Monthly Archives: July 2013

Eurowestern News from Around the Internet: Franco Nero Starts Production on “Django Lives”

Franco Nero has started work on a second official Django sequel!

Franco Nero Starts Production on “Django Lives”

According to a press release, the new movie is set in 1915 with Django acting as a cowboy consultant in the early days of cinema. When a director is murdered, his outstanding debts are transferred to Django who hides out in a rural town where he inadvertently finds himself in the middle of a bloody dispute dividing its citizens.

Hopefully this will be an improvement over the last two western roles for Nero. Johnathon and of the Bears (1993, Castellari) was a strange, sometimes laughable attempt to recapture the magic of Keoma (1976,Castellari).  More recently, Nero had an awkward cameo in Django Unchained (2012, Tarantino). I like the idea of having him play a much older character . . . this was one of the main problems Johnathon of the Bears, in which he played a character 30 years (!) younger than himself. Along with the rumored Castellari western Badlanders, it will be great to a couple of new Eurowesterns in the upcoming year or two.

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Short review: Apache Fury (1964, José María Elorrieta)

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Apache Fury (1964, José María Elorrieta)

El hombre de la diligencia

7/10 on the Eurowestern rating scale:

Why so high? A pleasant surprise. Quality direction by Elorrieta elevates this early Spanish b-western above similar movies by directors like Klimovsky. Intelligent use of widescreen, staging, composition in depth, texture, and camera movements reduce the need for multiple shots. At the same time, this technique saves the movie from the static feel of so many other low budget Spanish westerns. Solid low budget film-making ~~ this is why I rate this movie a little higher than I would have expected going in to it. Pan and scan versions would remove this element from the movie and make it much less interesting. However, the mass action is shot in a much more pedestrian manner.

A small group of people at a stage station fight Geronimo’s Apaches and each other in a bid to stay alive. There are a few silly, awkward scenes (including a stage coach attack), but for the most part it works. A very interesting review of this could be written, placing this movie in its context of Fascist Spain. This film is something of a companion piece to Kliimovsky’s inferior Ballad For A Bounty Killer, with the same sets and much of the same cast.

Like other early Spanish westerns, this movie is “leisurely paced” with lots of dialogue, so if you are looking for lots of action this movie will not satisfy you. However, it should be noted that it is no slower or talky than the most near-contemporary b-grade American Indian v. Calvary siege films on which it was modeled.

I am now eager to see José María Elorrieta’s other film in the same vein ~~ Massacre At Fort Grant (1964). Vengeance of Pancho Villa (1967) is increasingly widely available. It is not as successful as this movie, but it is a fairly average Spanish western of middling quality (I gave it 5.75 / 10 stars). He also directed a late western If You Shoot . . . You Live! (1979) that I have not seen available. If you know where to get a copy, I would like to know.

Note: I watched a fairly faded Spanish language version. A fansub .srt was available, but seemed damaged or incomplete.

~~ El Vengador Errante

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Lauching new podcast in August!

I have not added a great deal of content to the site as it has been under construction. However, I will launching a podcast here in early August! There will be bi-weekly episodes and blog posts exploring the Eurowestern genre and reviewing films. I hope you find it interesting and enjoyable!

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Impressions: Django Unchained

Chatquah and Galoshes

Westerns are usually known more for their dramatic back drops than their in depth conversation. Character can often be conveyed in a glance or something as simple as a gun fight. The problem Tarantino faces is that Inglorious Basterds and even Reservoir Dogs proved, he very strongly loves character and conversation, but the problem is film is a love of space and spectacle two things the Western usually excels at. While he is to “high brow” to give into spectacle, he has at least given us space in Jackie Brown and Pulp Fiction. Basterds was a particularly bad film on this front, it genuinely felt like theater while it was supposed to be a war picture. If Tarantino is consciously deceiving our preconceptions in his films is another question. I am not overly familiar with Westerns, but Django seems to do a good job of avoiding their tropes via homage…

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Armond White’s 2011 Better-Than List > Pretty Much Every Other Blogger’s List

Movieline

Say what you will about Armond White, at least the iconoclast film critic is a conversation-starter. Over at CityArts White has posted his annual “Better-Than” list, in which he pairs seemingly disparate films of the year to show you why the movies you love/think are great are, in fact, vastly overrated. Example: “Jack and Jill > The Descendants,” White insists, in a clear trouncing of “humility” over “sanctity.” “Adam Sandler’s affectionate, very broad ethnic satire defies Alexander Payne’s smug denial of America’s ethnic history,” he writes. Don’t stop there, Armond!

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