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Author Topic: Between God,The Devil And A Winchester(1968)  (Read 4569 times)
Banjo
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« on: May 25, 2007, 02:28:31 AM »

Review from Leone Admirer's  SW Virgins guide:-

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.

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Banjo
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« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2007, 06:14:21 AM »

And Firecracker's Crappiest SW's review:-

Between God The Devil and Winchester.



Boy did this film suck something awful.

The film is loosley based on the book "Treasure Island". A band of people join forces and follow a map leading to buried treasure. Along the way there are backstabs and double crosses. The only difference is a change of time, setting and Bandidos instead of cut throat pirates.

sounds like a good interesting premise.

to bad the film falls flat on its face .

The opening sequence with the introduction to the "billy bones" type character(for those acquainted with the book) is good and very spaghetti like. Billy is a mysterious stranger who is in possesion of a map which leads to treasure, billy reaches a tavern in the desert and meets up with a little boy who helps run the bar. The little boy is a mexican Jim Hawkins, and I must say the little sprout is annoying as hell. After a few drinks Billy tells little boy Jim about the map he has and he says if any strangers arrive dont tell them that he is in. Of course a stranger does arrive, mexican actor Gilbert Roland who once again manages to turn a decent role into a mockery. Roland is supposed to be playing "long john silver" because of his metal braced hand(The REAL silver was missing a leg). A decent twist, though it could have been better for him to have a gun or cannon for a hand(that would be really off the wall and really spaghetti western like). Sadly,(or not) Bandits, looking for the map, come and burn down the tavern leaving Billy Bones dead and Little mexican Jim Hawkins orphaned. But wait! The day is saved!!! Because in comes spaghetti western semi-star Richard Harrison as an exgunslinger who has given up gunfighting and tooken up bible thumping(he's a priest, how exciting!). Harrison joins up with Little mexican boy Jim, who managed to escape the burning building with Billy bone's map, to hunt down that treasure. Along the way Roland joins in the fun as the "should we trust him or should we not" character. To bad they end up trusting him because he later makes a deal with a bandit gang(led by spag regular Raf Baldessare) to kill and take the map from the little tyke and his new friend the preist. Later the bandits double cross Roland and Roland enlist the help of the priest. The priest refuses to kill any bandit and it all leads up with Roland being redeemed for what he has done and he gets to share the wealth with harrison and Jim.

What is seriously flawed here is the way the film tries to be both a serious western and a kiddie western. There are moments of pretty brutal violence(for example...Roland rings a noose around a bandits waist and tortures him by dragging him towards a burning fire.) and there are moments of stupid kiddie humor usually concerning the little boy. It doesnt settle well.
Another fatal flaw is by the end of the film, you want Roland to die for what he has done. he was completly willing to kill the kid for the map and yet at the end he "redeems" himself just because he shot a few bad guys.

There is even a scene where the little boy over hears Roland talking to the bandits about killing the boy to get the map, and yet a few scenes later the boy is contemplating that perhaps "he could really trust Roland"(his parents sure taught him right).

It doesnt help that the film is a complete bore. There are segments of "traveling" mountains and nothing interesting happens. And you cant enjoy the sights because they filmed in what must be the ugliest part of almeria(if it is indeed almeria).

Music: sucks.......(thats it)


actors:

Richard Harrison: The ex-gunfighter turned priest has been done before in this genre but it always works. Not here though...you know why? Because in the other films the priest always went back to killing after he was pushed to far. Not here. The movie teases you throughout that harrison will once again pick up a gun and kick some major booty!!! Never happens. Catch Harrison in a much  better spaghetti western called "Vengeance".

Gilbert Roland: Gilbert is always playing the the almost villianous bandit(or the lovable rogue). He is like Eli Wallach as Tuco, only without the charisma, the presence and the humor. He plays every role as stiff as he possibly can. He is void of human emotion. Much like Richard Harrison, but at least Richard is cool(not in this movie though).

every other actor in here is a farce and not worth mentioning(yes including baldessare).

..................................................................................................

all in all: A waste of my time and youres. It is not worth even buying. The only way you should pick this up is if you happen to buy the Wild East dvd of Johnny Yuma, which includes this film.


CRAP METER:8

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE:3

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titoli
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« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2008, 09:13:13 PM »

I disagree with both reviewers. I think it was a good idea to transpose one of the most perfect plots of popular literature into SW terms. You can't do no wrong though it's true Girolami does little very right. Main fault lies with the kid, who just doesn't have the right looks. I like both Roland and Harrison though the first doesn't overplay his character like he maybe should. Camardiel is good, though his lines are far from brilliant; Lulli (Folco, not his brother Piero) and Baldassarre are unconvincing. I think the movie earns a 6\10.

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« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2008, 06:48:50 AM »

Only watched this the once a couple of years or so back and wasn't terribly impressed. Sad

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titoli
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« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2008, 01:15:15 PM »

I could also give it a 7\10, maybe. I like having made Harrison a priest who can't shoot. This is maybe his best performance. And Roland's iron hand finds an employ in a fistfight. So it wasn't so wasted the change from leg to arm.

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« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2008, 01:17:50 PM »

I disagree with both reviewers. I think it was a good idea to transpose one of the most perfect plots of popular literature into SW terms.

Not sure about how perfect the book is.

I thought the first half (the introduction of all the characters and the mutiny) is very enthralling but once they hit the island it makes a stop at dragsville and never recovers.

Incidentally, Sonny's great great something or other was Robert Louis Stevenson



As for the movie, I'm going to have to have a look at it again because my review is poorly put together.

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« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2008, 04:00:04 PM »

Not sure about how perfect the book is.

I thought the first half (the introduction of all the characters and the mutiny) is very enthralling but once they hit the island it makes a stop at dragsville and never recovers.

You might be right at that. I read it eons ago.

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