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Author Topic: An SW Virgin's Guide to SW or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Dubb's  (Read 75778 times)
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« on: September 29, 2005, 01:29:16 PM »

Right, if you fine Ladies and Gent's don't mind, I'm starting a column documenting my experince with non-Leone SW's. I have 23 unwatched non-Leone Spaghetti's that I intend to start watching this weekend, and as promised in (the) Leone Lover's Guide To Other Spaghetti Westerns, begun by the great Cigar Joe, I'm going to write my thoughts, my experiences, my fears and my highlights as I explore the SW's begining with (after I watch For A Few Previews More which I'll also comment on) Johnny Yuma and finishing off with Nobody Is The Greatest. Now all these films are being watched on DVD, which I also intend to rate. I also want to add, that the reason I am able to expose myself what looks like an enjoyable 23 evenings of pure Spaghetti mayhem is because of you fine posters who encouraged me, and nurtured me (but luckily didn't bankrupt me  Grin ) into owning these great films. Right, as I am going to start watching this weekend, I thought I'd start off with a little editorial. Please, please post your feelings, reactions (but not death threats  Grin ) here as I take an emotional rollercoaster into the great West. So as I turn on my home cinema, reach for the nachos and sip the fine Jack Daniels whisky (my favourite vice) I sit back, relax and enjoy.

Thanks Again Folks.

29.09.05

America, The West, And Me

I have just enjoyed watching 40 of Hollywood's finest Westerns. From Hell's Hinges (1916) to Open Range (2004) I have been able to watch one of my favourite genres, develop, grow proud and strong and then die. I have watched John Wayne from his beginings, The Big Trail (1930), to his elegiac finale, The Shootist (1978). I've seen directors, men who I have admired greatly and who have inspired me to be, and to do, what I am today.  For me, it's been a revisit to one of my favourite haunts, cinematic America. From Genre's such as Film Noir and The Gangster Films of the 1930's 40's and 50's to certain New Wave styles, in my opinion America is the king of cinema. The countries I would definalty have to say that followed more closely behind then anyother would be France and Italy (though Italy would be my 'stand out' cinematic country of the two)
          I have to be completely honest, I'm a Brit who so desperatly wants to be an American, and like Leone and many other European filmmakers, I was inspired, seduced if you like, into wanting to be a part of what is a great nation. Now, I'm not here to talk about current affairs, this is no personal debate about certain politcial feelings, this is about people over the world who have been seduced by cinemas presentation of The American Dream. We have the pensive, nightmarish presentation of the A.D in Noir and more positve presentations in other genres, but its the Western (and importantly how it is shown in Spaghetti's and Hollywoods) that presents the American Dream in such an interesting light. Sometimes it can hopeful, sometimes it can be depressing but directors such as Ford, Hathaway, Corbucci and Leone all explore the American Dream and their effect on them in different ways. Now don't get me wrong, whilst I do like to delve into a film, I'm not one of those stuck up idiots who spouts out a lot of mumbo jumbo, but my experience of this great genre and its affect on me and other people I just find so fascinating.
       The spaghetti western is intriguing, a western set in Spain? How does that work, but it does. The amazing combination of Italian Values dealing with an American subject just gels so well, not like Hollywood stylised British Gangster films (see Ritchies Revolver) and only wathcing the trailers for the cinematic delights to come all make me excited to see someone who portrays their view of America on to the screen.
      Europe always has created its own view of the US and its often been a very popular one. The closest example I can come to is Disneyland Resort Paris. Main Street for example is the America of 1900 I like to see and a vision I have fallen in love with. Now you would be right in guessing that Frontier Land would be my favourite land, but immediatly you can see the European influence been asserted on it, its supposed to look like to the towns of the Spaghetti's, I find its more akin to the town in FOD with the mexican influence bearing strongly on the more conventional American town.
        I have to say that every trip I've taken to America (New York is my fave city in the world) I've come back wanting more, I try not to do the touristy things, I want to experince life in the good old US of A just as our many American compadres do on this forum. At home I follow baseball (Ok it maybe the Yankees but...  Grin ) which no one else I know does but I have an affiliation with the only sport I like, it is America's Favourite Past Time and to me is a much more involving engaging sport then Cricket, Soccer of Football.
        I've had these thoughts swirling around my mind ever since my trip to NY in the Summer, I've set my heart on going to live in America and work in its great film industry, not for fame or money, but so I can feel apart of a country that I adore, a country I feel at home with and a people I connect with. Cinema to me is the my one true love, (a lady friend has not entered the equation for a while but...) but America is my one true home and it adds to my viewing experience. And its coupled with a feeling that I'm already getting from my Spaghetti's, and one that I hope every filmmaker should have, and its the genuine and total love for the film and subject matter it deals with. I agree my views, are blighted, probably naive but don't get me wrong, no where is perfect and I understand that pros and cons exist everwhere but this is my passionate feeling, and if anyone has ever met me for a "and why I love this film" talk they'll know what I'm talking about.

