In 1935, after forty years in a West Virginia prison, three released convicts wish to open a legitimate business using the twenty-five thousand dollars earned in jail, but a crooked prison guard in cahoots with the town banker plans to defraud them.
A doctor and his wife move into an old house in an English village where he is to start a new job- over the next few days his wife begins to experience strange visions which makes her frightened that her life is in danger.
Outlaw Luther Sledge and sidekick Mallory pull into the town of 3 W for an overnight stay. While Sledge heads upstairs to spend the night with long-time prostitute friend Ria and a bottle of rye, his sidekick Mallory enters a game of poker downstairs in the saloon. Frustrated with loosing their money to Mallory, two of the other gamblers shoot him dead. Alerted to the downstairs gunshot noise, Sledge descends in the saloon, pretending he's drunk, catches the two gamblers unprepared and shoots them dead. An old man who witnessed the shooting offers to serve as Sledge's witness and swear it was self-defense in case of an inquiry. The next day, Sledge leaves town to meet with the rest of his gang in the hills. He notices the old man from the saloon following him on horseback some distance away. Sledge stops the old man and asks him why he is following behind. The old man explains that he is not following Sledge but rather a convoy escorting a gold shipment. Interested, Sledge takes him ...Written by
"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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