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Sergio Leone, the king of spaghetti westerns, would never have dreamed of making a western like "Sonny and Jed." It is a poignant film that was considered daring at the time of its release and is now labeled by many as a cult classic. Tomas Milian, who took the stage name "Tomas" after his prime role model: Tomas F. Dobb, plays Jed in an unforgettable role initially intended for Rodney Dangerfield. Susan George plays Sonny, Jed's one-true love and partner-in-crime. This is a "Bonnie and Clyde" of the west. It isn't a great film, but it seems to entertain most of the time. The best performance in the film, by far, is by Telly Savalas. He plays a blind sheriff who is determined to catch Sonny and Jed dead or alive by using any means necessary BY HIMSELF! Savalas steals every scene he is in and rightfully so. The final line in the film, "Sonny, I love you, you M**********r!", is right up there with the final line in "Gone with the Wind". Some believe it's more touching than the "Gone with the Wind" line. This is one of those hard to find films like "A Town Called Hell", "Blood and Guns", and "Villa Rides." Get it if you can.
This movie is definitely not your average spaghetti western, and it's
uniqueness is part of what makes it great.
There are really two separate stories being told in the film, and they are both given equal weight. One of them is the chasing of Jed by a revenge seeking lawman played by Telly Savalas, and the other is the dysfunctional love story of Sonny and Jed.
Franciscus, the character played by Savalas, seems out of place in a spaghetti western, wearing a long fur coat and basically being Kojak, accent and all. He even talks more like he belongs in a 1970's cop movie than a western. In one part he even calls Jed a "punk." I'm not sure, but I don't think I've ever heard that word in a spaghetti western before this one. I love when spaghetti westerns have these offbeat characters that don't belong in a western. It always makes for a cool and interesting movie. In the middle of the film, after Franciscus becomes disabled, Savalas gets to portray him as a totally different character, as his personality changes and his style of clothing becomes even more bizarre. He is truly great in this role.
Tomas Milian plays the part of Jed, a character similar to the one he portrayed in Companeros, but a bit cruder. He is fantastic as usual. He plays this type of character perfectly. His antics are a lot of fun to watch. He even eats spaghetti in this movie! I've always wanted to see that in a spaghetti western. Susan George is good for the role of Sonny. There is one part where she uses 1960's slang when she speaks. You've just gotta love these Italian westerns!
Ennio Morricone's score is brilliant, and one of his more memorable. It is not the typical spaghetti western score, but it fits, and has that haunting Euro-movie style.
Definitely a must see for Euro-western fans
An Italian-Spanish co-production full of action , exaggerated
characters, shootouts and lots of violence . The Cuban Thomas Milian,
as usual, puts faces, grimaces, crying and overacting, but plays
splendidly ; furthermore enjoyable appearance by Susan George , post
¨Straw dogs¨ . The picture tells the lurid criminal story of a famous
delinquents couple, detailing a mythologized biography in ¨Bonny and
Clyde ¨ style . In the time of the wild west, Jed (top notch Tomas
Milian) recently out of jail meets Sonny (gorgeous Susan George), both
become bank robbers. The antiheroes go across the American Midwest and
South robbing banks , stores and people , embarking in a criminal
rampage. They form a criminal gang, without accomplices only for money,
for pleasure, for revenge ; they don't care why , rob , kill or how .
An obstinate sheriff later blind ( Telly Savalas ) pursues the thieves
, and lets nothing detain in his trail of catching them.
This Western is inferior than previous Corbucci's entries but displays stirring adventures, shootouts, riding pursuits and is pretty amusing. It's an exciting western with breathtaking confronting between the two protagonists and the enemy Telly Savallas dressed in long fur coat and his hoodlums. In spite of some moment is boring I think it turns out to be a good Spaghetti Western . Tomas Milian is fine, he plays similarly his role in ¨Cuchillo¨, as he ravages the screen, he jumps, bounds and leaps, hit and run , but also receives violent punches and hits . Telly Savalas as a cruelly baddie role is terrific, subsequently he would play various spaghetti (Pancho Villa ,A reason to live a reason to die, Land raiders, A town hell) . Furthermore, appears usual secondaries Italian/Spanish Western in brief acting as Alvaro De Luna, Dan Van Husen , Rafael Albaicin , Victor Israel , and of course Eduardo Fajardo , Sergio Corbucci's ordinary. The film blends violence, a love story , tension, high body-count and it's fast moving and quite entertaining . There is plenty of action in the movie , guaranteeing a shootout or stunt every few minutes. There are many fine technicians and nice production design with excellent scenario of barren outdoors, dirty landscapes under a glimmer sun and a fine set on the Almeria landscape. The musician Ennio Morricone, composes a nice soundtrack and well conducted ; it's full of strange sounds in ¨My name is nobody ¨ wake . Striking cinematography by Luis Cuadrado and Alejandro Ulloa with negative well processed . Outdoor sequences filmed at Colmenar, Madrid and of course Almeria, Spain.
