Several pillars of society have robbed an Army safe containing $100,000 so they can buy the land upon which the coming railroad will be built. But they haven't reckoned on the presence of ... See full summary »
Lee Van Cleef,
Amiable, unassertive Scott Mary picks up the trash, cleans the toilets, sweeps the floors in the town of Clifton. Then a gunfighter comes to town. He offers advice and guidance to Scott who... See full summary »
Lee Van Cleef,
Priest turned vigilante Father John (Van Cleef) hunts down a gang of criminals, led by Sam Clayton (Palance), who killed a man in a local bar. On the gang's return to the town, they kill ... See full summary »
Sgt. Sullivan puts together a group of Italian-Americans into disguise as Italian soldiers in order to infiltrate a North African camp held by the Italians. After the soldiers have knifed ... See full summary »
Lee Van Cleef,
Jake Remy leads a gang of outlaw cutthroats making their escape toward Mexico from a successful robbery. Barring their way is a river--crossable only by means of a ferry barge. The barge ... See full summary »
Lee Van Cleef,
Rugged trail boss and reformed criminal Pike promises his honest wealthy employer Morgan that he will venture across the dessert to deliver $86,000 dollars in payroll money to a ranch in ... See full summary »
Luke, an escaped convict, and Jaroo, a loner gold prospector, team up with a band of Apache Indians in 19th century Mexico to capture a large, heavily armed fortress for the millions -- or ... See full summary »
When handed a rifle, Ben Novack says it's a little bigger than the one he used in Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovakia was not a country until 1918; this movie never states the exact year it takes place but it's clearly in the 1800s. See more »
Contrary to popular belief, the American west wasn't some lawless prairie/desert where only the strong like John Wayne's Rooster Cogburn and Clint Eastwood's man with no name could survive. While the likes of Jesse James and Butch Cassidy made the headlines, the average day in the life of an American westerner was pretty dull. The majority of people who lived west of the Mississippi lived in urban areas, not out in the boonies. Gun violence was actually less common in the western territories than back east and the majority of those who went out west were first generation immigrants, not idealistic white folk provoked by called for manifest destiny. Beyond the Law (1967) is a movie that may not dispel the myths of the wild, wild west, but like many Spaghetti Westerns it does put a new spin on things.
Lee Van Cleef stars as Billy Joe Cudlip, a craven thief who steals the payroll of a mining community from a naïve Czechoslovakian payroll clerk named Ben (Antonio Sabato). He is of course helped by his gang of thieves and conmen, Preacher (Lionel Stander), who dresses like his name to get rubes to trust him and James (Bud Spencer) a black man with a friendly face. Things go according to plan until Billy befriends Ben and is shoved into helping the locals recover the money. Preacher and James see this as an opportunity to steal more loot but things get further complicated when a rival gang of thieves led by Burton (Gordon Mitchell) comes into town.
Now Beyond the Law is far from a perfect movie. The acting ranges of the supporting characters range from okay to terrible and the cinematography is simplistic. Directed by Italian director Giorgio Stegani, Beyond the Law or The Good Die First brings to mind less severe Spaghetti Westerns. Rather than go the path of A Fistful of Dollars (1964), Stegani and his international crew made a movie closer to My Name is Nobody (1973) and My Name is Trinity (1970). It has the tendency to be funny and even unintentionally goofy at some points with Lee Van Cleef showing he can make the best out of a paycheck that bills him with non-English speakers.
If you're a western buff who's easy to please then Beyond the Law may be a perfect little surprise for you. It's a movie that is comfortable in its own banality. The story itself is strong, partially written by prolific Italians writers Mino Roli and Fernando Di Leo and the feel of the film is small but unique. The film was made only a year after Van Cleef's appearance in The Good the Bad and the Ugly (1966) and helped make Bud Spencer a star in his own right. It should at the very least be considered a decent B-movie.
If you're interested, try finding the 105 minute version through Diamond Entertainment and look to avoid imitators with bad digital transfers. There is a colorless butchered version that you can likely find at a bargain bin somewhere and there's a decent letterbox version you can find online. Go check it out before the ghost of Red Ryder comes back to re-mystify the west.
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