Sergio Leone Web Board

Films of Sergio Leone => Other Films => Topic started by: cigar joe on December 19, 2004, 05:36:04 AM



Title: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: cigar joe on December 19, 2004, 05:36:04 AM
Ok, I watched Blue Underground's DVD release of "Mannaja  A Man Called Blade" (1977) last night, supposedly either the very last or second to last SW's shot at Rome's Elios Studios.

Warning for those to whom its a very big deal, it has the De Agelis Brothers providing music for the score. Its not as bad as Keoma (it does not have the female voice just the Leonard Cohen sounding singer, lol)

As far as SW's go its much better than vast majority that are the dregs that were vomitted out during the heyday of SW's. Its not up there with the Leone Films or even in the top echelon just below Leone. Its well made for a smaller production by director Sergio Martino who was basically a jobber (sort of Italy's Roger Corman)who turned out loads of B movies Giallo's, Crime sagas, etc., (Torso, Mountian of the Cannibal God), so it sort of is formulaic in that we've seen all this before in other versions in better films. There are gimmicks (intercuts between dancehall girls high kicking and a simultaneous shootout for instance) but no sparks of real "Genius". The action sequences are great though, realistic & lots of blood. This is another film that along with Keoma is refrencing post Leone American Westerns, Altman's McCabe & Mrs. Miller and Peckinpaw.

Mannaja's gimmick is the hero Maurizio Merli (Blade) is a bounty hunter who is also profficient with a tommahawk. He not only "speaks" with the blade but with the colt.

Merli has a charismatic look a great looking costume but no really memorable lines in this western (he was a big star of Italian Crime Films at the time which had eclisped the western genre in Italy)

The film also has two recognizeable actors from previous SW's, Donal O'Brien from Run Man Run and Keoma, and Nello Pazzafini who was in The Big Gundown, Run Man Run, Face To Face, (and I remember this guy from the Sword & Sandal, Machiste flicks lol.) John Steiner plays the villan.

The extras feature an interview with director Sergio Martino and it offers more insight into SW's in the wainning days. The film for instance was shot with a lot of fog machines during the wide shots because the old little used western set at Elios Studios was falling down. It also shows where the location shots were done in Italy, a dry, sulfer/volcanic valley area that looks convincing. At this stage of SW's there was no large  budgets to film in Almeria any longer.

If you can find this in a budget bin for $6 to $10 dollars get it for your collection. Its entertaining as a curiousity piece.


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: Nobody on December 22, 2004, 11:44:13 AM
I love the opening of Mannaja, running through the mud. Certainly the last great spag western I have seen, although a lot of people say that the last great spag western was China 9, Liberty 37 from 1978. I haven't seen it myself, but it's co-directed by Monte Hellman, who directed two amazing Corman produced westerns in the sixties: The Shooting and Ride The Whirlwind. The story goes that Corman gave him some money to make a film, and he went out in the desert with some friends (Jack Nicholson, Warren Oates, and Harry Dean Stanton, etc.) and came back with not one, but two amazing films.

On the basis of those, I have high hopes for China 9, Liberty 37. If anyone has any info on availability, please let me know.


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: cigar joe on December 23, 2004, 04:03:49 AM
You know I've never heard about China 9, Liberty 37, I remember an obscure film with Dennis Hopper, and some others, that was being filmed somewhere, I still have the article somewhere too, it was supposed to be called "Dimebox", but don't evere remember seeing it unless the name was changed. I have a pretty good list of SW's I'll see if its there.

Anyway back to Mannaja any of you interested and want a preview check out the trailer at Blue Underground (they also have Django, Run Man Run and Django Kill trailers):

http://www.blue-underground.com


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: redyred on December 23, 2004, 05:11:55 AM
I like Mannaja a lot actually, my favourite of the latter day (e.g. late 70s) SWs. I think the idea of Blade getting blinded and then still coming back for his enemies, even using the blindness to his advantage was pretty cool. OK overall it may not be amazing but it's well above the average.