Sergio Corbucci's direction is well crafted , here he's quite cynical and humorous and inclined toward violence and too much action, and contains broad comedy supported on the character played by Tomas Milian . Sergio made several Spaghetti classics: ¨ Django¨, ¨The great silence¨, ¨Hellbenders¨, ¨The specialist¨ , and Zapata Western as ¨The Mercenary¨, ¨The Compañeros¨ and ¨What am I doing in middle of the revolution¨ . In addition Sergio directed other inferior S.W. as ,¨Johnny Oro¨, ¨The white the yellow an the black¨ and ¨Minnesota Clay¨.
This latter-day Spaghetti Western boasts a good cast (Tomas Milian, Susan George, Telly Savalas, Laura Betti, Eduardo Fajardo, Rosanna Yanni and Herbert Fux) and is enjoyable while it's on...but the misogynist traits of Milian's character in particular and the general unpleasantness of it all leaves a bad taste in the viewer's mouth. In essence, this is a vulgarization of the Bonnie and Clyde myth in Western garb with Jed (Milian) an illiterate brute with Robin Hood pretensions and Sonny (George, just off Peckinpah's STRAW DOGS ) is almost always on the point of being raped by all and sundry. Among the gallery of grotesques that cross their path are blinded lawman Savalas, whorehouse madam Betti and sex-starved aristocrat Yanni. Ennio Morricone provides the typically eclectic music score but I wouldn't say it's one of his more memorable works.
It's surprising to see how fast Sergio Corbucci's career declined. Only
two years earlier he was making COMPANEROS, one of the high-points of
the mid spaghetti western period. For SONNY AND JED he united his
'muse' Tomas Milian with Susan George fresh from Peckinpah's STRAW DOGS
the previous year and Tellys Savalas who was at the time enjoying a
prolonged vacation in the Mediterranean by making Italian b-movies.
Despite of the cast however, the movie is a dim shadow of COMPANEROS.
Certainly a let-down by Corbucci's usual standards, which he would go
on to follow with another two poor westerns, essentially ending his
career in the western as ingloriously it began (MASSACRE AT RED
SONNY AND JED in its way reflects the ongoing the decline of the genre that Corbucci both helped shape and found his niche in by making the transition from the peplum he used to make under alias Stanley Corbett in his earlier days and with cheesy titles like Goliath and the Island of Vampires. It's a gritty, crass, vulgar tale of two unpleasant people, scruffy bandit Jed and feisty tomboy Sonny, hitching up together in a nameless patch of Roman countryside substituting for a nameless part of the West and going on a robbing spree while a monomaniac sheriff dressed in a fur (!) and his posse gun after them. The couple-of-criminals-on-the-loose idea seems to be a loan from BONNY AND CLYDE and Milian and Susan George have enough chemistry to see it through even when their constant bickering crosses the line from amusing to annoying. Milian's Jed is cut from that mould of distinctly latino temperament, the kind of uncomplicated picaresque irreverence Italians loved to introduce in their characters because it borough the western back home in a way, which owes a big debt to Tuco from Leone's GBU (as do all the characters of that lineage).
In the end the movie doesn't amount to much and the questionable choice of undermining Tellys Savalas' suave menace by turning him from a cruel, methodic badass into a staggering blind does a good job of cutting the legs from the movie's climax, but it's still peppered with memorable moments that save the day. Great examples of spaghetti western visual irony involving coffins and barns, snappy one-liners, hilarious bits like the scene when Jed enters a photographer's shop and demands to know why his photo is missing from the "Wanted" posters he's printing, a general sense of comic-book irreverence that is at once violent and funny, Sonny and Jed, although far from a rousing success, still has enough of these little moments to recommend it to genre fans.
