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The Spaghetti Western


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#1 of 128 OFFLINE   Reggie W

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Posted February 26 2008 - 07:09 AM

I wanted to create a thread dedicated to discussion of Spaghetti Westerns as I've just started collecting some of these on DVD. I'd love to hear reviews, recommendations, what is in your collections, what you hope to some day collect etc...

I'm also curious to hear thoughts on some of the companies that have been releasing Spaghetti Westerns on DVD and the quality of their product. As an example here is the list of companies that seem to produce most of the product now available on DVD in region 1:

Anchor Bay

Blue Underground

Fantoma

Wild East


Now one thing that I've noticed right off as I've begun collecting is that the reviews of the quality of these DVDs varies wildly. I guess at times it depends on the reviewer and what they expect but I don't think I've ever seen the same disc called by one person "Criterion quality" and then by another reviewer "Not even worth owning it's so bad."

This has left me quite puzzled and very hesitant to pull the trigger on purchasing anymore discs until I have an idea what is what and who is who. Please if you have any thoughts to share on the product from the companies I would love to hear it. Wild East has me very curious because they seem to be a great company that is tracking down and releasing a lot of Spaghetti product but I've read some very odd stuff and bad reviews of their product. The ones that have me really stumped are several reviews I've read that claim they appear to be producing their new DVDs on what look to be "used discs"...meaning they are badly scratched and covered with fingerprints even though it's a brand new disc. I've also read they have had terrible issues with DVDs that won't play or stop dead or have sound issues.

These are not really things I want to hear before making a purchase but as I've said I've seen some glowing reviews of their product as well so maybe it was the first batch of stuff they ran that had the issues as most of the bad reviews seem to relate to the early releases from them.

Now, I love Spaghetti Westerns and they have been a huge influence on everybody from Peckinpah to Tarantino as most people know. They often feature beautiful cinematography and amazing images. On top of this they are just a hell of a lot of fun. So, I'd love to hear what you guys think are the classics or your favorites outside of the Leone pictures. Of course I own all of the Leone stuff and I also have the following:

The Great Silence

A Bullet for the General

A Reason to Live, A Reason to Die

I'm looking at getting Django and Django Kill next but I'd love to hear thoughts on what films people think I should seek out. As a final note I will say I'm not as big a fan of the comedy Spaghetti's and did not much care for when they went in that direction.

So please fire away!

#2 of 128 OFFLINE   Mario Gauci

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Posted February 26 2008 - 08:59 AM

The Spaghetti Western genre has become one of my favorite branches of the Euro-Cult style. The following are reviews I have written of a number of them (accompanied by my star ratings out of ****) that I have watched over the years. Enjoy!


800 BULLETS (2002) ***:
800 balas (2002) - IMDb user comments

ACQUASANTA JOE (1971) **:
Acquasanta Joe (1971) - IMDb user comments

BETWEEN GOD, THE DEVIL AND A WINCHESTER (1968) **1/2:
Anche nel west c'era una volta Dio (1968) - IMDb user comments

THE MAN FROM NOWHERE (1966) **:
Arizona Colt (1966) - IMDb user comments

BAD MAN’S RIVER (1971) **1/2:
Bad Man's River (1971) - IMDb user comments

SONNY AND JED (1972) **1/2:
Banda J.S.: Cronaca criminale del Far West, La (1972) - IMDb user comments

BANDIDOS (1967) ***:
Bandidos (1967) - IMDb user comments

CAPTAIN APACHE (1971) **:
Captain Apache (1971) - IMDb user comments

BOOT HILL (1969) *1/2:
Collina degli stivali, La (1969) - IMDb user comments

WHITE COMANCHE (1968) **:
Comanche blanco (1968) - IMDb user comments

CUT-THROATS NINE (1972) ***:
Condenados a vivir (1972) - IMDb user comments

RUN MAN RUN (1968) ***:
Corri uomo corri (1968) - IMDb user comments

THE HELLBENDERS (1967) **1/2:
Crudeli, I (1967) - IMDb user comments

DEATH RIDES A HORSE (1967) ***:
Da uomo a uomo (1967) - IMDb user comments

DJANGO (1966) ***:
Django (1966) - IMDb user comments

DJANGO SHOOTS FIRST (1966) **:
Django spara per primo (1966) - IMDb user comments

A SKY FULL OF STARS FOR A ROOF (1968) ***:
...e per tetto un cielo di stelle (1968) - IMDb user comments

