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Pleasant Spaghetti Western with usual nasty Henry Silva who steals the show as a merciless gunfighter
ma-cortes12 February 2010
An Italian production full of action , exaggerated characters, shootouts and lots of violence . For money, for pleasure, for revenge, he doesn't care why he kills or how ¡ ... A soldier named Brewster (Thomas Hunter) is taken prisoner in Fort Wilson . 5 years later he's freed and sees the atrocity over his family and executes a single-handedly revenge, as he slashes, ravages and murders each person involved in the killing . He is relentless in his vendetta , deadly in his violence. The conflict is a simple one between avenger Brewster , now named Houston, and oppressors, nasties bandits commanded by cruel foreman (Henry Silva) and his chief Milton (Gazzolo), owner of the ranch Mayflower where lives his sister Mary Ann(Nicoletta Machiavelli). Houston/Brewster is only helped by a mysterious vet gunslinger named Getz (Dan Duryea) and May Ann . Meanwhile Houston aids an unappreciated although terrorized town called Austin (Texas) in the process and suddenly finds his little son Tim (Loris Loddi). The town is inhabited by important people as Horner. Then Brewster is submitted a tempestuous trap by a saloon-girl and is caught and he faces the vicious bandits.

It's an exciting western with breathtaking showdown between the protagonist Thomas Hunter against the heartless Henry Silva and his hoodlums. Thomas Hunter is fine, he cries, ravages the screen, shoots, hit and run and kills but also receives violent knocks, punches, kicks and wounds . In the film premiere attained bit success , nowadays is best valued and I think it turns out to be a good Spaghetti Western. Henry Silva as a cruelly baddie role is terrific, he bears a hysterical and mocking smile, subsequently the would play similar characters . The film packs violence,gun-play, explosion, high body-count and it's fast moving and quite entertaining. There is plenty of action in the movie , guaranteeing some shootouts or stunts every few minutes. There are many fine technicians and nice assistants as Goffredo Unger, also secondary , habitual master of arms in numerous Spaghetti Western. Good production design creating an excellent scenario with luminous outdoors, dirty and rocky landscapes under a glimmer sun and a fine set on the Austin town . The musician Ennio Morricone, Lee Nichols, composes a nice soundtrack and well conducted by usual Bruno Nicolai; it's full of guttural sounds, sensible songs and a haunting musical leitmotif. Striking cinematography by Toni Secchi in Technicolor, Techniscope with negative well processed and perfect remastering . Interior filmed at Dino De Laurentiis Cinematografica, Studios Rome and outdoor sequences filmed at Spanish outdoors located on Colmenar Viejo, and La Pedriza, Manzanares , Madrid.

Carlo Lizzani's direction -under a pseudonym named Beaver- is well crafted, here he's less thought-provoking and broody and more inclined toward violence and too much action, because he's a expert on serious cinema. Lizzani directed good films as ¨Last days of Mussolini¨, ¨Bandits in Milan¨, co-directed ¨Dirty game¨, ¨The Verona trial¨, ¨chronicle of poor lovers¨ and filmed another S.W. titled ¨Requiescant¨ with Lou Castel, Mark Damon and Pier Paolo Pasolini and today he goes on directing movies. Rating : 6,5, acceptable and passable. The picture will appeal to Spaghetti Western fans.
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Decent Enough
FightingWesterner21 September 2009
In The Hills Run Red, two Confederate thieves fleeing on a stagecoach draw cards to see which one will stay on the coach to lead their pursuers away and which one will jump off and hide with their fortune in stolen loot.

Five years later the unlucky loser of that card draw (Thomas Hunter) is released from prison to find his destitute wife deceased and his son sent away by his former partner, breaking the promise the promise to take care of them that the now wealthy rancher made to his friend.

Overall, this is worth viewing despite being saddled with a wooden lead performance by Hunter (cast for his passing resemblance to Clint Eastwood?) and a less than spectacular script.

It's made enjoyable by some gorgeous photography (the canyon bushwhack/stampede scene a standout), an excellent score by an uncredited Ennio Morricone, and good support by Dan Duryea and black-leather clad villain Henry Silva.

