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: Minnesota Clay (1964)  ( 4043 )
The Smoker
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Well.. well. if it isn't.

« : March 07, 2005, 12:38:13 PM »

Minnesota Clay was Corbucci first western, well on his own, i think.
It dosn't show any of the FOD influence that would completely change the scene with the output explosion in 1966. Its more a US B-western carbon copy like 'A Pistol for Ringo*', or maybe the German Westerns of the early 60s. There has been some talk about if Clay was being made at the same time as FOD, even before.
..Its the nice button down cattle shirts, and a clean shave.. a world away from Clint's Joe profile.
A review for the Shoarma Digital disc of Five Man Army is here. screenshots, etc.
It could be the same one you've been watching on ebay redyred.

* Camron Mitchell & Giuliano Gemma stars of both movies where seasoned actors from the 'by then' doomed italian sword a sandal industry.

« : May 26, 2010, 10:54:50 AM Dust Devil »

Marco Leone
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« #1 : January 04, 2006, 08:03:35 AM »

I have seen these since my post earlier in the year.  My thoughts at the time were.....

Now Minnesota Clay is one fast guy with a gun. Possibly the fastest in the world. Unfortunately he is also slowly losing his eyesight, with his vision now so impaired that one more punch could cause complete loss of sight.

The movie begins with Clay (Cameron Mitchell) escaping from imprisonment, and intent on getting revenge on the man who set him up. The man in question is Fox (George Riviere), who has appointed himself as the Sheriff of Clay's hometown and abuses this power, with the townsfolk living in terror of his gang. They had initially paid Fox to protect them from bandit Ortiz (played by the ever excellent Fernando Sancho), who himself terrorises the town. In the middle of these two waring parties is Clay's daughter, Nancy, who believes her father is dead, and thinks Clay is merely a local hero. They are reunited, but caught in the crossfire between the two gangs, co-ordinated mischievously by Estella (Ethel Rojo) who is as devious as she is beautiful (and my is she beautiful!).

Minnesota Clay is one of the earliest Spaghetti Westerns, directed by a pre-Django Sergio Corbucci. Whilst it is not as captivating or as dark as the films he directed during the Spaghetti boom of 1966-1970, it is still a very enjoyable movie, with the usual sprinkling of injustice that we have come to expect within his films.

Mitchell, Sancho and Riviere are captivating throughout, and Rojo could win the heart of any man with her portrayal of Estella (no wonder her character is so able to use those around her so ably). My only complaint would be the vocal overdub on the English soundtrack for the characters of Nancy (drippy) and Andy (who comes over as a Frank Spencer type character - apologies to any non-English readers that may not understand this comparison!). Once you get used to these minor grumbles about the overdub (which, honestly, does not take too long), you can really start to enjoy Minnesota Clay for the highly watchable film that it is.

Marco Leone rating *** (Recommended)

The Five Man Army are "The Dutchman" (Peter Graves) and four colleagues from previous escapades - Mesito (Bud Spencer), a big brute of a man that can knock out an opponent with a big thump to the top of the head (so, the usual Bud Spencer character then!); Samurai (Tetsuro Tamba), a ruthless sword bearing oriental; Captain Augustus (James Daly), an expert with dynamite; and Luis Dominguez (Nino Castelnuovo) an acrobat turned outlaw and the "baby" of the group.

The Dutchman has gathered the clan with the promise of a $1,000 reward if they can successfully carry out a robbery of a train (bearing gold to the value of £1 million) on behalf of the Mexican Revolution. The catch is that the train is heavily guarded by soldiers, with the military posted at regular intervals along the journey to resist any attempted theft.

This film is an Italian/American co-production, and it does bear traits of both nations particular western styles. It is at times highly entertaining, mostly pretty dumb but always very watchable. The highlight of the movie is the contrasting characters, who are all very likable (albeit fairly clichéd). James Daly in particular has a good role as the ageing Captain Augustus, constantly doubting his (and his colleagues) ability to carry out the heist.

The actual robbery itself takes up nigh on half an hour of this movie, with very little dialogue. The scene is well filmed though and does not drag too badly at all. It also features a great scene where the bodies of the armed soldiers are waved about frantically as a signal to the nearby patrolling military that all is well.

Ennio Morricone's score is rousing (of course), but does sound like a muddled jigsaw of many of his other works. It fits perfectly, however.

It may sound like I am being critical of this film, and I guess that there are a few shortcomings with it. But if you ignore its occasional predictability and just take it for what it is - a highly entertaining yet simple western - you are pretty much guaranteed to enjoy it from beginning to end. I know I did.

Marco Leone Rating - *** Recommended My Euro Western Website - (includes Reviews, Actor information and Spaghetti Western Generator)
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Something to do with death

« #2 : May 15, 2020, 06:30:33 AM »

This was the second film I've watched from my boxset. It was okay, I thought the labor camp at the start looked really cool and the plot is quite straightforward. I agree wit the previous poster that some of the dubbing left a lot to be desired, Andy definitely was made into a Frank Spencer type, which didn't really work. Cameron Mitchell really held the movie together well though and it was good to see him in a lead role. Of course it lack a lot of the finesse and style of Corbucci's later Spaghetti Westerns that set them above the rest. I thought Georges Riviere was a decent bad guy too. Perhaps it lacked any real character development though to make you really care, especially with the secondary characters. Pretty entertaining though and worth watching as a Corbucci fan.

"You remind me of my mother. She was the biggest whore in Alameda and the finest woman that ever lived. Whoever my father was, for an hour or for a month - he must have been a happy man."
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