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Author Topic: SPAGHETTI WESTERN COLLECTION-reviews  (Read 71009 times)
Banjo
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« Reply #270 on: April 29, 2007, 10:51:34 AM »

I've skipped around my catalog as I don't remember a great deal about some of these as I've only seen most of them only once, but here's some I typed reviews for last night...

HELLBENDERS, THE 1966-Excellent Sergio Corbucci Italo western that is very different from his usual style of no holds barred action and frequent bursts of violence. Here, he opts for a more subdued, suspenseful approach that is not without its fair share of violence. Joseph Cotten and his sons have stolen a cache of Union gold that they are carrying inside a coffin. The film deals with their struggle to avoid capture and get away by use of stealth and trickery. Of course, greed and deceit rear their ugly heads leading to a shocker conclusion and a downbeat ending. Corbucci keeps the twists coming and builds the suspense nicely. Highly recommended on the basis that Corbucci went for a different approach and succeeds admirably.

HERE WE GO AGAIN, EH PROVIDENCE? 1973-Even more oddball and cartoonish sequel to Petroniís original. More Looney Tunes style comic theatrics starring Tomas Milian as the Chaplinesque Providenza. This one has less spaghetti trappings than its predecessor. The jokes, sight gags and pratfalls are non-stop and I canít even tell you what itís all about. Itís still more polished than any of Carnimeoís out-of-control ďcomediesĒ. There appears to have been a bigger budget this time out as well. The opening is about the only western element present in the whole picture and itís pretty funny. If you like AIRPLANE! style humor, you may have the patience for this. The first film is better, though. Alberto de Martino directs.

HIS NAME WAS HOLY GHOST 1972-Fun Gianni Garko western is obviously lacking in budget but makes up for this in its inventiveness. Garko is an ďangelicĒ avenger during a revolution freeing Mexican peasants from the Federales. Itís all played for comedy, and the influence of TRINITY hovers over the production as Holy Ghost is given a ďpartnerĒ in the form of rotund and robust Chris Huerta. The jokes wear painfully thin by the conclusion as it appears Carnimeo is struggling for laughs. Thereís only so many times you can hit someone over the head with a balsa table or chair and it continue to be funny. The first hour and ten minutes are memorable although you may find yourself struggling to push the eject button during the final ten minutes or so.

JOHNNY ORO- 1966-Sergio Corbucci violence-laden Italo Oater shot after DJANGO but released first. Here, Hollywood heartthrob Mark Damon plays a black clad bounty hunter with a golden gun. A Mexican bandit swears revenge on Oro for gunning his brother down on his wedding day no less. The brother sides with Apaches(?) and massacre anyone that gets in their way to get at Oro. The finale is very well done with lots of explosions and theirs more of a mean streak here than in DJANGO. Women and children are gunned down, dead bodies are used as shields as theyíre ripped apart by gunfire and one bloody scene where a guy has a hatchet buried into his skull. Damon plays Oro with much panache and a swaggering disposition that is most fun to watch. Lots of entertainment value found here.

KEOMA- 1976-Of his westerns Iíve seen this is Castellariís best. A gothic western with an ambience of horror surrounding the proceedings. Keoma is a half breed avenger who has come to settle accounts with his ďbrothersĒ who were responsible for their fathers death. Lots of slow motion and Franco Nero isnít completely wooden here, at least not all the time. Some nice touches with the camera are utilized and the use of the soundtrack to tell the story by projecting the characters thoughts is most innovative. An old witch that follows Keoma around represents death. Everything she touches dies, save for Keoma himself. A fine achievement by Castellari who more times than not, was satisfied with conventional action storytelling. Thereís nothing wrong with that, but Castellari shows here that he is capable of something else. Castellariís favorite of all his films.

LONG DAYS OF VENGEANCE 1966-Very good and involving Guiliano Gemma Italian western about a man (Gemma) escaping a labor camp to avenge the wrongs done to him. Gemmaís hero is much different here from his portrayal of Ringo and others. In this film, humor is kept to a minimum and Gemma is a thinking mans gunslinger as he uses trickery to get himself out of sticky situations. The barber scene near the beginning is masterfully done. The remainder of the film is just as good. There is much story and dialog but the film is the better for it. The action scenes are well done with an unusual (for the time) finale where things arenít going quite to plan for the hero. Some complain the film drags but I found no problem with it as I was drawn into the story mechanics. Thereís more going on than standard good guy-gets-revenge-on-the-bad-guys scenario. This version contains a 120 minute Italian version, a 90 minute Spanish version that oddly enough, has much better picture quality and is correctly framed at 2:35:1. An English track is included but during the bits where there was no english dubbing, no english subs are provided either. The longer cut is best as it fleshes out scenes and characters even more. Itís not hard to follow though. If youíre a Gemma fan, youíll want to see it regardless.

