero and Woody Strode. I read up on it and it sounded good. Who here has seen it, and if so, what's your honest opinion? Where does it rank in the spaghetti western genre?


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Silenzio on September 20, 2006, 08:56:10 PM
I just ordered Keoma starring Frank Nero and Woody Strode. I read up on it and it sounded good. Who here has seen it, and if so, what's your honest opinion? Where does it rank in the spaghetti western genre?

I thought it was good . . . . . but I actually remember being a little disappointed by it. It's been too long since I've seen it, so I can't leave an in-depth review.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: tucumcari bound on September 20, 2006, 09:58:11 PM
Yeah, I can't wait to see it though. I love the spaghetti western genre. They're just fun, kick ass movies!


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Silenzio on September 20, 2006, 09:59:48 PM
Yeah, I can't wait to see it though. I love the spaghetti western genre. They're just fun, kick ass movies!

I totally agree. Unfortunately, the other day, I saw a spaghetti western that was not fun or kick ass. It was called Four of the Apocalypse. Avoid that one.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: cigar joe on September 20, 2006, 10:37:00 PM
Keoma is in the top 20, it has an irritating score to some people but it doesn't bother me at all.


<maybe spoilers>








I'm starting to think its more on the lines of an avenging spirit or something other worldly sort of film sort of like my alternative take on OUTITW.

It starts off and ends in a war scared ghost town and has a witch that appears here and there.

The whole setting otherwise looks like the high plains and Rocky Mountian Front Range just as it looks in the State of Montana.

It goes a bit overboard in its homage to Peckinpah's "ballets de mort", but its an enjoyable flick Franco Nero's charater is kick ass.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: tucumcari bound on January 19, 2007, 03:03:13 PM
Why doesn't this little known spaghetti western get the recognition it deserves? I mean, when watching it, you see some of the most amazing camera work you'll ever see. It's an extremely underrated film.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: The Peacemaker on January 19, 2007, 03:11:13 PM
I like Keoma alot. I just hate the music, it pisses me off.

My favorite scene in the film is in the saloon at the beginning when he kills the two pistoleros without looking.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Silenzio on January 19, 2007, 03:11:36 PM
Why doesn't this little known spaghetti western get the recognition it deserves? I mean, when watching it, you see some of the most amazing camera work you'll ever see. It's an extremely underrated film.

Little known? . . .  Hardly.

Honestly I wasn't too impressed with the film, but that was back when i had only seen six or seven spaghetti westerns (including all the leone westerns). I should watch it again, because after twenty-five more non-Leone spaghetti westerns, you know what to expect from the genre.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: tucumcari bound on January 19, 2007, 03:14:17 PM
It may be known to us Leone fans, because we love the spaghetti western genre, but many people I've talk to about this who generally love movies, have never heard of Keoma. In my opinion, the music in the film grows on you. I also love the camera work, which in my opinion is brilliant.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: The Peacemaker on January 19, 2007, 03:16:44 PM
Little known? . . .  Hardly.

Really?

I think it's a pretty unknown film.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Silenzio on January 19, 2007, 03:17:41 PM
It may be known to us Leone fans, because we love the spaghetti western genre, but many people I've talk to about this who generally love movies, have never heard of Keoma. In my opinion, the music in the film grows on you. I also love the camera work, which in my opinion is brilliant.

Well, yes, almost all spaghetti westerns are unknown to even the most arrogant stuck-up know-it-all film buff (who probably thinks he's "too good" for non-Leone spaghettis anyway)  ::)

But, anyway, watching the trailer again, the camera work did catch my eye. And I never had as much of a problem with the music as my family did, I always kind of liked it.



Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Silenzio on January 19, 2007, 03:19:50 PM
Really?

I think it's a pretty unknown film.

Most of the westerns we discuss on this board are unknown to the average dude, but I assumed he meant "little-known" in relation to the members of this board. Which it certainly isn't. But I understand what he meant now.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: The Peacemaker on January 19, 2007, 03:20:27 PM
I think Enzo Castellari really outdid himself in this film.

When it comes to cinematography, Keoma is a masterpiece.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: tucumcari bound on January 19, 2007, 04:02:31 PM
I think Enzo Castellari really outdid himself in this film.

When it comes to cinematography, Keoma is a masterpiece.

I agree. The movie has amazing cinematography!


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: cigar joe on January 19, 2007, 04:41:19 PM
I like this one too, I can live with the score also.....  but if they could just delete the vocals and just leave the guitars it would improve things, the only other thing they went a bit over the top on was the slowmo a bit too balletic with the spinning, but a small irritation.

I think that Keoma is another "supernatural" Western like I think OUTITW is, we should analize this one more. I think the bombed out town is in another dimension, a limbo, or Twilight Zone so to speak especially when the witch asks him "Why'd you come back?"


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: tucumcari bound on January 19, 2007, 05:17:26 PM
Can you imagine this movie though with an Ennio Morricone Score? It be even better in my opinion!


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Arizona Colt on January 19, 2007, 08:04:05 PM
The music is fine as it tells the story as the movie progresses reflecting emotions felt by the actors but told through the vocals such as the scene where Nero is tied to the wheel and his "brothers" are looking up at him. The vocals mention wanting his fathers love and reaching out to him but he cannot.

