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This is one of the most beautiful westerns you will ever see. It's a true
masterpiece and arguably Corbucci's finest.
Sergio Leone will always be the name everyone associates with spaghetti westerns but Sergio Corbucci's contribution to the genre deserves great recognition. People usually always mention Django and The Great Silence when talking about Corbucci's westerns but Companeros is perhaps his best work.
Companeros is a much lighter film than the aforementioned. Like most Corbucci westerns there is a political undertone to the film and the plot revolves around the Mexican revolution (similar to A Professional Gun which Corbucci directed 2 years earlier). Che Guevara look-a-like Thomas Milian is superb as the comical revolutionary Vasco and Corbucci regular Franco Nero is excellent as his ultra-cool Swedish mercenary partner. Add to the mix a marijuana-smoking psychopath played by Jack Palance and you have one explosive concoction of a western. Pulling all this together is another masterful score by the legendary Ennio Morricone. I guarantee you will still be singing the theme tune a week later!
I rate this as one of the best Westerns of all time. It's a really fun film and an absolute must for fans of the Spaghetti genre.
With a dream cast of Franco Nero (as Swedish mercenary Yod Peterson aka
"penguin") and Tomas Milian (Mexican rebel Vasco), a soundtrack by
Ennio Morricone and Sergio Corbucci at the Directors helm, this film
was always likely to deliver. And it delivers 100%.
The story centres around the town of San Bernardino, and a fight for power between General Mongo (Bodalo) and Professor Xantos (Fernando Rey). Xantos, a pacifist with a young and dedicated following, has been imprisoned at Fort Yuma by the Americans. His absence has left the town, and its safe, at the mercy of Mongo. However, without the combination for the lock, he is unable to access the wealth of the town.
Mongo enlists the help of Peterson to rescue Xantos, for both the combination code and probable execution. Vascos is sent to accompany him, having already suffered much humiliation as a result of an earlier confrontation with the Swede. This makes for a very uneasy relationship.
A brief fracas with Xantos' followers at a hold-up on a train enables Peterson to escape from Vacos' close watch. However, he is soon relying on his companion to rescue him, after he is captured by a former partner John (Jack Palance) - who he had previously betrayed some years ago to save his own skin. This betrayal had resulted in John being nailed to a tree, and relying on his faithful pet falcon, Marsha, to rescue him by biting off his hand. Not surprisingly, John holds a grudge (as well as a wooden hand!).
On escaping John's grasp, the two make an assault on Fort Yuma in an attempt to free Xantos from the Americans. As the adventure really heats up, they're paths will soon cross with the American army, General Mongo, Xantos' followers and, of course, John and Marsha.
The first third of the film is perhaps a little slow and episodic, but does successfully reveal the characters of Peterson and Vasco to the viewer (with fantastic character play by Nero and Milian respectively). Once the background is established, the film soon explodes into action with a series of exciting and highly effective chases and battle sequences. Corbucci at his best.
Probably the strongest element of this movie however is its subtle use of humour. Much of this is provided by the chemistry between the two leading roles, but the laughs really reach a crescendo with Peterson and Vasco's final liaison with Jack's falcon Marsha. Just one great scene in a film full of them.
It is no doubt a crime to have got so far into my review without mentioning Jack Palance's performance in much detail, because his performance as the unhinged, marijuana smoking John is scene stealing. Quite possibly one of the greatest villains of all the Spaghetti Westerns I have seen.
Music is provided by Morricone, and as always the score is a perfect accompaniment to the action - both memorable and rousing. In fact it always amazes me how the man could be so consistent! In summary, this is a must view film from the ever reliable Corbucci. And my mouth waters at the prospect of watching his other Mexican revolutionary movies ('A Professional Gun' and 'What Am I Doing in the Middle of a Revolution')..... very shortly, hopefully!
Vamos a Matar Companeros! is an authentic, made in Italy, Spaghetti
Western film classic and is a must see movie for anyone who wants to
discover the very best of the Spaghetti Western film genre. This
Western-Comedy film was directed by Sergio Corbucci, the number #2
Italian director of all time for Spaghetti Westerns, after of course
Sergio Leone, for the entire Spaghetti Western genre, which is saying a
lot because there were hundreds of films in that genre alone! This film
is just plain fun and entertaining to watch! All the actors are
charismatic, comical and professional. The all star cast in the film
are Jack Palance, Franco Nero and Thomas Milian. The story is basically
about the Mexican Revolution of 1910 where a mercenary (Nero) and
rebels, lead by rebel leader (Milian), must rescue a idealist professor
to lead the revolution who is held hostage in Texas. This film was made
during the height of student protests to the Vietnam War in the late
1960's and early 1970's which may explain the political theme. There
are many good scenes, too many to list here, but the best scenes and
most surreal, in my opinion, are the ones with the pet falcon and the
strange one wooden-handed and marijuana smoking villain (Palance).
The cinematography is beautifully filmed by cinematographer Alejandro Ulloa who also filmed other excellent Spaghetti Westerns. The music in the film is by the maestro of Spaghetti Western music and film music in general, Italian composer Ennio Morricone. Companeros includes a theme song and the beautiful classic acoustic and twangy electric guitar riffs invented by Morricone.
A year or so ago, i bought a large plasma TV and soon discovered
Westerns look fantastic on these screens. I rediscovered spaghetti
westerns and didn't realise there were so many. I have scoured the
earth to find rarities and have seen most of them over the past year.
In my opinion this is one of the best. It is beautifully shot, well
acted and very pacy, and of course the music is the icing on the cake.