I wonder if this was an inspiration for John Woo's A Better Tomorrow.
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spaghetti with a vengeance
spider8911910 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is a very good revenge tale told in great spaghetti western fashion. There's plenty of action, violence, over-the-top emotion, and some great music from Ennio Morricone.

The best performance in the movie comes from Henry Silva as uber-creep Mendez. You can almost see the slime oozing out of him. As an added bonus Thomas Hunter has a few funny lines thanks to some strange bad dubbing, and his facial expressions go along with it very well, adding to the unintentional humor. Nicoletta Machiavelli is hauntingly beautiful as Mary Ann.

The ending is a great action packed "against all odds" showdown with lots of suspense, bullets, and dynamite.

Overall, this is a very engaging and entertaining film which I wholeheartedly recommend to all hardcore fans of Italian westerns.
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not Leone,and Not Ford,but Great!
ovindpugh5 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
First of all,I'd have to say:That this is one of the most under rated Spaghetti Westerns of all times.It is a revenge story with incredible performances from Actors,Screenplay,and Stunt performances.Even the dubbing is superb.Thomas Hunter is great,and of course Henry Silva.It has all the good ingredients a good Western should have,yet it does not have the typical violence,and what we got from Leone and Corbucci,in general.Lizzani shows us a typical revenge story,with wonderful dialog and great music from Morricone.It's a real paradox that the Italians made better Westerns than the Americans did,after The Wild Bunch etc.(just an example).Just take a look at the Horror Master Mario Bava and what he did for the Horror genre! Long live Carlo Lizzani,and for being a fan of a genre that sadly died out during the 70's.Long live Italian Cinema!
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The Hills Run Red and Madness Ensues!
marc-36617 October 2005
Directed by one time film critic Carlo Lizzani, "The Hills Run Red" is a welcome addition to anyone's spaghetti western collection.

The film begins with ex-confederates Jerry Brewster (Thomas Hunter) and Ken Seagall (Nando Gazzalo) fleeing by stagecoach from soldiers following a successful heist. They agree that the only chance for escape is if one of the partners bails out with the cash. To decide who should get away the two draw cards, with Brewster the unlucky loser. Seagall promises to look after Brewster's family before leaping from the stagecoach. He successfully hides with the money, whilst Brewster is captured and imprisoned for five years.

On his release, Brewster returns to his now derelict family home. He finds a diary from his wife, and learns that she has been living in poverty during his absence, struggling to bring up their son alone. Seagall had shunned them, keeping the money himself and starting a new life under the name Ken Milton.

Brewster screams out his intention for revenge, and is soon faced by gun-hands sent by Seagall. Luckily for him, an ageing gunman Winny Getz (Dan Duryea) is on hand to help out - a mysterious character that is never fully explained (although some assumptions can be made that I won't spoil here!) but acts as Brewster's "guardian angel" throughout the film.

Learning that his wife has died and his son is missing, Brewster decides to settle his score with Seagall. On beginning his search he discovers that Seagall is attempting to drive out the local inhabitants of Austin, and in particular the leading light and saloon owner Brian Homer (Geoffrey Copleston). Aided by the demented Garcia Mendez (Henry Silva) and his gang. To confront Seagall and get his revenge, Brewster is forced to infiltrate the gang.

"The Hills Run Red" certainly has some interesting characters. Silva plays Mendez as a black clad demented psychopath. Hunter's lead role is not too far behind in the madness stakes (presumably bought on by that five years stretch, which appeared quite a gruelling and cruel imprisonment). Lets just say that both have some serious issues!! Of the two, Silva is particularly convincing, and his is the stand-out performance of the film. Hunter meanwhile could be accused of over acting at times here, although it is still an enjoyable display. Duryea's portrayal of the mysterious Getz also merits much applause.

The love interest is provided by Nicoletta Machiavelli as Seagall's sister Mary-Ann. Constantly having to dismiss advances from Mendez, her attraction to Brewster is immediate.

Music is courtesy of one Leo Nichols (better known as Ennio Morricone to you and I). In truth it is not one of his better scores, but still adds great atmosphere to the film, as one would expect from the master. It just does not have anything to make it unique, and is not as memorable as his more heralded efforts.