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: spag fan on December 23, 2004, 12:18:31 PM
I thought it was pretty damn good also. Although, when I heard the first few seconds of the soundtrack and that voice from Keoma came in, I was shakin' in my boots! :o Thank god the female didn't sing on this one though. I actually liked this movie more than Keoma, even if it was a bit of a knockoff.


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: cigar joe on December 24, 2004, 01:37:44 PM
Nobody, I checked the master list, lol, "China 9, Liberty 37" (aka. Gunfire) is fullscreen DVD-R off an NTSC VHS prerecord, but it has a grainy dropout.


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: DJIMBO on December 25, 2004, 02:24:31 PM
pretty sure jenny agutters in china 9 liberty 37, hubba hubba  ;D


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: Christopher on March 15, 2005, 01:53:30 PM
If you can find this in a budget bin for $6 to $10 dollars get it for your collection. Its entertaining as a curiousity piece.
I know recently I read on this board where someone had mentioned the two pack with Mannaja - A Man Called Blade and Run Man Run, but I can't find where that was mentioned. I've read some good things about both and I saw that two pack at Best Buy recently for a little over $15. It seems like that would be a reasonable price for someone curious in seeing some of the better Spaghetti westerns, right?


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: cigar joe on March 15, 2005, 03:57:33 PM
....and just remember RMR is a pale sequil to The Big Gundown.


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: Christopher on March 15, 2005, 04:12:11 PM
I did go ahead and decided to get that two-pack. So if anyone doesn't have these yet and is interested, the price is $15.99. HERE'S (http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=7061476&type=product&id=1414655) the link for it on Best Buy's website.

After I've watched them, I'll post in the respective threads.

Though I haven't seen The Big Gundown, but hopefully that won't make too much difference. :-\


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: Christopher on March 16, 2005, 09:07:58 AM
I watched Mannaja - A Man Called Blade last night. It's somewhat formulaic, but I like the formula. I think it's what is done with the formula that will make the movie entertaining or not. And I thought Mannaja was very entertaining. Out of all these recent spaghetti westerns I've been watching, I thought Maurizio Merli had more charisma on screen than John Phillip Law and Franco Nero (not to take away from what I liked about those guys performances). All the performances in Mannaja were good. And I really liked the plot twists. I didn't see those coming.

Did anybody else squirm when they saw that his eyes were pinned back? :o


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: Marco Leone on March 16, 2005, 01:49:00 PM
Too true!  I didn't see the twists coming either.  You can't beat a good twist.

On the eyes pinned back front, that did make me wince quite a bit.  There was another SW I saw where that particular punishment was dished out.  I think it may have been "Vengeance" but I can't be sure.


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: cigar joe on March 16, 2005, 04:54:57 PM
Christofer, what have you seen Franco Nero in, just out of curiosity?



Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: Christopher on March 16, 2005, 04:58:21 PM
Django is the only one actually. I liked him in it, but I was more impressed with Merli in Mannaja. I was doing a slight comparison between some of the actors in the movies I've watched recently.


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: cigar joe on March 17, 2005, 04:32:14 AM
OK if its Django and you watched it in English Dub then you really haven't seen the magic of Nero. You have to catch at least "Companero's "(Amazon or Best Buy) then ("Keoma") but the best one is "The Mercenary".

They (Nero-Corbucci) came up with a great premise that a lot of the real American West was settled by immigrants and they most probably had accents so by casting Nero as an ex army captain/Polish mercenary, then as a Swedish arms merchant in "Companero's" Nero was able to convincingly pull off both movies without having to be dubbed in that silly voice from Django.

He comes off very cool, almost up there with Clint and Van Cleef he's just a bit more of a jester.

In Keoma Nero plays a half breed with an accent.

PS I watched "Companero's " stone cold never seeing any clips or ever hearing Morricone's score and I was literally BLOWN AWAY it was like seeing GBU for the first time in a theater (its made a bit more for laughs though).


