Monday, September 22, 2008

Fabulous Spaghetti Western Review®

I make no apologies for my obsession with Westerns. Some guys like comic books and Star Wars; I like cigarillos and squinting.

I watched a trilogy of sorts of Sergio Corbucci movies this weekend. Two of them I own. Django, which I just bought, and The Great Silence, which I purchased last Christmas with a gift card. Corbucci, in my mind, is the second best writer/director of spaghetti westerns behind only his buddy Sergio Leone, the man who brought us The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and Once Upon a Time in the West.

The Great Silence
My favorite of these three movies. The Great Silence is unique in that it's set in the dead of winter in Utah and the cold, snowy terrain is as much of a character as Silence himself, so named because bounty killers cut his throat as a child rendering him mute.

His life has been a never ending quest for revenge against any and all bounty killers, because not only did they scar him for life physically, they also killed his father.

Anyway, that's enough of the back story. If you've seen all of Leone's movies and are just itchin' to see another spaghetti western, this is your best choice as far as I am concerned.

The DVD extra features contain a happy ending which is downright hilarious, too.

8.5 stars out 10.

The Hellbenders
In case you are wondering, a hellbender is a giant salamander. This is a story about some Confederate soldiers, who call themselves the Hellbenders (think Flying Hellfish), and steal a convoy of money with which they hope to revive the Civil War.

I really liked this one, because the story was original and well written and the ending caught me by surprise, which isn't hard to do admittedly (will Nemo escape? will his father find him in time? I just don't know. I just don't know).

I don't own it yet, but its definitely a contender for my collection.

8.0 stars out of 10.

This movie gets all the hype. An international following, cultish even. Franco Nero is an Italian version of Clint Eastwood... Many unauthorized (and bad) sequels... Blah blah blah. I fell victim to the hype and bought Django. It was pretty cheap so I'm not too worried about it.

Can't say that I was too impressed with it though. The story was pretty standard other than Django dragging a coffin around wherever he went. The set design reminded me of any 1950s western with painted backdrops and a saloon that John Wayne could have been filmed in. And the acting was rather wooden and not dynamic.

I judge it harshly perhaps, and I might appreciate it more after another viewing, but I'll still give it 7 stars out of 10.

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