The movie is a "supernatural" western or as I like to refer to it, a "gothic" western. Particularly interesting is the character of the witch woman who represents death as everything she touches dies....except for the little boy at the end. Probably Castellari's most accomplished film and I think he counts this as his favorite of all his films.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: The Peacemaker on January 19, 2007, 08:13:27 PM
I think the music would be better without the vocals too.

But I absolutely love the slow-mo during the ( what I like to call ) " Spaghetti Spins. " I love the way in SWs you see the gunshot victim spin around, almost balletically.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: tucumcari bound on January 19, 2007, 10:52:35 PM
I think the music would be better without the vocals too.

But I absolutely love the slow-mo during the ( what I like to call ) " Spaghetti Spins. " I love the way in SWs you see the gunshot victim spin around, almost balletically.

Yes, those "spaghetti spins" as you call are awesome! You get to see that a lot in here. Also the slow mo packinpah shots were fantastic! That's defiently a homage to Sam.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: The Firecracker on January 20, 2007, 12:20:12 AM
"Keoma" is a masterpeice of the genre. Most are scared off by the Leonard Cohen like soundtrack (That I love) and never give the film a chance because of it.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Leone Admirer on January 20, 2007, 06:56:52 AM
The Film I love, the score  :'(


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Banjo on January 20, 2007, 08:49:31 AM
ABSOLUTELY LURVE THE MUSICAL SCORE!!! O0


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Arizona Colt on January 20, 2007, 01:09:31 PM
I found it a bit odd upon first viewing but it is a very well done haunting score used to tell the story in a most unusual way.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Banjo on May 25, 2007, 04:47:11 AM
Leone Admirer's review from his SW Virgins Guide:-

Keoma

Keoma is described in the acompanying featurette on the DVD as an experiment, and the film does show this.  There are elements in the film that work really well and makes it an interesting and an enjoyable sequence. However there are some elements that do not work at all and I think the much despised score has something to with that.
     Keoma (Franco Nero), a half breed, returns to his home town after fighting in the civil war. He finds that his home town is being ruled and slowly poisoned by ex-confederate raider Caldwell (Donald O'Brien.) He also discovers that his three brothers have joined forces with Cordwell and want to run Keoma out of town. Keoma teams up with his fathers former ranch hand George (Woody Strode) to try and break their icy grip.
    The film's story is interesting and the twists and turns the character make, though they may be not unexpected, help to give the story an enjoyable quality. The film though for me is more of style over substance. The visuals of this film seem to what Enzo G. Castellari has concentrated on. It seems he focussed on the idea of the western being a giant play or tragedy being played out against the backdrop of the west. A great example of this is when during a flashback of Keoma's childhood recounted by an old lady, the camera merely pans up to find the action/flashback occuring behind her and then panning across back to the lady when the flashback is over. This is an idea I actually rather liked and added to the dream like quality that pervades the film, helped especially by the cinematography of Aiace Parolin.
    The use of slowmotion through out the film works well, a definate nod to the great Sam Peckinpah, but is over used at times and, where as Peckinpah, especially in The Wild Bunch uses it greatly and too effect, the site of seeing everyone and almost every important event slowing down takes away from the dramatic impact, especially with the well staged action scenes.
   Acting is generally of a high standard with Nero being excellent, though I felt perhaps a little uncomfortable which actually helps the character, as the main lead. Strode is great as always though I felt his character was underdeveloped and could have been used better. Berger, you may be pleased to here, agreed with me much more in this movie then he did in Sabata. O'Brien was good as the villenous Caldwell and he really displayed his viscious abilities well.
   The dialogue is a bit of a mixed bag. As related in the interview with Franco Nero that is included on this disc, we find out that a lot of the dialogue has been improvised and this can be of an advantage, such as the scene with Keoma and his father but at other times the dialogue can be a bit stilted and unbelievable.
   Now onto the music. It actually almost spoilt the entire movie for me. Just as I wanted to involve myself in the bleak atmosphere and the interesting characters, some old crones voice bleats like a murdered sheep loudly over the soundtrack telling me character feelings and what he was doing. For me at any rate it really put me off some of the scenes. I found myself shouting at the screen when ever the terrible warbling appeared, which was unfortunatly quite often. Other musical themes didn't appear to be quite as bad and I am partial for the odd Harmonica theme.
    This DVD was part of a boxset called Once Upon A Time In Italy: The Spaghetti Western Collection which was released by Anchor Bay for R1 and contains the films Texas Adios, A Bullet For The General, Companeros, Four Of The Apocalypse and Keoma. These can also be bought seperatly.
    The print used for this DVD was presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and looked on the most part good. It showed off the grimyness of the run down town. There is some print damage but its nothing that should visually spoil your viewing of the movie. The English soundtrack is presented in 2.0 Mono and is quite good. It unfortuantly picks up the music too well but sound effects and dialogue come across clearly.
    Also included on this disc is an audio commentary by director Enzo G. Castellari and Journalist Waylon Wahl which is quite informative. There is also an interview with Franco Nero whish is as always very interesting and a Theatrical Trailer. The package is rounded up with some Talent Bios.
     Keoma seemed to promise a lot more then it delivers. For me the thing that shoots it down the most is the godawful soundtrack. I would recomend this film to people who like Franco Nero's work as it is an interesting if overall flawed cinematic experiment. I'm not sure if I would recomend this film to a spaghetti newcomer but older hands who wanted to try something different may want to get their hands on a copy.



Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Banjo on May 26, 2007, 12:43:27 PM
Arizona Colts review:-

KEOMA- 1976-Of his westerns I’ve seen this is Castellari’s best. A gothic western with an ambience of horror surrounding the proceedings. Keoma is a half breed avenger who has come to settle accounts with his “brothers” who were responsible for their fathers death. Lots of slow motion and Franco Nero isn’t completely wooden here, at least not all the time. Some nice touches with the camera are utilized and the use of the soundtrack to tell the story by projecting the characters thoughts is most innovative. An old witch that follows Keoma around represents death. Everything she touches dies, save for Keoma himself. A fine achievement by Castellari who more times than not, was satisfied with conventional action storytelling. There’s nothing wrong with that, but Castellari shows here that he is capable of something else. Castellari’s favorite of all his films.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Jill on September 18, 2007, 12:27:58 PM
Very good. It has that "dark and hopeless" athmosphere that I love so much in SWs. Franco Nero ROCKS, Strode too and William Berger is brilliant. I love him much more and more! He was absolutely cool an Banjo and here he is, too.  O0

Who is that Witch? imdb men say she's Death itself.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: The Firecracker on September 18, 2007, 12:29:18 PM


Who is that Witch? imdb men say she's Death itself.


That's the general theory. I believe Casterllari explains it in the commentary (only on the AB dvd).

Did you like the soundtrack Jill?
Although it's universally derided I really like it.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Jill on September 18, 2007, 12:39:03 PM
Soundtrack was okay. Not Morricone, but not as bad as they say. It passed to the athmosphere.

Witch reminded me an italian opera character, Azucena, from Verdi's Il trovatore.  >:D (She was a witch, too, and made things very complicated with her vengeance...)
off: Il travatore would be an excellent spaghetti western! Brothers against each other, revenge, flashbakcs, beautiful woman... alll you need.  ;D


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Franks Harmonica on November 26, 2007, 01:41:21 PM
I really enjoyed the Hell out of "Keoma" and after hearing all of the bad reviews of the ST ... I suprisingly kinda liked the music and have just recently DL it!


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: cigar joe on November 26, 2007, 03:53:14 PM
well Lets talk Keoma.

I think like Bronson in OUTITW that he's some kind of spirit . The battle field ghost town at the beginning the witch that asks him 'Why did you come back?", its not to be taken at face value.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Jill on November 27, 2007, 09:45:52 AM
He's a mysterious character. I like this type in SWs. You can't know if he's a human or something else. But his half-brothers are real @ssholes...
A blue-eyes half-breed with a beard. This is very surrealist. :)


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: cigar joe on November 27, 2007, 10:07:41 AM
The whole witch part is a give away, and maybe too the distinct flashbacks.

The film looks like it takes place on the high plains of the West, it looks a lot like Montana, East of the Continental Divide. The battle town is Civil War i see a Michigan pennant in the rubble.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: The Firecracker on November 28, 2007, 09:38:57 PM
I think we can all agree that the only reason this movie even exists is for the incredible camera angles and Casterllari's superb direction.



Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: cigar joe on February 05, 2008, 03:39:15 PM
I watched this again today I maintain that there is a mythological element with the witch

She first asks him "why did you come back?" He says to her later in the opening sequence "you only exist so that man can fulfill his destiny"

So she must be Atropos (Greek) or Morta (Roman) in mythology.

from a quick search:

Throughout mythology, Fate (also known as the Moirae) have always been represented by three female figures. The first of the ladies is Clotho, also known as the Spinner. She is the youngest of the aspects of fate and it is she who spins the thread of human life out of some indescribable material taken from the Void. It was said only she can travel into the Void to obtain this material of life.

The second aspect of fate is Lachesis (pronounced Lah-key-sis), also known as the Apportioner. She is a middle-aged aspect, who determines the lengths of the threads of life and weaves these threads into a pattern, which controls the events of human life. Lachesis controls the interaction of humans with each other, all depending upon how she weaves her tapestry.

Finally there is Atropos who is an elderly woman. She is the fate who cuts the thread or web of life. She is known as the "Inflexible" or "Inevitable", cutting the threads with the "abhorred shears”, ending a mortal’s existence.

They were said to be the daughters of Zeus (the father of all gods) and Themis (the goddess of order). The Roman name of the fates are Nona, Decuma, and Morta.

Early man believed that the Moirae were responsible for the all good and the bad things in a mortal's lifetime from birth to death. The fates were simply agents in the service of the gods executing their wishes. Between them, the Moirae spin the thread of life, which controls the events, the adventures, the wealth, and the death of each man (and woman).

