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spider89119

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69 reviews in total 
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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
a solid, well-made euro-western, 14 December 2008
7/10

"A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die" is a quality spaghetti western with a solid cast and an interesting storyline. It is filmed beautifully, with a relatively high production value for a film in this genre.

Alex Cord does a terrific job portraying Clay McCord, an outlaw who is suffering from increasingly debilitating seizures. He is seeking amnesty before his enemies close in on him, but is being too cocky for his own good when he asks for it. Robert Ryan delivers the best performance in the film as the governor of New Mexico. Mario Brega and Arthur Kennedy are also great here.

This movie is very good, but it doesn't stand out to me as being one of the best spaghetti westerns out there. It's lacking too much in style to be in the same league as any of the great ones. It does have some cool spaghetti overtones, but overall it's a bit too much like an American western. This is especially evident in the music score, which is OK as movies go in general, but pretty dull by euro-western standards. The soundtrack kind of reminds me of the music from "The Unforgiven." Although there is an interesting story here, it is told in a manner which is a bit too conventional for my tastes. If a spaghetti western fan and a Hollywood western fan had to watch a movie together, this one would be the perfect compromise.

All of this is not to say that anyone should avoid this film. I did enjoy watching it very much. As I said, it is a very well-done film and I recommend it to anyone who likes westerns, spaghetti or otherwise.

6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
an excellent, well-made spaghetti western, 6 December 2008
8/10

This is a very good eurowestern that will have you in its grip from start to finish.

It is beautifully filmed with lots of desolate wide open desert, and impressive mountain scenery. The film has a feeling of loneliness as much of it takes place in a deserted ghost town which has apparently become the home of the protagonist.

The movie is populated with bitter characters that are primarily motivated by revenge. There are no happy endings here. This definitely wasn't "the feel good movie of the year," which is a good thing. The female lead is a beautiful woman in black with little left to live for other than seeing her husband's killers pay for his death. Her relationship with Manuel, the man she goes to for help with her plan, is a very intriguing one. This is because we are left to wonder what their history is until close to the end of the film when it is finally revealed.

The music score is excellent. The opening/closing theme is a great spaghetti western ballad with vocals. The music during the film is mostly guitar designed to create feelings of suspense and sadness. There's also a touch of organ thrown in for good measure. It all works wonderfully with the film.

This is a high-quality spaghetti western that is riveting and entertaining. I highly recommend this one. If you get the chance to see it, don't pass it up.

Keoma (1976)
5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
a spaghetti tour de force!, 29 November 2008
9/10

This is one of the great spaghetti westerns. Franco Nero puts in what is perhaps his best performance ever, and it's great to see that his voice is not dubbed by someone else here. This is an action packed, gut wrenching, on the edge of your seat western from start to finish. It also has all the style, symbolism, and violence one could ask for from a spaghetti western, and then some.

This film has been criticized for a few different reasons, and I feel compelled to address a couple of those comments. The number one topic for discussion seems to be the soundtrack. Yes the soundtrack is a bit strange, but so is the movie, so in a way it's fitting. Personally, I think it's kind of hit and miss, but it works for the most part. I really like the female vocals. Her voice has a creepy, melancholy, and otherworldly quality to it that matches the film perfectly. The male vocals, on the other hand, sounded like an Italian muppet to me at first. Perhaps the cookie monster. I do have to say though that I just watched the film for the third time and the guy doesn't sound nearly as bad to me as he did the first time. This is a damn good movie anyway, regardless of whether or not one likes the soundtrack.

Another criticism I've heard is that Franco Nero plays an Indian with an Italian accent. First of all, this kind of thing is very common in films. Think of all the Romans, Greeks, Martians, etc. that have had English or American accents in the movies. This is no different except that in this movie it actually adds to the characterization of Keoma. He is an outsider, and the fact that his accent is so unique to the setting just adds to the effect.

Keoma's flashbacks to his boyhood are extremely well done, and the children they picked to play him and his half-brothers are very realistically matched to their adult counterparts. There are some cool slow-motion action scenes, and the action scenes in general are top-notch. I also like the character of the old woman who seems to have some kind of supernatural link to Keoma. We're never quite sure what her relationship is to him, or even whether she is real or not. The acting from all of the main players is also very well done, and the cinematography is beautiful.

This is one of those spaghetti westerns that stands out from the crowd. It's a must-see if you are at all interested in the genre. I would recommend it to anyone who likes westerns, action flicks, or movies that are not made with a cookie-cutter.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
a terrific example of the spaghetti western genre from Spain!, 17 February 2008
8/10

This movie is a lot of fun to watch. It's a riveting story with a touch of peculiarity, some great characters, and an amazing music score.

The film is a tale of justice and revenge, as a man returns home to his ranch after some sort of military service, and discovers that his brother has been killed by a gang of outlaws. The basic plot is typical spaghetti western fare, but what makes this movie stand out is its style.

