HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Picture Stories
Another Round
Tape, The
Limbo
Supernova
Man Who Sold His Skin, The
Sweetheart
No Man of God
Gaia
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Scenes with Beans
Sweat
Quiet Place Part II, A
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
Shorta
Knocking
   
 
Newest Articles
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
   
 
  Big Showdown, The Van Cleef relief
Year: 1972
Director: Giancarlo Santi
Stars: Lee Van Cleef, Horst Frank, Peter O’Brien, Marc Mazza, Jess Hahn, Antonio Casale, Klaus Grünberg, Dominique Darel, Alessandra Cardini, Gastone Pescucci, Elvira Cortese, Anna-Maria Gherardi, Hans Terofal, Mimmio Rizzo, Giovanni Filidoro
Genre: Western, Drama, ActionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: Accused of murdering a local bigwig, Phillip Vermeer (Peter O’Brien) is on the run from bounty hunters. Holed up in rundown town, he is rescued by the enigmatic Sheriff Clayton (Lee Van Cleef), who claims to know who really pulled the trigger and arrests Vermeer for his own protection. Turns out the bounty hunters are really working for David Saxon (Horst Frank) and his brothers, new sheriff Eli (Marc Mazza) and the psychotic Adam (Klaus Grünberg), who use their father’s murder to seize control over the whole town and are angling for Vermeer’s silver mine. Vermeer escapes custody to seek revenge, while ice-cool Clayton bides his time…

Steely-eyed Lee Van Cleef is on fine form here, right from the opening sequence where he strides nonchalantly into a violent town with a dozen rifles aimed at his head. This was the first movie, and apparently the only spaghetti western, directed by Giancarlo Santi who served as assistant director to the great Sergio Leone on Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). Santi does some interesting things with the scope frame, like a chase scene shot from overhead so the participants look like ants scurrying across the mountains, and adds surreal gags like the moment Clayton appears to catch a bullet between his teeth, or when the townsfolk clap their shoes after a gunfight. There are several, well-orchestrated, acrobatic stunts reminiscent of the gimmicky westerns of Gianfranco Parolini.

Like Death Rides A Horse (1967) and The Big Gundown (1966), this pairs Van Cleef with a younger, hot-headed co-star. He and Peter O’Brien (real name: Alberto Dentice - he later enjoyed a successful journalistic career) spar well together, as Vermeer’s escape attempts are repeatedly foiled by Sheriff Clayton’s near-supernatural prescience. The Saxon clan are an intriguingly dysfunctional family of villains, who refer to their late father solely as “the Patriarch.” Presiding over a gang of foppish long-haired hippie types, white-suited, pockmarked, closet homosexual Adam ticks all the spaghetti villain boxes. He positively drools whilst machine-gunning an entire wagon train community. There is a sketchy subplot about Adam’s reluctant, yet politically advantageous marriage to the wealthy Elisabeth (Dominique Darel), whose inexplicable romantic attachment to Vermeer is the victim of either a poor script or awkward editing. Giancarlo Santi has mentioned an elaborate striptease routine was cut from the finished print, but it is this abrupt, nonsensical love story that needs clarification.

Though the narrative sags badly at times, the core mystery is well assembled, one intriguing piece at a time by regular giallo scripter Ernesto Gastaldi. It isn’t too hard to guess the identity of the murderer, although it remains a fun twist. A bigger mystery might be why Clayton waits till the hangman’s rope is around poor Vermeer’s neck before he takes a stand. The climactic four-way standoff is obviously indebted to Leone, but fizzles out rather disappointingly bereft of real tension. Luis Bacalov and Sergio Bardotti’s score is mostly unremarkable, although their spooky, harmonica-driven title theme was used by Quentin Tarantino in Kill Bill (2003).
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 7679 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: