Tag Archives: Film Rating

Good review of Little Rita of the West . . .

. . . by Randy Johnson at Not The Baseball Pitcher.

 

Talk about your odd ball movies: a spaghetti western musical. Lots of songs, jokes, even some real spaghetti action. The idea behind it was to boost the career of Italian singer Rita Pavone. Little Rita was her actual nicknme. 4.89 feet tall and about 86 pounds. Boost her career? Since I never heard of this film until I stumbled across it on Youtube, probably not a lot. Possibly in Italy.

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Most Wanted Western Movies Presents Their Top 20 Spaghetti Westerns

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Good list, especially for someone just beginning to explore the genre. The top 5 are all movies by Sergio Leone and all of the films are Italian. Spanish and German westerns are an acquired taste, though I would imagine that fans of Leone would really enjoy the German director Roland Click’s neo-spaghetti western Deadlock (Trailer).

To check out my ratings (of 350+ Eurowesterns) start here.

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Quick Review: Dead in Tombstone

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Hi! I watched an interesting film on Netflix that I thought I should put up a few quick notes on.

Jayson Kennedy has a great review of the direct to video Dead in Tombstone (2012) at his blog, basement of ghoulish decadence.

Danny Trejo in an action “horror western” was an inevitability, but the Western genre is deceptively complex. To produce even a “decent” example a convincing drama needs to be constructed around punctuated violence. The screenplay, penned by the duo behind the awful killer clown slasher Drive Thru (2007), instead strings along action sequences with scattered bits of shallow exposition. In that respect, Dead in Tombstone succeeds and shows how well a measly five million dollars, and major studio backing, can be utilized. The Deadwood aesthetic is in full effect with a western town backlot and actors drenched in that unnatural “readymade rustic” grit. Frenzied editing hampers most nuance of the camerawork, but the sound design is extremely impressive and the film never once sounds its low cost.

Matt at Ruthless Reviews also has a fun review of the film:

Holy shit, dude. An old fashioned Western starring Danny Trejo, Mickey Rourke, and Anthony Michael Hall! What’s this review doing in the Shithouse? This just might be the best film of the year

I agree with Jayson that the acting is very bad and the characters under-developed. Furthermore, the gunfights are energetic but brain dead . . . too often there are dozens of men shooting in close confines to the Trejo, but they almost never hit him. However, while there is some Bad and Ugly to this movie, there is also some Good. The Romanian locations are great. Next, this movie feels like a real grindhouse spaghetti western ~ shabby, gritty, ragged and cheap. Most importantly, it not only imitates Western alla’Italiana style, but the screenwriter and director actually understood the basic formula of an spaghetti western. As direct-to-video American clones go, this is not too bad. In fact, I enjoyed it more that I enjoyed Tarantino’s Django Unchained . . .

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In an earlier blog post, I wrote about the mythical/ritualistic plot of the Italian western. Basically, the character is killed and then reborn in a classic ‘liminal’ narrative. In their rite of passage, they usually end of saving the town . . . even though their explicit motivations are always selfish.

Dead in Tombstone is very similar to And God Said To Cain and Django the Bastard with its Gothic elements and spectral protagonist that returns from the grave to extract revenge for a wrong done to them. Django Kill!, Twice A Judas, and Ciakmull also have similar structures. . . with characters ‘returning from the dead.” This movie catches that element well. However, in those movies the characters only figuratively or narratively returned from death. In this movie, Danny Trjeo repeatedly moves from God’s County (the town of Edenland) to Hell and back. This is an interesting variant of this basic story.

This movie gets a 6.75 / 10 on my rating scale. Its worth a watch if you are fan of the genre.

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“God Forgives . . . I Don’t!” (1967), one of the most influential Italian westerns of the 1960s

Below is the ‘family tree” of “God Forgives . . . I Don’t!”

