THE GRAND DUEL, aka THE BIG SHOWDOWN (1972, 94 min.) on Blu-ray for the first time.Decent but unexceptional spaghetti western about a disgraced sheriff (Lee Van Cleef) who helps a young man named Philipp (Alberto Dantice) chased by bounty killers hired by the Saxon Brothers, who live and rule in Saxon City. The three sadistic brothers (including a flamboyant, effeminate Klaus Grünberg) think that Philipp murdered their father, so they want him brought to their town so they can publicly hang him. Van Cleef (whose character has no name besides 'Sheriff' or 'Marshall') knows what really happened, and helps Philip make it to Saxon City alive so they can clear his name. An interminable and talky mid-section follows, leading up to a "Good, Bad and The Ugly"-inspired grand duel that is anything but. Worth seeing for a handful of cool shootouts (particularly the opening, in which Van Cleef establishes what a badass his character is without firing a single shot), Sergio Bardotti's gorgeous theme song (a Morriconne ripoff, but a good one) and some nice western sets/props, which can also be seen in dozens of other spaghetti westerns form that time. Like most entries in this genre not directed by Leone or Corbucci (or not named "Django"), though, "The Grand Duel" is ultimately disposable and not mandatory.
The Grand Duel was part of my research when I was dissecting Kill Bill of all its influences. The theme playing in O-Ren's anime backstory when her parents are killed and she kills Boss Matsumoto comes from an early moment in The Grand Duel. It's directed by Sergio Levine's AD on The Good, the Bad & the Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West, so there is some connection to the great one, albeit thin. Perhaps not a mandatory watch ( it's Tarantino's 15th favorite Spaghetti Western), but hardly disposable.
*Levine... hahaha, LEONE! My phone's auto correct hates me.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)In theory, I shouldn't like Spaghetti Westerns. This movie shot multiple hats off that theory.I don't think I really knew what Spaghetti Westerns were. Most of the westerns I've seen have bored the shit out of me. This was so much better. The movie is fucking 3 hours long but I was never bored. I bought it on blu-ray and it is gorgeous. Parts of it looks like it was just made. And it's funny! The 3 main characters are tremendous. I've never been a fan of older films. The way they are acted seem so staged. This one did not. I immediately get a ton of references I've never understood. The score kicks fucking ass! It sounds so stupid but I never knew exactly where that iconic music came from. I feel ridiculous having not seen this until now. I'm now really curious to hear about other ones, today. I've heard this is the best but I'd love to read about others who disagree. Goddammit, this movie is the shit.
Once Upon A Time In The West is absolutely fucking awesome too.But The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly is my personal favorite.
I always go back and forth between The Good, the Bad & the Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West as my favorite Spaghetti Western of all time. Right now it's Once Upon a Time in the West.
The Good the Bad and the Ugly was my pick as well. It is hard to not like this movie. I thought the score (which is almost bigger than the movie) and the constant close up shots would be distracting. But the faces, even Eastwood's, are fascinating, and with such white teeth. The score with the landscape gave a slight off kilter feeling that was awesome. If I had a 'quibble' it is that it dragged a little in the middle, maybe because I wasn't expecting the Civil War element. But yeah Brent I agree this movie is the shit.
Looks like Spaghetti Westerns day has already met its quota by introducing Petersen to the wonderment that is Quentin Tarantino's favorite movie of all time. Any more converts Junesploitaton makes today will be gravy. :-)
That makes so much sense. There was a scene early on where Lee Van Cleef is having a long conversation at a table, that I couldn't help thinking of Inglorious Bastards.
This is what Junesploitation is about, discovery. Man, I wish I could see this again for the first time. Brent, definitely check out A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and Once Upon a Time in the West.
