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In 1895, in a small town ravaged by the Mexican Revolution, the revolutionary leader Aguila and his men massacre the town's locals and the military garrison soldiers.Ten years later Aguila,now a reformed priest, sees a newly-arrived woman who is looking for those responsible for murdering her husband. The town is run by the corrupt Don Carlos who promises to help Alvira find those who killed her husband,in return for the gold reward Alvira is offering. Don Carlos has no idea where Aguila is or what Aguila looks like but he's prepared to do anything in order to collect the gold reward offered by Alvira. Everything is complicated by the sudden arrival of the Mexican Army led by a brutal Colonel whose face looks very familiar to the town priest. Written by
"A Town Called Hell" (aka "A Town Called Bastard"), a British/Spanish co-production, was made on the heels of Clint Eastwood's success in the Italian made "Man With No Name" trilogy. The template used in most of these films was to hire recognizable American actors, whose careers were largely in decline and dub their voices. This film is no exception except for the fact that they used some British actors as well.
It's difficult to summarize the plot, but here goes. The story opens with rebels or whatever, led by Robert Shaw and Marin Landau raiding a church and killing everyone inside, including the priest. Fast forward to the subject town a few years later where the Shaw character is masquerading as a priest. The mayor of the town (Telly Savalas) is a brutal leader who thinks nothing of meting out justice with his gun.
Throw into the mix a grieving widow Alvira (Stella Stevens) who is searching for her husband's killer. Add to this the fact that she rides around in a hearse lying dead like in a coffin for God knows why. After the mayor is murdered by his henchman La Bomba (Al Lettieri) the town is invaded by a federale Colonel (Landau) in search of a rebel leader (I'm sorry but the name escapes me). The Colonel takes over the town and begins summarily executing the townsfolk to force them to reveal the identity of the leader.
Even though they opened the film side by side, its difficult to tell from the dialog that the Landau and Shaw characters know each other. A blind man (Fernando Rey) claims he can identify the rebel leader by touching his face. He does so and..............................................
I'm sure the principals regretted making this film. It's just plain awful and well deserving of my dreaded "1" rating. Shaw spends most of the film fixating his trademark stare at whomever is handy. Even Landau can't salvage this film. The beautiful Ms. Stevens is totally wasted here too. Having just made Peckinpah's "The Ballad of Cable Hogue" the previous year, I found it odd that she would appear in this mess of a movie. Savalas made several of these pictures, ("Pancho Villa" and "Horror Express" come to mind) during he pre-Kojak period.Michael Craig is also in it somewhere as a character called "Paco".
Fernando Rey appeared in many of these "westerns" although he would emerge to play the villain in the two "French Connection" films. Al Lettieri would also emerge with a role in "The Godfather" (1972) and go on to other memorable roles before his untimely death in 1975.
In all fairness, the version I watched ran only 88 minutes rather than the longer running times of 95 or 97 minutes listed on IMDb, however I can't see where an extra 7 or 8 minutes would make much difference.
Avoid this one.
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