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,
Jonathan Corbett is a gunman so brave to have eliminated all the bandits of Texas. For this he is proposed for the candidacy to the Senate of the United States. In exchange he has only to support the construction of one railway line. Only after he accepts does he come to know that the Mexican Cuchillo has raped and killed a 12 year old girl. Corbett leaves on a long manhunt during which he gets to know his adversary better and discovers a variation on the crime for which the accused Cuchillo may not be as guilty as he first thought. Written by
Baldinotto da Pistoia, translated by Philip-12
In 1966, Lee Van Cleef was a part of the greatest western of all time; he also made this film. Naturally, The Big Gundown has nothing on Sergio Leone's masterpiece The Good, The Bad and The Ugly; but it's still a more than decent little western that will surely satisfy anyone who considers themselves a Spaghetti Western fan. The film is directed by Sergio Sollima, who directed a handful of westerns in the late sixties before going on to direct successful Polizi flicks Revolver and Violent City. He's no Sergio Leone but his direction is certainly solid and the film benefits from the Spaghetti Western style. The plot focuses on the common western theme of one man chasing another through the desert. The lead character is Jonathan Corbett; a gunslinger turned police sheriff put on the trail of Cuchillo Sanchez; a Mexican bandit believed to have raped and killed a young girl. The Mexican is no match for the hardened gunman and he is tracked down quickly - but he has an uncanny ability to escape capture, and this drags the chase out long enough for the sheriff to realise that there may be more to the criminal than meets the eye.
The film benefits from two excellent leading performances. Lee Van Cleef made his name in Spaghetti Westerns for a reason; and that reason is performances like this one. He fits the style of the film very well and effortlessly fits into his role; which he has played many times before and since. His opposite number is the great Tomas Milian, who once again proves his versatility as the Mexican bandit. Milian has an amazing ability to make any role work for him and he's a constant source of entertainment. The Spaghetti Western genre is often best known for its entertainment value and this is true of many genre films; but this one stands out somewhat in that respect as it actually has some kind of point to make. It's not a great point and the film is hardly life-affirming but it still offers a little more than the average western. Of course, there are still plenty of gunfights, chases and general posturing and the director ensures that there's always enough going on to keep things worth watching. Overall, this is an excellent little film and well worth checking out. Recommended!
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