Speedy Gonzales - noin 7 veljeksen poika (1970)Hirttämättömät (1971)Since I'm not a big fan of westerns, I decided to watch these two Finnish western parodies by Spede Pasanen, the biggest name in Finnish comedy. Pasanen and his regular collaborators are responsible for a lot of seminal Finnish comedy from the 1960's through to the 90's, but it's hard to recommend any of their work to any non-Finnish speakers, since their comedy is so much dependent on the Finnish culture and language, even when they're making westerns. Hirttämättömät is one of my favorite comedies of all time and one of the movies I've seen the most times.
What other movie genres has Pasanen and his people made fun over the years? I assume since they parodied westerns they must have parodied other American movie genres like the musical and gangster flicks, and that they also spoofed other forms of cinema from the rest of the world (i.e. Kurosawa's samurai epics, Bergman-type cinema, etc.).
Parodying different genres isn't their biggest thing, but sure there are some other genres they lampoon. There are elements of gangster and spy films in several of their movies and my favorite film of theirs is a straight-up Charlie's Angels parody with a little scifi mixed in. But many of their movies are more related to the classic Ealing comedies where coincidence places a "common man" is extraordinary circumstances.
The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.I was gonna watch something I hadn't seen yet. I was gonna watch something that had a different feel, like Django, or My Name is Nobody.But it had been way too long since I took The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly off the shelf. For Spaghetti Western day, I could choose no other.I love this movie. I love the cast.I love the cinematography.I love the music.There are so many amazing scenes that contain no dialogue. Just music and the look in people's eyes to tell the story. If you've never seen it, watch it.You won't regret it.
So I ended up saying more or less what you did but not as well.Story of my life.Regardless, fine choice, sir!
Rango (2011)I know I’m barely trying with Junesploitation, but I had some time and this was the only thing on hand. I’m pretty sure I’m missing a myriad of nods towards the genre, but I’m still able to enjoy this at face value.
It's often about what you can get your hands on, and its about watching movies :). I remember when I watched I knew I was missing a whole bunch of reference, but I remember giggling
Django Kill--If You Live, Shoot! (1967)A thief is double crossed and left for dead in the desert by his accomplices. He sets out for bloody revenge and--wait, what? He discovers they've all been murdered within the first twenty minutes? Huh. Didn't see that coming.This one was a surprise in all the right ways. It has all these interesting little quirks that sets it apart from other spaghetti westerns. The hero has emotional depth, there's some unexpected humor and even gags, and it had some really disturbing images from a town that occasionally becomes a predecessor to Twin Peaks (at one point a man's ripped apart for the gold inside his body by the citizens's bare hands). It even rips off Wuthering Heights! Solid recommend.
A Man Called Sledge (1970)This western is distinctive mostly for its unusual casting of James Garner as the antihero Sledge. While the movie has its moments (a prison break scene is particularly rousing), I can’t help but feel that Garner is miscast. He’s one of the most likable, charming actors around, and his inherent sense of decency works against him every time Sledge is called upon to do something genuinely ruthless. Dennis Weaver and Claude Atkins also star, making this the only movie I know where Jim Rockford teams up with McCloud and Sheriff Lobo. I watched this on Amazon Instant Video, and fortunately they preserve the full Techniscope aspect ratio (sometimes Amazon crops 2.35:1 to 16:9, like with The Funhouse).
If only Telly Savalas has showed up as a bad guy it would have been a 70's love fest. Still, the hat trick of Rockford, McCloud and Lobo in the same flick is hard to beat.
Whoa..... I want to watch Garner be an anti hero!
By all means, watch it - I'd love to hear a different opinion. I know I'm biased, because I'm just so used to seeing Garner be the "good guy."
So am I, which is why it sounds so interesting. Even if he doesn't pull it off I'd like to see it. Not all good guys can go bad like Henry Fonda.
