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Author Topic: Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (1977)  (Read 19072 times)
cigar joe
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« 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.

« Last Edit: December 19, 2004, 05:41:26 AM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #1 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.

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« Reply #2 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

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« Reply #3 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.

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« Reply #4 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! Shocked 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.

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« Reply #5 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.

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« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2004, 02:24:31 PM »

pretty sure jenny agutters in china 9 liberty 37, hubba hubba  Grin

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Christopher
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« Reply #7 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?

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« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2005, 03:57:33 PM »

....and just remember RMR is a pale sequil to The Big Gundown.

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« Reply #9 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 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. Undecided

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« Reply #10 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? Shocked

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« Reply #11 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.

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« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2005, 04:54:57 PM »

Christofer, what have you seen Franco Nero in, just out of curiosity?


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« Reply #13 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.

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« Reply #14 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).

« Last Edit: March 17, 2005, 04:46:43 AM by cigar joe » Logged

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