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Author Topic: The Price of Power aka Il prezzo del potere (1969)  (Read 11864 times)
Austin
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« on: December 02, 2003, 03:13:25 AM »

Has anyone on this board seen Tonino Valerii's 'The Price of Power' (1969)? I've been reading about it and it sounds fascinating. It centres around the assassination of President Garfield, in Wild West Dallas, with a horse and cart 'motorcade' going through an underpass! Apparently it's full of primitive 'FBI' bungles and cover ups. My interest in the Kennedy assassination nearly rivals my interest in Spaghetti Westerns, so I hope it's not one of the many Spaghettis to have been deleted from VHS. Anyone know about this?

« Last Edit: December 02, 2003, 03:15:56 AM by Austin » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2003, 04:50:36 AM »

Has anyone on this board seen Tonino Valerii's 'The Price of Power' (1969)? I've been reading about it and it sounds fascinating. It centres around the assassination of President Garfield, in Wild West Dallas, with a horse and cart 'motorcade' going through an underpass! Apparently it's full of primitive 'FBI' bungles and cover ups. My interest in the Kennedy assassination nearly rivals my interest in Spaghetti Westerns, so I hope it's not one of the many Spaghettis to have been deleted from VHS. Anyone know about this?

Okay: first off, let's please not get into a "who shot JFK" debate.  I've been in so many this past year that I'm sick to my stomach.

Second of all, that sounds like one frickin' screwed up movie.  (Garfield was shot in Washington I think, but still, give the story the benefit of the doubt.)  Interesting, but probably not my cup of tea.

I'd heard of the movie before but had no idea what it was about.  I can't help you with getting a copy.

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« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2003, 04:57:40 AM »

I too don't want to get into a 'who shot JFK' debate, but this sounds like one very intesting Western. Apparently Garfield's wife is even wearing a pink dress that gets covered in blood! Not the subtlest of parallels, but this is the man that directed 'Il mio nome e Nessuno' after all. Of course, it could be a load of crap, which is why i'd be interested to hear if anyone has seen it.

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« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2003, 09:45:51 AM »

I've not seen it but it is available on Japanese r2 DVD...

Here's what a friend of mine said...

The Price Of Power (Il prezzo del potere) was a solid SW directed with some flare by Tonino Valerii, lots of diopter shots and good camerawork made it a cool one to look at. The performance by Gemma is top notch and Fernando Rey is great as the corrupt Pinkerton and there are a whole load of SW regulars who put in good performances. The score by Bacalov is very haunting, one of the best ones of his I have heard. The action is handled well by Valerii with some good gunfights making good use of Gemmas athletic ability, bizarre showdowns in the dark and a crutch that shoots. The story follows Bill (Gemma) as he tires to avenge his fathers death who stumbled upon an assassination plot with the President as the target. Top SW

The video is 2.35:1 non anamorphic and his in good shape but just a couple of scenes let it down where it looks too dark. The English audio is perfectly audible but has some pops and hiss in the background. I had a quick look at the Italian track and it is in better shape than English track (no hiss or pops). For the extras you get an extensive poster gallery, a trailer, and a trailer for Il prefetto di ferro.

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« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2003, 01:05:22 PM »

cheers for that. I'll have a look out for it. The 'pocket essentials' series Spaghetti Westerns edition has a good bit about it - that's one good book to introduce the genre outside Leone's work. Makes you want to see them all immediately.

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« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2003, 01:18:48 PM »

Yeah.. but we don't talk about Howard Hughes review of Giu La Testa..  Grin
3 out of 5!?!?!
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« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2005, 06:48:23 PM »

Watched (Il Prezzo del Potere) 1969, The Price of Power, twice now and its not bad at all, its not up there with Leone but its in the second tier easily. Directed by Tonnino Valerii, it stars Guiliamo Gemma, Van Johnson, Fernando Rey, Warren Vanders, Benito Stefanelli, Ray Saunders.

Gemma plays perhaps his best role, Benito Stefanelli, also has the largest part in any SW that I've seen so far.  It has some very good set pieces, one includes the foiling of a plot to blow up the Presidents train as it crosses a high trestle, and some inventive showdowns, basically a reworking of the JFK assasination.

It a political western however, with a convoluted plot, and a bit unique in that it doesn't have anything to do with the Mexican Rev. It uses the Flagstone set and the McBain Ranch from OUATITW for the majority of the action, so it really lacks for the great scenic beauty of Almeria that adds another dimention to Leone films.

It may have been improved with a few more familiar top SW actors in the leading parts, Leone fans will recognize minor character actors from the Dollars films. The score by Bacalov is pretty good also. Worth a viewing.