The Big Gundown (1966)Clearly I need to watch more spaghetti westerns because for the second year in a row spaghetti western day introduced me to a great movie. Lee Van Cleef badasses it up as a bounty hunter tracking alleged rapist/murderer Tomas Milian across the landscape, Ennio Morricone provides the soundscape (there is no dreamscape because Dennis Quaid was only 12 and also not in this movie). Given the fact that it was released by Grindhouse Video I expected something significantly less thoughtful but I'm happy my expectations were upended as it was a legitimately engrossing movie with much more to offer than just bullets and bad dubbing (full disclosure: the blu-ray includes an option to watch it in Italian but I went with the dub for that Junesploitation magic).
THE UNHOLY FOUR (1970) Four guys escape from a looney bin (in the old West?) and go on the run from bounty hunters. One of them is an amnesiac, who of course gets caught up in a larger plot. Aside from unusually peppy music and a real creepy brother/sister subplot, this is by-the-numbers cowboy stuff. There are some sweet gunfights and a barroom brawl, but it doesn’t bring anything new to the dusty wooden table. The main character is named Chuck. Is “Chuck” a proper cowboy name?Accompanying short film: THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY (1903). Impressive how many, if not all, action blockbusters owe a debt to this original. It still holds up, with gunplay, an explosion, a fight on top of a train, and even a dance number.
A Fistful of Dollars (1964)This was actually my first spaghetti western ever, so I figured I should start at something like the beginning. I had heard this was similar to Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo but I had no idea it was almost a direct remake (occasionally character-for-character and scene-for-scene) and that it actually lost a lawsuit to Toho over copyright infringement. That said, if this is a rip-off then it's a high-art rip-off. The soundtrack is iconic at this point but it serves the story perfectly, and the cinematography is gorgeous. Clint Eastwood's Man with No Name is unforgettable. As usual with Italian cinema in this period the ADR is painfully obvious, but this one still manages the impressive feat of walking side by side one of the greatest films ever made and not looking too bad by comparison.
THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY (1966)This is my favorite, and I haven't watched it in at least a year...which simply won't do.Thank you, Junesploitation!PS - if you have somehow gone through life without seeing this flick (the whole Dollars trilogy and OUATITW, actually), remedy that as soon as humanly possible. If you're a reader of this site and taking part in Junesploitation, chances are more than likely you'll have a great time.
It's Spaghetti Western day! And telepathically my Papa. knew it as he gave me a call to see if I was still alive. Minnesota Clay: For some reason I was so in the mood for this movie! I think it does what it wants to do, entertain and show adventure, well and I had a good time with it. It's not the best but it is alright. Django (1966): I think I am going to have tgat theme song in my head all friggin day! I am glad I finally got round to it. The coffin dragging is such an iconic image!
Death Rides A Horse (1966)A young boy witnesses his family murdered by bandits and sets out for revenge 15 years later. This is a fairly standard revenge western. You won't find anything new added to the genre here. It's always nice to see Lee Van Cleef, although he plays basically the same character in this that he usually plays in westerns: a smarmy and menacing badass. If you're a fan of westerns and you haven't seen this, it will satisfy.This had to have been an influence on Quentin Tarantino for Kill Bill. There are so many story and visual elements shared between them. Whenever Bill, the vengeful protagonist, meets up with one of his family's killers we get a closeup of his eyes layered on top of footage of the murders and that killer's role. Very similar to what happens to the Bride in Kill Bill.
Duck You Sucker! (Giù la testa) a.k.a A fistful of Dynamite (1971)A great (well pretty good) lesser known effort from Sergio Leone. James Coburn plays an IRA explosives expert who joins up with a group of Mexican bandits during the Mexican Revolution of 1913. It's hard to go wrong with Leone, Coburn, and a score by Ennio Morricone.
I watched this too. It's my least favorite on a list of Leone films, but not in terms of quality. Where else would it go on a list that includes A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly, Once Upon a Time in the West, and Once Upon a Time in America?
