quirky, episodic Eurowestern comedy, pairing Tomas Milian and Gregg Palmer
As someone who saw many Italian westerns theatrically in the late 60s and early 70s, I could feel the genre dying out as there were more spaghetti western comedies released and more films that introduced weirdness for weirdness' sake. SOMETIMES LIFE IS HARD, EH PROVIDENCE is an episodic Italian western comedy, with the amazing chameleon actor Tomas Milian as an eccentric foppish man in a bowler hat, named PROVIDENCE. He has a partner named Hurricane Smith, played by veteran film and TV actor Gregg Palmer. At first, their relationship is reminiscent of Clint Eastwood and Eli Wallach in THE GOOD, THE BAD, and THE UGLY, as they turn each other in for rewards and Milian pulls Palmer behind him on a rope. As the film's picaresque adventures continue, they encounter and attempt to con various other characters, they get put in jail, they escape, they make a lot of money, they lose a lot of money, etc. There are a lot of funny sequences here, and the two stars do a wonderful job and have a great chemistry, but the film was a little too episodic for me and it didn't seem like it was headed anywhere in particular. Maybe I wasn't in the right mood (I saw it first about ten years ago, and just recently watched it again). There was a sequel made a year later with the same stars, but a different director. I'll watch it again sometime soon to see if it's much different from this. Perhaps a nicely transferred DVD widescreen edition could revise my view of this film. Overall, it's recommended to Milian fans and to fans of "mismatched buddy" films (I was reminded, in a strange way, of the Jackie Chan-Owen Wilson films, and the Jackie Chan-Chris Tucker films, and of course the Trinity films, although for me the PROVIDENCE films are more interesting and creative than the Trinity films). Director Guilio Petroni had previously worked with Milian on the underrated BLOOD AND GUNS (released in the US on VHS and probably easy to find), and of course is best known for the great DEATH RIDES A HORSE, also widely available on VHS. Also worth mentioning are the Three Stooges-style slapstick sound effects and an over-the-top score by Ennio Morricone with what sounds like a children's chorus singing odes to "Provvidenza". SOMETIMES LIFE IS HARD, EH PROVIDENCE certainly has a lot of odd and interesting elements in it, thrown together into a unique mix. While I may sound somewhat critical of it, it's a hard film to dislike.
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