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Incomprehensible but enjoyable western with Tinker out "Lovejoy".
An incredibly confusing collaboration between Spain and Great Britain, starring Robert Shaw, Stella Stevens and Martin Landau. Stevens is the widow who arrives in the town of Bastard out to get the man who murdered her husband; Shaw is the priest who clearly knows more about the murder than is prepared to let on; Landau is the Mexican army Colonel, intending to have the murderer executed in Mexico City. The only lead the hunters have is a single name: Aguila. That said, the plot is really difficult to follow and the film needs at least two viewings.
"A Town Called Hell" contains some good, tense moments and striking images: Stella Stevens sleeping in a coffin, driven in a hearse through the Spanish desert by Dudley Sutton (Tinker from the BBC's "Lovejoy"). As with most foreign westerns, the dubbing is atrocious and there are some laughably awful moments - a dead soldier, killed with barbed wire, takes a few steps as the wire fence is pushed to the ground. The script is, unusually, quite intelligent with many possibilities, unexplored themes and good ideas. The relationship between Shaw and Landau is both well written and well played out. The music is simple but effective, especially the religious tones in the scenes with Shaw in the church.
Overall, the complexities of the plot aside, the film is very good. With strong performances from Shaw and Landau, it holds interest and is well paced by the director - and any film starring Telly Savalas (killed off early on here) as a Mexican bandit can't be all bad...
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