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Flat rendition of WAI with a few missing ingredients
What is most interesting about the euro-westerns (Western alla'italiana) made in Italy and Spain in 1960s and 70s are the creative and idiosyncratic ways that the filmmakers came up with to deal with low budgets and limited resources. Given the peculiar economics of the Italian industry there was a great deal of freedom for how to make satisfying movies for a wide export audience. The offspring of Fistful of Dollars (1964) included everything from crazy pop-westerns like Matalo! (1970) or Dove si spara di più (1969) to Marxist westerns such as Tepepa (1968). This is why there is still a devoted cult audience for this fascinating, bizarre, and often unpredictable genre. Unfortunately, many of the 400-700 films made during this cycle were similar to Dos mil dólares por Coyote (1968).
Perhaps "unfortunately" is a bit harsh -- just a but -- as Dos mil dólares por Coyote is a modest b-western that brings to mind the lesser Randolph Scott or Audie Murphy vehicles of the 1950s but with TV actor James Philbrook as a stand-in. It also brings to mind the strange Zorro films of made in Spain and Italy in the early 1960s that, together with the German Winnetou films, ignited the Italisn western boom. The technical crudeness and strange histrionics in those movies combined to create a bizarre and fascinating surreality that can be attractive even though the films are, without exception, bad. This movie has a little of this odd quality, but not a enough to save it from overall dullness.
Dos mil dólares por Coyote has elements of the For A Few Dollars More (1965) / Da uomo a uomo (1968) mentor/student or father/son plot as well as the usual confusions of identity and hidden parallels that recur again and again in these movies. However, the complications that arise are handled crudely and abruptly while the ending involves a redemption that brings to mind Hollywood westerns instead of the usually Italian liminal or "resurrection" plot, though this may be present in the scenes at White Eagle's camp. The movie is visually static both in terms of the camera setups and editing while the score brings to mind the earliest, clumsiest euro-westerns. Style and ironic self-consciousness are among the most interesting elements in the WAI and both are largely missing from this example.
Top spaghetti western list http://imdb.com/mymovies/list?l=21849907 Average SWs http://imdb.com/mymovies/list?l=21849889 For fanatics only (bottom of the barrel) http://imdb.com/mymovies/list?l=21849890
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