Of course, the Greek Gods did occasionally “meddle” into the affairs of the Fates. The gods had the power to change a mortal's fate at the beginning, however doing it would cause irreparable damage, since it could bring about disorder and ruin the balance of the life flow which was the tapestry of life. Of course, there is balance to everything that exists in this world, and the hand of Fate was crucial in meeting this balance.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: tucumcari bound on February 05, 2008, 05:49:37 PM

I love the atmosphere all the way through this film. It's one of the best atmospheric westerns I have ever watched. It sucks you in as if you're there.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: marmota-b on March 13, 2009, 03:54:13 PM
My review from the Rate the Last Movie thread... well, not much of a review...

Keoma - 9/10

I bought this one already some time ago, and didn't watch it for a while, because I wasn't in the right mood...
Then, last Tuesday, I woke up with a sore throat and knew I had to stay at home, so while pondering over possible activities for a day of illness, I decided it was the right time to watch Keoma.
I was blown away.
I'm not quite sure it was the best idea to start the day with watching it, though: I forgot all about breakfast.

The one point down is probably for the kid playing little Keoma (I didn't like the kid much, don't know why) and the vocal main theme... it's not bad at all, but it's there all the time and there were moments I wished there was a different kind of music in it as well... It's similar to Watch Out, We're Mad which I watched during my illness as well, that's also got the de Angelis brothers (I suppose they're brothers) as musicmakers, it's also got a main theme song, and it's also rather overused...
Otherwise, a perfectly thrilling and moving film. I loved the intertwining of different time levels, not just the flashbacks, but also when Keoma's brothers return to the town... that was really nicely done.


I'd really love to point out the scenes of the brothers' return, the way they're shown walking at peace, planning, and it's mixed up with their action... it was simple, but amazing, I've never seen such thing in a film before. I guess it must be used somewhere else as well, there are thousands of films I haven't seen (and will never see). But here it was awesome for me.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: O'Cangaceiro on November 25, 2009, 12:05:15 PM
A very good SW. Overall, I liked it, the only exception being that I found the vocal theme annoying at times.

8/10


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: cigar joe on November 25, 2009, 04:54:13 PM
Yea it would have been nice to hear it as just an instumental in some spots, but its not grating to me like it is to some.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Banjo on November 25, 2009, 06:25:07 PM
It's similar to Watch Out, We're Mad which I watched during my illness as well, that's also got the de Angelis brothers (I suppose they're brothers) as musicmakers, it's also got a main theme song, and it's also rather overused...


By coincidence i was watching Franco Nero in Castellari's STREET LAW  yesterday and i got totally distracted by the WATCH OUT,WE'RE MAD theme tune as background music in a tense barroom scene. ;D  I do love that theme however along almost everything that the De Angelis brothers did including KEOMA.Drawing from several different sources for each film score they provide, they seem to have an uncanny knack of composing the perfect musical backdrop whatever the genre.However,i'd need to recheck the STREET LAW Franco Nero interview special feature but i think Nero said  that either him or Castellari were at least partly instrumental in the brothers coming up with a Cohen/folk based score for KEOMA.Nero continues that the brothers were always receptive of idea's for their compositions with Nero claiming some credit for the brilliant STREET LAW soundtrack.

Someone burnt the KEOMA dvd for me a couple or so years back and i still haven't listened to Castellari's commentary so i think i'll rectify this very shortly. :) 


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: marmota-b on November 26, 2009, 02:29:03 AM
Unfortunately, my DVD is from a cheap edition and doesn't have any commentary.
I like the songs as well, it's just that after watching said films, the themes are playing in my head for the rest of the day, if not longer, and that's something I could live without.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: T.H. on February 10, 2010, 02:40:51 PM
This is a tough movie to rate. There are great scenes, especially the opening. But the flashbacks were laughable and over used. I lost it when they showed a young Nero with long hair. The movie also takes itself way too seriously--the christ symbolism, for one--yet the film is quite campy. The soundtrack is so bad that it's amazing, I love it. I just don't feel this movie has any momentum or rhythm. It was tough to watch in its entirety, but I understand how hardcore fans of the genre hold it dearly. The sets are pretty good for Spag standards and there is atmospheric charm but it's such a mess. There were some great camera movements but the action was too repetitive and slow-mo was over utilized. Interesting movie though.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: stanton on February 11, 2010, 02:02:33 AM
This is a tough movie to rate. There are great scenes, especially the opening. But the flashbacks were laughable and over used. I lost it when they showed a young Nero with long hair. The movie also takes itself way too seriously--the christ symbolism, for one--yet the film is quite campy. The soundtrack is so bad that it's amazing, I love it. I just don't feel this movie has any momentum or rhythm. It was tough to watch in its entirety, but I understand how hardcore fans of the genre hold it dearly. The sets are pretty good for Spag standards and there is atmospheric charm but it's such a mess. There were some great camera movements but the action was too repetitive and slow-mo was over utilized. Interesting movie though.

Comes close to my opinion on Keoma. A very disparate film with some great scenes always on the verge of total kitsch. 6/10

All in all Castellari never had the feeling for directing westerns, and Keoma is his best, but still the best scenes in Keoma are not necessarily typical western ones.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: noodles_leone on February 12, 2010, 06:35:06 AM
That's more or less what I thought of it when I saw the first minutes on TV a couple years ago.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: Dust Devil on February 12, 2010, 12:26:22 PM
Haven't seen it in ages, I'll give it another try (hopefully soon).