Thanks for reading

Ollie

P.S. Thanks Once again to everybody here for making my fave forum and one I make sure I frequent at least once a day.

Next Update: 04.10.05 - A Fistful Of Previews

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« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2005, 04:01:16 PM »

Looking forward to your comments LA, it should be very interesting, by the way did you in your viewing of AW's catch Villa Rides? , check it out too when you can.

PS love the title to this thread  Grin

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« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2005, 08:41:26 AM »

 Next time you come to America,Might I suggest that you visit the New Mexico/Arizona area.If you are a fan of Western films you will love the backdrop the area provides  Smiley

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« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2005, 11:24:36 AM »

Re Joe: No I didn't get to see Villa Rides but I wil now!

Re Shango: I think I'll do that, thanks for the suggestion Shango!

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« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2005, 08:21:48 AM »

Great Post LA.
Stay away from Wildwest spag trailer dvds. Very bad for your health. Fuelling a addiction... They become checklist for what you havn't seen. Grin

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« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2005, 07:10:03 AM »

04.10.05

36 Films in an Hour and a Half?

Well thanks to Wild East and their For A Few Previews More disc I was able to see 36 spaghetti's, all be it very short versions of them. Last night I had a very enjoyable time. By the time the disc stopped and reverted back to the main menu my ears were ringing with the sound of gunshots and ricochets, as well as humming some damn addictive music.
      The trailers stem from 1961 with the Savage Guns and ended in 1982 with Insurgent Mexico. Now it was fortuitous that the first trailer of the film set, Savage Guns immedialty arrested my attention. There were quite a few films that I wanted to see in full, often mainly for curiosity's sake. Of the first 12 I really wanted to check out Savage Guns, Gunfighters of Casa Grande, Gunmen of the Rio Grande, The Texican, (despite the stupid name) The Hellbenders, The Hills Run Red, and Navajo Joe (please give me your opinions on each, the trailers brainwashed me into liking these films so if their not up to scratch and not wasting a dollar on then please let me know) However I had the most vile and horrific shock when the title For a Few Dollars Less zoomed on to the screen. At the end of its short running time I was so upset I wanted to cry. This looked like a very half arsed spoof of a good film from one of my favourite directors. It really looked like that they had watched the film once, set up a sight gag (such as the cannon firing onto the horse) and despite it looking odd said "meh close enough, now lets be even more vindictive and take the mickey out of another segment of what is a much better film then ours" I could be wrong but...
        Another great joy was to see how many famous US actors were in this collection. Also a surprise appearance from one of my favourite noir characters Dan Duryea from The Hills Run Red. Joseph Cotton, a luminary from the great Orson Welles, was pleasing in the amount of Westerns he starred in. Also great to see was John Huston, and most funny of all William Shatner in Rio Hondo as a "White Commanche". I suppose it was a good thing to have the star trek actor in this film as obbsessive trek fans hopefully would have checked out this wierd film (and get to love spaghetti's). The trailer in this was in very poor shape but I'm sure I heard dialogue go "Theres... Something on the wagon... some...thing... on the wagon" (apologies for such a poor Twilight Zone referance there). The most disturbing appearance though goes to an aged Ursulla Andress' left breast looking rather wrinked in Insurgent Mexico "shudder" luckily she didn't destory all my dreams from when I first saw her in Dr No
      There were other films that I definatly wanted to check out. These included A Minute To Pray, A Second To Die, The Devil Was An Angel, Kill The Wickeds, (Which seemed like a beefed up version of the John Wayne film North to Alaska) Shotgun, 100 Rifles, (I think this might be more for curiosity's sake) A Name That Cried Revenge, The Deserter, (I think mainly for the star power) and A Man Called Noon Looking at my choices I come to the conclusion that I seemed to be attracted to films either with journeys in them or deals with the idea of revenge or have bounty hunters in them. Looking at the spaghetti's I have I think this definalty the case and I thin this is somewhat true of my Hollywood westerns also.
      In the collection it was nice to see the Trailers for Once Upon A Time In The West and Duck You Sucker (making me wish even harder for the speedy release of the R1 DYS). However I think it is very apparent when looking at this collection the quality of the films take a major nose dive once they enter the 70's. The psychadelic and 'groovy' trailers seem to emphasie that the SW's were lost in the way they went forward. Bad Mans River (1971 starring Lee Van Cleef) seemed a particually good example of this with its forced humour just feeling, well, forced.
      This introduction to the Spaghetti Western was a very enjoyable experience, it exposed me to some great films to chase up on (and bug the posters here about) as well as giving me some great music tracks and excellent stunt sequences. The Wild East DVD is certainly good for introducing someone to the Spaghetti genre and depsite the quality being very bad at some points, if the film is a great spaghetti it shines through the print damage. It did make me wish I had bought A Fistful Of Trailers. Anyway it has set me up for tonights viewing experince, Johnny Yuma so please comment on what I've written, advise me on the films I liked and disliked and join me tomorrow for another trip into the Wild Spaghetti West.

