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Author Topic: Gli specialisti aka The Specialist/Specialists (1969)  (Read 17470 times)
cigar joe
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« on: March 31, 2006, 07:55:17 PM »

Ok got this yesterday in trade for "Jubal" watched probably about 10 minutes so far and it's interesting, Its like Corbucci doing Anthony Mann, the Alps fill in pretty good for the Rockies, they actually look more like the Rockies in Montana and British Columbia, a bit more glaciated than the Rockies in Colorado.

More tomorrow......

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« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2006, 10:03:13 AM »

<Some Spoilers>

The Specialist (Gli Specialisti) 1969 Dir. Sergio Corbucci, I watched it all the way through today, and I guess the best way to describe this film is that its frusrating.

Corbucci to me, remains an enigma he was able to make some almost flawless top notch Westerns, The Mercenary, The Great Silence & Companero's I consider the best. The Mercenary can compete with and beat most of the best American Westerns.

This should have been a great epic Corbucci film but it has serious flaws that serve to pull you right out of the story. The score for the most part is passable, though the title sequence however seems like it should be from a comedy flick about the French Riviera, it does not fit in.


The Specialist has got a few things that I personally really enjoyed seeing in a film, and other things that were absolutely out of context and continuity.

The great pieces of this film are the absolutely stunning backdrops of the Alps, like I mentioned in my first impression its like watching Corbucci do Anthony Man, reminds one of "The Far Country". One particular sequence has Halliday and the sheriff crossing a beautiful trout stream.

One little side story I enjoyed was Corbucci's addition of an interesting side story that had nothing to do with the main plot and that's the depiction of the town sherrif (Gastone Moschin) as a fisherman we see in in one section he is carrying his rod as he rides off on horse back, in another he has a stringer of trout, and another we see him standing in a stream & fishing.

The Town of Blackstone, Nevada is perched high in the Sierras, the townfolk hung the brother of famous gunfighter Hud (Johnny Halliday). The town thought he had stolen a cashbox of bills that he was entrusted with. Hud returns to seek vengence.

The real town boss is a wiley widow woman banker (Francois Fabian) who's name is, get this, Virginia Policutt, she uses sex just as much as cash to control the town.

There is also a Mexican Revolutionary band terrorizing the countryside, (though they do look a bit out of place, it may have worked if the film was set in the Sierra Madres of Mexico but its just a flaw of its distant Euro origins).

The towns center of action is the fancy saloon/brothel run by Sheba (Sylvie Fennec) complete with a red fez wearing bartender and a small orchestra.

The biggest, wierdest, and most frustrating inclusion in the film is the four street urchins of which its no exageration to call them Hippies, one of them has on a "Sergent Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band" overcoat with golden epalets and has an afro, another a pancho with big chains around his neck, the female wears a bandana around her forhead. One sequence has them smoking a huge joint, lol, WTF is up with this?

The character Hud looks cool he got a long dark overcoat (like a duster), a black hat with a silver hat band a weird sort of silver choaker (that's kind of out of place) and a chain mail vest that must be made out of "mithril" from Lord Of The Rings, it does make sence to wear during his knife fights , but its a bit ridiculous to ask us to believe it will repell bullets. Halliday is a bit lightweight in the part.

El Diablo (Mario Adorf) is a cool one armed Mex bandit, but seems a bit off in the high country. He flapps this arm (that has a sharpened spur attached to its end) menacingly.
 
The action sequences are top notch, except for the bullet deflecting chain mail, the film is just seriously flawed by its unbelievability. It has more nude sequences with Francois Fabian (ff and topless) than any previous Corbucci film I've seen .

I can't see what the motives of this film were, was it made for a ton money that was thrown at Corbucci for the promotion of Johnny Halliday, who knows, Corbucci can be hit or miss, this is a big miss, but it is worth seeing to see how it could have been another hit if it had been done differently.

Its a bit sloppy at places in its cinematography, one noticeable sequence is the "riding off into the sunset sequence" you see Hud ride off under a gate post the red sun a disk setting in the distance then you get a close shot of Hud against the sun and you see a turreted castle in the background  Grin.