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: Christopher on March 17, 2005, 10:47:36 AM
I'd actually heard about the eyeball thing before seeing the movie, so I was actually braced for it to be much worse.
Yeah, the back of the DVD packaging said that it had "restored the now infamous 'eyeball torture' scene" or something like that, so I knew something like that would be in the movie. But I wasn't expecting it to involve the sun.


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: Christopher on March 17, 2005, 11:11:59 AM
So if anyone doesn't have these yet and is interested, the price is $15.99. HERE'S (http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=7061476&type=product&id=1414655) the link for it on Best Buy's website.
I just saw where you can get this for a cheaper price, deepdiscountdvd.com (http://www.deepdiscountdvd.com/dvd.cfm?itemID=BLG584003)


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: grandpa_chum on October 05, 2005, 04:02:12 PM
anyone who has seen it can maybe answer this question, i recently bought the dvd, and loved it btw, but the best quote in the whole movie(it was in the trailer made by the same company that put out the dvd) doesn't appear to be in the film.

'my name is in the wind blowin' over my fathers grave'... did i miss it or is it not in the movie? the back of the dvd also totes an uncut extended version of the film with some eyeball torture scene put back in... i don't recall any eyeball torture scene... just mannaja buried up to his chin with nails in his eyes, but no actual action of putting them in or anything... did I miss the quote and the eyeball torture or were they simply not there?


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: Christopher on October 05, 2005, 04:05:37 PM
It's been a little while since I've seen Mannaja, but I think the quote is in there. I do remember it from the trailer.

The eyeball torture scene is there. What you described is the extent of it. Whatever it is that keeps him from being able to blink while being forced to look up into the sun. I'm guessing they must have cut out some of those shots in the past.


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: HEX on October 05, 2005, 04:27:17 PM
the quote is definatly not there. u mssed nothing. just for the trailer for whatever reason(whether deleted or otherwise)

as for the EYEBALL TORTURE SCENE again u missed nothing. i know kinda disappointing :'(
it last like 20 seconds.
and i found it stupid that CRAVEN pulls him out.but they made up for it later when he betrays him. that made sense, that was the plan all along. u would think he would have turned him in sooner though. :-\


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: boardwalk_angel on October 05, 2005, 05:35:37 PM
YOU..............................Alone..............a solllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll-iiiiiiiiiiiii-tarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy   man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

hee hee  8)


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: redyred on October 05, 2005, 06:40:40 PM
This here was your fathers land.... etc

What a rocking goood tune.


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: HEX on October 05, 2005, 07:32:41 PM
speaking of which what the hell does the singer say after " this here was youre fathers land"?


i think its something like
"looking back u cant pretend"(whatever that means)

(then after that it is clear as to what he says.)
"u love justice and u love peace... when the time has come to kill... to destroy who love to kill
(then more babble that goes something like)
and youre hand will fight the odds ...(then back to understandable) and youre conscience will be satisfied.



come to think of it, does anyone have the lyrics?


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: grandpa_chum on October 05, 2005, 10:59:38 PM
It's been a little while since I've seen Mannaja, but I think the quote is in there. I do remember it from the trailer.


since you haven't seen it for awhile it is possible you are mistaken... there is in fact something along the same lines in the movie... mcgowan asks him what his real name is and mannaja goes on about his dead father, i don't recall the exact words but they aren't far off, just not quite as poetic as 'in the wind blowin over my fathers grave'


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: HEX on October 06, 2005, 08:36:14 AM
but as u can see, the line itself is not in the film.


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: Silenzio on August 29, 2006, 06:29:10 PM
Is it any good? I'm going to be watching it very soon. I'll leave my review later (probably a pretty short one). Maybe I'll leave a review for the other spags I'll be watching soon (Sabata, Ace High, The Trinity films, Four of the Apocalypse).