Ollie

Next Update: 05.10.05 - Johnny Yuma

PS. Congrats to the New York Yankees for winning the AL East!

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« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2005, 05:32:12 AM »

When you get a chance list the films you are going to watch.

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« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2005, 12:20:50 PM »

re - your request Joe here are the upcoming films (in order of my watching them)...

Johnny Yuma (Reviewed)
Between God, The Devil and a Winchester (Reviewed)
The Man From Nowhere (Reviewed)
Kill And Prey (Reviewed)
Pistoleros (Review Tomorrow)
Day of Anger
Django
Django Kill, If You Live Shoot
Run, Man, Run
Mannaja
The Big Gundown
Death Rides A Horse
Sabata
Return of Sabata
Texas Adios
A Bullet For The General
Companeros
Four of the Apocolypse
Keoma
My Name is Nobody
Nobody Is The Greatest


And now for my first Spaghetti feature review, Johnny Yuma

05.10.05

"Johnny dont go! Johnny stay here!"

Man this was an enjoyable film! My first non Leone Spaghetti ever and I really enjoyed it. It was similar in many ways to our great directors work but differed enough so it was enjoyable in its own right. The plot revolved around the title character Johnny Yuma (Mark Damon), whose aunt, Samantha (Rosalba Neri) murders his uncle when she discovers that Johnny is to inherit their ranch on his death not her. She sends out Carradine (Lawrence Dobkin) a shootist and her former lover to kill Johnny but instead after Johnny saves his life they both team up to face the odds.
       The film plays like a very enjoyable comic book, the often static camera almost becomes the seperate panels of a comic book, until the camera moves in a variety of interesting ways (the 360 degree movement of the camera highlighting a poker game/ the desert is a good example) that feels like the panels are joined together. Whilst the film is no comedy, it moves from light heartedness and action with ease which director Romolo Guerrieri uses very well, over the top extreme violence is balanced with enhanced (but not comic) noises which makes one feel that the word Pow! Should appear on the screen at some point. The only funny element I took issue with was a perverted parrot which seemed a little too Roger Moore Bond era to me.
     The opening of the film hooked me from the start. The film has no credits (as I have not seen the film before I don't know whether this is down to the print released by the DVD producer, Wild East, or if its always been like that.) Immediatly three dangerous looking men appear out of the desert (presumably Almeria) and demand a horse paying a woefully inadequate amout for it. A stranger appears and agree but asks them in side his Mexican quarters to thrash out the idea. He identifies/insults one of the men who has an eye patch by calling him Hawkeye, seemingly angrying the man.  Unsure, the three men enter cautiously and find the man has dissapeared. Suddenly the coin Hawkeye had offered the stranger roles towards him out of a partly open door. The three men enter and see the stranger standing at the other end, they fire but all they hit is a mirror, the door they have entered in closes and the stranger guns them down. After he finishes he sits dow, begins to eat some beans before getting up again to have sex with a prostitute. We then cut to the title sequence and through the song and the titles, we find out the stranger is Johnny Yuma.
      This enigmatic opening was enjoyable and was unexpected, its fun yet cold outlook on the life of a gunfighter was a good ploy and one that works well though out the film.
      As noted before there is very little camera movement. That coupled with some very sloppy editing (As well as times ravages of time on the print which produced droped frames and audio drop outs) makes the film seem kind of amatuerish. Granted the 1.85:1 is not the most spectacular ratio to do justice to a western, it serves its purpose here, emphasising the comic book effect. The music was great and I've been humming it all day at the editing studio. Acting was generally very good, and although some of the dubbing was  bad it was generally of an average quality and didn't detract that much from the enjoyment of the film. Dobkin and Damon play very good anti heroes, most likely on purpose echoing the interacting of Manco and Col. Mortimers interaction in FFDM. There was a mexican sidekick who was more of a, umm (I hate this phrase but I'll use it anyway) 'goody' version of Tucco for TGTBTU. The villainess' portrayal by Neri was excellent, she seemed particularly evil and was a very noir esque femme fatale.
