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The Civil War has ended, but not for Jonas, a ruthless Confederate officer who wants to continue the fight by reorganizing Confederate troops in the Southwest with the support of a large sum of stolen money. He devises an elaborate ruse to allow his small party to travel with minimal scrutiny through hostile territory, for the money is hidden in a coffin said to contain the body of his dead son. Jonas' other sons travel with him along with a hired "widow", as they proceed to what they hope to be a new start to the War between the States. However, while en route, they face severe, ongoing strife among themselves and successive threats from Union soldiers, a posse of cowboys, and an Indian war party. Written by
"You've Got To Respect The Dead." - "I Don't Even Respect The Living!"
Sergio Corbucci's "I Crudeli" aka. "The Hellbenders", is not one of his best Films, but nevertheless a great Spaghetti Western.
A few months after the end of the Civil War, a former Confederate colonel, still a fanatic devotee to the old South, and his three sons rob a money transport of the US Army, and kill every witness in a bloody massacre. With the money they hope to realize the colonel's plan to reorganize the Confederate Army and to restore the old South.
Although "The Hellbenders" doesn't come up to Corbucci's masterpieces "Django" and "The Great Silence", it is still a great, and in some parts unusual Spaghetti Western. Joseph Cotten is great as Jonas the colonel, a religious Southerner, a fanatic who, in a cold blooded manner, puts 'the cause' over everything else. Norma Bengell's performance is very good, and Julian Mateos, who plays another main character, the Colonel's son Ben, also does a good job. Some of the movie's best performances, however, are those of the supporting cast. Aldo Sambrell is great as a Mexican outlaw and Al Mulloch has one of the film's best roles as a tricky beggar. Benito Stefanelli has very short role as a card player, and Gino Pernice plays the Colonel's son Jeff. The music by Ennio Morricone is very good, of course, although it's not one of his best scores.
Though it has some lengths "The Hellbenders" is a pretty brutal and very good Spaghetti Western, and should not be missed by my fellow Corbucci fans.
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