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Author Topic: A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die (1967)  (Read 17500 times)
JamesK
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« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2006, 06:31:44 AM »

I just caught up with this one myself and quite enjoyed it, upbeat ending or no.  What surprised me the most, though, was Roger Ebert's review from 1968, in which he says a number of unfair things about the film and the Euro-Western subgenre in general.

Bear in mind that I find Ebert an ass in most circumstances, but vitriol like this surprised even me:

All of these Italian Westerns are aimed at the lowest possible common denominator. If you do not have enough intelligence to understand them, you belong in an institution. They dismiss plots as being too complicated. Instead, they're built around a string of situations (like a color cartoon). Each situation shows the hero threatened with violence. In some of the situations his torturers succeed. In others, he outsmarts them and turns the tables. It is all done with a minimum of words (to save dubbing into English) and a maximum of blood.

You are likely to see between 50 and 75 people killed in the average Italian Western. Unlike Tom and Jerry, they do not spring to life again. You are also likely to see human heads carried in burlap bags, priests shot on an altar, various parts of the body ripped apart and a lot of spit.

Because the formula is so established, the writers of these films hardly need imagination. As in cartoons and pornographic novels, the characters are not full-dimensional people but puppets with a function. In Italian Westerns, the function is to kill and maim. Any additional plotting is usually plagiarized, without credit, from better Westerns.

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Tim
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« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2006, 11:10:56 AM »

  I've always liked/respected Ebert, hope he's doing better, but he contradicts himself about five years later with his love of Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, albeit not a spaghetti western but one could compare the style of violence.

 
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You are also likely to see human heads carried in burlap bags, priests shot on an altar, various parts of the body ripped apart and a lot of spit

  Two of three apply for BMTHOAG.

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JamesK
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« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2006, 08:51:04 AM »

  I've always liked/respected Ebert, hope he's doing better, but he contradicts himself about five years later with his love of Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, albeit not a spaghetti western but one could compare the style of violence.

I would definitely consider Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia a western.

My issue with Ebert is that he's a snob who can't be bothered to let reality interfere with his conclusions.  He frequently gets even the most basic facts about film's plots and characters wrong, especially when he's critical of the film in question, which tells me that he barely pays attention during the screenings.  Probably too busy thinking up some semi-clever bon mot for his negative review.

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The Peacemaker
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« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2006, 12:48:11 PM »

I just watched A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die the other night. It's definantly one of the best of the genre.

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titoli
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« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2006, 12:56:02 PM »

Why "though", if it's one of the best ?

Anyway (we have gone into this before) whatever this professional critic called Ebert says is alright by me as long as he doesn't (more than 30 years later) get payed to feature in the extras of the very film he once tore to pieces.   

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« Reply #20 on: July 11, 2006, 03:51:06 PM »

Why "though", if it's one of the best ?

I didn't write though.

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titoli
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« Reply #21 on: July 12, 2006, 01:41:01 AM »

Yes, you didn't. The message in which it had been written has been removed by the author.

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« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2006, 09:48:09 AM »

Yes, you didn't. The message in which it had been written has been removed by the author.

Oh okay. Didn't bother to look back at the other posts.

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« Reply #23 on: July 15, 2006, 06:16:43 AM »

I personally have been waiting for Ebert to write a Great Movies review of OUATITW or OUATIA.  He seems to have recanted on his 2.5 star rating of the former, and his review the latter is very perceptive:

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19840101/REVIEWS/401010365/1023

No holding my breath though. 

Ebert's review of "A Stranger In Town", however, is much more vicious than his review of this movie:

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=%2F19680327%2FREVIEWS%2F803270301%2F1023&AID1=%2F19680327%2FREVIEWS%2F803270301%2F1023&AID2=

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« Reply #24 on: July 15, 2006, 12:43:46 PM »


Ebert's review of "A Stranger In Town", however, is much more vicious than his review of this movie:

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=%2F19680327%2FREVIEWS%2F803270301%2F1023&AID1=%2F19680327%2FREVIEWS%2F803270301%2F1023&AID2=

I completely missed the point of writing such a horrible review. Was he that devastated by the violence that he had to walk out? How did he react to the Wild Bunch?   Grin

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« Reply #25 on: July 15, 2006, 04:40:05 PM »

He loved it and defended it quite vehemently at its premiere. . .  Undecided

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« Reply #26 on: July 15, 2006, 04:45:31 PM »

He loved it and defended it quite vehemently at its premiere. . .  Undecided

Really? I always disliked Ebert, because he's what I call a suck-up critic. In the 60's he prasied Peckinpah and gave little attention to Leone like the other critics but now that Leone is getting the attention he deserved Ebert is changing his mind.

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« Reply #27 on: July 15, 2006, 04:47:40 PM »

Critical opinion on Peckinpah was pretty split in the '60s. . . that being said, I like Ebert, though I don't agree with him quite a bit of the time.  I think his objections with the spaghetti violence was that he saw it as gratuitous and done for kicks (don't necessarily agree, that's just my take on it), whereas the violence in TWB was necessary to prove a point (Banjo's opinion notwithstanding).  Wink

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« Reply #28 on: July 15, 2006, 04:49:24 PM »

Critical opinion on Peckinpah was pretty split in the '60s. . . that being said, I like Ebert, though I don't agree with him quite a bit of the time.  I think his objections with the spaghetti violence was that he saw it as gratuitous and done for kicks (don't necessarily agree, that's just my take on it), whereas the violence in TWB was necessary to prove a point (Banjo's opinion notwithstanding).  Wink

I can see that. One thing I like about him, though, is that even when he dislikes a movie he at least says one thing nice about it. He's not like the other critics who if they dislike a movie they try to slam it into the ground.

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« Reply #29 on: July 15, 2006, 05:02:38 PM »

I agree with that, unless the movie is absolutely terrible he generally tries to be concillatory towards it.  I agree with his practice of not attacking the actors unless they really deserve it, because actors, even if they give a bad performance, can hardly be faulted for bad writing, poor pacing, direction, etc.

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