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: The Firecracker on August 29, 2006, 06:37:46 PM
ahhh crap!

I erased my own reviews for the films I added for you...

well...you remember what I said right?

(total 4 stars)

Sabata ***1/2
ace high**1/2
four of the apocalypse ***
Mannaja***
trinity 1 ***
trinity 2 *1/2


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: Silenzio on August 29, 2006, 06:48:07 PM
Nah, didn't buy 'em. I discovered that NetFlix had a few more spaghetti westerns than I thought, so I put all those in the queue. I'm going to search around for any more that I didn't know about. I was shocked earlier because they had Lemonade Joe.


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: cigar joe on August 29, 2006, 09:19:08 PM
Its an ok & enjoyable film the mine set looks very good.


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: Silenzio on August 30, 2006, 03:35:45 PM
Looks like Ace High will be the first one I'm watching.


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: Poggle on August 30, 2006, 05:46:32 PM
I love Mannaja, great movie. Some of the most controlled cinematography I've seen in a non-Leone western, great editing. I love how the quality of the look is similar to movies like Unforgiven rather than the obvious 60's look. You could tell it was late 70's. The music is goofy, but it's hilarious and will stay in your head for a while!

Nice, carefully crafted story. Overall it's an interesting SW experience, I enjoyed it.


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: The Firecracker on August 30, 2006, 10:38:42 PM


Nice, carefully crafted story. Overall it's an interesting SW experience, I enjoyed it.

It mainly suffers from it's slow second act due to the romance sub-plot. The last 30 minutes are really exciting though.
Like "Keoma" the soundtrack is hated by most but I really enjoy it.


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: Leone Admirer on August 31, 2006, 03:47:26 PM
I reall enjoyed this film also if I remember correctly  :)


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: Silenzio on August 31, 2006, 03:50:40 PM
It mainly suffers from it's slow second act due to the romance sub-plot. The last 30 minutes are really exciting though.
Like "Keoma" the soundtrack is hated by most but I really enjoy it.

The music in Keoma sure is . . . .  Intertesting. I actually kinda liked it. Especially listening to my voice crackle whenever I try to sing it to myself.

Anways, I watched Ace High last night. Of course, seeing Eli in any movie is great, but this movie didn't impress me too much. At first I thought it was quite good, but then later (once they've started all that gambling) it lost a lot of its flair. Which was then summed up by a very bleak ending. The showdown could've been interesting, but was much too abrupt. The ending as a hole was very, very abrupt. Not a must-see.

58%


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: The Peacemaker on August 31, 2006, 08:35:27 PM
The Keoma music is very freaky deaky but it's kind of nice. Don't listen to it when you're in a pissed off or annoyed mood, however, because the soundtrack will only make matters worse.  ;D

( the soundtrack does get a bit annoying )


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: Silenzio on August 31, 2006, 08:41:12 PM
Just got done watching Sabata. Wow! What a treat! I, personally, thought it was great. I've heard it described as "The James Bond of Spaghetti Westerns," and I think that description is spot on. Complete with the fancy gadgets (like Sartana's extra-special Derringer and Winchester with a barrel extension [he always has a new trick up his sleeve]) and cartoonish-ness (like the characters of Banjo and the Acrobat.) I highly recommend this one.

88%


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: The Peacemaker on August 31, 2006, 08:44:22 PM
Just got done watching Sabata. Wow! What a treat! I, personally, thought it was great. I've heard it described as "The James Bond of Spaghetti Westerns," and I think that description is spot on. Complete with the fancy gadgets and cartoonish-ness (like the characters of Banjo and the Acrobat.) I highly recommend this one.

88%

Were you able to see it in widescreen?


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: Silenzio on August 31, 2006, 09:09:54 PM
Were you able to see it in widescreen?

Yep.


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: The Firecracker on September 01, 2006, 05:56:44 PM


. Which was then summed up by a very bleak ending.