All in all "The Hills Run Red" makes for a great viewing. At times it can be quite brutal (such as the saloon massacre). And how I winced as Brewster's tattoo is cut from his arm whilst he is awake! But it is a gripping story, well directed and well worth watching.
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Good quality Italian western
unbrokenmetal13 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
At the first glance, this seems to be nothing else but a typical revenge story. Brewster (Thomas Hunter) gets locked up a few years in jail while his buddy Seagall (Nando Gazzolo) runs with the money they stole together. When Brewster is finally released, he is looking for vengeance - and his lost son. Seagall sends killers after his former friend. His right hand man Mendez (Henry Silva) is the real villain, a man in black who enjoys to be bad, every minute of it. But a certain Mr Getz (Dan Duryea) helps Brewster without telling him the real reason why...

The surprise of this movie is Thomas Hunter who starred for the first time in a western and creates an interesting character here, not the superior Man With No Name, but an angry young man who isn't always in total control, so he needs Getz to help him out of trouble. "The Hills Run Red" is above average for an Italian western due to good production values (comparatively at least), clever director Lizzani ("Requiescant"), composer Ennio Morricone and a great cast which does not only include the above mentioned Hunter, cult star Silva and Hollywood veteran Duryea, but also the lovely Nicoletta Machiavelli ("Navajo Joe") for which two different endings were shot: one in which she dies, one in which she survives for a happy ending. In most versions, the tragic one was used, though.
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Fun little b-grade Spaghetti, revenge themed western.
iaido8 July 2001
Warning: Spoilers
Basic plot involves Brewster taking the fall for his robbing partner Seagull and after being released from prison (which includes having to stand upright in a small barb wire cage) finds that his partner (now known as Milton) has taken the loot and prospered as an evil land baron. Not only that, but Brewster's wife has died in poverty and his young son believes him too be dead. It abandons logic and sense in favor of over the top abstract moments, lots of scenery chewing, like the expressionistic yelling on Brewster's behalf, and typical throwaway action. Fair supporting roles for Henry Silva as the Mexican henchman, with the wondrously cliched name Garcia Mendez, and Dan Duryea as the angel of mercy, Getts. Kudos to Milton/Seagull's line `I wanna' see you spit out your soul, Brewster.', and director Carlo Lizzani's pseudonym, Lee W. Beaver. The finale, like the film, is ridiculous, but fun and effective, involving Brewster and Gett's alone against a posse of bad guys, a ghost town, and some conveniently available dynamite.
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Obscure gem
jamesm12330 December 2003
This is an unusually-structured western, but a very satisfying one. TCM played a nice letterboxed print of this, and it was a surprisingly-engrossing revenge drama. Some unexpected violence in the several shoot-outs made this more brutal than usual for a mid-sixties western.
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a forthright, spirited and easy-to-watch Spaghetti Western
Billy Wiggins12 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Here is a Spaghetti Western that is from early enough in the genre's brief history that is seems colorful, fresh, enthusiastic and straightforward -- much more like a "traditional" Western that its later, more cynical counterparts.

The little-seen American actor Thomas Hunter stars in a lush Dino DeLaurentiis production that is a brisk and intensely violent if simple revenge saga. Hunter and Nando Gazzolo play robbers that are apprehended by soldiers after a big heist. The men quickly determine one can run with the loot if the other takes the rap for the crime. A simple draw of the cards (Hunter picks an 8 against his partner's Jack) means that Hunter is sent away for five years. Upon his release, Hunter finds Gazzolo has become a wealthy miser with no inclination to share his bounty. With help from American Western veteran Dan Duryea as a helpful Samaritan whose intentions seem to good to be true, Hunter sets to battle Gazzolo and his henchmen, led by the outrageously evil Mendez (Henry Silva).