Guns and violence are pretty synonymous with the Spaghetti Western
genre; and while this film has all that stuff, the real reason Bandits
is so good is not because of it; but because of the central characters
and their relationship, and works so well mostly thanks to excellent
performances from the beautiful Susan George and the immensely talented
Tomas Milian. The film takes obvious influence from the famous story of
Bonnie and Clyde, and indeed the most shocking thing about this film is
the misogynistic nature of the lead male character. The story focuses
on Jed; a good for nothing bandit who has little respect for anybody;
friend or foe. His life is changed one day when he runs into a wannabe
bandit by the name of Sonny, who he later finds out (much to his
annoyance) is a female. They get split up after a robbery goes wrong,
but fate soon brings the pair back together and they soon win
themselves a reputation and have a price put on their head, leading the
determined Sheriff Franciscus to chase the pair; stopping at nothing to
bring them to justice.
Bandits has two central plots; we have the idea of the pair being wanted and chased by mercenaries, and also the relationship between them. It's the latter plot that is by far the most interesting and the one that director Sergio Corbucci is most keen to focus on. He ensures that both of his central characters are extremely well fleshed out and this benefits the film immensely as the audience is really made to care for them. This genre is not well known for well put together characters, so that makes this film all the more surprising. Tomas Milian is undoubtedly the film's biggest standout and I would have no qualms putting him right near the top of an all time greatest actors list. He leads the film amazingly well and we're never left in any doubt as to who the star of the show is. He gets good support from Susan George in one of her best roles and Telly Savalas who is effective as the lawman. It all boils down to a conclusion that brings closure to both of the main plots and while Sergio Corbucci will always be better remembered for Django and The Grand Silence; this is still an excellent Spaghetti Western and not one to miss!
Woody Allen's "What's Up Tiger Lilly?" was his comic interpretation of a Japanese kung fu film. I realize that Allen had nothing to do with "Sonny and Jed", however the four letter word laced dialog is at times funnier than "Tiger Lilly". Somehow this overlooked curiosity has remained in "spaghetti" obscurity despite the presence of Thomas Milan, Susan George, and Telly Savales. Although this is definitely a parody of the Sergio Leone classics, including a fine Enio Morrocone score, it could come as quite a shock to the "Trinity" crowd, especially in the almost constant use of the "F'" word. There really is no story, just a series of episodes with Milan and George playing a western variation on "Bonnie and Clyde". - MERK
Have always been a great fan of Susan George and have seen most of her films and this particular picture I discovered on E Bay and it was a great find to enjoy the great acting of both Susan George and Telly Savalvas. Of course this is a Spagettii Western and a comedy but it is not your usual run of the mill type of film. There is plenty of vulgarity and romantic scenes and a rough relationship between Jed, (Tom Milian) and Sonny, (Susan George). Jed is an very crude man who is a robber and he meets up with Sonny who seems to take a liking to him even though he treats her very poorly. Jed and Sonny become something like a Bonny & Clyde team who go around stealing and robbing everyone they come in contact with. Sheriff Franciscus, (Telly Savalvas) is out to get these two people and even though he becomes blind still manages to try and hunt down these two criminals. This is a great film and if you get a chance, don't miss this great Susan George Film.
I've been thinking about watching this movie for almost 20 years, but always put off because of the general bad reviews I always read about it. I gotta say these reviews belong to the time the movie was originally released, 1972. They all agree that the movie is silly and that Corbucci made it with the left hand. So far from the truth. Watched today, J&S is a master spaghetti-western, totally on the average of the best Corbucci. Besides the very good Tomas Milian's performance, the witty dialogues, the fabulous cast (Susan George, Telly Savalas, Laura Betti), the charming winter-time Almeria desert locations, the fast pace of the narration and the excellent Morricone's score, J$S stands out for the memorable Jed and Sonny characters and for the love Corbucci shows, once more, for the losers, the marginals and the misfits. There's no clue Corbucci made it just to be on the track of then box-office Spaghetti-western hits like, e.g., Trinità. J&S is a genuine tale about two people trying to survive and keep their freedom in a world which didn't give them any chance. References to Bonnie & Clyde? Not so many. More simply, Corbucci and his writers face the theme of the criminal couple on the run, and do it with an original (and witty) point of view. Which here seems to be the dichotomy nature vs. society. And if you think Corbucci is chauvinist in the way he describes the relationship between Jed and Sonny (at the beginning Jed treats his woman literally like a dog), wait until the ironic end of the movie to express your judgement. Definitely, Corbucci knew what he was doing.
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