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"Days of Wrath" is an excellent Spaghetti Western. Both Van Cleef and Gemma have excellent characterizations to portray; it is particularly interesting to witness Gemma's transformation from submissive outcast to dominating gunfighter. Van Cleef has one of his best non-Leone roles. A solid story, with a great music score and theme. Fans of the genre should not miss it. Some American video versions are highly edited; try to see the uncut version.
Nothing here you haven't seen before if you're a fan of Italian westerns, but DAY OF ANGER develops its plot and characters carefully, keeping you on the edge of your seat throughout. Van Cleef is terrific--this is surely one of his finest moments--yet he's matched stride-for-stride by Giuliano Gemma and the rest of the cast, with solid performances from many bit players. The direction and camera work are first rate, also. It may fall just short of Leone and the first Django movie, but it's still a first-rate spaghetti western.
"Day of Anger" is an incredible western. Not only is it one of the 3 or
4 best non-Leone spaghetti westerns, It also has just about the best
non-Morricone music score I have heard.
Lee Van Cleef is at his very best in this movie as Talby, the slick, intelligent, and ruthless gunfighter. As is the case with many spaghetti westerns, this movie draws a very thin line between "good" and "evil." Talby is a killing machine who is out for his own personal gain, yet he is also very likable in many ways. When he takes Scott under his wing and teaches him not to put up with being treated with disrespect from the "good" citizens of Clifton, Talby actually becomes the only person who represents any real sort of "justice" in the whole town. Then we find out that the pillars of the community have something to hide, and Talby delivers his own brand of justice to them also.
Giuliano Gemma always delivers a great spaghetti western performance, and he is at the top of his game here as well. In the role of Scott Mary he has to play a character who goes through a lot of different emotions, and a couple of life-changing events. When Scott becomes a gunfighter like Talby, we relate to him and like him even more as he demands and gets respect from the people who used to spit on him. Talby's comment to the townsfolk of Clifton sums up why: "He was born a wolf, but you made him rabid." What a great line! The final showdown at the end is one of the classics. It is wonderfully choreographed with the film's music, and has that artistic, operatic quality that the very best spaghetti westerns possess. There's lots of emotion going on in this one, as it is plain to see that the two men squaring off still have respect and admiration for each other. On some level, it even still seems like they are friends, but this moment was inevitable, like an uncontrollable force of nature. As Talby says, "once you start killing, you can't stop." Talby's killing finally draws that thin line, Scott ends up on the other side of it, and the final showdown begins. I will say no more.
Riz Ortolani's score is awesome. I love the opening theme, and the pictures and movements on the screen that accompany it. It pulls you right into this film before the story even begins. Not only is the music great, it is very original as well. It is not a Morricone rip-off at all. Ortolani's style here is all his own. It is much more of a swinging 60's sound that retains just enough western flavor to make it appropriate for this type of film. This is a soundtrack I would like to have on CD.
This is one of those movies that I just can't say enough about. I would recommend it to anyone, and if you like spaghetti westerns you really need to own it.
This clever and successful Spaghetti Western that owes a considerable
debt to Leone deals about a miserable bastard named Scott(Giuliano
Gemma), he's mistreated, pushed and kicked by village people . Then
arrives an occasional mysterious visitor, a too smart bad guy, he's a
tough gunslinger named Frank(Lee Van Cleef). He befriends Scott and
acts as protector of the humiliated young . The gunfighter teams up
with the hapless young man against the persons mistreated him and then
Scott carries out a personal vendetta .
The film displays psychological characters-in deep, shootouts,action Western and being enough entertaining. The movie contains typical particularities Spaghetti, as is full of fury, sadism, bloodbaths, and portentous close-ups of grime-encrusted faces. Gulianno Gemma is good as unfortunate bastard working in worst and dirtiest labors, and Lee van Cleef is cool as cruel gunslinger . As secondaries appear Jose Calvo(Silvanito in ' A fistful of dollars')and usual of Spaghetti as Benito Stefanelli(habitual master of arms), Andrea Bosic and Ricardo Palacios. Furthermore, Ivonne Sanson as brothel Madame , she was a known actress in Italian melodramas and an uncredited Al Mulock ( he was one of the mythic trio at the beginning of 'One upon a time in the West' along with Jack Elam and Woody Strode) .The producers Alfonso Sansone and Chroscicki produced 'Day of Anger'with quite budget. The picture is full of nice sound by Riz Ortalani and correctly photographed by Enzo Sarafian.The motion picture is well directed by Tonino Valerii who was Sergio Leone's assistant. Valerii managed to make a fluid, witty and agreeable SW. He proved his experience in Western such as ¨Bounty hunter, Death a President, A reason to live a reason to die and My name is nobody¨.