Somebody has got to write a book on Corbucci so we can figure these inconsistancies out, I'd pay to find out WTF was going on in this man's head.

Django 1966 (ok)
Navajo Joe 1966 (eh)
The Hellbenders 1967 (not seen)
The Mercenary 1968 (great his GBU)
The Great Silence 1968 (great is FAFDM)
The Specialist 1969 (WTF, lol)
Companero's 1970 (great)


Shobary, is seriously out to lunch on this baby with his ranking maybe a 50 by my opinion, but then again you have to look at Shobary's criteria.

Django Kill did a good job fitting subs to the film, but this is definitely a film for Corbucci afficianados only, if its ever avilable here, try to rent first.

« Last Edit: April 01, 2006, 10:52:11 AM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2006, 02:46:18 PM »

so out of the two you have just required("And God said to cain" and the "specialist") which was your favorite?

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« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2006, 02:54:20 PM »

Well, they are both very different films, one is definitely more cinematic (The Specialist), the other is more like a TV program (And God Said To Cain), if you like something more realistic get AGSTC if you don't mind fantasy Westerns TS.  Cool

I was really hoping that The Specialist was a lost Corbucci Masterpiece, it ain't, lol.

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« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2006, 02:57:04 PM »

Well, they are both very different films, one is definitely more cinematic (The Specialist), the other is more like a TV program (And God Said To Cain), if you like something more realistic get AGSTC if you don't mind fantasy Westerns TS.  Cool

I was really hoping that The Specialist was a lost Corbucci Masterpiece, it ain't, lol.


I'll be getting both.

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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2006, 12:40:59 AM »

I shall be reviewing this pretty soon so I figured I would bump it back to the front page for easier access.

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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2006, 11:39:36 PM »

Firecracker's review of "The Specialist".


Wow! And I thought Corbucci couldnt get any stranger. "The Specialist" is Corbucci's third entry to his "Mud and Blood" trilogy which began with "Django" and  which was followed by "The Great Silence". The Specialist himself Hud(played by pop French singer Johnny Halliday) is just as unique a hero as Silence and Django. Django had his coffin, Silence was a mute and Hud wears chain mail that can repel bullets(an inspiring and genius idea Cheesy ). Out of the three, in the supposed trilogy, "The Specialist" is easily the weakest of the trio(but still a good spag).
The story is about Hud seeking revenge on the people who killed his brother. The culprits responsible are several "respectable" towns people including a widowed Bank owner who uses her sexuality to keep the town under her thumb. The film has alot of strange ideas like a gang of kids who dress like hippies and smoke pot, and a band of mexican "revolutionaries" that are led by El Diablo, a one armed bandit. El Diablo has a hook or a spur of some kind that is attached to where his right arm should be(unfortunatly it is never used).

The Plot is rather simplistic so I will not get into it, I will only mention that it plays out like a murder mystery with our Hero Hud playing detective. The plot does suffer from a lack of continuity. Some key elements are never explained while others ARE explained but fail to make sense. Take one example...

The sheriff is captured by the bandit El Diablo but later we see that he has some how escaped, this is never explained. It is things like this that really bring the film down. The whole time I was thinking that if this were done properly it could have been one of Corbucci's best. However what we have left is a wonderful spaghetti western with TOP-NOTCH action scenes(notice the emphasis on "top notch"). Unfortunatly there is not enough of it. The Gunplay is rather light weight for a Corbucci movie, there should have been a few more gunfights to keep the audience aroused throughout. But what IS there packs a punch so I am not complaining.

as for the brutality factor, it is the usual(unusual?) Corbucci stuff...

*warning spoilers ahead!*

A man's chest is crushed by a cashier register during a well done fist fight in a saloon.

The second to last gunfight of the film is pretty bloody.

and the the climax has the hippie kids force the towns folk to strip naked and crawl across the street.

