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Author Topic: The Hills Run Red aka Un fiume di dollari (1966)  (Read 30103 times)
Marco Leone
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« on: October 17, 2005, 02:43:17 PM »

Last week I nestled up on the sofa and watched......

THE HILLS RUN RED
Directed by one time film critic Carlo Lizzani, "The Hills Run Red" is a welcome addition to anyone's spaghetti western collection.

The film begins with ex-confederates Jerry Brewster (Thomas Hunter) and Ken Seagall (Nando Gazzalo) fleeing by stagecoach from soldiers following a successful heist. They agree that the only chance for escape is if one of the partners bails out with the cash. To decide who should get away the two draw cards, with Brewster the unlucky loser. Seagall promises to look after Brewster's family before leaping from the stagecoach. He successfully hides with the money, whilst Brewster is captured and imprisoned for five years.

On his release, Brewster returns to his now derelict family home. He finds a diary from his wife, and learns that she has been living in poverty during his absence, struggling to bring up their son alone. Seagall had shunned them, keeping the money himself and starting a new life under the name Ken Milton.

Brewster screams out his intention for revenge, and is soon faced by gun-hands sent by Seagall. Luckily for him, an ageing gunman Winny Getz (Dan Duryea) is on hand to help out - a mysterious character that is never fully explained (although some assumptions can be made that I won't spoil here!) but acts as Brewster's "guardian angel" throughout the film.

Learning that his wife has died and his son is missing, Brewster decides to settle his score with Seagall. On beginning his search he discovers that Seagall is attempting to drive out the local inhabitants of Austin, and in particular the leading light and saloon owner Brian Horner (Geoffrey Copleston). Aided by the demented Garcia Mendez (Henry Silva) and his gang. To confront Seagall and get his revenge, Brewster is forced to infiltrate the gang.

"The Hills Run Red" certainly has some interesting characters. Silva plays Mendez as a black clad demented psychopath. Hunter's lead role is not too far behind in the madness stakes (presumably bought on by that five years stretch, which appeared quite a gruelling and cruel imprisonment). Lets just say that both have some serious issues!! Of the two, Silva is particularly convincing, and his is the stand-out performance of the film. Hunter meanwhile could be accused of over acting at times here, although it is still an enjoyable display. Duryea's portrayal of the mysterious Getz also merits much applause.

The love interest is provided by Nicoletta Machiavelli as Seagall's sister Mary-Ann. Constantly having to dismiss advances from Mendez, her attraction to Brewster is immediate.

Music is courtesy of one Leo Nichols (better known as Ennio Morricone to you and I). In truth it is not one of his better scores, but still adds great atmosphere to the film, as one would expect from the master. It just does not have anything to make it unique, and is not as memorable as his more heralded efforts.

All in all "The Hills Run Red" makes for a great viewing. At times it can be quite brutal (such as the saloon massacre). And how I winced as Brewster's tattoo is cut from his arm whilst he is awake! But it is a gripping story, well directed and well worth watching.


If you've seen it, and you want to vote your opinion, the place is.... http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/spaghettiwesterns/reviews/hillsrunred.html

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Tim
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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2005, 08:51:40 PM »

  Marco, I just read your review over at SWIA web board and lo and behold, I found it hear too.

  The Hills Run Red is one of the spaghetti westerns is one of those movies I always keep my eyes open for.  It was on TCM a couple years ago with their spaghetti western month but i forgot to tune in.  Maybe there will be a region 1 dvd release here in the states.  Wishful thinking, but you never know.

  Great review, by the way.  Always interesting to see what others think of the movies we love.  Keep 'em coming, amigo!

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Marco Leone
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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2005, 01:24:55 PM »

 Cheesy Yeah I know Tim, I place my words of wisdom (?) on a few sites to try and provoke some good discussion and debate on the film.

Oh for a spaghetti month on UK TV!!!