LONG ROAD TO HELL- 1965-Surprisingly good Italian western starring former Hercules Steve Reeves. The usual story of revenge but has enough lively set pieces to be a nice obscure distraction for 90 minutes. Reeves, for his size, is very agile and athletic in the action scenes.

NAVAJO JOE- 1966-Burt Reynolds stars in his sole Italian western film as an Indian getting his revenge on a sadistic Mexican bandit leader of scalp hunters that hates everybody. One of the most downright violent movies ever made, period, regardless of genre. Aldo Sambrell plays one of the nastiest villains who fears nothing. Sambrell had murdered Joeís people including his woman. He goes about cutting down his gang and saving a town that has no great love of Indians either. The ending is very well done and reveals a touching scene between Joe and his horse. Corbucciís most violent western was a massive hit in Italy but a failure in the USA much to the chagrin of Mr. Reynolds. Some have complained of the inaccuracies of the Indian dress but this film is not interested in being a historical re-enactment. Itís interested in action and lots of it. If you want a western with a popcorn mentality and heavy doses of violent comic book savagery than look no further. For spaghetti escapist entertainment, they donít get much better than NAVAJO JOE.

HELLBENDERS-a top Corbucci sw for sure,but FC surely NOT his finest! Shocked

HERE WE GO AGAIN, EH PROVIDENCE? - i agree that its not up to the standard of Petroni's original and doesn't have the feel of a western.Not so keen on the song and dance routine but there are memorable highlights including Providenza shooting off a fly in the airs wedding tackle. Grin Morricones score disappoints here.


JOHNNY ORO-i'm currently suffering with the pan and scan RINGO & HIS GOLDEN PISTOL version so i'll withold my current underwhelmed verdict until i see the widescreen dvd.

HIS NAME WAS HOLY GHOST-the first three quarters of the film are great in the great Carmineo tradition of Sartana type movies but the finale falls to close for comfort to the horror that was The Crazy Bunch. Undecided

KEOMA-a great sw and Castellari's most original for sure.But Nero wooden? NEVER!! Shocked

LONG DAYS OF VENGEANCE-yes a top sw,haven't watched it for coming up a year so i'll give it another look.

NAVAJO JOE-not one of my favourite Corbucci's but a commendable effort.An innovative Morricone score too. Smiley

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« Reply #271 on: April 29, 2007, 10:56:43 AM »

Yes, Nero WOODEN! Smiley He often times seems very stiff in his action scenes as if rigormortis is setting in when he's running or throwing a punch. He's incredibly laughable in ENTER THE NINJA with Susan George, Christopher George and Sho Kosugi. It's blantantly obvious he has little to athletic ability here. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy his movies, I just think he's way overrated. His eyes and looks got him lots of work IMO.

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« Reply #272 on: April 29, 2007, 11:08:11 AM »

I didn't say it was the most violent film ever made, but ONE OF THE MOST VIOLENT EVER MADE. Haven't seen WHAT AM I DOING... but I agree with Howard Hughes that it's Corbucci's most violent, at least the most violent of the one's I've seen from him. I mean really, Sambrell was murdering infants for crying out loud and scalping hordes of women and children. Implied or even the aftermath of violence can be just as strong if not more so than violence that is seen.


Sorry, I mis-read your post then.

NJ is certainly a mean-spirited movie but I think Corbucci's nastiest effort was "WHAT AM I DOING...". The movie is sleeping in two camps here, comedy and action. Which just makes the violence even more unsettling. I remember on screen decapitations (dodgy effects) in this one.


I forgot to mention NJ's excellent Morricone soundtrack Afro
The movie is worth a look just for NJ's final confrontation with Sambrell in the Navajo cemetery.

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« Reply #273 on: April 29, 2007, 11:10:57 AM »

I must see this WHAT AM I DOING... I assume there is only a dupe available? I've heard of it before and you and I may have discussed it, but I can't remember.

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« Reply #274 on: April 29, 2007, 11:13:13 AM »

NJ is certainly a mean-spirited movie but I think Corbucci's nastiest effort was "WHAT AM I DOING...". The movie is sleeping in two camps here, comedy and action. Which just makes the violence even more unsettling. I remember on screen decapitations (dodgy effects) in this one.
That must be one of the few remaining and deserving Corbucci sw's lacking a widecscreen dvd release.At least The Mercenary came out on a Japanese dvd and its easy enough to pick up a cheap bootleg copy from Ebay.

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« Reply #275 on: April 29, 2007, 11:15:50 AM »

I must see this WHAT AM I DOING... I assume there is only a dupe available? I've heard of it before and you and I may have discussed it, but I can't remember.

Banjo and I have a widescreen version of it with a pretty crappy transfer.

