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The Unholy Four (1970)

Ciakmull - L'uomo della vendetta (original title)
A young man who has lost his memory, escapes from prison with three other convicts. The other men help him find back bits of his past, until they arrive at a village where two warring families recognize him. Apparently he has a reputation for being a fast gun, and he has been paid to kill a man - who says he is his father. His younger brother is jealous of the attention the prodigal son receives,... See full summary »

Director:

(as E.B.Clucher)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Leonard Mann ...
Chuck Mool a.k.a. Ciakmull
...
Woody
Pietro Martellanza ...
Silver (as Peter Martell)
George Eastman ...
Hondo (as Luca Montefiori)
Helmuth Schneider ...
Joe Caldwell
Lucio Rosato ...
Tom Udo
Alain Naya ...
Alan Caldwell (as Alain Nayà)
Giuseppe Lauricella ...
Udo
Dino Strano ...
Sam
Andrea Aureli ...
Santiago (as Andrew Ray)
Enzo Fiermonte ...
Sheriff
Luciano Rossi ...
Fair Poker Player
Vittorio Fanfoni ...
Fat Bearded Townsman
Silvana Bacci ...
Saloon Girl
Umberto Di Grazia ...
(as Di Grazia Umberto)
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Storyline

A gang of robbers sets a diversionary fire in a madhouse as part of their plot to steal a gold shipment. Four inmates escape together. One of them, an amnesiac, hopes to find out who he is and where he comes from. One of the robbers reveals his name, Chuck Mool, and other clues lead him and his fellow escapees to his hometown. There Chuck is reintroduced to his family. But then, maybe it's not his family. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 March 1970 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Chuck Moll  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

 
He's lost his mind, lost his soul...
7 June 2010 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

Enzo Barboni (as E. B. Clutcher no less) was catapulted to fame and the top of the Italian box office (which he wrested away from Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars) that same year with the first Trinity film. That Trinity is a household classic of sorts across Europe, most people have seen it growing up in a Sunday afternoon TV showing, while The Unholy Four is obscure even by spaghetti standards, says a lot not about the quality of either movie, because both are well made, both tap into different parts of a western mythos for inspiration (the land, the people, the violence) while essentially they speak about very Italian things, things that Italian movie-going audiences can connect in a very immediate sense because a wild barroom fistfight is a fistfight in any language and unshaven people wolf down a pot of beans the same way in Naples and Texas; no, the different status says more about the different pulls within the spaghetti western genre by the crucial turning point of 1970 and the western paying audiences validated with their ticket money. On one hand the silly slapstick farce that kicks down the mythic a peg or two for good measure, on the other hand something a little more ambitious..

That's not to say The Unholy Four poses grand moral dilemmas, it don't, and the emphasis is once again on ostentatious cameras gliding around set pieces of frontier violence, on fistfights energetically filmed, on the ugly and the grotesque, the funny and picaresque, poking fun at coward priests and incompetent bank guards alike (again things the Italians had a soft spot for). But at some point amnesiac Leonard Mann (playing Chuck Moll or Django depending on the print you see) is taken in as the lost son by the bitter enemy of his father and turned loose against him, he's introduced to his love interest who thought him long dead as her brother and can't remember a thing anymore than she's allowed to remind him, so there's something burning there that remains unrequited and there's a breakdown in communication that is very literal yet still terrifying. And then his real father takes him in as his real son, long presumed dead, and turns him against his bitter enemy, and he acquiesces to that too, who probably couldn't tell the difference between the real or fake fathers so that he becomes, not just a pawn at some trivial game of vendetta that will be forgotten by all the moment they all hit the ground, but a ghost of his real self exiled from the world because he can't tell real from imagined, right from wrong, so there's no place for him there. And then the movie twists again to reveal his true identity, after a long shootout in a dusty town that seems like the same set used in movies like Keoma, filmed with rapid cuts and long tracking shots around alcoves and across balconies and great in-depth staging; while one reloads his pistol in the frontground, another one is getting shot through the floor in the background.

The movie never really establishes itself as a "thinking man's western", but at the same time there's something that hints at deeper meaningful things here. Enzo Barboni was probably not the man to bring them to the surface, like most Italians genre directors he never *really* cared to probe deep at identity themes, but this needs to be seen by more people.


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