Cheers for your comments on the review as well  Grin

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« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2005, 05:55:39 AM »

Although much more reminiscent of an American western rather than Italian, including Morricones score, this film is very entertaining and a worthy addition to any spag fans collection.I actually have a preference for Carlo Lizzani's other western ,Requiescant(excellent DVD available from Wildeast!!!)which is much more spaghettiesque in its style(great set pieces),characters(Mark Damon is fantastically OTT as the gay villain here!!!) and storyline. It's a great shame that Lizzani limited himself to only the two westerns.

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Marco Leone
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« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2005, 01:05:28 PM »

I've still got Requiescant to look forward to!  Grin

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« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2005, 03:16:26 AM »

Hi Marco,i've just read the new Shobary review and while i agree that the Requiescant character isn't particularly cool,the movie as a whole definately is cool and totally different from any SW i've seen so far.
Without trying to spoil it too much,i should mention there is a brilliant "boozy" gun duel involving whores and candlelabras and a twist on the GBU scene where Tuco attempts to shoot the legs off of a stool.
I'm looking forward to reading your review on this movie.

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« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2005, 08:22:18 AM »

Yeau Marco,looking through Shobary's reviews again,as useful as his site is,personally i feel you have to take some of his opinions with a pinch of salt.I don't know what your feelings about Django the Bastard are but Shobary rates this as his all time WORST SW!!! but i reckon this is an excellent movie.
In spite of what Shobary says about Requiescant this film has plenty of spaghetti western feel to it for the reasons stated above not to mention the great spaghettiesque soundtrack,and i am confident Leone Lovers would not feel disappointed here.

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Marco Leone
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« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2005, 02:41:57 PM »

Yeah I have to agree with you Banjo, I really like Django the Bastard too.  It was one of the first non-Leone SW's I saw.  Quite a few people don't seem to like Steffen's films much and - I guess at times he was a bit wooden - but he suited the ghostly Django character perfectly here.

Opinion is a strange thing, and I'm sure people will disagree with some of my opinions (for instance, I still owe Return of Sabata another view having slagged it off so much!).

I probably mentioned it before, but I religiously watch the movies in the order I acquire them, so I thik Requiescant is lined up for about 4 weeks time (I have to pass Pancho Villa first  Undecided ).  Looking forward to it though, I like what I have heard.


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« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2005, 05:16:28 AM »

Hi Marco,Return of Sabata always seems to get slated and while i agree it is a bit silly and not a patch on the first film,i still enjoy all the characters and LVC's gimmickcry from the original.
If that is the Pancho Villa with (usually excellent but i think he played it a bit staight here for my liking)Kojak and Chuck Connors this has been shown a few times on free-to-air sattelite recently and i have to say that i was dissappointed and i have erased my taped copy.
It's a shame Requiescant is so obscure although i remember it being shown on UK TV in the late 70's/early 80's but it definately left a long lasting impression with a gunslinger who reads from the bible after gunning down his adversaries which for me provides a novel slant on the SW hero whether it be Mannaja with his axe or the Blindman relying on his ears.

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Marco Leone
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« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2005, 01:31:25 PM »

I think the problem is that Sabata is great, despite its gadgets and over the top -James Bond in the west - type feel.  Whereas, with Return it just gets a bit silly to me  Cheesy

Hmmm, I am so tempted to bring Requiescant to the front of the queue!  But I can't....... can I......