58%


SPOILERS


would'nt call the ending bleak, even though Eli gets shot he does'nt die.

the showdown was good. Wonderfully shot.
What I thought was a bit too jokey was Eli's character asking for music. At that point I laughed out loud at how stupid that sounded. It's almost like a farce. you know music accompanies a showdown but yet you get a character asking for music?
If it was meant to be a joke, fine...but I dont think that was the intention.


SPOILERS END


since you did'nt think much of this film I advise you to stay  away from it's lackluster sequel "Boot Hill", which is far worse then this could ever be.

Try to check out the first film in the trilogy "God Forgives, I dont".


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: Silenzio on September 03, 2006, 08:08:07 PM

SPOILERS


would'nt call the ending bleak, even though Eli gets shot he does'nt die.

the showdown was good. Wonderfully shot.
What I thought was a bit too jokey was Eli's character asking for music. At that point I laughed out loud at how stupid that sounded. It's almost like a farce. you know music accompanies a showdown but yet you get a character asking for music?
If it was meant to be a joke, fine...but I dont think that was the intention.


SPOILERS END


since you did'nt think much of this film I advise you to stay  away from it's lackluster sequel "Boot Hill", which is far worse then this could ever be.

Try to check out the first film in the trilogy "God Forgives, I dont".

If you ask me, this film just kind of . . . ends. I thought the showdown was neat, but it was pretty short. And, I agree with you, the fact that he asked for music was lame. I've wanted to see "God Forgives, I don't" ever since I heard the title.

So, today I watched They Call me Trinity, I thought it was pretty good. I think Hill and Spencer do better in this more comedic  role than in Ace High, which I wasn't too fond of. I'm not going to go into much in any of my reviews (if you haven't noticed the short reviews of all the other movies), so I'm just going to cut to the chase and give you a percentage:

73%


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: The Peacemaker on September 03, 2006, 08:14:57 PM
If you ask me, this film just kind of . . . ends. I thought the showdown was neat, but it was pretty short. And, I agree with you, the fact that he asked for music was lame. I've wanted to see "God Forgives, I don't" ever since I heard the title.

So, today I watched They Call me Trinity, I thought it was pretty good. I think Hill and Spencer do better in this more comedic  role than in Ace High, which I wasn't too fond of. I'm not going to go into much in any of my reviews (if you haven't noticed the short reviews of all the other movies), so I'm just going to cut to the chase and give you a percentage:

73%

I didn't really want to see Ace High too much, like you Silenzio I really want to see God Forgives...I Don't.


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: Silenzio on September 03, 2006, 08:18:23 PM
I didn't really want to see Ace High too much, like you Silenzio I really want to see God Forgives...I Don't.

I just love that title.  8)


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: Banjo on September 04, 2006, 03:21:31 AM
Like "Keoma" the soundtrack is hated by most but I really enjoy it.
Yes,its a great soundtrack and i can't think of anyone that could've bettered it for this particular movie,even Morricone.Its a shame we never heard more of this type of  folk scores in the sw's and its very apt that the female vocalist provides the right kind of Native American Indian (Buffy Saint-Marie?) flavoured vocal which helped provide some very powerful moments.
Anyway its better to have a musical score that gets the sort of reaction that some either totally love(or hate),than something totally bland and forgetable.
    About God Forgives..I Don't,i wouldn't hold your breath if i were you! :-\


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: The Peacemaker on September 04, 2006, 08:01:20 AM
About God Forgives..I Don't,i wouldn't hold your breath if i were you! :-\

It's bad?


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: cigar joe on September 04, 2006, 09:58:05 AM
For me once I get past the top 25 SW's they are all pretty bad, lol, I rather watch a bad AW.