I really liked Thomas Hunter's squinty-eyed ferocity in this flick -- he is like a flipside of Clint Eastwood's brusque-demeanored persona. Hunter narrows his eyes and grits his teeth plenty, but also manages to cut loose with wildly flailing fists in several nice hand-to-hand combat scenes, including an exciting ambush of Hunter in his family's abandoned barn. He also has a few maniacal outbursts in which he literally howls to the sky in frustration, which you definitely do not see in a Western very often. In fact, both hero Hunter and villain Silva are enthusiastically intense in their performances with Silva especially chewing scenery like he hasn't eaten for days. Silva's portrayal of Mendez is halfway between a posh, refined Mexican Caballero and a proud, crazed, black-leather-clad savage. As his men unsuccessfully attempt a capture of Hunter early on, Silva gleefully holsters his pistol so that he may fervently applaud his adversary. One great moment of many for Silva in the flick, he is terrific.

Also noteworthy in the cast are Duryea, as Hunter's ardent and everpresent ally, playing it solid and simple; Gazzolo in his small part as the cowardly, weirdly effeminate turncoat; and lovely redhead Gianna Serra as a two-timing saloon singer, whose sassy bravado and piled-high hair bring to mind a wild west version of B-52's singer Kate Pierson.

The scenery and photography here are lavish for the genre -- filled with beautiful vistas and big-scale, epic sequences suggesting the pic was not done on the cheap. One of the most impressive scenes is the bad-guys' dramatic horse-trail ambush which includes huge, flaming bundles of tinder rolled down a mountain to scatter the horses. The acting business is well-handled, too, with a highlight being the intense scene where Hunter finally reveals himself to his rival, verrry slowly lifting his head til his eyes are visible from under his hat.

The big, brassy theme by Ennio Morricone also aids in the film's cause, as it is a powerful, unsubtle blast of a tune that is reminiscent of the famous MAGNIFICENT SEVEN sound. It is an appropriate scene-setter for the brisk, bold vibe of THE HILLS RUN RED.

The verdict? A forthright, spirited and easy-to-watch Western and one to recommend. 7/10 stars.
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A Sprawling Sensational Spaghetti Western Shoot'em Up That's Worth Setting Your Sights On . . .
zardoz-1312 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Carlo Lizzani's "The Hills Run Red" is a Spaghetti western courtesy of well-known, international producer Dino de Laurentiis of "Conan" and "King Kong" fame who provided some better-than-average production values for this six-shooting saga. Dino went on to do several other Spaghettis, some with American talent like Burt Reynolds in Sergio Corbucci's "Navajo Joe," James Garner in the brilliant "Man Named Sledge" and Chuck Connors in Burt Kennedy's "The Deserter."

"The Hills Run Red" opens not long after the American Civil War has ended. Two ex-Confederate soldiers now in civilian clothes are driving a covered wagon hell-bent-for-leather across rock-strewn Texas terrain with a band of Union troopers bearing down on them. Ken Seagull (Nando Gazzolo of "Django Shoots First") and Jerry Brewster (Thomas Hunter of "Battle of the Commandos") decide to split up and see if their luck improves. They draw cards to determine who stays and who bails. Unfortunately, Jerry loses the bet. Ken dives off the wagon with his saddle bags stuffed full with $600-thousand dollars in Union money. Ken manages to escape while the Union soldiers ride after Jerry. The wagon hits a rock, and Jerry is thrown off it. The horses break away from the wagon, and the careening wagon plunges over a cliff. The soldiers sift through the debris of the smashed-up covered wagon but they find no money. They rough Jerry up, and he serves five miserable, back-breaking years at hard labor in Fort Wilson. All of this happens in the first half-hour.

Freed from prison, Jerry leaves with his holsters empty because the Federals refuse to return his six-guns. No sooner has Jerry left prison than an informant sends Ken a telegram about Jerry's release. Jerry rides away to his home and finds it abandoned, dust on the furniture everywhere and nobody about the premises. He locates his wife's diary and learns that she struggled to raise his son Tim (Loris Loddi of "The Grand Silence") despite encroaching poverty and not a cent of help from Seagull. About that time, gunmen start shooting up Jerry's property. In the barn, Jerry is surprised to find another gun, Winnie Getz (Dan Duryea of "Winchester 73") tosses him a revolver, with which Jerry dispatches two gunmen. Later, after the gunfight, Jerry demands to know Getz's business. Getz suggests that if he took something back to Ken that would convince him that Jerry is dead that he might get himself a job. Jerry's eyes light up because he has something that would persuade Ken that he has perished. Jerry, it seems, has a tattoo on his left forearm engraved with his wife's name. When Getz takes the circle of skin to Ken, he believes that Jerry is dead and hires on Getz despite the admonitions of his second-in-command Garcia Mendez (Henry Silva of "Johnny Cool") decked on in black leather and chewing the scenery as an insane gunslinger.