        The DVD presentation was very good, with an average looking picture and good original mono sound. The picture and sound sometimes changed in quality (and for the audio, to German) which meant a sequence had been restored that was originally missing in the English language print. The German audio is subtitled in English. The missing footage is mainly when a child is beaten up, presumambly removed by censors or by the studios fearing it would be too much for the audiences of the day. Also included on the disc was an exhaustive picture gallery, four Mark Damon trailers and an alternate title sequence. (Note this disc is called Wild Easts Big Double Feature Excitement!!! from their Spaghetti Western Collection. It contains two films on one disc with some liner notes, which must not be read before a first viewing of film as they tell entire plot. The two films are Johnny Yuma and Between God, The Devil and A Winchester, the latter being  reviewed tomorrow.)
     In conclusion I can't recomend enough Johnny Yuma to Spaghetti fans and virgins a like. It lived up to expectations and is a very enjoyable spaghetti. Well done to Wild East  for bringing it out on DVD.

Join Me Next Time Folks!

Ollie

Next Update: 06.10.05 - Between God, The Devil and a Winchester

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« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2005, 12:26:12 PM »

06.10.05

Between God, The Devil And A Winchester

hmm, an interesting film this was. Interesting, but not in an overly good way. It was watchable, it passed the time but it was certainly not as good as Johnny Yuma and most likely not a film I would approach again.
      The film deals with a treasure hunt. A criminal arrives in a hotel on the American/Mexican border. An adopted boy, Tommy lives with the owner, uncle Pinky and they are immedialty suspicious of the stranger. The boy serves the stranger some food who in turn tells him that he has a secret map and that Tommy must help him hide from some men who are looking for the map. Then one night, a group of Mexican bandits arrive, kill the stranger and try to find the map. When they can't find it they burn the hotel down. Another stranger arrives, a gringo (Richard Harrison), and he finds Tommy with the map. Tommy gives him the map and they hire a pistolero, (Gilbert Roland) who may be traitorous. They set out into the mountains with Uncle Pink (Strange name, I thought I had got it wrong and that it was Pete but Tommy definatly said Pink) and a band of men, meeting trouble where ever they go.
       The film reminds me of one of those not very good 80's films where the child was the hero, and they used to play on TV late on a Sunday afternoon. Winchester plays like that with Tommy. There are a few 'cute' interactions between the Pistolero and Tommy and the scrapes and dangers Tommy finds himself in certainly has a 'Goodies' feel to it. However the film is inter-spersed with quite brutal violence and it makes the two sit quite uncomfortably with each other, pulling the film in one way, and then the next.
      Another thing is the film is very low budget. At one point one of the character shouts "Avalance" even though there is no snow and there are no signs of rocks falling etc. We then cut to the next day and one of the men tells the Pistolero that there has been a rock slide, even though we see no evidence of such. I know that Spaghetti's were often of a low budget, so its a shame that such an idea here wasn't given a larger budget to make it more grand, which would have helped both the adult and the child aspects of the film.
    Acting was generally very poor, though the two leads, Harrison and Rowland were profficent. Dubbing was also very bad, especially of that of the character Tommy. Cinematography was muted and mixed, no doubt not helped at all by the appalling state of the print. Marino Girolami's direction was OK during the fight scenes but he seemed to let the temp slip and become bogged down at certain points. Music was unremarkable and the theme sounded like it came from the soundtrack of the PC Game; Mafia making it sound very dated.
      Wild East have given us a dreadful print of the film. Their is damage, artifacts, poor splices and audio and visual drop outs. Sound was in mono and was generally OK, though it did highlight the poor dubbing.
    The only extra on the disc was a brief photo gallery which was pretty comprehensive.
(Note this disc is called Wild Easts Big Double Feature Excitement!!! from their Spaghetti Western Collection. It contains two films on one disc with some liner notes, which must not be read before a first viewing of film as they tell entire plot. The two films are Johnny Yuma and Between God, The Devil and A Winchester.)
     All in all, this film wasn't a dissapointment (unlike A History of Violence)because I went into it with low expectations, it was an interesting way to pass the time. I look forward to watching the other Spaghetti's which I know can only get better.