This Spaghetti Western along with 'Da Uomo a Uomo(Giulio Petroni with Lee Van Cleef-John Philip Law)'led to recovery in the popularity of 'horse opera' after Leone hits. Both are a masterpieces about gunslinger/disciple theme, and developing a paternal-filial relationship. Another films about this issue are the following : 'All'ombra di un colt(65)'by Gianni Grimaldi with Conrado San Martin and Stephen Forsyth; 'Bandits(1967)'by Massimo Dallamano with Enrico Maria Salerno and Venantino Venantini and 'Beyond the Law(68)' by Giorgio Stegani with Lee Van Cleef and Alfonso Sabato.
I've been trawling through the spaghetti western back catalogue lately,
and it seems I've missed quite a few hidden gems. Day of Anger is one
of them. Tonino Valleni's western is more American in its approach,
although the staples of the spaghetti genre are still here. Close ups,
violence (altough not as glorifying as you'd expect from your typical
spag), a languid jazzy score by Riz Ortolani (a departure from the
typical operatic Morricone scores), and great performances by Lee Van
Cleef and Giulliano Gemma.
Giulliano Gemma is Scott, the garbage boy for the quite peaceful town of Clifton, a town where the sheriff wanders about without his gun and residents are surprised to hear the sound of gunshots. Scott is constantly pushed around and ridiculed, until gunslinger extraordinaire Talby strides into town. Van Cleef is typically superb as Talby, who takes Scott under his wing and teaches him the art of gunslinging by laying out the 9 rules of the gunfigher. Talby and Scott will come back into Clifton to get the 50,000$ a crook called Wild Jack owed him. Wild Jack was sold short by Clifton's higher class citizens, so Talby will have to get the money back in his own way.
The story follows both Talby's gradual usurping of the city and Scott's progress from a green boy to a man who stands his ground. The interaction between old experienced gunslinger and enthusiastic apprentice is executed very well. All in all a solid, if a little predictable, spaghetti western, that eschews the conventions of your typical spag for characterization. It's well worth tracking down in its uncut 109 minutes version. It's a shame that quite a few spags were lost amidst the truckloads of similar flicks churned out by the Italian studios in the genre's hayday. This is among the best. And it's one, even the American horse opera fans, will love.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Tonino Valerii's "Day of Anger" ranks in the lower half of the ten top
best Spaghetti westerns. This intelligent, superbly made, marvelously
lensed formulaic saga about the rise and fall of a notorious gunfighter
holds its own against comparable American horse operas, partially since
veteran Hollywood villain Lee Van Cleef of "High Noon" stars as the
lead-slinging anti-hero who is as fast on the draw as he is deadly
accurate with his aim. This lean, mean, gritty 95-minute sagebrusher is
one of the three best Spaghettis that Van Cleef appeared in, with
"Death Rides A Horse" edging "Day of Anger" out as the best, while "For
A Few Dollars More" closely follows in third place. As far as I know,
no American western has gone into as much detail about the rules of
being a gunfighter as "Day of Anger." Indeed, "Day of Anger" recalls
both the Henry Fonda and Anthony Perkins relationship in Anthony Mann's
"The Tin Star" (1958) and Brian Keith and Steve McQueen in Henry
Hathaway's "Nevada Smith" (1966) where an old gun teaches a young gun
the rules. Frank Talby (Lee Van Cleef) delineates the nine things that
Scott Mary (co-star Giuliano Gemma of "Fort Yuma Gold") must learn to
survive as a gunfighter. First, never beg for anything from another
man. Second, never trust anybody. Third, never come between a gun and
its target. Fourth, like bullets, punches in a fistfight must be first
if you want to finish the brawl. Fifth, if you wound a man, then you'd
better finish him off; otherwise, he will try to kill you. Sixth, you
must aim your bullets well and always shoot them at the right time.
Seventh, take a man's gun away from him before you untie his wrists. At
this point, Scott Mary interjects a rule that he contrived on the spot:
"Don't give a man any more bullets that what he needs." Eighth,
sometimes you will have to accept a challenge or lose everything.
Ninth, when you start killing, you cannot stop it.
