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Author Topic: Il mercenario aka The Mercenary/A Professional Gun (1968)  (Read 53891 times)
Sanjuro
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« Reply #60 on: September 30, 2006, 02:01:57 PM »

"Companeros" is a fun movie. But when I compare it with "The Mercenary", I prefer latter. As an action-advernture film, I enjoy "Mercenary" more.  And as a film making, it's better constructed in my opinion. Also I prefer Morricone's music in this movie (sometimes I think the music is better than film itself too).  I especially like the duel scene in the climax of "Mercenary". Corbucci is trying to be as stylish as Leone.

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« Reply #61 on: September 30, 2006, 04:17:23 PM »

I prefer Companeros a lot more but I find Jack's performance much more creepier in The Mercenary

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« Reply #62 on: September 30, 2006, 05:30:38 PM »

I think I like Companeros better also, but you really want both movies. Maximum Palance!

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« Reply #63 on: September 30, 2006, 06:31:00 PM »

I like The Mercenary because its less comedic than Companeros, but they are both great.

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« Reply #64 on: September 30, 2006, 11:36:42 PM »

Both films have their good moments and short comings.


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

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

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

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« Reply #65 on: October 01, 2006, 01:39:10 AM »

The Mercenary is officially the best non-Leone sw on this forum:-

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

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« Reply #66 on: October 01, 2006, 03:07:06 AM »

The Mercenary is officially the best non-Leone sw on this forum:-

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

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« Reply #67 on: February 15, 2007, 01:03:19 AM »

On the beginning General Garcia is there when Paco escapes his execution. Then when The Pollack arrives and everyone else is dead Garcia and the army arrives. What happened? Did he run away to return with the army? If he was chased away by Paco's men then why would they(Paco's gang) stay there?

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« Reply #68 on: February 15, 2007, 05:04:49 PM »

Quote
If he was chased away by Paco's men then why would they(Paco's gang) stay there?

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

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« Reply #69 on: May 25, 2007, 05:16:46 AM »

Leone Admirers review from his SW Virgins Guide:-

The Mercenary

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


A snippet from Arizona Colt

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

« Last Edit: May 26, 2007, 04:40:48 PM by Banjo » Logged
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« Reply #70 on: June 23, 2007, 04:45:52 AM »

As usual I enjoy the different opinions here. I try widen my horizon in understanding (in this case) why one would prefer COMPANEROS! to IL MERCENARIO. I do know that sometimes these decisions base on how and when one watches a film. A lowdown transfer in Pan-Scan or what have you can't be representative for any film meant to be seen on a widescreen.

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

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

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

I make a break here before my PC crashes.

PICTURES:
I made my own DVD as the film won't be available here for years it seems:


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

Here's the German double panel. The artwork ('2') refers to the title they first wanted to use here (THE DANGEROUS TWO or words to that effect)


Here's are various soundtrack records:


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« Reply #71 on: June 23, 2007, 03:00:46 PM »

Great stuff Mike, I'm really curious about Corbucci also, and want to know what happened and what was up with "The Specialist", some parts of it were great others were ridiculous, (ie., the hippies, the castle in the bg as he rides off into the sunset, and the score which reminded me of something you'd here in a film about French/Italian Riviera jewel thieves) if you can shed more light on this it would be great.


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« Reply #72 on: June 23, 2007, 04:15:39 PM »

Companero,

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

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

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

CUT TO
Specialist.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

more stills: English lobby card. French lobby card showing on of my favorite moments (boot).
Nero & Corbucci on the set.  ADIOS COMPANERO.



« Last Edit: June 24, 2007, 12:20:02 AM by mike siegel » Logged


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« Reply #73 on: June 23, 2007, 06:09:59 PM »

No don't delete, its all good stuff you provided. Afro

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

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

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

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« Reply #74 on: June 24, 2007, 02:07:05 AM »

I rate most of Corbucci's westerns very highly (haven't seen his final "THE WHITE, THE YELLOW AND THE BLACK). Never had a problem with "Gli Specialist". It grows on you.


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

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