SAVAGE GUNS (1971) *1/2:
Era Sam Wallach... lo chiamavano 'così sia' (1971) - IMDb user comments

THE FIVE MAN ARMY (1969) **1/2:
Esercito di cinque uomini, Un (1969) - IMDb user comments

EXECUTION (1968) **:
Execution (1968) - IMDb user comments

FACE TO FACE (1967) ***:
Faccia a faccia (1967) - IMDb user comments

MacCORMACK (1974) **:
Giubbe rosse (1974) - IMDb user comments

THE GREAT SILENCE (1968) ***:
Grande silenzio, Il (1968) - IMDb user comments

FIND A PLACE TO DIE (1968) **1/2:
Joe... cercati un posto per morire! (1968) - IMDb user comments

RINGO AND HIS GOLDEN PISTOL (1966) **1/2:
Johnny Oro (1966) - IMDb user comments

JOHNNY YUMA (1966) **1/2:
Johnny Yuma (1966) - IMDb user comments

JONATHAN OF THE BEARS (1993) **1/2:
Jonathan degli orsi (1993) - IMDb user comments

KEOMA (1976) ***:
Keoma (1976) - IMDb user comments

THIS MAN CAN’T DIE (1967) **:
Lunghi giorni dell'odio, I (1967) - IMDb user comments

MANNAJA: A MAN CALLED BLADE (1977) **1/2:
Mannaja (1977) - IMDb user comments

MATALO! (1970) ***:
¡Mátalo! (1970) - IMDb user comments

A PROFESSIONAL GUN (1968) ***:
Mercenario, Il (1968) - IMDb user comments

MINNESOTA CLAY (1965) **1/2:
Minnesota Clay (1965) - IMDb user comments

A MINUTE TO PRAY, A SECOND TO DIE (1967) ***:
Minuto per pregare, un instante per morire, Un (1968) - IMDb user comments

THE FIGHTING FIST OF SHANGAI JOE (1973) **1/2:
Mio nome è Shangai Joe, Il (1972) - IMDb user comments

TODAY IT’S ME…TOMORROW YOU (1968) ***:
Oggi a me... domani a te! (1968) - IMDb user comments

A MAN CALLED AMEN (1968) **1/2:
O tutto o niente (1968) - IMDb user comments

PANCHO VILLA (1972) **:
Pancho Villa (1972) - IMDb user comments

FORT YUMA GOLD (1966) **:
Per pochi dollari ancora (1966) - IMDb user comments

A PISTOL FOR RINGO (1965) ***:
Pistola per Ringo, Una (1965) - IMDb user comments

THE PRICE OF POWER (1969) ***:
Prezzo del potere, Il (1969) - IMDb user comments

KILL AND PRAY (1967) **1/2:
Requiescant (1967) - IMDb user comments

THE BIG GUNDOWN (1966) ***:
Resa dei conti, La (1966) - IMDb user comments

ROY COLT AND WINCHESTER JACK (1970) **:
Roy Colt e Winchester Jack (1970) - IMDb user comments

SARTANA IN THE VALLEY OF DEATH (1970) **:
Sartana nella valle degli avvoltoi (1970) - IMDb user comments

SILVER SADDLE (1978) **1/2:
Sella d'argento (1978) - IMDb user comments

DJANGO, KILL! (IF YOU LIVE SHOOT!) (1967) ***:
Se sei vivo spara (1967) - IMDb user comments

CAN BE DONE…AMIGO (1972) **1/2:
Si può fare... amigo (1972) - IMDb user comments

RED SUN (1971) ***:
Soleil rouge (1971) - IMDb user comments

TEPEPA (1968) ***:
Tepepa (1968) - IMDb user comments

A TOWN CALLED BASTARD (1971) *1/2:
A Town Called Hell (1971) - IMDb user comments

THE LAST KILLER (1967) *1/2:
Ultimo killer, L' (1967) - IMDb user comments

THE LAST PISTOLERO (2002) **1/2:
Ultimo pistolero, L' (2002) - IMDb user comments

ANY GUN CAN PLAY (1967) **:
Vado... l'ammazzo e torno (1967) - IMDb user comments

COMPANEROS (1970) **1/2:
Vamos a matar, compañeros (1970) - IMDb user comments

WESTERN, ITALIAN STYLE (1968) **1/2:
Western, Italian Style (1968) (TV) - IMDb user comments

#3 of 128 OFFLINE   Reggie W

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Posted February 26 2008 - 11:43 AM

Wow! Thank you very much, Mario, for that contribution to this thread. You've got things rolling here in fantastic fashion! I'm enjoying reading your reviews and this is very helpful.