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: cigar joe on January 25, 2013, 10:43:38 AM
Well here it is almost 3 years later  ;)

It was a good day to re-watch Keoma:

Films like great paintings, are there for us to view, experience, and interpret.  This go round, watching I think it finally all clicked. This is my interpretation.  A truly Mythic Western, an amalgamation of American Western Legend and Myth, Greco-Roman Mythology, and a touch of Catholic theology.

Darkness, we enter the Dreamscape from darkness, the roar of time floods your ears and you see a sliver of a crack in the continuum of the universe. Through it we see a horseman punctuated with now the sounds and sights other human artifacts, we cut to frantic hands combing through the debris of humanity. The rider is in a Dream/Ghost town or perhaps Limbus. The hands belong to a Witch/Medicine Woman/Fate and she clutches discarded treasures that she loads on her barrow. She spots the rider and hides.

As he passes she calls out a question "Why did you come back? Why did you come back?"

So begins Keoma

The De Angelis brothers' weird soundtrack, especially the female voice now suggests an eerie Native American chant and whole film has a dreamworld atmosphere constantly enhanced by the incredible cinematography reinforcing the tone of this last of the great operatic Spaghetti Westerns.

From IMDb

Oneiric murder tapestry, 12 April 2007

Author: oOgiandujaOo from United Kingdom
Review of English-language Blue Underground version:

My, my these Spaghettis. In Keoma (Franco Nero), we have a man who has descended into hell, he has become an annihilator. The landscape is infernal, from the Breughelesque sets to the leering henchman to the blasted mountains. For his enemies, he has two barrels of a shotgun, and no pity. The hell is as much in his mind as it is in the town he rides into. He is a man with no place, ideology or purpose. Unlike Eastwood's characters in the dollars trilogy who are without history or neuroses, with Nero as Keoma we have a profound psychological portrait of a man in spiritual agony, on the road to obliteration and self-immolation.

The scenario is also hellish, we have a town and a region that has been taken over by a warlord. He and his henchman block access from and to the outside world. The townsfolk are all infected with a plague, and rather than given access to medical aid, they are put in a concentration camp and forced to mine for silver, or simply murdered. The town is left to the henchmen and their trollops. This for me is very unlike a western in the traditional American sense. In the American western, there are always the upright people of the town to appeal to, there is a sheriff, or as a last resort the cavalry. People may be run off their land or be claim-jumped, but they are never forced into slave labour.

What we have in Keoma, and in similar movies such as Django and Django Strikes Again, is a fundamentally African western, which is probably why Spaghetti goes down so well on that continent. The town in Keoma is more reminiscent of somewhere in Sierra Leone than the Sierra Nevada. There is total brutal oppression of the populace. There is a reckless attitude towards the value of life. Keoma is likewise a more fitting hero for such a landscape, he is almost a Christ-like figure in the sense that he is betrayed or deserted by everyone in this movie, his family, the oppressed, and the liberated. When Keoma is crucified on a wagonwheel the artisans, politicos, henchmen and whores celebrate a change of leadership in the saloon that was entirely down to him. He is constantly grimy, his hair is totally overgrown, he is hirsute, sweaty, and wears no overshirt. Seeing him shove his pistol down the back of his trousers against his bare back will make the ladies a little queasy.

This movie has a very dreamlike atmosphere. The reason for this is that there is no real cohesive plot. Apparently Castellari threw the script in the bin immediately prior to shooting and adopted a completely improvisational approach. The only consistency to the movie is that of image and emotion. Throughout the movie is laced with the anguish of haunted souls, and punctuated by the slow-mo killings after the fashion of Peckinpah. The improvisation can unfortunately be quite clear. Some of the actors were writing their own lines the night before shooting. The dialogue is not always brilliant to say the least, and it is not helped by Nero's far from accent-less English. However this is about the only film where improvisation could work, simply because it is entirely beneficial to the oneiric, logic-less atmosphere.

The De Angelis brothers' soundtrack will be interesting to some because of the untrained voices. Nero sings quite a lot of it himself, and you will have to suspend disbelief and accept it, because although the man clearly has no singing talent, there is an authenticity to his singing that is refreshing.

I'm not sure what Woody Strode was doing in this picture, but flashbacks of him shooting his bow add to the trippiness. Keoma the movie is not quite as far-out as something by Jodorowsky, but it's on the way.

Definitely, yea El Topo has an influece on this a sign post on the way to the Twilight Zone 8-9/10


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: noodles_leone on January 26, 2013, 04:57:07 AM
Looks like you're in a SW classics marathon! Because of Django Unchainned?


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: cigar joe on January 26, 2013, 04:09:33 PM
Looks like you're in a SW classics marathon! Because of Django Unchainned?