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« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2005, 05:28:37 AM »

As Delboy Trotter would say "He who dares!" or "You know it makes sense!"...
I'm now intending to keep my Euro-Westerns recorded of the TV from now on including El Condor,Town Called Hell which i slagged off(in retrospect it does have it's attributes including a good but too brief performance from Telly Savales here) and i'm taping Shalako off ITV1 next week.
Marco,if you know someone locally with Sky digital,Pancho Villa pops up every now and again on Open Access 2 Channel 262(free-to-air so no subscription needed) and if you'd like i'll look out for it.
I only watched Pancho Villa once which includes a slightly out of tune Savales singing the theme but not amusing like LVC's very tone deaf rendition of "I've gotta daaaaaeght for an April morning" from Captain Apache.I guess for the sake of image they found an excuse to shave Kojaks head at the film's beginning but this character although pretty ruthless is dull.Savales as PV invades a Southern US town in order to retrieve some arnaments he was ripped off for but i recall there is very little if any action.Chuck Conners as a US army general does hardly anything apart from attempting some comic relief(and failing badly) including a massed group fly swat in an army canteen(it's embarrasing).
However it was filmed in Spain and you get a brief glance of Aldo Sambrell( or somebody?) and for the sake of this forum and my collection i may tape this again when it is next shown.However my opinion remains this movie is neither good or entertaining.
If this is a straight dvd contest between Pancho Villa and Requiescant, if you look on imdb.com, which isn't exactly renowned for it's ratings generosity,it gives Requiescant 7.10 out of 10(39 votes)so somebody else apart from me likes this film .Pancho Villa gets a not so good 3.8 out of 10.If you do change your mind partly because if me,i hope we will still be on speaking terms!!!
While we are on the subject of Euro-Westerns do you Marco,or anyone else,think it would be a fun idea for us to start an offshoot guide(from CJ's Leone Lovers guide) to cover these and maybe the odd spaghetti-like USA westerns like Guns for San Sebastian or Two Mules For Sister Sarah-both flavoured with a great Morricone score-i don't think we need too many grey areas here.
For lack of a better title maybe we could call it ALMOST SPAGHETTI:THE GOOD,THE BAD & THE UGLY?I've only a handful under my belt at present but we could all collectively place a few titles provisionally under one of 3 headings of Good,Bad or Ugly.Where there is a majority disagreement about any film placement then it could be either relegated or promoted up a place or two.

« Last Edit: October 22, 2005, 08:01:41 AM by banjo » Logged
Marco Leone
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« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2005, 05:31:01 AM »

Yeah good call Banjo - you should start up that thread.

The reason I have continued watching all the films in the order I acquire them is more than anything because otherwise I'll watch all the good ones early, leaving a trail of average ones to follow! (of course, there will no doubt be the obvious treat that I is good that I knew nothing about, but I'm not expecting too much from Pancho Villa et el!).

That Open Access channel does have the odd treat, it just is annoying that I tend to stumble accross them whilst they are half way through!!   Cheesy

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« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2005, 09:41:19 AM »

Oh,you already have Requiescant and Pancho Villa,i misunderstood-thought you were ordering one of these in a months time!
I wish i had a backlog of unseen SW's to watch although i'm waiting for a cheap video of Ruthless Four to arrive from Amazon USA after reading good reviews on IMDB.com.Due to finances my SW collection is crawling along very slowly at 78-quite a long way behind yours!!
I think i will start up a thread fairly soon after i've watched through my handful of possible candidates again.I'm hoping to rely on other peoples suggestions for titles because otherwise the list will look a bit pathetic to start with.I may try and borrow some titles i haven't yet seen, with their ratings, from your massive arsenal of westerns although i don't recognise all the movies and will have to check out for each one whether they are a Spaghetti,Euro or American western.I hope you don't mind?

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Marco Leone
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« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2005, 02:19:13 PM »

Fine by me, sir  Grin

By the way, Ruthless Four is a real treat.  Very slow, but a real quality flick, with a fine Kinski performance.

I spend far too much money on these things but, looking at it another way, if I pick up a film for 7-8, well a night out (whether to the pub or the cinema) costs alot more than that.   Cheesy Well thats the argument I use anyway!

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HEX
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« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2005, 06:16:43 PM »

your massive arsenal of westerns



speaking of which MARCO  how many spags do u own?

and if at all possible could u list them here?(i know its a pain but that would be dandy)

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