Tag Archives: The Big Gundown

Turkish Westerns: Chicago Reader and Dirty Pictures

chicago turkish westerns

A few days ago, I reblogged The Physical Impossibility of Rad’s great introduction to Turkish cinema. Well, the following for these completely off-the-wall, cartoonish movies continues to grow. Recently, the Doc Films series at the University of Chicago screened Yilmaz Güney’s The Hungry Wolves(1969). Ben Sachs of the Chicago Reader’s The Bleader blog wrote this about the film he was lucky enough to see on the big screen:

Spectacle may be an odd word to describe productions as evidently cheap as Yilmaz Güney’s, which abound with slapdash editing and bare-bones sets. Yet the films I saw at Doc Films’s Güney series this Saturday afternoon—Bride of the Earth (1968) and The Hungry Wolves(1969)—conveyed a mythic sense of landscape and story, often using one to reinforce the other. Violent crowd-pleasers in the spaghetti western mold, both took place in desolate, godforsaken regions of Turkey that proved ideal backdrops for the elemental conflicts of cowboy movies (I assumed that Güney exaggerated the desolation of these settings, but given my general ignorance about rural Turkey in the 1960s, I may be wrong).The Hungry Wolves was particularly inventive in its use of snowy tundras, a sharp contrast from the deserts and mountains of most westerns: in one scene, Güney, playing a Clint Eastwood-style badass, shoots down bandits from the inside of an igloo!

Güney reminds us that cinematic spectacle has less to do with production values than with an enthusiasm for what movies can do.

dity pictures

I also came across a review by shootgringoshoot at the Dirty Pictures forum. I just watched the movie one month ago and really enjoyed it, as well. It is a rip-off of the Sergio Sollima Cuchillo westerns The Big Gundown (1967) and Run Man Run (1969), with a nutty Turkish b-movie twist on the proceedings.

He writes:

One of my favourite turkish westerns! prefer it above many italian made westerns!
Yimaz köksal is a nice acter …. in this movie he plays Cuchillo (named after tomas milian in run man run) a carecter clearly inspired by the terence hill trinity figure and tomas milian in run man run.
Daglarin Oglu (video title…even the sleeve says Dag Kurdu) has everything a good turkish western should have; crazy comic style carecters, obscure violence, chicks, special weapons, over the top fighting scene’s and cool gadgets …. in this movie a trinity like contruction, a wagen that is pulled by cuchilio’s horse.

the camera work is much better as in the avarage turkish western, long landscape views and other creative/borrowed camera actions.

the story has some holes in the plot and every now and than its a bit unclear what is going on, but that didnt spoil the fun of watching this movie. I enjoyed every minute of the movie, another great turkish western for the collection.

Check out the rest of the review here.

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A ‘Eurotrash” fan discovers the Spaghetti Western

icpress

 

Decent list of the best Spaghetti Westerns by Icpress at Letterboxd. Here is how she describes here motivations for the list:

I’ve only recently decided to get serious about watching Spaghetti Westerns (or, more generally, Eurowesterns) despite having been a devoted fan of Italian genres like the giallo, the poliziotteschi (Eurocrime), and all things Eurohorror for years now. Westerns, on their period surface, didn’t immediately appeal to me, and I always seemed to find an excuse not to get serious about tracking them down.

The two things that changed my mind in recent months were: 1. the desire to find more movies featuring my favorite Italian genre stars–the chance to see Nieves Navarro or Luciano Rossi or Anthony Steffen or Tomas Milian or Gian Maria Volonte in new roles finally reached its tipping point, and 2. the Blu-ray release of *The Big Gundown*, which seemed a good (and tempting) place to start. I also picked up the FAB Press book *Any Gun Can Play*, which has so far proved to be an invaluable guide to finding (and better appreciating) what I’ve watched so far.

So: This list will serve as my record of what I’ve watched and, in the notes section, what I’ve thought. I will also include a list of the Eurowesterns I’ve not yet seen but would most like to–this list will come both from recommendations from other Letterboxd/Mubi users, as well as the the reading I’m doing in *AGCP*. Please recommend movies as you feel so moved; I’d also like to eventually dip the toe of my boot in the pre-Spaghetti Western pool, so those recs are welcome as well.

Like with my Giallo and Eurocrime lists, the first 20 will be ranked in order of preference, the rest listed chronologically. Because I’ve just passed the 20-movie mark in the genre, this current top 20 (as of 02/03/14) is bound to change drastically in the coming months, as I get more and more entries under my belt.

It should be interesting to follow here progress! She had good taste. I too really like Face to Face, The Big Gundown, Django Kill, Cemetery Without Crosses, Death Sentence, Massacre Time, Deadlock  . . .  putting those films at the top of the list makes sense to me.

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