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)This western flick made me feel like I was back in my college film school. Lots of excellent shots, long scenes of build up, and of course Claudia Cardinale looking damn foxy. All that being said while I appreciate the amount of time they spent building the suspense I do think there were moments here and their when the movie started to drag some and they could have cut things just a little faster. All that being said it was still a good watch and I would recommend it with the caveat that its going to be a slower paced affair then perhaps your used to in films today. 8 Word Review (In Preparation for SMM)“Good movie- yet sadly no sign of Violeta”
My Name is Nobody 1973 Jack Beauregard ( Henry Fonda) is the fastest Gunman in the West, Nobody is faster, but Nobody is his name A good fun parody of Spaghetti westerns with heart from the master Sergio Leone, there's lots to love about this film, I love the Ticking clock score used to build tension, I love Terrence Hill's perfect suntan and white teeth, I love the superwide anamorphic 2.35:1 framing, i love the bar scene shooting glasses, i love the great scene with the stilts and the scene with two black people I was worried was going to be racist but totally redeemed itself and wasent, Terence Hill is a Blue eyed angel, I always loved "Watch out we're Mad" when I was young though it might not hold up now,
BLINDMAN (1971, Fernando Baldi)At first: SORRY, GUYS!!!The last days at work and at home were so turbulent and hectic! I struggled with a cold, prepared for upcoming vacation, spent a ridiculously high amount of cash for a big bunch of movies and so on..!!Now I'm back in the game for today with a Spaghetti Western I watched a year ago and immediately fell in love for the rest of my life: BLINDMAN!!!A very extraordinary spaghetti western which had to deal with some of my prejudices.Prejudice no.1:The blind man, our main hero of the movie, is played by one of the, in my honest opinion, non-credible actors in spaghetti-western-movie-history: Tony Anthony!!A baby faced actor, who absolutely doesn't look mean or badass!!Even Giuliano Gemma looked more badass in comparison with Tony Anthony!!Prejudice no.2:The-Beatles-drummer Ringo Starr as the villain named Candy!!C'mon, maaan...!!Wasn't "Yellow submarine" enough "acting"..??Fortunately I was wrong!!Ringo Starr's acting is great!!A pity he didn't continued his acting career.Tony Anthony's performance is kick-ass-epic and BLINDMAN is the best blind anti-hero since ZATOICHI!!BLINDMAN is so freaking awesome, I dare to spoil anything!!Give this gem a try, you definitely won't regret it, believe me!!!!!!!
I need to see this. From your description, the whole world does.
Vengeance (1968) Dir. Antonio MargheritiMaybe it's because my Grandmother would watch "Shane" over and over while I waited patiently to watch The Flinstones and Scooby-Doo, but I've never been into Westerns. So my buddy helped me pick one out and while going through a list we found this one starred the Ninja Terminator himself, Richard Harrison. Upon further inspection I realized that the director is responsible for such gems as Cannibal Apocalypse, Yor, The Hunter from the Future and somehow related to Flesh for Frankenstein. So, how could I not like this?! To my surprise, I did. Maybe because I never watch these and even though it was mostly boring I still enjoyed the experience. Harrison should have been an A-list actor, no question. I don't have much frame of reference to compare, but what did Eastwood do better than Harrison? He's fuckin' awesome, looks just as cool and will bust your ass just as hard. Not to mention he went on to play a Ninja over and over again, so to me, he's double the badass. Although it's just like every other of the genre I've seen (which is limited) I liked the way it was filmed, some of the dialogue was great and the leading lady was gorgeous.
El Topo (1970, dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky) (First Time Viewing): Ok, I cheated here. This is not technically a spaghetti western, it’s a Mexican western. But it embodies the spirit of spaghetti westerns and more importantly, exploitation. There is tons of gratuitous violence, nudity, and animal cruelty, so par for the course on Junesploitation. It’s almost unfair to review this as I’ll need quite some time to process what I’ve just seen. It’s a totally existentialist artistic poem of a movie about a gunfighter's mystical travels through a magical desert. At times the word “pretentious” was springing to mind, but how can I call this (or any) movie pretentious? Just the act of making a movie is so difficult and requires so much work, how can there be any pretense? If you made it, you mean it. Ok, I can’t do it. This movie has broke my brain. Highly recommended.