Ollie

Next Update: 07.10.05 - The Man From Nowhere

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« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2005, 09:58:06 AM »


08.10.05

The Man From Nowhere

A huge leap up from Between God, The Devil And A Winchester this very slick, enjoyable Spaghetti ranks up there and perhaps beyond that of Johnny Yuma in my Spaghetti watching experience so far.
     The film deals with the character Arizona Colt (Giuliano Gemma.) Freed from incarceration for an unknown crime, Arizona refuses to join the bandit band led by Gordo (Fernando Sancho.) He instread goes to the town of Blackstone, whose bank Gordo intends to rob and he becomes attracted to Jane (Corrine Marchand) When her sister is killed she promises to be Arizona's toy if he brings back the killer.
       The first thing you notice when this film starts is how amoral our 'protagonist' is supposed to be. He cheats at cards (something I don't believe I've ever seen in any western, please if I'm wrong do let me know) and he charges the father of the murdered daughter more then he can afford which means money and the giving of his supposedly unwilling daughter.
       The film also contains a very dark humour, one such example can be when Arizona spells out his answer to Gordo's request to join his group with the bodies of Gordo's men he just killed. This makes the character at the begining of the film a touch unlikeable and gives him a sense of self assuredness. All this is taken away from Arizona when he is serverly injured later on in the film.
       The acting is great with Gemma, carrying off the role of Arizona very well, adding to his character with little nuances and habits that makes him whole rounded and makes the often unlikeably character be more bearable.  Sancho plays Gordo with relish, making this over the top character and enjoyable, pantomine like villain. Marchand is also great as up tight girl who slowly melts under the later Arizona's charms.
       Direction is fast paced, the cinematography is very attractive and well framed and the music was again very catchy and of good quality (I adore Arizona's theme both in vocals and with the harmonica solos.)
       Wild Easts DVD presentation was very good, above average picture and audio quality was a great surprise and really highlighted the great composisitions on the 2.2:35 image and the rather good musical score. The picture quality does drop for a short time but Wild East have given us the explanation for this, "An additional scene, missing from the original English language release of THE MAN FROM NOWHERE has been restored by Wild East Productions from a European video source, which accounts for the degredation of quality in that scene."    I must admit I would rather have a uncut film and suffer 20 seconds (which was how long the additional scene is) of not to bad picture quality then have an a cut version of the film.
     Also contained was a collection of interesting Spaghetti trailers and another exhaustive photo collection. As usual there is music scoring the gallery but this time, Wild East have also included the original 30 second radio spot at the begining which was a nice surpise. 
      I very much enjoyed The Man From Nowhere as it seems to take the idea of Clints character in the dollar trilogy then play with it so he is really unlikeable. I heartily recomend this film and its DVD release.

Ollie

Next Update: 08.10.05 - Kill And Prey

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« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2005, 10:25:02 AM »

