History Professor Brad Fletcher heads west for his health, but falls in with Soloman Bennett's outlaw gang. Fascinated by their way of life, Fletcher finally takes over the gang, leading with a new 'efficient' ruthlessness.Written by
Tom Seldon <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Tomas Milian has expressed that Beauregard Bennet is not one of the best characters he has portrayed, as he believes that he did not have as much material to work with as Gian Maria Volontè. See more »
Colt Single Action Army revolvers (Peacemakers) and post-1866 Winchester rifles
are used. Both did not exist until after the Civil War, which is when the film takes place. See more »
Professor Brad Fletcher:
I've an announcement to make, and I find it... very painful. I'm unable to... continue this history course. But as you perhaps know, it's not a matter of my own volition. However, the study of history can be suspended... and resumed at any point. Because, though all men must die in time, other men will make history live. And each man can choose his own part in history. We've been forced to choose: when the war between the States declared that we were either Union loyalists or ...
[...] See more »
Carlo Simi is given a "sets and costumes" credit on Italian prints, while English prints credit him as the "art director". See more »
When 'Face to Face' was brought before the BBFC by Butcher's Film Service, it was cut from 112 minutes to 93 minutes to receive an 'A' rating. The 93-minute version of the English dub (featuring the voices of Tomas Milian and William Berger reprising their on-screen roles) was for some time the most widely available, having been released on Explosive Media's (out of print) 2-disc DVD release and Kino Lorber's Blu-ray, while the uncut English version was later released by Explosive Media on a single-disc DVD and in the first print run (of 1000 copies) of their Blu-ray release, which also contains the shorter English version.
The scenes removed from the 93-minute English version were:
The scene where Fletcher and Bennet spending a stormy night in one of Bennet's hideouts. Fletcher removes some floorboards to find medicine for Bennet's gunshot wounds, and Bennet, with Fletcher's help, removes a bullet from his body with a knife (the English audio for the second half of this scene was included in Explosive Media's original 2-disc release).
Fletcher learns to shoot at a tree with Bennet's revolver. However, he hesitates when ordered to shoot a rabbit. Both men then spy on Charley Siringo - Beau wants to kill him, but Fletcher suggests creating a diversion.
Bennet telling Reagen, a member of Sam Taylor's gang, that he shot him for "business" reasons, and walking away from his body when he dies (the English audio for this scene was included in Explosive Media's original 2-disc release).
Belle de Winton's discussion about her deceased Confederate lover with Fletcher, and Bennet/Fletcher's reactions - Bennet implies that he and Belle are having (or have had) an affair, which Fletcher politely respects.
Siringo's arrival at the de Winton estate, where he (aided by Vance and Aaron) kills a sheriff sent to capture Bennet. (The edited English version picks up from when, after Siringo kills the sheriff, Bennet discusses his level of trust for him.)
Fletcher meeting Rusty Rogers at Puerto del Fuego, and expressing admiration for him. Maximilian then tells Fletcher that Puerto del Fuego is full of "ghosts of the past", but Fletcher feels that he has never seen anyone look more "happy, alive and free" (the English audio for the second half of this scene appears in Explosive Media's 2-disc release).
Fletcher and Beau's mock duel, and Fletcher's explanations of the roles the other outlaws (except for himself, Maria and Bennet) will play in the Williow Creek bank robbery (in the edited English version, Jason's line "We go to Willow Creek, and knock off the bank" is used to create a transition shot to Bennet in the Mexican disguise he wears for the robbery).
Bennet being pestered by Paco, the Mexican peasant, followed by Mrs. Watson's (Mrs. Lee in the English version) argument with Willow Creek's sheriff about Siringo's letter regarding the robbery, just before Fletcher and Maria enter town. (In the uncut version, she throws away Siringo's letter in anger over the sheriff's lack of cooperation. In the edited English version, she throws the letter away after apparently using it as a tissue.)
A brief close-up of Fletcher walking towards the bag of stolen money during the bank robbery shoot-out.
A discussion between a group of lawmen about Fletcher's rise to power among Bennet's Raiders and Siringo's hunting for Aaron Chase.
An extra shot of Fletcher's men watching a goon punch Wallace (on Explosive Media's 2-disc release, the groan Wallace makes is unique; on the Blu-ray and single-disc DVD, the groan is a repeat of one Wallace makes earlier in the scene).
Very good quality spaghetti western with strong acting and script
This Italian western is often mentioned as one which is well known for having political undertones, specifically a storyline that is an allegory on the rise of fascism and the then current Vietnam War. While it's certainly true that you could make these interpretations if you look deep enough, you really need to be looking for them and the film works just fine without these readings. It's about a professor who moves from the urban east coast to Texas to retire for health reasons and immediately becomes involved with a bandit who is on the run from the law. As the story progresses their partnership results in a transformation between the two where the good guy's behaviour gets worse and the bad guy develops a conscience.
It was directed by the third Sergio of the spaghetti western genre, Sergio Sollima; the other two being Leone and Corbucci. He directed three well received westerns in total, including the impressive The Big Gundown (1966). Like that one, this one features the talented actor Tomas Milian in another shifty role, in this case as the bandit. He is joined by another two regulars of the genre in William Berger, playing a character based on a real life Pinkerton detective, and Gian Maria Volonté, most famous for his two highly memorable turns in the first two films in Leone's 'Dollars Trilogy'. Volonté is especially good here in a role that shows how good an actor he is. It's his character's transformation from meek intellectual to callous gang-leader that really drives the narrative. His performance, along with Milian's, is very convincing and illustrates how easy it is to cross a line and become immoral. It's this aspect in particular where the fascism allegory comes from, while the massacre of a group of innocents later in the film echoes the events in Vietnam. As well as being a well-acted and directed affair, it has a good script and another impressive score from Il Maestro himself, Ennio Morricone. Needless to say, when you have all these ingredients coming together you are left with a great western, which is certainly enhanced by having more going on under the surface than most.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this