(1965) James Mitchum George Ardisson, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Jill Powers, Eduardo Ciannelli. After a search for his father's killers, Mitchum returns home only to find himself involved in a ... See full summary »
After a stagecoach is robbed and the passengers murdered, a long and tangled series of surprise attacks a murderous double-crosses leaves the coach's strongbox in the hands of the killer ... See full summary »
An Exciting Early Addition to the Spaghetti Western Genre.
"Minnesota Clay" (1964) was one of the earliest Spaghetti Westerns directed by Sergio Corbucci; in two years time he would make the iconic and notorious "Django" and in 1968, he made the best non-Sergio Leone Spaghetti: "The Great Silence". But this is early days for the director, before cynicism and boredom seeped into his love of making Westerns. Shot around the same time as Leone's groundbreaking "A Fistful of Dollars" (1964), but released later, it shares the two gangs warring over a town theme, as well as the bandits being separated by race: the white, American Fox (Georges Riviere) and the Mexican Ortiz (Fernando Sancho); but this is the only similarity (which had been copied from Akira Kurosawa's samurai film "Yojimbo" , which in turn had been inspired by the pulp writings of the brilliant Dashiell Hammett and his novel "The Glass Key" ) and while nowhere near the greatness of Leone's Western, this is still a remarkably good movie.
The plot (by Adriano Bolzoni and Corbucci) though, is clichéd ridden: Minnesota Clay (Cameron Mitchell) escapes from prison after being framed by the devious Fox; returning to his hometown, Clay discovers that it is overrun by two gangs: Fox's and Ortiz's and then proceeds to clear the place up, even though his eyesight is failing terribly.
However, despite these script constraints, Corbucci directs some brilliant action, in particularly the climatic gunfight in the dark. He seems to be having fun with scenes like this, and it's not hard to see why. Riviere and Sancho honourably excused, the acting is mostly very poor. Mitchell is variable throughout, although his performance during the finale is very good. The music by Piero Piccioni is however, excellent and the photography by Jose Fernandz Aguayo is also pretty good. It may be finally floored, but this is still a worthy addition to the Spaghetti Western genre.
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