Priest turned vigilante Father John (Van Cleef) hunts down a gang of criminals, led by Sam Clayton (Palance), who killed a man in a local bar. On the gang's return to the town, they kill ... See full summary »
Ranch owner MacGregor has seven sons and oldest Gregor leads his brothers to Las Mesas, a small town where they want to sell horses. They get into trouble with local people who are related ... See full summary »
GUNFIGHT AT RED SANDS is a good-natured spaghetti western, made just one year before Sergio Leone's A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS helped to define the genre as we know it today. As such, GUNFIGHT is more in line with the kind of Hollywood westerns that were produced in the 1950s, such as HIGH NOON: it's neither as gritty nor as dark and violent as many of the spaghetti westerns made in the late '60s. Nevertheless, I'd recommend it as a film definitely worth a watch, because it has much going for it not least another effective leading man performance from peplum actor Richard Harrison. Harrison, who made his name in equal numbers of westerns and historical adventures, is as tough and ready as he ever was on screen. He's no Eastwood, but he does a good job.
My biggest complaint with this movie is the score by Ennio Morricone. This guy is one of my favourite composers, thanks to his iconic work on Leone's DOLLARS trilogy, but his music here sounds twee and dated, as if it came from some '30s melodrama than a '60s western. It seems he's constrained here by the producers, and the lack of experimentation hurts the movie a lot. Still, it's not all bad. The screenplay by future trash director Albert Band breathes life into old genre staples i.e. the adopted son, the corrupt lawman, the criminal gang, the fiery love interests and the action is well-handled, with plenty of nicely-choreographed brawls, shoot-outs, and gun battles. The chief villain role goes to Giacomo Rossi-Stuart and he fits it like a glove; I never did like this actor when I saw him playing the 'good guy', much preferring him as a slimy creep. Mikaela and Sara Lezana play opposing love interests, the former fiery while the latter sweet, although astonishingly I read somewhere that Lezana was born in 1948, which made her only 15 when she appeared in this film, kissing and frolicking with Harrison surely an error?
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