When we see Ken next, he is a wealthy horse breeder with a large herd of horses. Meanwhile, Jerry adopts different name, Houston, and rides into Austin where he wins a bundle of money at dice and learns that Ken uses the name Milton and owns two-thirds of the land around Austin. Moreover, Ken wants to take over Austin; for example, his trigger-happy gunmen have killed the only sheriff and everybody is too afraid to stand up to him until Jerry arrives in town. The saloon owner Horner (Geoffrey Copleston of "Superargo Versus Diabolicus") explains that they need a man like Jerry to help them defend themselves from Milton. Jerry takes the idea under consideration while he rides out to meet Ken. On the along he stumbles onto a little boy who can knock rocks out of the air with his slingshot. Jerry is shocked when the child uses his good luck gesture of licking his thumb and drawing a circle in the air. About that time, Garcia intervenes and forces Jerry to fight more of Ken's gunmen. Beaten and battered and on the ground, Jerry looks up after the fight and see Garcia put a gun to his head. When he urges the Mexican cutthroat to kill him, Garcia laughs and takes him to Milton's ranch where he lets him recover in an equipment shed. The irony is that Jerry has come back to square matters with Ken, but Ken doesn't know it. Jerry overhears that Ken is moving two-thirds of his horse herd to Abilene. Jerry sneaks back into town and arranges a reception for Ken's riders. The ensuing shoot'em up in a pass and the flaming balls of brush that Jerry's men rain down on Ken's gunmen is a sight to see. Predictably, Ken attacks the town and drives everybody out. The inevitable gun battle between Ken and Jerry follows.

Lizzani never lets the grass grow under anybody's boots in this fast-moving 90 minute horse opera. He is no Sergio Leone, but he has an imaginative eye for interesting camera angles, particularly in the fight between Jerry and Garcia's gunmen. The coffin on the wagon in the big shoot-out scene in town is well photographed from a variety of angles. This is a big, sprawling revenge western with scores of tough-looking galoots getting gunned down left, right, center, and sideways. Spaghetti westerns fans will find this one is above-average. The scenarists could have done a better job with Dan Duryea's mysterious gunman and his revelation after the finale.

"The Hills Run Red" has one goof and that knocks off at least a star from my rating. During the fast opening wagon chase, the filmmakers show us the Union troops riding in hot pursuit and it the far right side of the 2:35.1 letterboxed shape you can spot a wagon identical to the one being driven hell-bent-for-leather in the distance with no horses. Presumably, the producers had a second wagon modified to handle a camera and forgot to move the real wagon out of the shot.
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Interesting Carlo Lizzani Fare
adrianswingler2 November 2015
Fans of Carlo Lizzani will recognize many subtexts in this film. An interesting take on the sub-sub-genre of Spaghetti Western with a Civil War revenge theme, attempting to reincorporate traditional Hollywood elements, it doesn't lose sight of its Italian inspired roots.

The sets are a little slap dash, but the score and direction make up for it. The current rating on here of 5.6 is way too low. It deserves at least a 7-8 on the all time Spaghetti Western scale.