Yes


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: cigar joe on April 29, 2014, 06:54:24 PM
Film as Art: Keoma
Danel Griffin

http://uashome.alaska.edu/~dfgriffin/website/keoma.htm (http://uashome.alaska.edu/~dfgriffin/website/keoma.htm)

***1/2 out of ****

Bleaker westerns than Keoma exist—films more dedicated to the desolation and corruption of the human heart. But I have never come across a sadder western. Oh, this film is sad. At times, it is almost agonizingly so—it is so saturated in disquieting, unsettled sorrow that we find ourselves wanting to turn off our televisions, to venture into our backyards, wiggle our bare toes in the grass, and feel the warmth of the sun on our faces. Yet Keoma propels us forward with its haunted images and pained personalities; it leads us face-first into its sadness by asking us to consider its elegant elegy as a romantic song of praise. Parting remains such sweet sorrow.

            This elegy is for the Spaghetti Western, a genre that existed from the mid-sixties to the late-seventies. “Spaghetti Western” was the phrase coined to embody a decade when Italy took the American West and mythologized it with images and stories that exaggerated its origins into legendary proportions. The resulting six hundred-plus Spaghettis leave little room to doubt that Italy adored the Western—for many directors and actors, the genre was their longevity as well as their passion. This era consequently produced some great directors and wonderful films (Sergio Leone of the Dollars trilogy, Sergio Corbucci of Django); inevitably, it also produced mediocrities of stupefying proportions (the less said about White Comanche or Boot Hill, the better). Regardless of the often questionable quality of these films, the spaghetti western remains an invaluable epoch in film history, not only because of the ways it exposed the West as the most significant American contribution to world mythology, but also because of some of the important actors it introduced to the cinematic arena, among them Clint Eastwood (who himself has gone on to become a major American director), Lee Van Cliff, Klaus Kinski, and Franco Nero. Additionally, films by modern movie giants like Quentin Tarantino, Sam Raimi, and Robert Rodriguez certainly would have never existed in their current forms if not for the brilliantly overplayed qualities of the Spaghetti.

            By 1976, the Spaghetti Western was finished. After hundreds of hits and millions of dollars earned, it had lived out its life; as a craze, it was quickly fading from the psyche of a public now more interested in vigilantes walking city streets, touting Gatling guns instead of six-shooters. Keoma has been called the “twilight western,” because it was intended as the last hurrah—a love letter celebrating all the greatest conventions of the genre and waving sadly goodbye to its brief run as the dominating king of European cinema. Certainly other, cheapo Spaghettis have come out since, but for fans of the genre, Keoma is indeed the last Spaghetti western. It plays as a film painfully aware that its legacy is in its final death throes. The entire movie, in fact, is about such death throes.

            First of all, it is written and directed by Enzo G. Castellari, an Italian filmmaker who made a living off of Spaghettis. Possibly realizing that this would be his last Western, he pulls all stops to include as much homage as he possible can. Every shot is lifted from Leone, Corbucci, and even Peckinpah (whose graphic violence of The Wild Bunch was certainly inspired by the often brutal bloodletting first realized in the Italian westerns). Every plot point is taken from archetypes made famous by other Spaghettis—the lone stranger, the deserted town, the revenge subplot. There is frankly not one original idea in Keoma, but Castellari is not concerned with new ideas; rather, he embraces these tried and true motifs and reworks them so that they play like poetry instead of plot. Consider an early scene where Keoma, an Indian half-breed returning to his childhood town for the first time in a decade, relives a flashback in which he literally interacts despairingly with his childhood self. In this sequence, he reflects on his painful, early years of torment from his white half-brothers, and he appears literally in the same frame with his ghost from the past. The camera filter is foggy and dreamlike; the child and man stare at one another as if the barrier separating the past and present has dissolved, allowing them to interact. Almost every spaghetti western eventually has a flashback, as they all deal primarily with their protagonists seeking justice for being mistreated as children (the best two examples are Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West and Corbucci’s The Great Silence), but no other film better reveals the motivation and passion that these flashbacks provide their heroes. Other Spaghettis stress that these men are haunted by their past, but Castellari reveals here how memories linger like ghosts, driving the men obsessively forward whether they openly desire justice or not.

            The film also boasts a cast of Spaghetti regulars. Keoma (which means "far away" in Cherokee) is played by Franco Nero, who began as the title character in Corbucci’s gothic western Django and was instantly propelled to international stardom. In his day, Nero’s films out-grossed Eastwood’s in Europe, so it is appropriate that he was brought back for this swan song of the genre that made him famous. This is probably his best performance, as a war-scarred veteran of the American Civil War (“I just happened to be on the winning side.”) drifting silently back into his childhood village because he has reluctantly reached the unavoidable conclusion that he has nowhere else to go. Nero’s chiseled good looks and deep blue eyes make it very clear why he became a global superstar; it helps that he is also an actor who is very good at portraying great angst by simply standing still and watching the movie play around him. Two other major Spaghetti actors also have significant roles: William Berger as Keoma’s father, who loves his estranged son more than he ever loved his three legitimate sons who now work for a brutal crime lord, and Woody Strode (famously gunned down by Charles Bronson in Once Upon a Time in the West) as an ex-slave and childhood friend of Keoma’s, now reduced to the town’s token drunk. All three men work hard to create distinct characters that resonate beyond the obvious nostalgia that their pairing brings to viewers familiar with Spaghettis. Strode in particular is excellent as the town’s inebriate, who makes a good foil for Keoma: He is trapped by past guilt and has consumed his pain with alcohol, just as Keoma has countered his own repressed anger with acts of extreme violence.

            To reflect on the plot is to encounter a fitting metaphor for the state of the Spaghetti Western in the late 1970s. Keoma is a legendary gunslinger who returns grudgingly to his old village. His homecoming blindsides everyone, who expected him to wander the world forever. His only excuse for returning: “The world keeps going around and around, so we always end up in the same place.” If this line is an appropriate summation of why the Spaghetti lasted as long as it did, then the town itself clearly represents this film’s need for existence in an age when the Spaghetti was dying: Death has come in the form of a plague, and most of the citizens of the village have been quarantined by the corrupt major and quietly await their death. Yet when Keoma drifts in, he decides to encourage the hope of life again; he does not try to stop the unpreventable plague, but he does instill pride among the dying. What does he do this? Even he doesn’t know—some deeply rooted, inexplicable instinct compels him forward that he cannot placate, so he only obeys its voice.

            The dying village, of course, symbolizes the Spaghetti Western, and Keoma’s mission stands for the genre’s refusal to go quietly into the good night. The western genre has always worked with similar themes, which are what drive Keoma back to “the same place”—the “same place” being the familiar tropes of the western storyline. “The same place” is also perhaps a reflection that even later, post-Spaghetti westerns would continue to embrace the archetypes that the Italians established (and it certainly did, as later, violent epics of Clint Eastwood and Kevin Costner proved). The nagging question that Keoma constantly faces—why did he come back?—is the voice of an audience that has given up on what they perceive as a dead genre. Keoma’s challenge that the dying villagers find courage in their final moments represents Castellari’s determination to end the Spaghetti on the strongest possible note while still accepting that its time has passed. Keoma knows that its strength is in the knowledge of its forthcoming death; it does not want to die, but it comes to terms with its fate and thus relishes the last drops of its life as they slowly, despairingly drain away.

continued....


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: cigar joe on April 29, 2014, 06:55:43 PM
 This knowledge of its own fate is ultimately what makes Keoma such a sad experience: Every tiniest detail here understands that it symbolizes a finished era in European cinema. The film’s characters are certainly lost in their personal sadness; its themes deal with impending death; its camera work, which often rests thoughtfully on a character’s conflicted face as its gloomy music plays, is slow and despairing; even the film’s infamously maligned soundtrack, which features a wailing woman who comments unnecessarily on Keoma’s actions, eventually comes across less as annoying screeching and more as a frantic desperation to justify Keoma’s actions as pending apocalypse surrounds him. (Though it is a justified criticism—this music is so piercing that it could make glass shatter; it has its defenders, but it certainly does not make us forget the ethereal opuses of Ennio Morricone.) The action sequences, which are composed as operatically as anything shot by Leone, are not exhilarating, but instead seep with tragedy as they reveal that as every character is killed, so too the Spaghetti Western approaches the precipice of its final moment, when there will finally be no one left to die.

            The most important symbols in the film come in the form of two women, one of which is literally Death (Gabriella Giacobbe), and the other a pregnant woman representing Life (Olga Karlatos) who Keoma takes under his wing and constantly defends. It is difficult not to compare the image of Death and her interactions with Keoma to Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, as both films also feature a disenchanted soldier returning from war to an environment riddled with disease. Both Keoma and Von Sydow’s knight argue relentlessly with Death, trying to justify their disillusionments at the world and blame human frailty for the tragedies surrounding them. Both also find hope in a new Life that comes in the form of a newborn, who signifies that existence, for all its despair, still goes on.

          What’s extraordinary about Keoma is that it compares favorably to Bergman, and it enhances our appreciation for that earlier masterpiece. In Bergman’s film, Death is inescapable but does not hold all the cards—when asked about the divine secrets of the universe, he admits ignorance. In Keoma, Death seemingly knows why the universe works the way that it does, but she is ignorant of the human heart. She can also be one-upped—instead of Keoma pleading with her (as Von Sydow does), Death pleads with Keoma, and asks him why he has come back to restore dignity a town that she has doomed. The film’s final line, regarding the new birth that comes even as death eclipses everyone else, is Keoma’s response to Death: We all die, but Death will still never win, because fresh life replaces those who fall. This is perhaps Keoma’s final, powerful statement regarding the Spaghetti western: It is gone, but its residue will always remain. Tarantino and Eastwood no doubt agree. The film thus suggests that Bergman’s immortal image of the Grim Reaper leading a dance into death is not the final word. We are not required to surrender to transience, even as it appears inevitable. Here, by God, is Keoma, who can utter, “The free never die!” and choose to fistfight Death instead of dance with him. Yes, he will lose, but not before Death desperately beseeches him to give up. Gilgamesh could not have done better.