The ending is brilliant. It is unusual to find a film with such
inspired comedy and action having such a moving and stirring finale.
After the Leone westerns this is the best. The thing that struck me was that whether a film is well known is due to a product of marketing rather than quality, as I had never heard of this film. I presume it was never widely distributed in the states as it was looked down on as another 'eurowestern' as the dollars films were.
Yes, it is. "Vamos a matar, compañeros!" is to me one of the best "spaghetti-westerns" ever made. Starred by the best actors that a movie of this genre may have: Franco Nero, Tomas Milian, Jack Palance, Fernando Rey. Music by the master Morricone, one of his best compositions. And to boots, directed by the one and only Sergio Corbucci. This team just couldn´t make a bad movie... It´s most enjoyable from its beginning to the end. By the way, the last scene of the movie is what makes it even finer. Obviously I won´t tell you the end...because if you have the chance you must watch this movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Oh, wow, this is simply amazing
cinema...Energetic...Playful...Rousing...Engaging...There are not
enough superlatives to throw at Corbucci's masterwork. I like it a
little more than "The Great Silence" because of its eccentric style and
storyline. It is never less than enthralling and manages to be
Morricone's score? Just brilliant. What a genius he is! May he live to compose forever... and always assisted by the great Bruno Nicolai, an accomplished composer in his own right.
Franco Nero is wonderful, as always, as The Swede, Jack Palance is charisma-plus as John, Tomas Milian is rough-edged and likable despite his total lack of morals as El Vasco. Too many great thespian turns to single out, but you get the point.
Terrific location work, stupendously good shoot-outs, stunts, explosions, poetic action... all lathered in baked, painfully evocative cinematography.
And that final image to red freeze frame...Bella! Corbucci was as worthy a Western director as Leone, but he never got the same recognition. One day he will.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In Mexico, during the revolution,the arms dealer Yodlaf "Swedish"
Peterson is going to sell most of his weapons to the corrupt General
Mongo. But there is a problem : The money Mongo is going to use to pay
Yodlaf is locked in a bank safe almost impossible to break. Since Mongo
and his men killed most men of the Village that could know the
combination, the only man that is alive that knows the combination to
open the safe is professor Santos,prisoner of the Americans in Fort
Yodlaf agrees to bring Santos to Mongo, but he needs to go with Vasco to this mission, since Mongo suspects of the Swedish.
Besides most of the problems Vasco and Yodlaf need to deal with in their way to US, they even need to face Yodlaf's former business partner and now hater, John 'The Wooden Hand' and his Hawk, Marshall.
I watched "Vamos a Matar, Compañeros" because of my father's recommendation. I am not a western expert, so I cannot compare it to other movies of this genre, but I can say that this movie is very 'watchable' even for people who are not very familiar with the Spaghetti Western genre. I liked the character of Yodlaf Peterson, mostly because of his courage and his bad-ass -but-polite -gentleman actions. The clothes and the cinematography of this movie are also very good, as well some of the lines. I need to highlight two moments: First, when Yodlaf gives a dollar coin to Vasco, and the Second one when they transform Marshall (the hawk) into a barbecue! Priceless!
I believe that every film should be judged according to it's nature. For
what this film is, it's almost excellent. I can still remember the first
time I saw it as a child in a summer time cinema in my town and not only it
left a mark in my subconsciousness about the kind of films I was watching at
that time, but the music never left my memory and easily comes back without
me ask for it. And I don't mind at all.
But enough about me!!!
Like so many other Italian western films, it actually is... a political
film. Yes! And a very obvious one. The Mexican revolution as pictured here,
has little in common with the real stuff. Also the basis of the Mexican food
is corn! But that's not important.
What matters is the hope that so many Europeans had in that time for some
kind of revolution here also. So, Mexico is just an excuse.
The movie plays with the sentiments of the viewer, who slowly finds that he wants to be a part of it, even if he is a money loving European like Yolaf Peterson. In the (incredible) end, when everything about this wonderful, crazy song you hear all the time makes sense, you are so captivated that you would never forgive Yolaf for making any other choice than the one that you also would have made given the chance. When can I see this film again?
In times of revolution in Mexico, the ignorant Vasco (Tomas Milian) is
promoted by the corrupt General Mongo (Francisco Bódalo) to lead his
men in the invasion to San Bernardino. Meanwhile the arms trader Yolaf
"Swedish" Peterson (Franco Nero) arrives in the village to deal with
Mongo; however the money to buy the weapons is locked in a bank safe.
The only man that knows the combination to open the safe that was not
murdered by Mongo's men is the pacifist Professor Xantos (Fernando Rey)
that is prisoner in Fort Yuma in the United States. Swedish offers to
release Xantos but the suspicious Mongo asks Vasco to go with Yolaf.
The twosome is chased by the followers of Xantos led by the beautiful
Lola (Iris Berben) that want to convince the duo to join the
revolution; and by the mercenary John (Jack Palance) that lost one of
his hands in a betrayal of Yolaf to save his life and uses his smart
hawk Marsha to get Xantos to deal with Mongo.
"Vamos a Matar, Compañeros" is a funny spaghetti-western of Sergio Corbutti that has a story very similar to Sergio Leone's "Duck, You Sucker" of 1971 and plays with "Blood for a Silver Dollar". Franco Nero, Tomas Milian and Jack Palance are hilarious, and I laughed a lot with the scene when Marsha becomes a toasted barbecue. The music of Ennio Morricone is excellent, as usual. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "Compañeros"
Wonderfully extravagant political western with a lovely Morricone score. A classic of this particular sub-genre, and perhaps Corbucci's finest with Il Grande Silenzio.
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