« Last Edit: June 29, 2005, 06:50:17 PM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2005, 09:35:50 AM »

Its a strong movie. You can see why Leone produced his work with him latter... Its got that 'end of a era' feel that makes OUATITW what it is. South factions fighting progress and also the music has the same gusto. Valerii would revisited the same theme with 'Nobody'

It does tend to get a bit confusioning after the Presidents train leaves. 'who side are you on' idea starts to backfire a little. But its certainly keeps moving at a good pace.
Like watching Face To Face.. I'm sure these films have had sequence shots edited out of them, to keep running times down. noticable by music cues ending abruptly in places. 
Get a real kick out of the one man raid on the rail bridge sequence. Wonderfully shot ..should of dwelled more on it.. One of the best sequences ive seen in a Spaghetti.
 
Not the biggest Gemma fan in the world. But he's looks more at home in this than the Ringo films (Which he comes off as more of a popstar vehicle almost).  Really strong support Jose Calvo (Silvanito from FOD) as 'Stripes' the local doctor made a impression on me, and Benito Stefaneli getting to play sheriff as appose to third bandit from the left.

Never really understood why this one didn't strike up more of a reputation at the time.. Maybe too polictical for 1969.

P.S. Funny enough i watched it this week too.  

« Last Edit: June 30, 2005, 09:42:05 AM by The Smoker » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2005, 03:27:47 PM »

Jose Calvo, I knew Stripes rang a bell and looked familiar, I just didn't recognize him, thanks Smoker for pointing it out.

Its not your average Spag Western, and I definitely agree it must have been trimmed in the English cut from the abrupt score trims, I'll have to watch it again in Italian.

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« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2005, 02:57:14 PM »

Well, I've just got around to watching this one myself, so here is my usual scribblings........

"Based largely on the Kennedy Assasination, Director Valerii's The Price of Power is quite a hard going, albeit very well made, film.

President James Garfield (Van Johnson) arrives by train in the state of Texas to debate his political reforms. His anti-slavery stance is extremely unpopular with the locals, particularly the corrupt Sheriff and the banker Pinkerton (Fernando Rey), who secretly plot his assassination, knowing that his probable successor can be bribed by incriminating evidence that they hold.

Ben Willer (Giuliano Gemma) discovers that his father has been murdered by the Sheriff, because he knew of the plan to kill the president. Despite his efforts to provide some protection, the assassination is successful, with Willer's Negro companion (a staunch believer of the President's cause) blamed and imprisoned. Willer attempts to seek justice, assisted by the President's aide Arthur Macdonald (Warren Vanders).

In truth, Valerii's film is an outstanding piece of Italian cinema, with a fine performance from Gemma, and an enjoyable Bacalov soundtrack. Despite this, I struggled to be really convinced by the movie, even though it is so highly respected in euro-western circles. I think in particular I found that some of the more typical Spaghetti Western fare (such as the rifle hidden in the crutch of the disabled newspaper employee) sat uneasy within the context of the film.

That said, there were a handful of great scenes, such as the failed initial assassination attempt as the President's train arrives, the flashback and the court sequence. But in the end, I couldn't help but find the whole thing disappointing - probably because I expected so much".

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« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2005, 04:38:03 PM »

Sounds interesting.  To be honest, I don't care too much about the JFK assasination (though then again, I don't think he was that great of a president), but it still sounds like an interesting idea for a movie, if nothing else.  Will have to check it out sometime.  Is it available on VHS or DVD anywhere?

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« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2007, 02:21:31 PM »

Okay, just got done watching this one.

I was honestly impressed about several things. This was obviously a Spaghetti with a pretty big budget, I loved the use of the OUATITW sets, pretty good cast too. The music by Bacalov was very memorable. I thought the story, the use of North-South tensions in the post-Civil War era, was very well-done, even if the historical facts were horrendously muddled. I must admit I chuckled at some of the Kennedy allegories ("The shots came from the overpass!"; "A man could only get off one shot in ten seconds"). It's interesting to view this movie as an Italian/European take on the JFK Assassination.

I had two big problems with the film, which prevent me from giving it a higher rating. The pacing is too quick, the assassination occurs less than halfway through the film and there's way too much time spent on the aftermath. Also, after the killing of Jack by the Sheriff's deputies the movie because horribly confused. It's impossible to keep track of what bad guy's doing what - Jefferson, Pinkerton, Wallace - and it all becomes hopeless muddled. And the climax is kind of lame.

That being said, this is the best of the few non-Leone Spaghettis I've seen thus far, and I'm definitely glad I bypassed "Django" for this. 7/10. Afro

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« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2008, 11:25:55 AM »

I know that the score (very nice, by the way) is from Bacalov; but does anyone know if the singer is Edda Dell'Orso? It sounds to me a lot like her, but as far as I can see she is not credited anywhere.

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« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2008, 02:22:04 PM »

No takers?

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« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2008, 02:42:08 PM »

This sounds like a serious distortion of history. Granted what i know about the assassination and all presidential assassinations i learned from Stephen Sondheim's Assassins.

Garfield was assassinated by one man, Charles Guiteau at a train station in washington shooting him twice in the back.

 Either way, this sounds interesting and i understand why they would warp history, afterall this sounds like its really about the JFK hit and obviously not the Garfield (whose not nearly as interesting).

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