          Keoma is one of five profound cinematic elegies for the Western. Also on that list: Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West, Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch, and Eastwood’s Unforgiven. The other four deal more directly with the genre in general—Ford meticulously peals away the layers of fabricated romance surrounding the west and reveals the more mundane truths hidden under the legendary, Leone reflects on the end of the desert ’s lawless freedom as civilization and order progress, Peckinpah drives the last of the violent gunslingers into hellish oblivion, and Eastwood provides the residue of the lone outlaw in a newly-enlightened frontier that has begun to mythologize his type of scum. Keoma concerns itself more specifically with the fairy-tale Spaghetti west, and it uses the best of its motifs to bid adieu. Any of these films play fine by themselves, but it helps to know the genre that created them to understand the depths of their earnestness.  Keoma is not the best of these eulogies (that’s probably Unforgiven, though I’m personally partial to Leone’s film), but it is certainly the most heartbreaking. Above all else, the Italians loved the Western; even if the genre was guaranteed to survive in one form or another in America, Italian filmmakers closing their books to it heralded the end of a wonderful love affair. Keoma represents the end of that affair, and it walks away into the sunset with both proud dignity and bitter tears. For once, the dying have justified their existence in a way that forces Death to grasp her victory with reluctance. 

Cast:
Franco Nero: Keoma
Woody Strode: George
Olga Karlatos: Lisa
William Berger: William Shannon
Death: Gabriella Giacobbe

A film by Uranos Cinematografica Productions. Directed by Enzo G. Castellari. Written by Castellari, with Nico Ducci, Mino Rolli, and George Eastman. No M.P.A.A. rating, but contains plenty of stylized western violence. Running time: 105 minutes. Original year of release: 1976.

Questions? Comments? E-mail me: danel_the_tinman@hotmail.com


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: mike siegel on April 30, 2014, 02:33:33 AM
''FILM AS ART: KEOMA'' ?
wow.
One must really love that film to put in on a list with BUNCH, VALANCE, OUATITW...


I hope I'll get it before I die. I tried to like Castellari's work for 35 years now. Can't
remember one single fiilm I won't forget or even could watch in its entirety.
I'm sure there must be some. Surely not KEOMA.
Since the glorious invasion of DVD's I saw quite a lot of films by director's like
De Martino, Lenzi, Di Leo I really enjoyed, although I couldn't stand their work
in the 80s. Always saw the wrong films back then (a question of availability also).

What are Castellari's best films? There must be something for me there too :)
So far I saw about 10-15 I suppose.

I always wished KEOMA was as good as the German 1-sheets:(http://i953.photobucket.com/albums/ae15/peckinpah69/posters%20western%20peplum%20war%20crime/DSC04002.jpg) (http://s953.photobucket.com/user/peckinpah69/media/posters%20western%20peplum%20war%20crime/DSC04002.jpg.html)
(http://i953.photobucket.com/albums/ae15/peckinpah69/posters%20western%20peplum%20war%20crime/DSC04003.jpg) (http://s953.photobucket.com/user/peckinpah69/media/posters%20western%20peplum%20war%20crime/DSC04003.jpg.html)


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: cigar joe on April 30, 2014, 04:33:43 AM
Nice posters Mike  O0 O0 O0

Every time I watch Keoma I like it more and more, and that article hit on some of the things that I've been kicking around in my thoughts.

You have to not think of it as a simple Western. You have to think of Keoma as Western Mythology. But I'll go even a bit further than Griffin and say Keoma is a mythological hero, is already from the land of the dead and he rides out of the underworld (the battlefield ruined town), he goes back to the town on the edge of the Elysian Plains, the witch is DEATH the girl is LIFE, at the end, DEATH is holding the newborn LIFE.

Even my wife remarked how she enjoyed the music this time, its a film that grows on you with repeated viewings. Watch it again ;)


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: uncknown on October 17, 2014, 02:57:42 PM
I guess if you can stand the soundtrack determines whether you like Keoma or not. I hated it. I wanted to like it, but that soundtrack....  :P

I have not watched it yet, but i did watch the main titles to check out the music.
My god, that woman can't sing a lick!

LOL! :D


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: cigar joe on October 18, 2014, 04:42:11 AM
I have not watched it yet, but i did watch the main titles to check out the music.
My god, that woman can't sing a lick!

LOL! :D

lol, like I said it grows on you with repeated views. Give it a shot sometime.


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: uncknown on October 28, 2014, 01:59:51 PM
Well, I watched it.

At first. I thought it was a SCTV-style send-up of Robert Altman's MCCABE AND MRS MILLER (Leonard Cohen sound-alike singing lyrics which explain what we are seeing on the screen)
Then I thought it was a send-up of Peckingpah's PAT GARRETT (slo-mo action w/Dylanesque guitar & harmonica soundtrack)

Then I listened to the director commentary where he confirmed my musings but declared he was making a serious film!!!

Oh well.  AT least it had superior production values: sets, costumes etc.

bruce :D :D


Title: Re: Keoma (1976)
Post by: cigar joe on October 28, 2014, 03:25:06 PM
Well, I watched it.

At first. I thought it was a SCTV-style send-up of Robert Altman's MCCABE AND MRS MILLER (Leonard Cohen sound-alike singing lyrics which explain what we are seeing on the screen)
Then I thought it was a send-up of Peckingpah's PAT GARRETT (slo-mo action w/Dylanesque guitar & harmonica soundtrack)

Then I listened to the director commentary where he confirmed my musings but declared he was making a serious film!!!

Oh well.  AT least it had superior production values: sets, costumes etc.

bruce :D :D

it will grow on you if you watch it again.