*Spoiler's end*

The setting is in the high mountains of Arizona(which makes one wonder what El Diablo and his gang are doing there) which was filmed in the Alps. This makes for beautiful landscapes which Corbucci makes good use of throughout. The editing is a lot more alive and fast paced then the usual Corbucci oater, which gives the film more energy than any of his other westerns. This spag has placed itself on my top 30 list for sure. If I were shobary I would have given this an easy 85%. It could have easily reached 100% but it has far to many flaws. One of the flaws has to be the annoying hippie kids, they just hang around and do nothing until they finally pull a quick hostage situation towards the end(which is probably te best scene in the film!).

The Music: The Soundtrack is a mix of trippy and festive. It is not the best spag western music you can hear but it gets the job done. One wonders as to why Morricone was not called in to do some tunes. Him and Corbucci were already on speaking terms during Mercenary(which was made a year prior to Specialist) so why not make a another partnership during this movie? I guess he was called away on another film at the time.


overall: It is a shame that it has so many short comings because if they were non existant this could have been quite a classic. Either way Great spaghetti western! I would recommend this to any fan of the genre!

I can rewatch this again and again for sure. Smiley

« Last Edit: May 16, 2006, 01:29:55 PM by The Firecracker » Logged



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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2006, 11:44:02 PM »

didnt want to write this on my review so I will mention it here...

Shobary is nuts to have this as a higher ranking than The Mercenary and Django. I dont know what he was thinking!

also I would like to mention the hippie kids are a bit annoying. And what bugs me the most is...

*Spoiler*


they turn on Hud at the last second during the climax of the film and they want to kill him . The whole time I was thinking they were on his side. The film never gave me the idea that they were evil in any way. It just gave out the impression that they were rebellious teens just looking for a good time.

*spoiler end*


Joe did you feel the same way about the hippie brats?

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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2006, 04:38:36 AM »

Yea about the brats and the way they turned, but just their inclusion, and the "mithril" chain mail bullet deflecting vest  is enough to put this film in fantasy land for me.

You also didn't mention the out of place score.

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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2006, 10:26:40 AM »

Yea about the brats and the way they turned, but just their inclusion, and the "mithril" chain mail bullet deflecting vest  is enough to put this film in fantasy land for me.

You also didn't mention the out of place score.


The chain Mail(as I mention in my review) was a brilliant idea that sets Hud apart from any other spaghetti anti-hero. I really liked it. And all of Corbucci's films are set in fantasy land anyway so what are you talking about?

The score didnt seem out of place to me. I think the whole movie seemed out of place Grin so the music fit properly.

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« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2006, 10:37:41 AM »

Also I would like to mention that DjangoKILL's restoration of this film looks wonderful. However his "fan subtitles" are a bit off sometimes and also the film suffers from audio drop outs every now and again(it wont ruin the experience though).
Also the dialogue on the subtitles is usually off, especially with the character El Diablo. He is a very funny character but if you dont know italian to well and have to read the subtitles he loses his humor because of the translation problems.

« Last Edit: May 16, 2006, 10:39:21 AM by The Firecracker » Logged



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« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2006, 12:40:25 PM »



The towns center of action is the fancy saloon/brothel run by Sheba (Sylvie Fennec)


the whore house is not run by Sheba. Sheba is the girl whom Hud befriends after he kills her father.

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« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2006, 11:51:45 PM »

spoiler!!!!!!!!

Watching it again last night I realized at the end when Hud chases away the kids with his empty gun that he takes the sheriff's advice from earlier and uses his head rather than resorting to violence. Smiley
Can this be a reference to "hippie" philosophy in the film?
   


spoiler end!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I must say this is slowly creeping up to be in my top twenty list Smiley

it grows on you.

« Last Edit: May 19, 2006, 11:55:51 PM by The Firecracker » Logged



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« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2006, 05:05:10 AM »

Quote
I must say this is slowly creeping up to be in my top twenty list


Never for me, lol, at least Leone in AFOD showed Eastwood have a reaction to being hit by bullets, Hud barely flinches, its fantasy land.

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« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2006, 12:13:49 PM »



Never for me, lol, at least Leone in AFOD showed Eastwood have a reaction to being hit by bullets, Hud barely flinches, its fantasy land.


I thought that was cool Sad

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