08.10.05

Kill And Prey

Better known in Europe as Requiescant, this different and quite adult Spaghetti hooks you with its interesting tone and characters.
 A boy is the sole survivor of a massace of his family and his people for their land by gringo land grabbers. He is found by a travelling priest and his wife and daughter. The boy grows up and is named Requiescant (Lou Castel) meaning 'Rest in Peace'. The elderly preachers daughter, Princie, runs off to join a travelling show girls circus and Requiescant goes off to look for her. His quest brings him to the insane 'aristocrat' Ferguson (Mark Damon of Johnny Yuma fame) his employees are holding Princie as a prostitute. Requiescant's quest brings him on the trail of redemption, violence and betrayal.
        Staright away, the film begins on a violent note with the killing of the boys family and people. The camera holds on the bullets impacting the people and the child is shown to be seriously wounded by a bullet that scrapes the top of his head. Then later on, the mixture of religion and the often cruel way he kills the people that he believes 'done him wrong' This involves an interesting duel involving two people hanging from the ceiling standing on stools and the idea that each has to shoot the stool away from the other to kill him. 
      The film does have some plot holes but these can be looked over as they help to add to the mood and the style of the piece. This can been seen where requiescant returns to the place where his family was murdred 20 years earlier and all the bones are still there. You would have thought the murderes would want to have hidden the body, especially when we later learn that they are very worried about being found out about the massacre. But the sight of Requiescant finding the bones and seemingly going insane is a very powerful sequence. Also some more unbelievable sections of the film, the fact that depsite he has never shot a gun before in his life, he is a crack shot and never misses and can be seen to add to the more mysterious side of the character.
        The film has some very black humor, which I have come to expect from Spaghtti's even after just watching four of them. Again this adds to the quite downbeat mood of the movie, especially when Requiescant is actually chastised by a priest for enjoying the killing, citing that he is becoming an evil person and yet one that fighters need.
        Acting again was great with Castel excelling himself as the creepy protagonist. However Damon was the best actor, relishing and chewing up the scenery as the slightly insane Ferguson. Its such a change both physically (he looks a lot like James Dean in this film) and mentally from his portrayal of the hero in Johnny Yuma that it shows what a great actor the man was. Ferguson's character is rascist, sexist, violent and he has homesexual tendencies towards his men and it adds to all the dangerous quality (this is heavily written about on the back of the DVD)
       Directing was distinctive, fast paced, quirky and exciting and the tight 1.85:1 was dirty and added to the feel of the film. Dubbing was overal of a good quality as was with the sound and music, though there wasn't a really distinctive song like the previous Spaghetti's I have watched.
        The transfer that Wild East has given us is the best I have seen so far, there is still a little damage but colors were stong and vibrant. Sound quality was also very good. Also included is some more Spaghetti trailers, this time involving Lou Castel, another exhaustive photo gallery and a rather entertaining interview with Lou Castel who remembers fondly working on the film and its director Carlo Lizzani.
         I very much recomend this film to all Spaghetti fans. It is an interesting, adult and strange interpretation of the west, a sort of step up I believe to what Django Kill will be like.

Ollie

Next Update: 09.10.05 - Pistoleros

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« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2005, 06:04:44 AM »

Many, many apologies for the delay in writing more reviews. The editing studio has been very busy this week with projects and I have been working over time (and I am also in the early stages of a flu like illness  Embarrassed . ) Anyway heres the first of three reviews I want to do today.

14.10.05

Pistoleros

This was a strange film. Despite the fact that it quite heavily takes the major plot points from FAFDM such as two gunmen, one young, one old after a leader of a  gang. The Young one (Nigros) because of the rich bounty on the gang member (El Bedoja) and the other (Kud) for reasons of revenge. They foil the robbery of a safe from a bank (very Leone) before both hunting the group down.
       The film was enjoyable but it was very, very Leone esque. From the choice in editing, direction and cinematography as well as the music sounding like they had taken major cues from More such as the watch chiming. However the film fails in its copying of such a great film. The killer, Bedoja, whilst killing innocent people doesn't have the same menace as Volante's villain in FAFDM Similarily, for Kud we don't have much sympathy for his tale of vengence, for one reason because the flash back later is very poorly done and secondly because the character doesn't seem to be burning with desire to kill Bedoja, unlike Col. Mortimer in Leone's film.
       The film looks nice, cinematography is servicable, helping the action on screen and editing seems to help the story move at a brisk pace. The acting was generally of a good standard, but i found the music lacking in quality in some scenes.
       Wild East's DVD is a bit of a mixed bag. The film is presented (for the first time) in an Anamorphic print, taken from an Italian version. The film looks very nice, despite the fact that there is some damage to the print, colors are very strong, shadows are well defined and there is little extraneous noise. However the audio is terrible, dialogue is surrounded and almost drowned out by very audible hiss. There are audio drop outs in which dialogue is completely missing. I presume this is the best WE had to work with but its a shame when compared to the very good visual quality.
      Included on the DVD are some entertaining Anthony Ghidra trailers, another exhaustive picture gallery as well as the English language version opening credits.
     This film was entertaining but seemed to copy too much the superior For A Few Dollars More. I consider Pistoleros to be a minor tentpole in the great genre that is spaghetti westerns. If your a big fan of the genre, you might want to check it out. It maybe of use to show to people who only know of Leone's works because of their major simularities. Anyway it gave me another night of Spaghetti enjoyment.

