I'm a fan of Raul de Anda so I was excited to get a copy of one of his "Spaghetti Westerns". It was in Spanish, but the Spanish is so clear and perfect that voice to text recognition software did a fair job, that got ran through translation software, then I manually filled in the gaps listening to the Spanish. That actually doesn't require more than an intermediate level of Spanish- no where near fluency required.
That done, I sat down to watch it and had no problem following the plot. Superficially it's a revenge flick, as is common in the genre, with a well known pistolero mentoring a kid. In terms of the screenplay, though, it felt more like an Elmer Kelton novel, which is to say that it was much more mature and realistic than the screenplays you get in many euro-westerns. That and good cinematography and settings put it over the top for me, into the "better than your average Spaghetti Western". Some might not like it's relative lack of gore, but, like I said, the screenplay was much more mature and realistic. It has a lot to say socially, but is nowhere near being the morality plays that many Zapatista Spaghetti Westerns are. The ending is great, I thought, though some might disagree. That's where I really saw the similarity to Kelton. I certainly like those other ways of doing it, but I found this one to be a refreshingly different take on something where the formula really wasn't altered that much. Great directing and writing! Historically accurate. The conflict described went on a lot.
Oh, and Senor Anda appears in it as well. I thought Amadee Chabot was somewhat mis-cast, but that's a minor point of contention. When Miss California settles locally and says she wants to be in your picture, you say, "I think I can find a way to make that work", I guess.
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