I went in with low expectations thinking it would be crap but got a very satisfying film instead.

It's uneven sure (at this point Corbucci was being somewhat of a cash whore and didn't care of the quality he put out) but it's very entertaining. Corbucci's best of his later efforts (SONNY AND JED, THE WHITE THE YELLOW AND THE BLACK)

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« Reply #276 on: April 29, 2007, 11:15:57 AM »

Yes, Nero WOODEN! Smiley He often times seems very stiff in his action scenes as if rigormortis is setting in when he's running or throwing a punch. He's incredibly laughable in ENTER THE NINJA with Susan George, Christopher George and Sho Kosugi. It's blantantly obvious he has little to athletic ability here. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy his movies, I just think he's way overrated. His eyes and looks got him lots of work IMO.
I always thought that Nero's fight scenes were one of his trademarks,Django and Texas Adios come to mind, but i think i understand what you're getting at-its what he does with his arms! Undecided

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« Reply #277 on: April 29, 2007, 11:19:09 AM »

TEXAS ADIOS had some great fights. Even Nero comments on them in the interview on the AB disc. His scenes in ENTER THE NINJA are laughable. One of the best unintentional comedies ever made. Definitely MST3K material. Nero wasn't originally to be in this. The Golan's wanted him because of his international popularity. He's great in MAN, PRIDE & VENGEANCE, though...

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« Reply #278 on: April 29, 2007, 11:20:03 AM »

THE WHITE THE YELLOW AND THE BLACK
I started watching that awhile ago but nodded off early on-but i'll return to it.

But from what i saw Milian is totally embarassing as the looney "yellow" samurai and surprisingly Wallach very dull as a sheriff character.Could be Corbucci's worst. Undecided

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« Reply #279 on: April 29, 2007, 11:22:02 AM »

I was going to buy this a long time ago and didn't. If it's still available, I'll come back to it. Oh, Nero's great in LONG LIVE YOUR DEATH, too. His best performance of what I've seen would have to be the thriller HITCH-HIKE with Corinne Cleri and David Hess.

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« Reply #280 on: April 29, 2007, 11:23:15 AM »

TEXAS ADIOS had some great fights. Even Nero comments on them in the interview on the AB disc. His scenes in ENTER THE NINJA are laughable. One of the best unintentional comedies ever made. Definitely MST3K material. Nero wasn't originally to be in this. The Golan's wanted him because of his international popularity. He's great in MAN, PRIDE & VENGEANCE, though...
Never seen ENTER THE NINJA-not sure if its my sort of film but i agree about MAN,PRIDE & VENGEANCE ,Nero's fight scenes with Franco Ressel and Kinski are excellent.

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« Reply #281 on: April 29, 2007, 11:23:34 AM »

MAN, PRIDE & VENGEANCE

Surprisingly liked this. I think Nero is fit for these soap opera type roles.



The fights in this are oddly edited wouldn't you say? The camera constantly zooming in awkward places and no sense of continuity. Perhaps the director was trying to mimick the disorientation one feels during a fist fight but that effect falls flat on it's face. It just comes off as if the director didn't know what to do.

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« Reply #282 on: April 29, 2007, 11:26:27 AM »

Never seen ENTER THE NINJA-not sure if its my sort of film but i agree about MAN,PRIDE & VENGEANCE ,Nero's fight scenes with Franco Ressel and Kinski are excellent.

I wouldn't recommend it unless you wanted to laugh for an hour and forty minutes.

I absolutely hated JONATHAN OF THE BEARS. If anyone wants it, you're welcome to it along with IF YOU WANT TO LIVE...SHOOT! starring Ivan Rassimov in a rare good guy role.

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« Reply #283 on: April 29, 2007, 11:27:40 AM »

LONG LIVE YOUR DEATH

Could have easily been the third chapter in Corbucci's "zapata trilogy". It has all the elements. Buddy type movie. Wallach as the ignorant peon, Nero as the money hungry foreigner. It even has a deranged villain (could have easily seen Palance in the role).

But this is directed by the equally good Duccio Tessari (PISTOL FOR RINGO).

Redgrave (Nero's wife I believe) gets on my nerves but it's a small price to pay for this otherwise excellent SW entry Afro

Proper release is needed for this one. Wild East?

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« Reply #284 on: April 29, 2007, 11:27:45 AM »

I was going to buy this a long time ago and didn't. If it's still available, I'll come back to it. Oh, Nero's great in LONG LIVE YOUR DEATH, too. His best performance of what I've seen would have to be the thriller HITCH-HIKE with Corinne Cleri and David Hess.
I can't wait to see a fully uncut dvd of Long Live Your Death. Smiley

The only non-western Nero film i've seen is Die Hard 2 where he charismaticaly plays a terrorist general.

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