Scenarists Renzo ("Jungle Holocaust") Genta and Ernesto ("My Name Is Nobody") Gastaldi, along with director Tonino Valerii, based their "Day of Anger" screenplay on a German novel by Ron Barker entitled "Der Tod Ritt Dienstags." Valerii and company waste no time establishing the primary setting in the inhospitable frontier berg of Clifton, Arizona, and we meet an illegitimate fellow simply known as Scott (Giuliano Gemma of "The Master Touch") who was raised in the local bordello and now serves as the community's garbage collector. Everybody looks down their collective noses at woebegone Scott. Scott's life is grim, unrelenting drudgery until gunfighter Frank Talby (Lee Van Cleef) rides into Clifton and pays Scott a dollar to stable his horse. Later, in the saloon, after Talby has given Scott his dollar, he invites the youth to have a drink. The outraged saloon owner refuses to serve Scott and another gunman challenges Talby. Talby guns him down and an inquest clears him of murder. The irate townspeople beat up Scott for testifying on Talby's behalf. Scott flees the town on his mule to track down Talby. He finds him in the border town of Bowie where Talby is demanding that Wild Jack (Al Mulock of "The Hellbenders") pay him back the $50-thousand that he owes him. Jack explains that he just got released from prison where he served a 10-year sentence. Talby has no sympathy for Jack, until he explains that the robbery that he staged was planned by the pillars of community in Clifton and that they sold him down the river. Eventually, Talby has to shoot Jack and then he sets out to blackmail the pillars of Clifton to obtain his $50-thousand. Scott helps Talby out of a scrape afterward by tossing him a gun after three bandits have dragged him through the sagebrush on his belly. Of course, Talby wipes them out and Scott and he become thick as thieves. Only in the final quarter hour do Talby and Scott Mary have their first and final falling out over Talby's decision to gun down Scott's friend, the elderly lawman. The shoot'em up finale reiterates the nine gunfighter rules. Riz Ortolani's jazzy energetic orchestral score is a welcome departure from the Ennio Morricone staple, and Enzo ("Beyond the Law") Serafin's widescreen cinematography captures the primitive quality of the west. At one point in the plot, Talby burns down a saloon that he has half-ownership in and kills his partner. The saloon that Talby orders built is probably the most distinctive saloon in the history of western movies both foreign and domestic. What stands out about the facade of the saloon is that huge, hand-carved, and painted Colt's .45 six-guns serve as the facade uprights.
Although this Lee Van Cleef & Giuliano Gemma western is serious from start to finish, "Day of Anger" gets its best joke in early in the action, but you have to be a Spaghetti western fan to appreciate it. Scott grabs his mule to ride after Talby. Scott Mary calls his mule 'Sartana,' the name of an invincible gunslinger in Spaghetti westerns. Valerii and his scribes has fashioned an old-fashioned western that owes more to Hollywood than Europe. Essentially, "Day of Anger" amounts to a morality play wherein the hero is rewarded for his virtue and the villains are penalized with death for their perfidy. Lee Van Cleef excels as Talby and Gemma is convincing as the green kid who grows up fast. Talby remains a static character, while Scott changes over time from a nobody to a somebody, something rare in Spaghettis. Nothing in "Day of Anger" is unrealistic. Valerii stages a great joust-like duel on horseback where the rivals must load black powder rifles with cap and ball while riding hell-bent at each other and shoot to kill. The dialogue doesn't consist of snappy repartees, and violence isn't glorified as it usually is in most Spaghettis.
Really good, from the languorous, elegiac opening to the full throttle finish, I enjoyed it all. I note that IMDb shows a running time of 95 minutes whilst my new Arrow DVD runs nearer 115. Can that be so, 20 minutes cut from the previous print? It is just possible for there is a surprisingly large amount of time given to introduction of the characters and the town so that we might become totally involved. Goodness knows what anyone would make of much of this film without the precious opening ten minutes where Giuliano Gemma is introduced to us, literally as a sh*t shoveler before coming under the wing of the majestic Lee van Cleef. The famous Almeria set and surrounds plays its part well too and whilst the tale is fairly simple (revenge!) it is so well told and whilst the opening scenes seem to show a ghost town by the end we have seen it teeming with folks from all around. A fine film with much violence.
Day of Anger (1967) is considered a top 20 by most fans and critics. I definitely agree this is a great SW movie with good music and acting by Lee Van Cleef, and Gemma. The story is great about a simple man with dreams to have respect and to own his own colt, but unfortunately Scott Mary (Gemma) is treated like dirt by the townspeople of Clifton and verbally and physically abused and it is a revenge style theme about a man name Talby (Van Cleef), who gets out of jail and goes to collect 50,000 from Wild Jack, who in return was lied and double crossed by some of the good old folks of Clifton so Talby goes to collect and helps mentor Scott, who becomes a side kick. It all changes when Talby kills someone close to Scott and then he gets a reality check and faces off with his mentor. Movie is overall fast paced with good action and story.
It's one of my favorite westerns of all times.I've seen it on the theater, in 71, and several times on the telly. Usually, critics reviewing it, claim it's above average for the two actors efforts, so it comes as an unpleasant surprise to see it scorched here. Classic bits: when Van Cleef says to Scott he should call himself Scott Marry, after his mother only known name,and as Scott says that everybody would laugh at him if he used such name, Talby (Van Cleef) replies: Who cares??? And the scene where Scott asks for his old broom, just to shoot it apart, costumers in the saloon get impressed, and the camera focus on Gemma smiling. Simply perfect!
The musical score, cinematography, and strong performances make this particular western a great story that goes beyond the standard thematic gunslinger opera. This is an epic western filmed by a camera crew that let's the scenery interact with the performances. The music is great, and the opening credits have the hook that set the mood and the film delivers it with full fury. Lee Van Cleef gives his best performance on film. A many layered character study with humor and depth, the audience is rewarded by great on screen chemistry between Gemma and Cleef. A must see for anyone who is a fan of westerns, or the writing style of Elmore Leonard and Larry McMurtry.
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