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Mexican peasant Joaquin Murieta and his wife go north to California to prospect for gold, finding only one white person, a marshal, who will befriend them. But after Murieta is beaten and robbed, and his wife killed by bandits, Murieta takes out his vengeance by forming a gang of outlaws who rob the countryside. Murieta is eventually cornered by the marshal, who persuades him to end his crusade. But when Murieta is later wounded and convalescent, his gang operates a reign of terror without his knowledge, leading to his death at the marshal's hands in a final battle. Written by
Very good spaghetti western with fine lead performers
What a surprise treat this 1965 spaghetti western turned out to be. Based on real-life Mexican bandit, MURIETA is the story of a new immigrant to California who is driven to vengeance and eventually becomes the leader of a vicious band of raiders and murderers. This picture has three great things going for it: 1. Jeffrey Hunter as Murieta (actual spelling is Murietta); he gives a superbly understated performance. 2. Arthur Kennedy, back in the saddle as a straight-shooting lawman. Sage, empathetic, Kennedy matches Hunter's fine acting work, especially difficult since all of their dialogue was re-recorded in studio. 3. The direction by veteran ace of oaters George Sherman. He keeps the camera moving and keeps the characterizations sharp and clear. Also fine are Diana Lorys, Sara Lezana and Roberto Camardiel as Jack "Three Fingers" Garcia. There are many eloquent moments in this fact-based adventure. It is well worth screening if you can find a copy. My review is based on screening a 16mm print I picked up (dye transfer Technicolor) of the UK-titled version, VENDETTA.
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