Professionals for a Massacre AKA Red Blood Yellow Gold (1967)So here is a Spaghetti Western I found on youtube that was pretty interesting. It involves 3 outlaws who are forced to retrieve a wagon full of gold that was stolen from the Confederate army by a group of Mexican banditos. Basically either they get the gold and kill the Mexicans or the Confederate army is gonna take them out by firing squad.Some of the shots in this film are poorly lit and the dialogue is indeed badly dubbed (just a hair better than your standard bad kung fu dubbing.) What made this one fun for me was fights where punches land with the sound of a whip, a weird game of whack a mole but with pistols, and finally enough dynamite to make even Wile E Coyote jealous. Also keep a look out for a cameo from the redhead from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Its no the good, the bad, and the ugly but it's fun enough not to be tumbleweedsploitation!
It Can Be Done...Amigo (1972)So far this was the biggest surprise of Junesploitation for me. I've never seen anything else with Bud Spencer, but now I wanna see everything he's done. A burly, slovenly hero in the Joe Don Baker mold, he was incredibly entertaining to watch. He has a signature of putting on his glasses (no, really) right before any fight scene and I found myself getting giddy every time he pulled the glasses from his pocket. That Pavlovian excitement coupled with a few genuinely funny moments made this one a win for me, at least up until a painfully misogynistic final "joke" that ended the movie on a bit of a sour note. Other than that, it was entertaining the whole way through.
Nice! Can't wait to check this out. I'm giggling just at the description. Love the Junesploitation recommendationsploitation.
JP, seek out if you can all the Terence Hill-Bud Spencer buddy comedy movies they did after the "Trinity" trilogy of spaghetti westerns got them together for the first time in the late 60's. "Watch Out, We're Mad," "Crime Busters," "I'm for the Hippopotamus" (a personal favorite) and others are such a time capsule of the 70's. Think Burt Reynolds in "Hooper," only made by Italians, funny and dressed-up in multiple different plot excuses. I grew up watching Hill-Spencer movies in theaters down in El Salvador. They don't make them like this anymore. Shame the more readily-available "Trinity" movies are only 1/4 as good and funny as their latter non-western comedies, which are only available in pristine form in Italian R4 formats. :-(
I have this movie on several spaghetti western collections, but I haven't yet made it around to checking it out. Sounds like I need to bump it up.
Ace High (1968)Oh, this was fun! A great cast of interesting characters who work really well off each other, AND it's part of a trilogy! I mean, it's the second one, so now I've got to see one and three. Bank robberies! Betrayal! Casino shootout! And a nursery!
El Topo (1970)I actually saw this the other night but I wanted to post it here. There are not really any words to describe this film. It simply has to be seen to be believed. Jodorowsky is the man!
I thought to be a spaghetti western the movie had to be done in Europe by European directors. Jodorowsky is Chilean and "El Topo" is done/set in Mexico (though it takes place in an alternate dimension of its own). I saw "El Topo" for today's spaghetti western day over the weekend, changed my mind because it didn't fit the criteria Patrick posted it at the top and I'm watching a last-minute replacement as we speak (DVD is paused). I guess what I'm saying is third master's bunny farm for the win! :-)
Keoma (1976)This was absolutely stunning. I had read a while back that this is pretty much the last significant spaghetti western of the entire cycle. Therefore, I've been saving this one for about a year, waiting for the perfect time to watch it because of its significance. I was not disappointed. Keoma turns a lot of spaghetti western conventions on their head. It doesn't re-invent the wheel, but it does some pretty interesting things with that wheel (like tie Franco Nero to it). If someone watched this and was largely unfamiliar with the genre, they'd probably hate it. It's abstract; flashbacks take place in the same shot and frame as the current scene. There's an ugly, annoying minimalist soundtrack that serves as narration as well as Nero's thoughts. By 1976, EVERYTHING had been done; this manages to say something in a new way and closes the door nicely.
I was going to try and watch A Bullet for the General, but Keoma was shorter so I went with that. It was pretty awesome. Franco Nero was a badass, the nonstop songs were great (I got a kick out of how on-the-nose they were) and Castelleri's direction is right up there with Corbucci. A nice surprise.