The main character has kind of a mystical aura about him because of his uncanny ability to predict the weather, and use it to his advantage. He also has a knack for seeming to appear out of nowhere to surprise his targets. Lang Jeffries's acting in the film is a bit wooden for the role of such an interesting character, but the fantastic performances by Carlo Gaddi as the slimy, menacing outlaw Ted Corbin, and the always great Fernando Sancho as Porfirio, the gang leader who is losing his grip, make up for it.

There is a very odd implementation of zoom shots in the camera work during one particular scene as the film approaches its climax. Rather than the usual sustained, intensity-building close-ups that Sergio Leone was so fond of, the director here uses a rapidly zooming in and out camera for a more unsettling effect. This turns out to be one of the most memorable parts of the movie.

The music score is perhaps the best part of this film. The opening theme is one of my favorites, and is one of those unforgettable tunes that will play in your mind over and over long after the movie is done. The soundtrack contributes tremendously to the atmosphere of the film, especially the organ parts.

This one is a must-see for fans of the spaghetti-western genre.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
entertaining revenge-themed euro-western, 19 January 2008
6/10

Unfortunately, the version of this movie that I have suffers from very poor editing. There are a couple of scenes that are so badly chopped that you just kind of have to figure out for yourself what just happened! Confirming my suspicion that this movie was grossly hacked up is the fact that, according to the IMDb, the Italian version of the film runs for 99 minutes. My English language DVD is only 73 minutes long!

What's left of the movie is actually very enjoyable. It's a decent B-grade revenge story with all the requisite cool action scenes and cheesy emotional flashbacks that make these movies so much fun to watch.

The music score is decent, but it borrows some parts from another, more well-known, spaghetti western called "The Hellbenders" (I Crudeli). I wouldn't be surprised if the borrowed parts of the music score are unique to the English language version. Perhaps the editing wreaked so much havoc with the original score that some moron in the chopping room said "let's just stick that Hellbenders song in there to fill in those parts." Who knows?

The version that I have probably really deserves a 5 out of ten rating at best, but I can tell that the movie would be considerably better in its complete, original form, so I am giving it an extra point. I hope a good print of the film in its entirety gets released some day, because I would love to see it and rewrite this review. I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out to be a 7 or an 8. At any rate, I liked it anyway, so if you're a spaghetti western fanatic, you may find it to be worth watching, even in its current chopped up form.

6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
somewhat bewildering, but very entertaining, 22 December 2007
6/10

This is a fun movie with interesting characters, and lots of spaghetti western style. I found it very entertaining, although it has some story elements that don't seem to make a lot of sense.

George Hilton does a fine job of portraying "Sartana," the bounty hunter/detective/vigilante more often played by Gianni Garko. Hilton's style is slightly different, but he plays the part equally as well as Garko. The real show-stealer here is Charles Southwood as "Sabbath," a bounty hunter who dresses in all-white, carries a white parasol, and lives by the values taught to him by his mother. Sartana and Sabbath are both oddballs, each in his own way, but Sabbath is so eccentric he makes Sartana look normal. One of the many amusing parts of the film is when Sabbath comes riding into town with his parasol, and one of the townsfolk sees him and says "what's the west coming to?" Sartana and Sabbath play off of each other quite well, and their interactions are fun to watch, especially when they square off near the end of the film.

A great music score by Francesco DeMasi, along with some excellent camera work, help make this euro-western above average in the style department, but the somewhat muddy plot doesn't do it justice. It's basically about how a crooked town boss is taking gold from the local mines and replacing it with sand before it is shipped. Then he hires Mexican bandits to "rob" the shipments so that nobody will know that they were ever replaced with sand. In comes Sartana to save the day, though his motives for wanting to find the gold are selfish. A little while later, Sabbath shows up, supposedly for the same reason. That much is pretty cut and dry, but the problem is with the details. While the basic idea of the scam going on with the gold is easy to understand, some of the actions of the characters in the story don't make any sense, or perhaps aren't explained very well. Maybe the American version is poorly edited. That would explain a lot, but I don't know if it's the case.

The best way to watch it is to sit back, relax and enjoy the cool characters and style of this spaghetti western without trying to make sense out of everything that happens. When viewed with that attitude, it's actually one of the more memorable and entertaining films of the genre.

4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
not bad for a Hill/Spencer flick, 16 December 2007
6/10

I've never really appreciated the whole Terence Hill and Bud Spencer phenomenon the way that some people apparently do. I don't think they are any better as a duo than any other two random actors that could have been thrown together at that time, and as far as comedy goes, let's just say they are no Laurel and Hardy. I see no good reason for them ever having been teamed up for more than just one film. In fact, I think they've done better work when they haven't been together, especially in the case of Hill.