The sets are a little slap dash, but the score and direction make up for it. The current rating on here of 5.6 is way too low. It deserves at least a 7-8 on the all time Spaghetti Western scale.
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surprisingly enjoyable despite clichés
batvette7 September 2011
I started watching this and thought oh, lord, another howler with every hokey cliché inherent to bad spaghetti westerns. Midway when we see the stunt men grabbing their bellies from feigned gut shots and doing the railing flip to land on their backs on balsa wood saloon tables, one has to wonder if there could be any other way to do it. However the story does develop to reveal some depth to both characters and plot. The clichés endure so don't expect any surprises by the time it's over, but enjoy this period piece as the simple story it was meant to be with a few standouts in the supporting cast roles, if not the lead. There are some memorable items in the soundtrack and the location work cinematography could be called exemplary. The credits state it's a Dino De Laurentis production with much of the shooting done in Rome, which does contradict some of the IMDb data, FWIW. All in all it's the kind of tale that Hollywood had so tired of by the mid sixties they'd have sent it up as a comedy romp with an all star cast cracking one liners- but with admirable humility the spaghetti western production crew delivered this with straight faced sincerity, as if they still believed in what they were doing. Considering that I give it 7 not 6 stars.
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There Are No Heroes In The Hills!, Just Bad Men, Mad Men And Dead Men
TankGuy3 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Two ex-confederate soldiers, Jerry Brewster and Ken Seagull(pronounced Segal), head home at the end of the Civil war with a stash of stolen government money. However they are caught by union troops and Ken is fortunate enough to escape, although Jerry serves five gruelling years in prison. When he is released Jerry heads home to Texas only to find Ken in a corrupt position of power as a rancher who dominates most of the territory. Jerry becomes increasingly enraged when he learns that his wife was driven to an early grave by Ken who evicted her from her land and took Jerry's baby son. Demoralised and angered by his "friend's" betrayal, it isn't long before Jerry's death is ordered by Ken. Consumed by hatred, Jerry sets out to destroy Ken and his empire.

Carlo Lizzani's oft filmed tale of greed and revenge in the old west is a highly enjoyable affair. The Hills Run Red has all the traits of a 50s B western, still it's just a little too violent to be made by Hollywood but definitely not as grotesque as other spaghetti westerns. Some of the performances were rather over-the-top. Little known American actor Thomas Hunter makes for an inspiring hero in Jerry Brewster, his athleticism means the role is tailor-made for him and his obsessive rage is exploited to great effect. Rising Hollywood star Henry Silva was quite hammy as bandit leader Mendez to the point of being hilarious. He wasn't as menacing as I would have liked and his death is overly melodramatic. Dan Duryea was a favourite in Universal's B westerns throughout the 1950s(Waco Johnny Dean in Anthony Mann's Winchester 73 anybody?)and here he makes his only spaghetti western appearance as Colonel Winny Getz, a gunman who aids Jerry in his quest for retribution. The gorgeous Nicoletta Machiavelli was also excellent as Ken Seagull's sister Mary-Ann. The action scenes were nothing short of enthralling. The movie commences with a rollicking horseback chase and later on we have a riotous shootout in the saloon. There's even some fantastic dynamite-tossing action near the end as Jeff and Colonel Getz take on Mendez' gang in a sequence featuring amazing stuntwork. The fistfights were also really good and I was surprised to learn that the film was scored by Ennio Morricone, as always the maestro does it again with a roaring soundtrack that can only be defined as superb. The song "Home To My Love" was rather beautiful, although again it's like something you would hear in a mid 60s Hollywood western. The happy ending was extremely Hollywood-esque, however it was refreshing to see such positivity in a spaghetti western.

A terrific spaghetti western with a fine soundtrack and rousing action. Highly recommended.8/10
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Works best as a comedy
David Vanholsbeeck6 May 2000
I'm catching up on old westerns lately. And I must admit I haven't seen many good ones. The John Wayne-"classic" THE SEARCHERS was a real disappointment for example. But this movie is by far the worst I have ever seen in the western-genre. The story is set against the background of the Civil War. Two "buddies" return home with a large amount of stolen money, when they are being caught. One of them(Gazzolo) escapes from the "yankees"(with the money). The other one(Hunter) gets locked away for 5 years. When he is released, he finds out that his "friend" is now the richest and most feared/hated man around. He is also to blame for the death of Hunter's wife. Our hero seeks for revenge, but he stands alone...