I'm glad I now know someone else who has seen it. I'm also glad you liked it. I've had that awful (but kind of awesome) music in my head since I watched it, and it narrates my life. "going to the kitchen, gonna make yourself a snack, because you huuuuuuuuuuungry/very huuuuuuuungry/you're so HUUUUUUUUNGRY"
I pulled a double feature. One I've seen before, one I haven't.Blindman (1971) It's got Ringo Star, and not much else going for it. Still... Ringsploitation! It's not the worst movie, but there's a reason you can buy it on the budget "10 Westerns for a Dollar" dvd set. It's kind of Zatoichi in the old west, which is kind of interesting. The problem is that it's kind of a mediocre movie. Still, worth watching if you're in the right mood. My Name is Nobody (1973) Better, I like the drinking game scene. A pretty good movie, but it's not going to rank among my favorites any time soon. I do like that there seems to be something more going on here though. There is kind of a commentary on hero worship (goes a different direction than Assassination of Jesse James though) and a few other things. I kind of thought it was a little goofy, but evidently they meant it to be a flat-out comedy. I didn't get that, I just thought it was a touch camp.
THE RELENTLESS FOUR. Adam West is in this movie! Adam West is in this movie! Adam West is in this movie! Adam West is in this movie! Adam West is in this movie! Adam West is in this movie! Adam West is in this movie! Adam West is in this movie! Adam West is in this movie! Adam West is in this movie! Adam West is in this movie! Adam West is in this movie! (Old chum-sploitation!)
So let me get this right: Burt Ward is NOT in this movie? :D
Django (1966)Next on my list of Films That Have Inspired Tarantino is this action-packed western with Franco Nero as the prototypical enigmatic stranger. HHH is quite right about the terrific score - the "bandito" theme is particularly catchy. The film is problematic only in that it tries to cram too much into its 90-minute running time. There's a shootout barely a third of the way in that would serve nicely as the climax to most westerns. It's well-worth watching - although there's a pronounced disconnect between Nero and whoever dubbed his voice. I'm willing to bet Nero hated that damn coffin by the end of the film shoot.
Might as well pull a two-fer as well. :-)BOOT HILL (1969) on DVD for the first time.Disguised/lumped as a "Trinity" movie because it stars Terence Hill and Bud Spencer playing similar-though-totally-unrelated characters, "Boot Hill" is light on comedy (assuming you find midgets dressed as clowns beating a thug while circus music plays hilarious) but holds its own as a decent 'oppressed town miners vs. evil mining company's henchmen' revenge tale-lite. The circus literally comes to town, saves said town and then goes its own merry way while the heroes ride into the sunset. For my money Woody Strode (who looks like a bad-ass even while wearing an acrobat's leotard) steals the movie, Lionel Stander chews scenery like a champ and Hill's blue peepers give Franco Nero's a run for their money. "Boot Hill" builds up to a satisfying final showdown, which for a western gets you 50% there. Alejandro Jodorowski's EL TOPO (1970) in theaters for the first time.Imagine if Blondie or Django had a midlife crisis and tried to change their ways, spiritually as well as physically, for the betterment of themselves and the less fortunate and oppressed. Like Welles' "Touch of Evil" did for film noir, "El Topo" is the skeleton of a spaghetti western mold taken to an illogical existentialist artistic extreme after which the snake is left eating/gagging on its own tail. Essentially either two or a dozen different movies/genres/concepts blended together, the "story" and "plot" are loosely tied by the traditional nameless bad-ass hero going through a "journey" of the mind and soul besides just the physical obstacles ahead of him that need to be disposed of (in typical bloody/violent ways). Then betrayal of the hero happens (from his own actions and from those he thought were closest to him), followed by... a switched reel? An entirely different film? Who knows? :-P"El Topo" might at first appear like psychodelic new age hippie crap from the era, but the visuals and ideas on display (including Jodorowsky's portrayal of a "savior/hero" and buckets of too-artificial-to-not-notice blood & guts to go with the violence) are unique and memorable-enough to qualify as timeless esoteric film art not meant for mass consumption. If you can see it at midnight on the big screen (the way it's gained notoriety over five decades) for its full effect to wash over your fragile little mind.
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)Netflix streaming was down last night (Blaxploitation! 6/14), so I went back to a day I skipped earlier this week (Spaghetti Westerns! 6/12).I've never been a big western fan before, but, like I said in previous posts/columns/comments, I know they're "the best," and I know this movie is an "epic masterpiece," representative of the best Sergio Leone had to offer.I feel like Once Upon a Time in the West suffers from a little bit of Apocalypse Now Syndrome (coined by Patrick), in that the opening sequences are SO GOOD, you're convinced this is the best movie (or, at least, western) ever made. Then you realize you still have 4,000 minutes left to watch, and there's zero dialogue, and everything's tan, and the sound is tinny, and there's only so much extreme closeups of weathered faces you can take. So, yeah. This movie is absolutely great, it's just, well ... not exactly for me.I'm really glad I saw it (great cinematography, wonderful locations, a beautiful heroine, good acting, etc.), but I can't see myself casually watching it again on a lazy, dog-dangling afternoon. That honor is reserved for Dude, Where's My Car?