I have to ask after reading your review of Matalo what was your "unhappy experience with Wild East's edition of THE MAN FROM NOWHERE (1966)"
as this sort of follows other comments I've seen about discs from Wild East...

#4 of 128 OFFLINE   flagbrothers

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Posted February 27 2008 - 12:11 AM

I enjoy spaghettiwesterns too. Here is a link for reviews and poster art of various titles.


Welcome To Shobary's Spaghetti Westerns

Mondo Esoterica - Spaghetti Western DVD Reviews

EUROWESTERN

#5 of 128 OFFLINE   JohnRice

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Posted February 27 2008 - 03:39 AM

I think a big part of the erratic reviews is because an awful lot of online "reviewers" think everything should look like Transformers, as in, being ultra saturated and grainless. The fact is, film has grain and that is not a bad thing. Plus, these features are typically low budget, so they don't always look stellar.

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#6 of 128 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted February 27 2008 - 08:09 AM

Thanks for the wonderful links as references, Perry and Mario. I love the SW films I've seen so far, but I've just dabbled in the genre compared to what you have provided. So far, I own and have watched:

A Fistful of Dollars
For A Few Dollars More
The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
Once Upon a Time in the West
A Fistful of Dynamite
A Bullet for the General
Django!
Django Kill
Keoma
Mannaja: A Man Called Blade
Companeros
Run Man Run

Like Reggie, I would be interested in recommendations of where to venture next. A search of "spaghetti western" on Amazon shows a lot of choices, including some inexpensive collections from a company called St Clair Entertainment Group. I'm usually very cautious of such collections, as the quality can be very poor and sometimes the companies do not own the rights to the films.

#7 of 128 OFFLINE   Simon Howson

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Posted February 27 2008 - 02:14 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRice
I think a big part of the erratic reviews is because an awful lot of online "reviewers" think everything should look like Transformers, as in, being ultra saturated and grainless. The fact is, film has grain and that is not a bad thing. Plus, these features are typically low budget, so they don't always look stellar.
A lot of spaghetti Westerns were shot in 2 perf Techniscope which is grainier than other 2.35:1 widescreen formats. So it is possible they are responding to that as well.

I think Techniscope films are pretty cool, it was much easier to get extreme depth of field when working with spherical lenses on such a small camera aperture.

#8 of 128 OFFLINE   Eric Ten

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Posted February 27 2008 - 05:31 PM

For the non -Leone's I recommend...
Sergio Sollima
THE BIG GUNDOWN
FACCIA A FACCIA
Run Man Run is ok
Sergio Corbucci
DJANGO
COMPENEROS
THE MERCENARY AKA A PROFESSIONAL GUN
NAVAJO JOE {may in region 1}
xploited dvd have a good selection if you have a region free player.
Keoma is good.
four of the apocalypse is twisted,Lucio Fulci style. but has interesting stuff in it.
A Bullet for the General is excellent.As to a discussion ,I personally like the more political spaghetti's like A Bullet for the General or The Big Gundown, but straight up revenge like Death Rides A Horse or Sabata is cool. My question is, where can I find a good copy of Corbucci's Il Mercenario aka A Professional Gun? A Sollima or Corbucci box set would be nice, like they did for Mario Bava.

#9 of 128 OFFLINE   Reggie W

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Posted February 28 2008 - 03:35 AM

I do think there is the issue that many reviewers don't know much about Spaghetti Westerns and how they typically look, sound (the dubbing), and feel. So I do agree with John and Simon that many reviews have to be thrown out due to this fact. As an example I have the Wild East version of A Reason to Live, A Reason to Die and I think the disc is great. Picture quality as compared to other versions I've seen is outstanding. For an obscure film of this age this is a fine transfer. Sure, you can pick it apart but where would you find a better transfer of this? Also they use somebody else to dub Coburn's lines in the Wild East version and this bothers a lot of people but the quality of the picture and the fact that Wild East put together what amounts to a complete version of the film (I have other versions under different titles like Massacre at Fort Holman that are at least 30 minutes shorter but have Coburn's voice) is a pretty good trade off for not having Coburn doing his own dubbing.

So I certainly dismiss many reviews just based on what John is saying...these people expect too much from 60s and 70s stuff shot on the cheap in Europe.