The movie is very very bad: the first half might work as a parody, but this is denied by a boring and predictable second half. The acting is really bad, especially by the leads: Hunter is awful as the hero(look out for the scene in which he screams for revenge)and Gazzolo doesn't get much to do either. The only actor I knew in this "film" was Henry Silva and his role(leader of Gazzolo's men) is, to say the least, dynamic, but pointless at the same time. Silva gives an awkward, but often amusing performance. The other performances range (surprisingly) from mediocre to rather good, with Machiavelli as a Catherine Zeta-Jones-lookalike from years ago. Most of the dialogue is dubbed too which can easily be noticed. The music however has some nice moments, but all in all it's by far not enough to cover up for the rest.

If you want a really bad comic(?) western, you might want to see this. Just don't pay any dollari for it. 3/10
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No classic, but okay of its type.
Scott LeBrun21 September 2014
Jerry Brewster (Thomas Hunter) and Ken Seagull (Nando Gazzolo) are two ex-Confederates who've successfully stolen some of the governments' money. Realizing that only one of them can make good his escape, they draw cards, and Ken, having drawn the higher card, is allowed to bail out with the money. Jerry is captured by Union forces and imprisoned for five years. Unfortunately, he learns after being released that his wife died poor because Ken hogged all the money for himself. And now Ken is a bigshot in the small community of Austin. It's a given that Jerry is going to be ripe for revenge...

"The Hills Run Red", as directed by former critic Carlo Lizzani, is no great shakes, but offers a decent amount of entertainment. Its pace is acceptable, its photography nicely done, and its action reasonably rousing. Using the pseudonym of "Leo Nichols", Ennio Morricone composes the score; it's definitely one of his lesser efforts, but even so, lesser Morricone is still pretty good. The songs are certainly sung with passion. The script by Piero Regnoli is mostly straightforward, but it's got one interesting detail up its sleeve: the character of Colonel Winny Getz, played engagingly by genre veteran Dan Duryea. You're never quite sure what this guy's deal is until the end.

The acting is variable. Some members of the cast come off fairly well, such as the beautiful ladies Nicoletta Machiavelli and Gianna Serra, Gazzolo as the understated villain, and Geoffrey Copleston as saloon owner Brian Horner. Hunter delivers a performance that is amusingly over the top at certain points. But the most entertaining acting to watch is courtesy of a hilariously hammy Henry Silva, playing Seagulls' minion Garcia Mendez. There's nothing subtle about this guy; even his wardrobe is all black.

"The Hills Run Red" kills time easily enough for those who are devotees of the Spaghetti Western genre.

