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A Town Called Hell (1971)

A Town Called Bastard (original title)
R | | Action, Comedy, Drama | 1972 (USA)
A group of Mexican revolutionaries murders a town priest and a number of his christian followers. Ten years later, a widow arrives in town intent to take revenge from her husband's killers.

Directors:

Robert Parrish, Irving Lerner (uncredited)

Writers:

Richard Aubrey (screenplay), Richard Aubrey (story) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Telly Savalas ... Don Carlos
Robert Shaw ... The Priest
Stella Stevens ... Alvira
Fernando Rey ... Old blind man
Martin Landau ... The Colonel
Michael Craig ... Paco
Dudley Sutton ... Spectre
Al Lettieri ... La Bomba
Paloma Cela ... Paloma
Aldo Sambrell ... Calebra
Maribel Hidalgo ... La Perla
Cass Martin Cass Martin ... Jose
Antonio Mayans ... Manuel
Francisco Marsó Francisco Marsó ... Julio
John Clark John Clark ... Quiet American
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Storyline

In 1895, in a small town ravaged by the Mexican Revolution, the revolutionary leader Aguila and his men massacre the town's locals and the military garrison soldiers.Ten years later Aguila,now a reformed priest, sees a newly-arrived woman who is looking for those responsible for murdering her husband. The town is run by the corrupt Don Carlos who promises to help Alvira find those who killed her husband,in return for the gold reward Alvira is offering. Don Carlos has no idea where Aguila is or what Aguila looks like but he's prepared to do anything in order to collect the gold reward offered by Alvira. Everything is complicated by the sudden arrival of the Mexican Army led by a brutal Colonel whose face looks very familiar to the town priest. Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You're lucky to get out alive. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK | Spain

Language:

English

Release Date:

1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Town Called Hell See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Michael Craig writes in his memoirs that his character scenes were shot a couple of months after the rest of the film was finished. See more »

Alternate Versions

German VHS version was cut by approx. 12 minutes. See more »

Connections

Featured in Robert Shaw: Jaws, Deoch & Deora (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

El Águila
Composed by Waldo de los Ríos
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Confusing yet rewarding movie, straight out of the bargain bin
29 July 2005 | by marc-366See all my reviews

This film starts in spectacular fashion as a gang of rebels gun down the entire congregation of a church, young and old, including the priest. The barbaric nature of this opening continues throughout "A Town Called Hell".

The majority of the movie is set in the Mexican town of Bastardo, which is under the leadership of Don Carlos (Telly Savalas). A hearse arrives at the gates, with an empty coffin and two passengers - Alvira (Stella Stevens), a blonde widower clothed in black, and her mysterious unnamed companion (Dudley Sutton). She is searching for the man that killed her husband, and offers Carlos gold if he will hand over the guilty man - who she believes to be named Aguila.

The town priest (Robert Shaw), who we immediately recognise as one of the leaders of the rebels that carried out the massacre in the first scene, appears to have a knowledge of Aguila's identity. When the town is overrun by the army, also looking for Aguila, the Colonel (Martin Landau - the other rebel leader from the prologue) threatens to execute all the town unless the identity is revealed. The Colonel advises the Priest that he swapped sides, as the army provided better rewards than the rebels could ever offer.

Much of the film centres on the strained relationship between Shaw and Landau's characters. Shaw's whiskey guzzling priest is particularly well played and likable, with a guarded past that is revealed throughout the film. Albeit a fairly short lived role (facing execution by one of his own men about half way through the film), Savalas' character is very enjoyable to watch, both calm but merciless. There are also small parts for Spaghetti regulars Fernando Rey and Aldo Sambrell.

Whilst the film is pretty barbaric throughout, with the town's inhabitants showing little honour or mercy for their own kind (just ask Don Carlos!), it also has a dark and mysterious feel - particularly well portrayed by the widow and her mute protector.

It is fair to say that I am often sceptical of a film's worth when I find a copy in a bargain bin or for £0.01 on ebay. I purchased "A Town Called Hell" for a single penny on ebay, and therefore thought it was likely to be a lesser western, and became even more sceptical when I discovered its British involvement (oh me of little faith, but I couldn't picture my homeland creating a western successfully). I was pleasantly surprised to find a well thought-out movie, with a well developed (if sometimes confusing) plot, and some great character acting. Well worth a view.


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