4.9/10
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21 user 7 critic

A Town Called Hell (1971)

A Town Called Bastard (original title)
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 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:

They called it HELL ... They called it VIOLENT and EVIL! 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

Referenced in High Plains Drifter (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

La batalla de Nueva Orleans
By Jimmie Driftwood (as Jimmy Driftwood)
Performed by Sunny Ryder
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Speaking of hell, who the hell is Aguila?
17 September 2016 | by WuchakkSee all my reviews

Released in 1971 and directed by Robert Parrish, "A Town Called Hell" (originally titled "A Town Called Bastard") is a Euro Western about a Mexican town in 1915, which is more of a stone fortress than a conventional Western town, where everyone is seeking a man called Aguila, a mysterious revolutionary who massacred members of the town a decade earlier. Robert Shaw stars as the priest, Martin Landau as a brutal Mexican colonel, Stella Stevens as a vengeful widow and Telly Savalas as the corrupt mayor.

While Italians had nothing to do with this movie it smacks of a Spaghetti Western. Thankfully, it's thoroughly austere and lacks the goofiness of some Italo oaters. The grim atmosphere is palpable with dust and heat. Typical of Euro Westerns, the score by Waldo de los Ríos is notable. There's a constant sound in the background, almost like the chirping of crickets, but obviously manmade, which I've never heard in a movie before. The cast is great, highlighted by Stevens' beauty. Speaking of whom, why does she sleep in a coffin like a corpse?

The story's another matter, however. The first half of the movie involves everyone looking for this guy named Aguila. Then shortly after the midway point we discover who he is but, no, he's not really Aguila; and so the search continues as the movie shares flashbacks. At the very end one of the characters seems to find Aguila and shouts out his name, but who cares? I'm sure if you re-watch the movie and pay close attention you might be able to put the pieces together, but the mumbling dialogue (with no subtitle option) would make it a difficult task. Still, the solemn ambiance, quality cast and interesting score make "A Town Called Hell" worth catching for those who favor creative Westerns. Unfortunately, just because something's creative doesn't mean it's good.

A UK/Spanish production, the film runs 87 minutes (some prints run about 5 minutes longer) and was shot in Spain.

GRADE: Borderline C/C- (4.5/10 Stars)


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