Six out of 10.
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The Japanese could have made it cheaper, but not dumber.
revtg1-24 October 2008
This is not the worst spaghetti western ever made. That honor belongs to Death Rides a Horse (1968) with Lee Van Cleef and John Phillip Law. If you have not seen that one you are blessed. This one is, however, far and away the hokiest spaghetti western ever made. The talents of two fine actors, Henry Silva and Dan Duryea, are wasted. Silva makes no attempt whatsoever to act. Duryea does and to his credit he does not break up laughing once. Viewers, on the other hand will. An Army fort has an up and down swinging traffic barrier pole, painted with STRIPES. People are shot to pieces and there is never any blood or holes in their clothes. The dialog was taken right off the pages of See Spot Run. At the end of the movie Duryea pins a marshal's star on the bandit turned hero that looks like it came off of a 1940s Christmas tree at St. Vincent de Paul. The pistols whistle softly instead of banging and the good guys throw dynamite at the bad guys.
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This movie had a good run. It was alright, but sadly, this movie will not be remember.
ironhorse_iv14 April 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Originally titled A River of Dollars and often retitled as Blood In The Hills & Dollar Power, the film remind me of the psychological Hollywood westerns of the 1950s in how bland, it is. Despite, being one of the earliest spaghetti westerns made after the Eastwood/Leone Italian Spaghetti western boom, in 1967. A lot of people have never heard of this movie. It's easy to understand, why. The reason why this film isn't going to stand out, much is because how genetic the plot is. The revenge plot isn't anything new, to the Western genre, as if it was often used in previous films like Marlon Brando's 1961's film, One-Eyed Jacks. Directed by Carlo Lizzani, a former film critic and veteran director of a multitude of spy thrillers and war dramas, the movie tells the story of two ex-rebel soldiers, Jerry Brewster (Thomas Hunter) & Ken Seagull (Nando Gazzolo) fleeing toward the Mexican border in a wagon, having made off with a huge sum of money stolen from the United States government, during the end of the Civil War. Just before reaching the safety of foreign soil, they are intercepted by a U.S. army patrol and Jerry is capture and sent to a military prison. Five years later, Brewster is released and returns home to reunite with his wife and son. He soon finds out that his house is deserted, his wife has pass away, and his son is missing, all, because of Seagull's greed. Maddened by the betrayal, Brewster seek revenge, over his former-friend, in hope, of finding his missing son. Without spoiling the movie too much, you can clearly see, by the appearance of the film's main actor, Thomas Hunter, that he was hired, because how much, he looks like Clint Eastwood. Thomas Hunter isn't a bad actor, but he does overacted a bit. He mostly does a very earnest performance. I can't say, the same with Henry Silva's performance, as the Seagull's psychopathic henchmen, Garcia Mendez. Silva laughs, sings and snarls his way through the film. He was, way over-the top and surreal. He did have some of the most entertaining dialogue in the film. I love his quote about Brewster winning the right to work on his ranch. That was kinda funny. Still, his over-screaming of dialogue was a bit much and was very annoying, but he made it up with his sinister look in the film. It remind me, of a male version of the actress Rosie Perez. You can't stand them, but you like them, enough, to buy into, them, being the villains. Silva's character was modeled after Dirk Bogarde in the 1961's film, The Singer not the Song. Silva's performance was very influential to other actors such as Jack Palance. Jack probably based his character Ricciolo AKA Curly in 1968's film, 'A Professional Gun' on Silva's character. Dan Duryea looks way too old and tired, but turns in a touching performance as the stranger Getz, whose identity and motivation are only revealed in the film's final scene. Nicoletta Machiavelli is hauntingly beautiful as Mary Ann, Seagull's sister. She's a looker. I wish, they had, more for her character, but I'm alright with the amount of screen time, she was given. The movie has some strange bad dubbing, and the facial expressions that go along with it, don't match. It adds to the unintentional humor. The action is pretty good. Director Carlo Lizzani does good work here, mixing solid camera-work throughout most of the film with some neat touches including a Corbucci-esque style close-up fistfight. The best scene had to be the Saloon, toward the middle. Toni Secchi's cinematography is quite inventive with a camera shooting through windows, doors and interstices, giving the viewer the impression that the hero is in the middle of the most of the action. A set piece in which Mendez and his men massacre the patrons of an Austin saloon plays without music, lending the sequence a disturbing brutal realism. Similarly, the final shootout in the streets of Austin unfolds with little underscore. In my opinion, it's pretty forgettable. The tattoo cutting scene might be winced-worthy, but it's pretty tame for today's standards. The tone throughout is generally quite dark although there are a few light hearted moments, that stop it becoming too grim. Pacing is very good. The script was often tampered with, and a lot of things, went deeply wrongs like the feel good ending. I like how weird, it is, with deceased characters suddenly reappeared. I guess, prolific, Oscar-winning producer Dino De Laurentiis didn't like, the downer ending. The feel-good ending is a little too American Western in style, but this is only a minor criticism. Ennio Morricone provides a suitable music score under the pseudonym Leo Nichols. Most of it was alright. The big, brassy theme here wasn't one of his better works, but still adds great atmosphere to the film. It does get overplayed too much, and become a bit annoying as the film drags along. The bittersweet love song, "Home to My Love," is performed by Italian singer Gino Spiachetti is pretty forgettable. The movie has aged well, due to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios & United Artists, coming in, and saving the prints. They did a pretty good, DVD transplant. While, it shows some grain in places. Most of the film footage is very clean and bright. The full screen version (pan and scan of the widescreen original) has contrast problems, making it difficult to see exactly who or what is on screen in some scenes. I really can't understand why MGM have bothered to include this far inferior version of the exact same cut of the movie on the disc at all. In 2008 there was a documentary developed about this spaghetti western entitled, 'A History of Dollars'. It's also worth- checking out. Overall: The Hills Run Red is a welcome addition to anyone's spaghetti western collection. It's an enjoyable movie. Pretty watchable.
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