Ollie

Next Update: 14.10.05 - Day of Anger

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« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2005, 07:17:22 AM »

14.10.05

Day of Anger

Man this film was a blast! A very enjoyable, almost tongue in cheek Spaghetti with excellent direction, a cracking score and two of the best actors of the spaghetti genre, Lee Van Cleef and Giuliano Gemma. Add that with a fully packed DVD Special Edition from Wild East
      Gemma is Scott, a son of a whore, who is treated with disdain by the people of Clifton Arizona. He is trained on and off by a retired sheriff called Murph (Walter Rilla). Then one day, in rides Lee Van Cleef as Frank Talby, an aging proffessional gunfighter. After some incidents with the towns folk, Talby rides off, trailed by an admiring Scott. After Scott saves Talby's life they team up as mentor and pupil. However Scott realises that Talby isn't the hero he thinks he is and he must be stopped before he takes over the whole town!
      When the opening bars of Talby's theme blast over the opening credits, you know that this film is going to be a very fun ride. Those looking for a film thats a thoughtful dissertation on the death of the west and the decline of the gunfighter should go and look at Once Upon A Time In The West. But if those same people, and others want a film thats over the top, fun, well acted, well scored and well directed then they should definatly check out this film.
     Lee Van Cleef as Talby is brilliant. It's like Angel Eyes crawled out of the grave, then changed his identity as Talby and walked on into town. Cleef, for me at any rate, seems to command the screen as he growls through his dialogue and shoots at everything and everyone in site. He also makes a very good Saloon owner!. Gemma is also very good as the outcast who becomes feared and respected around town. His devotion and eventual turning to and againts Talby is believable and he handles himself very well in the actions scenes.
      As well all know, director Tonino Valerii is a Leone graduate and he, as well as having some Leone esque moments in this film, creates an interesting style of his own with inventive framing and shots. I also noticed (and I wonder if this is a salute to his master) that alot of the locations in this film can be seen in the dollar's trilogy.
     The film has some interesting set pieces, including a duel set on horseback with two people firing percussion rifles almost like a medievil joust. A bit over the top perhaps but never the less, still very entertaining.
      The music is also very similar in the way that its over the top but also very enjoyable. With Talby's and Scott's themes merging into one making a rousing sound, thrusting the film forward along with its very fats and tight pacing.
       Wild East present this DVD in a special edition touting it as the "Fully Restored Widescreen Version." Image wise, this could not be truer. Taken from an Italian print, the film has very little print damage, and whilst still not being anamorphic, is of a quite high standard and quality. However the same cannot be said about the audio. The english audio track seems to be fine at some points and then at other times it can become louder, quiter or drop out altogether. What is good of them though is to include the Italian audio track, which to me sounds roughly the same, as well as an isolated audio music and sound effects track which is interesting to listen to.
        The DVD is stacked with extras. We kick off with a 17 minute featurette entitled Gemma on Gemma, an interview with Giuliano Gemma. This is a very interesting interview with the star who describes with interest his working with Valeri, Cleef and his other co-stars during the making of the move. Also included is a picture gallery, sadly not set to music this time but still very informative, as well as the US, International and DVD trailers/ Another bonus is the featurette entitled Almeria Then and Now which takes comparison photos, much like those found on most of the Leone DVD's, of how the location looked in '68 and then in 2000. We round off with two alternate title sequences, one from the US print and the other from the international print.
     This film was very, very enjoyable. Its fun, crammed with action and has great stars. I highly recomend all Spaghetti fans, new and old to check out this film!

Ollie

Next Update: 14.10.05 - Django

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« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2005, 08:48:51 AM »

great reviews... man from nowhere sounds pretty decent... can't wait for django

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« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2005, 06:21:23 AM »

Keep 'em comming, I enjoyed Day Of Anger also.

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