I'm thinking now that maybe all Westerns should be judged together, and see how they fall out that way I'll work on a list and see what I can come up with though I know the list will be top heavy with SW's  8)


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: Arizona Colt on September 04, 2006, 11:36:28 PM
Yes,its a great soundtrack and i can't think of anyone that could've bettered it for this particular movie,even Morricone.Its a shame we never heard more of this type of  folk scores in the sw's and its very apt that the female vocalist provides the right kind of Native American Indian (Buffy Saint-Marie?) flavoured vocal which helped provide some very powerful moments.
Anyway its better to have a musical score that gets the sort of reaction that some either totally love(or hate),than something totally bland and forgetable.
    About God Forgives..I Don't,i wouldn't hold your breath if i were you! :-\
This is the only time I've disagreed with you Banjo, I found GOD FORGIVES I DON"T to be one of the greats. Peacemaker, if you're expecting TRINITY style shenanigans you won't find it here. However Hill and Spencer alude to the TRINITY films in there performances but the movie is very serious throughout with Frank Wolff nearly stealing the show.

 Much better than ACE HIGH to me. Some find GFID to be tedious but I found the sequel at times to be slow but than again the sequel has Eli Wallach which no doubt adds to the enjoyment for those that worship the Leone movies.


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: Banjo on May 25, 2007, 04:23:26 AM
Leone Admirer's  review from his SW Virgins Guide:-

Mannaja: A Man Called Blade

Supposedly one of the last, if not the last, great Spaghetti Western Mannaja is an enjoyable, if flawed movie.
   Blade (Maurizo Merli) rides into a town seemingly owned completely by a man called Edward Mcgowan. Looking to stay in town, he is made to approach a man called Voller (John Steiner) who is Mcgowan's right hand man. Blade and Voller have a fight and Mannaja retreats to Mcgowans house to find he has a daughter. Blade demands that Mcgowan hire him before leaving to sleep the night through. The next day he discovers the town is being almost worked to death at Mcgowan's silver mine. Blade meets up with Mcgowan and again they fight. He retreats from town where he finds a group of chorus girls and one, Angela, he falls in love with.
       The film has a very heavy dream like atmosphere though out. This is due to the erratic editing, excellent framing, the use of over and undercranking the camera (which the director, Sergio Martino, admits was heavily influenced by Sam Peckinpah) and the heavy use of fog and soft light filters on the camera and smoke machines. The reason for the smoke was actually practical as well. The film was shot on what was supposedly at that time, the last intact Western town set in Italy and even that was falling to bits, so they had to use a smoke machine to hide the disrepair of the set.
     The opening heavily influences this when an (at this point in the story) unidentified man (Donal O'Brien) is being chased through some dark and smoky woods by an unseen man on a horse. His footsteps are exagerated, he seems to be running in slow motion and the horse's hoofbeat seems to take on the appearance of the strangers heart beat. Then the stranger has his hand chopped off by the unseen man who turns out to be Blade.  The film then launches into the song and titles.
    This stark and eye opening introduction is, in my opinion, the best section of the movie. All the different areas of sound, cinematography, acting, editing and direction all collide together to make a truly arresting introduction, something the rest of the film cannot replicate despite how hard it tries.
      Merli is excellent as Blade. He pulls off the cool persona of a troubled and revenge driven man very well, and when he recovers from a horrific torture seqeunce, we feel through the use of POV and Merli's pained expression, the hurt that the man is going through. It is sad that Merli died only five years after making this movie, during a game of Tennis.
     I thought Steiner was quite a good villain. He certainly had the looks to be one and I hated the character (In the way you're meant too.) He was quite menacing when he needed to be and you could believe that he was capable of the despicable acts that he does in this film.
     I also thought Brochard was very good as Angela who was the 'tart with the heart' that Blade fell in love with.
      The film does have some plot holes. A character who is murdered in the last third of the film is never mentioned again, Blade seemingly doesn't recognise his tormenter despite seeing his name emblazoned all over town. This doesn't really detract from the moviegoing experience but it would have been nice if more care had been put into these plot points.
      As noted before, direction by Martino is excellent and cinematography is excellent, sometimes with some very arresting and startling images and angles. Music is of an over all high standard, but a song about one of the characters being a Judas was quite dire to be honest.
       Blue Underground present this DVD completely restored from "Original Italian vault materials" The picture quality is of a general high quality. There are some damage marks and there is a very high abundance of grain at the begining of the film (which I don't find a real negative point) but generally the anamorphic scope print quality is pleasing. The mono is of a good quality and is presented in either original English or Italian. The DVD also contains, restored back into the print an "Infamous 'eyeball torture' scene"
     The DVD contains the 12 minute featurette A Man Called Sergio which is an interview with the director Sergio Martino. Here was get to learn some interesting tid bits about the production. Also found is an interesting poster and still gallery as well as a Sergio Martino Bio.
      This film marks the end of my four film experience with Blue Underground. I think its a shame they haven't produced any more Spaghetti DVD releases and, after the high quality of these four, I implore them to do more.  The film itself was enjoyable, it played the usual elements of the spaghetti genre whilst using a fresh new cinematic perspective. Again I recomend this film to all established Spaghetti fans and newcomers.



Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: Banjo on May 26, 2007, 07:47:15 AM
Arizona Colts review:-

MANNAJA from 1977 is serviceable but is let down by an ending that feels a bit rushed. CALIFORNIA starring Guiliano Gemma from the same year has the same gloomy doom laden atmosphere and sense of dread is a much better picture. MANNAJA is good also but mostly because of its evil and despicable villain. There are also some decent characterizations along the way and a couple of good action scenes but it just doesn't seem like enough. The ending was the biggest letdown for me as I was expecting more. Still, for the price, it's worth picking up for the gothic horror style setting which recalls such films as GREAT SILENCE, DJANGO and the horror pictures of Mario Bava. Several scenes of violence and gore grab your attention and Maurizio Merlhi who was famous for his italian crime films makes a good western anti-hero who seems to have seen some of Tony Anthony's movies as inspiration for this character.


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: titoli on April 11, 2008, 07:35:47 PM
This is the first Maurizio Merli movie I ever watched. Ever since he first came up to public notoriety I wondered why he was considered (by some) a very good actor. He doesn't know where to start playing, has not a "presence" or face memorable, has a diminutive figure. He was a poor man's Franco Nero, without any of his (small) charisma and handsomeness. The movie starts great, with that first manhunting scene and the card game. After that I was let down by watching the same landscapes used in Fidani, Batzella and co. movies. The opening scene  made me hope for more imaginative result. It goes through the motions, with that cave's darkness shooting (well, hatcheting) and there is nothing more.
The score. Well, the De Angelis bros had more chutzpah than inventiveness. I don't think (sorry, Banjo!) that those mediocre folksy songs marry well with the images. Still they are so ugly that, at least, they keep you awake. (for the amateurishness of the bros check the unmusical comment to the dancing scene: embarassing). So I give it 6\10.   


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: O'Cangaceiro on February 24, 2009, 04:34:14 PM
An OK movie at the most IMO. Some scenes (the cave & final showdown) are clearly inspired on AFOD, but without a Morricone score I found them almost laughable. In any case, I have never been a fan of G&M de Angelis when it comes to scores for SWs.

The "acting" doesn't seem to be there in any of the actors and there is no "chemistry" between any of the characters. The "Western town" where the movie was made (forgot its name but I thnk t is in Italy) was showing everywhere signs of decay (same as the stagecoach) which seems to point that no SW had been filemd in that area for quite awhile. And the scenery does not look much like "the Spaghetti West" of the movies made in Almeria, Guadix, etc.

Still, I found the movie watchable.

5.5 out of 10


Title: Re: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)
Post by: stanton on February 25, 2009, 01:19:57 PM
Average SW with some good moments, but surely not enough to make it exciting. The directing is mostly unimaginative, especially when it comes to slo mo. Merli is quite good in the lead.

Actually this is a film many fans are fond of, but I have no clue why. Maybe the fog.