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|457 reviews in total|
A notorious box-office failure, this both elevated John Wayne to
stardom and sent him to to B-picture purgatory for nearly a decade.
It's safe to say though that the public was wrong and director Raoul
Walsh was right about his then newest discovery.
Extremely handsome widescreen photography, the irresistible opportunity to see a lean and boyish Wayne in a lavish production, and some entertaining villainy in the form of brutish Tyrone Power Senior more than make up for some of the film's dated aspects and lack of surprises in the subsequently well-worn plot.
However, there is something I haven't since seen in a western, the sight of migrating settlers using ropes to lower their wagons and livestock from steep cliffs!
Gunslinging whore-monger Richard Harrison and uptight Mormon Donal
O'Brien are estranged brothers who inherit a ranch from their mother,
only to find it inhabited by a rowdy group of strip-miners.
Unfortunately, getting their land back turns out to be much easier than
dealing with each other or keeping a handle on the resulting cash.
Another loosely plotted, low budget entry from the waning days of the Italian western and full of the usual comedic hijinks, this is definitely no classic. However, it is somewhat more interesting than a lot of similar movies, thanks to it's stars and slightly more restrained use of comedy.
When watching Richard Harrison in something like this or his later ninja movies, it's hard to imagine why he would allegedly turn down iconic leading roles in A Fistful Of Dollars and Django!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Michael Forest teams up with a comedic father and son duo in order to
beat a gang of train-robbers out of their loot, only to find out that
the money belongs to an all-female collective farm (!), targeted by an
unscrupulous banker and his henchmen, the original thieves.
Now They Call Him Sacramento is basically an uninspired, low-budget knock-off of My Name Is Trinity and Trinity Is Still My Name, with Fernando Bilbao looking like and blatantly (and obnoxiously) ripping off Trinity co-star Bud Spencer's earlier performances.
Made during the declining years of the spaghetti western, this displays all the trademarks I've come to dread about films of this period, things like talky scripts, crumbling western sets, insufferable music, and bone-headed attempts at "comedy". The destructive climax is too little, too late and too corny to be fully enjoyed.
In the waning days of the wild west, a chain gang led by James Coburn
blasts their way to freedom, where he sets his sights on the daughter
of Charleton Heston, the man responsible for his capture eleven years
Director Andrew V. McLaglen (who's done better) tries hard to capture a Sam Peckinpah type vibe, but fails in part because of uninspired writing and disappointing performances by Heston and Barbera Hershey. Likewise, Jorge Rivero is flashy, but bland as Coburn's right hand man.
However, it's mildly entertaining, thanks to some potent violence, nasty performances by Coburn and fellow escapee John Quade, as well as the presence of solid character actors Michael Parks and Christopher Mitchum.
The least of Sergio Leone's three "Man With No Name" films, this is
still solid, sturdy entertainment, breaking all the rules and
establishing not just Clint Eastwood's iconic character, but the tone,
musical direction, and a few supporting players that form the basis for
two superior sequels and quite possibly the entire Italian western
genre as a whole.
A thinly veiled remake of Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo, one wonders if Leone was really a fan of Japanese cinema, or if he was cynically copying not just Yojimbo, but the process that made The Magnificent Seven, itself a remake of Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, such a smash hit. I think the answer lies in Fisful Of Dollars' original title, The Magnificent Stranger and Leone's later casting of The Magnificent Seven villain Eli Wallach in The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. Then again, I could be wrong
The second film in Sergio Leone's mislabeled "Man With No Name"
trilogy, takes the tone, music, violence, and hard-boiled character
types from the first film and lets them rip, making for some really big
Henry Fonda's role in Leone's Once Upon A Time In The West is often referred to as "the coldest villain in screen history". As the bandit El Indio, Gian Maria Volante has him totally beaten! He and Lee Van Cleef also threaten to top Eastwood in the screen presence department, with the whole trio giving the title characters in The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly a good run for their money as well.