Cheating or not, any opportunity to view El Topo for the fiest time is a win!
Django (1966)Been meaning to see it for awhile, and I'm really glad I finally did. It's cool how this movie takes so many turns you're not expecting when it starts. What I thought the movie was going to be was actually like the first 20 minutes of it. It seems like every few scenes the main character has a totally different objective than he did a minute ago, yet somehow you get the idea that he had it planned all along. This movie also obviously served as a big source of inspiration for later filmmakers. Check it out when you get a chance.
The Burrowers (2008)This was actually completely different from what I thought it was. Its not really much of a western at all. It don't even know if I liked it or not. The synopsis is as follows: A family in the old west is mysteriously and brutally murdered. A couple seemingly random dudes are tasked with finding out who did it. Along the way they befriend slaves, Indians, and people who are mean for no reason. You find out in the first 10 minutes that the murderer isn't human. This could have made for a cool twist halfway through, but they are really open about it. Its basically cowboys and aliens mixed with Cloverfield. You don't see the mysterious thing until the end and it overplays the mystery. There is also a twist at the end that is just a copy of another popular movie that you would recognize immediately, but I will not mention it. This movie has a big problem with characters. There are too many, they are not believable, and they don't know what to do in the movie. The movie looks really good. Its shot well and it feels western. Its not a western at all though. I was fooled into thinking it was, and once I saw what it was I was fooled into thinking it was clever. People will like this movie, but I did not.
Navajo Joe (1966)I recently went through all the special features on my 'Fistful of Dollars' blu ray and I learned in the marketing the man with no name was referred to as 'the most dangerous man on earth'. I must respectfully disagree. I give this title to NAVAJO JOE.I think I all out loved this movie. It worked for me on pretty much every level. It's a revenge pic about an Indian (Burt Reynolds) who seeks vengeance against a sadistic gang who slaughtered his tribe and his woman. Is Burt the most convincing Indian I've ever seen? Not so much. But dang he is cool. He's an Indian in a society that doesn't give his race much credit (THEY'RE RACIST) and yet he commands so much respect wherever he is. He's such cool in every way. And he's a one man killing machine. This is one brutal western and I love it for it. The film pulls no punches on showing you such how horrific the villains are.Oh, and the music is perfect. I dig this movie.
The Hills Run Red (1967) (first time viewing)This was a basic revenge western. One man takes the fall for a crime to let the other man get away. When he gets out of jail five years later, he finds out that other man didn't take care of his family like he said he would. So, he infiltrates the guys new gang to get to him and kill him. It brought nothing new to the table, but it was well paced and I enjoyed it. Henry Silva played one of the lead henchmen and it was great watching him chew up the scenery. Recommend.
Mannaja (A Man Called Blade) (1977, dir. Sergio Martino)I was going to watch Django Kill for this day, but seeing as it was covered well by Eli the Butcher Boy, I opted to rewatch Mannaja. I mean, no one else took me up on my suggestion and I wanted to see it covered somewhere. This is a great spaghetti western, and why it's not mentioned in the same conversation as Django I cannot understand. If you're a fan of the genre or new to it this month and looking for others to watch, you really should check this one out. It's so good.
Duck, You Sucker! (1971, dir. Sergio Leone)Fascinating.
'There's a hole in the roof!' :-P
The Big Gundown (1966)Really thrilling to see a non Sergio Leone spaghetti western. Director Sergio Sollima doesn't quite have the operatic directing chops of the other big Sergio but this movie is still really enjoyable. Some good set pieces, a great Morricone score. Delicious spaghetti heaven.
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)I liked pretty much everything about this movie, especially the cinematography. The only problem for me was that I found it a little hard to follow, but that was probably my fault because I was super tired and even had to take a break in the middle and have a nap (something I hate doing). Leone's style is awesome and I will give this movie another watch FOR SURE.