Tag Archives: The Bleader

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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