The rousing score by Ennio Morricone (probably his best) is used wall-to-wall and cranked up to full effect, drenching the action in operatic sound and western atmosphere.
An interesting fact, is that United Artist's lateness in purchasing For A Few Dollars More resulted in the studio owning the film, though not the music rights, which were (and still are) controlled by RCA Records. In order to fix the situation, United Artist Records' musical director Leroy Holmes orchestrated his own arrangements of Morricone's score and released an alternate soundtrack LP, with the official movie poster on the front, a photograph of Eastwood on the back, and liner notes promising many more sequels to come! Never released on CD, it's actually pretty lively and worth seeking out.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Absolutely irresistible, The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly is both the
quintessential spaghetti western and the ultimate film from director
Sergio Leone (not to mention one of the most popular westerns of all
time), though For A Few Dollars More and Once Upon A Time In The West
are pretty hard to beat. Needless to say, it's hard to talk about this
without repeating the same praise others have heaped on this film.
Strangely enough, for something that's become known as one of the definitive Clint Eastwood vehicles, the real main character (as far as the script is concerned) is Eli Wallach's Tuco Ramirez. It's through the eyes of Tuco that most of the action is witnessed and all of the character development takes place. As flashy as their roles are, Eastwood's "man with no name" and Lee Van Cleef's Angel Eyes seen almost cardboard by comparison.
When it comes to deleted and extended scenes, I find myself (surprisingly) in agreement with United Artists' studio hucksters from way back when. Added scenes are either unnecessary and awkward, like the introduction of Tuco's gang, or they interrupt the flow of the story, like Angel Eyes' trip to the pitiful rebel camp. It's much more effective to watch Van Cleef disappear after his encounter with Bill Carson's woman and become almost forgotten, only to reappear at the Confederate prisoner-of-war camp, in time to get in on the action.
One surprise that awaits those who've seen the movie multiple times and then listened to Ennio Morricone's soundtrack album, is that the climactic showdown theme Il Triello (the trio) differs substantially on the album from the take used in the final film, with the movie version featuring a callback to the musical pocket watch in For A Few Dollars More and the album version containing an extended horn solo at the end, lasting longer than in the film.
It's unfortunate that in order to get modern audiences to watch a
western, you got to put zombies in it. Even worse, you have to turn it
into as comedy in order to have any credibility left.
Undead Or Alive is entertaining on a no-brainer level, though one wishes that the filmmakers would have watched a ton of straight westerns before making an attempt to spoof the genre. Come to think of it, the zombie genre doesn't fare much better in the parody department.
Instead, we're treated to a handful of clichés about as deep as a Looney Tunes short, mixed with a pinch of political correctness, and an ending that rips off A Boy And His Dog.
Still, it moves fast enough. Chris Kattan and James Denton are personable enough. Leslie Jordan is fun to watch too.
Former lawman Buck Jones is called to Mesa City, Arizona in order to
get to the bottom of the constant stagecoach and gold-shipment
robberies. Framed for the hold-ups, Jones teams up with "preacher" Tim
McCoy and good-old-boy Raymond Hatton to uncover the real culprits.
The first in Monogram Pictures' Rough Riders series, this is mostly by-the-numbers, with little action. However, it's redeemed somewhat by an exciting, action-packed climax and an inspired performance by McCoy, who's flamboyant character introduction, where he refuses to "dance" to a blazing six-gun before turning the tables and forcing the whole saloon to sing "Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie", is the film's highlight.
Buck Jones, Tim McCoy, and Raymond Hatton are called in to solve a
series of sometimes deadly cattle rustling incidents, all involving
ranchers indebted to the local bank.
An okay entry in Monogram Pictures' Rough Riders series, this is a little more plot-heavy than the average poverty row western programmer. Once again, action and gun-play take a backseat to undercover sleuthing, with the Riders' well-used tactic of disguising themselves as separate strangers in order to work different angles of the case. McCoy manages to outshine his co-stars yet again.
Always fun to watch is Charles King, playing a heavy for the umpteenth time in a B-western.
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