One saving grace for this film is that it is not one of their irritating attempts at comedy. It is a serious story with bloody violence, double-crosses, revenge, and gold. And it's told in good spaghetti western fashion. This film keeps the viewer intrigued from beginning to end, and it is accompanied by an interesting music score from Angel Oliver Pina.

The highlight of this movie is the performance of Frank Wolff, as Bill San Antonio. Wolff has appeared in a lot of spaghetti westerns playing all sorts of characters, and is one of the finest supporting actors of the genre. He really outdoes himself in this movie as the cunning, wisecracking, sadistic, backstabbing bandit who fakes his own death to make it easier for him to continue his crimes. San Antonio is one of those funny, over-the-top characters that make these movies so much fun to watch. Frank Wolff is so great in this role that he steals the show completely, and makes this movie way more enjoyable than it would have been otherwise.

Overall, this is a pretty decent spaghetti western that is worth watching for fans of the genre.

5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
an excellent euro-western, 9 December 2007
9/10

This movie is the follow-up to "A Pistol For Ringo"(Una Pistola per Ringo), but it is not a sequel. All of the main actors return for this story, but they play completely different characters, and while Giuliano Gemma portrays another character called Ringo, this protagonist has nothing in common with the first "Ringo." It may seem unusual to those who haven't watched a lot of these movies, but that kind of thing is quite common in the spaghetti western genre.

This Ringo is not an outlaw like the one in the previous movie, yet he is much more serious and deadly, because he has been wronged on a very personal level, and is seeking justice and revenge. This gives the movie a much more somber tone than the previous film. It's a gripping story without a single boring moment.

All of the main actors are at the top of their game in this one. Antonio Casas is especially good as the dysfunctional sheriff who pulls himself together with the help of Ringo. Giuliano Gemma is even better in this movie than in the previous film, and I can't say enough about Nieves Navarro. Not only does she do a wonderful job portraying "Rosita," she looks even more incredible in this film than in the last one, which is a feat I would not have thought possible. She is quite possibly the most amazingly beautiful woman to ever appear in a western.

Morricone's music score is also an improvement over the one he wrote for the first Ringo movie. There is more music in this film, and the tunes are more memorable. I especially like the theme song.

Although "A Pistol For Ringo" wasn't bad, it was apparently just a warm-up for the filming of this movie, because "The Return of Ringo" is a much better film on all levels. It's not completely without flaws, but the imperfections here just add to the movie's charm and appeal. I consider this one to be a must-see for spaghetti western fans.

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
A yuletide spaghetti western!, 3 December 2007
8/10

This euro-western takes place during the Christmas holiday season. While not really a Christmas-themed movie per se, the backdrop for the film is laden with people acknowledging and celebrating the holiday, complete with decorations and a Christmas tree, which makes this the closest thing to a Christmas western that I've seen. As such, for the spaghetti western fan, it is a welcome seasonal alternative to watching "It's a Wonderful Life," or the latest Moron Clause movie on your local big screen or cable movie channel.

Giuliano Gemma does a fine job, as usual, portraying the protagonist of the film, and Fernando Sancho is even better as "Sancho," the Mexican bandit. Nieves Navarro is breathtaking as "Dolores," the female bandit who becomes romantically involved with one of her hostages.

The production is above-average for a euro-western, and the film has an engaging storyline with lots of action and suspense. Add to that a great music score by Ennio Morricone, and you definitely have a winning combination that spaghetti fans will be sure to enjoy.

7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Definitely worth watching., 29 November 2007
7/10

"A Man Called Sledge" is unique among the spaghetti westerns I have seen so far because it is the only one directed by an American. Vic Morrow must have been a big fan of spaghetti westerns himself, because he really got it right. It must have been a lot of fun for an American director to go to Spain and Italy to shoot an authentic spaghetti western back when the genre was still being pumped out.

I wasn't expecting much spaghetti style from this film because I knew it was by an American director with mainly American actors, but the movie really surprised me. It's nowhere near the very top of the spaghetti meter, but on the other hand you would never mistake this one for a Hollywood western. It's got Italian written all over it. The music score by Gianni Ferrio is quite good. A couple of parts sound a little too much like jazz for me, but most of it is well-suited for the genre, especially the tunes with vocals and over-the-top cheesy lyrics.

Don't let the fact that this movie is one of the later-era spaghetti westerns and has James Garner in it fool you into thinking it's one of those goofy comedy type of Euro-westerns. There are a couple of funny lines in the film, but overall it's very serious and tragic with plenty of violence and action. This is not a happy film at all, which is definitely a good thing in this case.

The production values and acting are above-average for a Eurowestern. James Garner and Dennis Weaver, both of whom have usually portrayed happy/funny do-gooders in American films and television shows, do an excellent job here in their roles as seriously bad people. Casting them for those parts was probably done for effect. It reminds me of how Leone used Henry Fonda as the evil character in Once Upon a Time in the West.

This is one that is definitely worth seeing if you are into Euro-westerns.


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