Recently seen films: comments

June 6, 2009

La tour de Nesle: A rather slow swashbuckler film only made watchable by the presence of Pierre Brasseur.

Senza ragione: A crime flic I watched in Italian. Normally the Italian versions of these things are better than the English, but here Telly Savalas was dubbed with such a stupid voice….But Franco Nero was good.

Una lunga fila di croci: A very good Italian western. One of the best films I have seen Anthony Steffen in and William Berger does an excellent job as a bounty hunter with a very elaborate gun.

Mare matto: A very good Italian film starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Gina Lollobrigida. Definitely should be put into English on DVD.

Films, mostly Italian…

March 11, 2009

Un ettaro di cielo: A great film with Marcello Mastroianni. A perfect candidate for English language DVD release.

The Betrayal: This samurai film has to have the bloodiest final scene of any I have ever seen. The character played by Raizô Ichikawa kills at least 100 men by himself.

Uccidite Rommel: A pretty decent Italian war film.

Parola di ladro: A very good caper/comedy. Another film that deseves wider recognition.

Di Tressette ce n’e’ uno, tutti gli altri sono nessuno: The second film in the two-film series. A crazy and pleasant comedy spaghetti western.

Revolver: Sergio Sollima, Oliver Reed and Fabio Testi. A very good cop film.

La Volpe della coda di velluto: A not quite fullfilling giallo, but worth a look for fans of the genre.

Vacanze per un massacre: A very satisfying Italian thriller. One of director Fernando Di Leo’s last efforts.

Comments on films I’ve seen recently

January 18, 2009

All’ombra di una Colt: A good western. Well, a mediocre western, truth be told, but the music, by Nico Fidenco, elevates it beyond what the actors or script are able to do.

Pride and Glory: Was this supposed to be a good movie?

Maciste nella terra dei ciclopi: If you can get beyond the annoying music, this one isn’t half bad.

Il Paese del sesso salvaggio: A good film. It is a shame that it is on the “must see” list of cannibal films, because I think that crowd can’t really appreciate all the interesting non-cannibal moments.

The Game: I thought this Korean thriller was pretty interesting. Great acting and very good production values.

Execution (1968)

December 15, 2008

This is a slightly above-average spaghetti western by director Domenico Paolella, whose claim to fame is probably a series of sinful nun films he did in the early 70’s.

Anyhow, the star of the show here is John Richardson, who plays a dual role as a pair of brothers.

The plot isn’t important. Is what is important however is what makes this film good, and this has to do with a basket of ingredients: a great score by Coriolano Gori, excellenct camera work and film editing, and a rather original bandit gang leader, played by a very fat man, who tortures those he doesn’t like with leaches and a mace.

A few films I’ve recently seen

December 4, 2008

Un Treno per Durango: A great western, starring one of my favourite actors, Enrico Maria Salerno. This film is funny, but in a good way. Probably the best film I have ever seen seen Anthony Steffen in.

Bluff, storie di truffe e imbroglioni: Really one of the best comedies I have seen over the past year. Yeah, it was made in 1976. But there is nothing dated about Adriano Celantano and Anthony Quinn. One of director Sergio Corbucci’s better efforts, and that is saying a lot.

Domenica è sempre Domenica: A very good comedy starring Alberto Sordi, Ugo Tognazzi and Vittorio De Sica. Probably not in English, but it should be.

The Dark Knight: I had heard this was good. It wasn’t. No plot. No script to speak of. A bunch of uninteresting special effects. Incredibly boring.

Quintana (1969)

July 12, 2008

This western takes place in Mexico. When people get shot, they spin violently around. The lead actor, an Italian who goes under the pseudonym of “George Stevenson” is a complete unknown and delivers a performance unremarkable enough to ensure that his career will be short-lived. The female lead, Femi Benussi, who was in a ton of films in the 60’s and 70’s, sports a huge black wig which surpasses the absurd. Panchos, gunshots, horses. But the film does have two things to recommend it:

1) A very nice score by Felice Di Stefano.

2) Good cinematography by Vitaliano Natalucci. I have never seen a film with so many crooked-angle shots. Probably about a third of the film is like this, which makes for interesting viewing.

Ringo del Nebraska

May 18, 2008

Year: 1966

Director: Antonio Román / Mario Bava

Z-list Ringo film that has garnered some micro-cult status due to Mario Bava apparently taking over direction after the assigned director got fired.

The Good: The music. The score by Nino Oliviero, complemented by nice Spanish lyrics, is about the only thing that keeps this film moving. In one scene Ringo shoots a guy’s ear off. Piero Lulli as the villain Carter. This actor has appeared as tons of bad guys and is good at it. The one thing I kept wondering though is why he was wearing a leather biker’s jacket in the middle of the desert.

The Bad: Lacklustre cinematography. The setting is supposed to be New Mexico, but in the background the ocean keeps creeping in. The furniture breaks far too easily and the sets are shoddy.

The Ugly: Ken Clark, who plays Ringo. This guy not only sucks as an actor, but it seems that due to the fact he was a body-builder, directors felt compelled to have him take off his shirt and show his hairy chest in every film he was in.

La locandina di Ringo del Nebraska

Per 100,000 dollari ti ammazzo

February 2, 2008

Director: Giovanni Fago

Year: 1967 

A deep organ. Desert scene. Trumpets. A western that, if not great, comes quite close.

Though the credits give made-up American names to most of the actors and the director (who is billed as Sidney Lean), the cast on this one is strictly European, staring the great Gianni Garko as Johnny Forrest and Claudio Comaso as his evil brother Clint. Comaso, it must be said, plays an excellent villain, and there is something about him that is truly repulsive. Though not as famous as his brother Gian Maria Volontà, this actor is almost as interesting.

There is lots of great scenery, sweat dripping from faces and plenty of guns going off—as well as some really beautiful horses. Another interesting feature is how dirty Garko appears throughout the film. His jacket is always covered in dust and in the final scene his face is completely covered with sweat, dirt and blood as a strong wind whips hay around what I guess is supposed to be Albuquerque.

The score on this one is really striking, though I am not exactly sure who is responsible for it.

Giovanni Fago has not done all that much as a director, but from what I have seen of his work, he is quite remarkable. This film and the really odd O’ Cangaçeiro make him worthy of a great deal of respect.

Highly recommended.