Giuseppe Colizzi’s “God Forgives . . . I Don’t!” (1968), starring Terence Hill and Bud Spencer, does not often get mentioned as one of the most influential Italian westerns of the 1960’s western cycle. However, it was one of the highest grossing westerns in Italy. This allowed Colizzi to make two sequels, “Ace High” (1968) and “Boothill”. All three films show the influence of “The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly” in terms of characters and plot structure, especially the second film which recast Eli Wallach as a Greek version of Tuco (“The Ugly”).

Giuliano Carmineo essentially a ‘Cat Stevens’ (name of Terenace Hill’s character in GFID) movie with Jorge Hilton, “The Moment To Kill” (1968). A year after the final film in Colizzi’s trilogy, “Django” (1966) cinematographer Enzo Barboni was essentially making another Cat Stevens movie with Hill and Spencer when he decided to throw out the script and amp up the slapstick (humor was an element that had always been present in the the Colizzi trilogy). Like “God Forgives . . . I Don’t!”, “They Call Me Trinity” (1970) and “Trinity is STILL My Name!” (1971) were huge hits. The success of these movies altered the course of the genre, leading to the production of dozens of slapstick comedies, similar films and television series staring Hill and Spencer individually in roles similar to those they played in the Trinity films, and a long series of Hill and Spencer comedies in other non-western settings.

The most notable offspring of the Trinity films were probably the Nobody films produced by Sergio Leone. “My Name Is Nobody” combines themes and casts from the Trinity movies and Leone’s “Once Upon A Time In The West” (1968) in a story about the end of west, the origins of the western genre, and the twilight of the Italian western. It also combined the mentor / novice or father /son plot that “My Name Is Nobody” director Tonino Valerii used in his own classic Italian westerns “Day Of Anger” (1967) and “The Price Of Power” (1969). “A Genius, Two Partners, and a Dupe” (1975) continues the story of Nobody.

 

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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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Once Upon A Time In The West

Films added to Rating the Eurowesterns pages will generally include a few comments about each. As they are added, I will post these comments to the main blog page along with other content. Below is my rating and comments about the Sergio Leone’s masterpiece, Once Upon A Time In The West.

10 of 10:

Once Upon A Time In The West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

Once Upon A Time In The West is not only the stunning Eurowestern, but it can be viewed as the culmination of the Western genre across all mediums including film, radio, television, and literature. I won’t say too much about the movie but instead will refer you to Christopher Frayling’s great book about Sergio Leone and his films, Something To Do With Death. Using the sweeping, epic style of John Ford, Leone made a metawestern combining the inverted elements from dozens of classic Hollywood westerns. In the sense, this is a movie about movies, a Western about Westerns, or a myth about the making of myths. Few films have ever woven together music and images so flawlessly. It is a masterpiece of cinematic rhetoric and form.

It is interesting to note that The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly (GBU) tends to slightly edge out Once Upon A Time In The West in IMDb’s ratings and in the Spaghetti Western Database’s Top 20. Of the two movies, GBU is better loved.

 

 

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New Page Added

I have just completed the page describing the criteria I use to rate Eurowesterns: Rating the Eurowesterns: What the Ratings Mean. Check it out!

Coming Soon! Rating the Eurowesterns: 9.25 to 10 stars: Great Cinema.

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Hello . . .

Welcome to this new Eurowestern blog!

There are a number of great Eurowestern blogs already, so you might ask why I decided to try and start another one. Well, I have been a fan of the genre for nearly 20 years now and have watched hundreds of the movies (~450-500). I have noticed a number of interesting patterns over time . . . and I would like to share this with other interested genre and film fans.

Also, like any other afficiando, I have my personal ratings on the best (and worst) movies in the genre . . . and I would like to share it. I have my own somewhat idiosyncratic ideas about what makes an excellent spaghetti western.

This is the link to the IMDb version of my ratings list. I hope to expand on this on the Rating the Eurowestern page here, at the blog.

Thanks!

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