Hey and like Simon says (ha!) I like when a transfer "looks like film", I don't have a problem with grain.

#10 of 128 OFFLINE   Reggie W

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Posted February 28 2008 - 03:38 AM

Great links! Thanks Perry.

#11 of 128 OFFLINE   Reggie W

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Posted February 28 2008 - 03:45 AM

Scott (and anybody else that has seen it),

Without giving out plot info what are your thoughts on Django Kill? It seems people feel this is a very strange film and I'd love to hear if you liked this. I have heard it's almost a half western, half horror film...is this the case?

Like Eric I also like the political Spaghetti Westerns but I'm open to anything people think is a good film.

I'm curious Eric, have you seen Django Kill and did you like it if so?

#12 of 128 OFFLINE   Eric Ten

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Posted February 28 2008 - 04:13 PM

I own DJANGO KILL, and although not as strange as say, EL TOPO. it is less satisfying in terms of being a traditional spaghetti for most. I think it is surreal and it concentrates on the brutality of violence, the editing is excellent. The film doesn't have what you expect, but it has something different and is full of great ideas. I give it four bullets out of five.I think it's one of those films you have to watch a couple times to really get into it.

#13 of 128 OFFLINE   WadeM

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Posted February 29 2008 - 12:13 PM

Mario's really got a good list there. Django and Django Kill are fine choices for entries into the genre outside of Leone. Django Kill doesn't play like a horror, so I wouldn't let that throw you.

#14 of 128 OFFLINE   R-T-C Tim

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Posted February 29 2008 - 09:23 PM

If you really want to get into SWs a region-free player is essential. The Germans and Italians have released a slew of titles over the past few years, a great many with English options of some sort. The quality varies heavily, but there are some real gems with the sort of print quality you would never find on a PD R1 disc.

Glad to see that my site is already posted above, but just to pick out some recommended import titles:
Django Box - two very impressive and little known Gianni Garko films.
Death Rides a Horse - the official UK/Aus release from MGM looks great and the film is one of the best in the genre.
Death Sentence - makes 'Django Kill' seem normal, a really weird film.
The Great Silence - top 5 film and the UK DVD has the superior Italian audio track.
I Giorni Della Violenza - a forgotten gem
Johnny Hamlet - a top 5 SW and a must see title.
Viva Django - one of the most enjoyable SWs with a great Terence Hill lead performance
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#15 of 128 OFFLINE   Reggie W

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Posted March 02 2008 - 06:22 AM

A lot of great info and your site is fantastic, Tim. I did pick up Django the other day because it has such a major reputation. I found it to be a good film but not one of the better Spaghetti westerns. A bit on the generic side.

I was actually kind of curious to see a horror/western Spaghetti and some of these titles that you guys are calling very "odd" have me curious to see them. I like the idea that there are films that are a mix of gothic horror and western that in part inspired Eastwood's "High Plains Drifter" which I think is a great film.

#16 of 128 OFFLINE   Eric Ten

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Posted March 03 2008 - 03:36 AM

For horror westerns, I would recommend CUT-THROATS NINE, it has a ghost in it, and is the most nihilistic flick, even more than THE GREAT SILENCE, I just ordered DEATH SENTENCE, looks great. Thanks.

#17 of 128 OFFLINE   Bob Graham

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Posted March 03 2008 - 12:39 PM

For fans of Spaghetti Westerns, I heartily recommend SACCO E VANZETTI. Sure it takes place in Massachusetts in 1920, but it's a Spaghetti Western, trust me. Image released it on DVD in R1 but it is out of print (but still worth tracking down).

#18 of 128 OFFLINE   Reggie W

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Posted March 05 2008 - 11:29 PM

What makes Sacco & Vanzetti qualify as a western? I'm well aware of the history but have not seen the film and can't see the connection.

#19 of 128 OFFLINE   Mario Gauci

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Posted March 07 2008 - 07:11 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Ten
For horror westerns, I would recommend CUT-THROATS NINE, it has a ghost in it, and is the most nihilistic flick, even more than THE GREAT SILENCE, I just ordered DEATH SENTENCE, looks great. Thanks.


Tim and Eric,


Where is the best (i.e. cheapest) place to order DEATH SENTENCE (1968) online? It seems like this one slipped right past me until Tim mentioned it and, having read up on it on the 'Net and elsewhere, it looks to be quite unmissable.

I've already checked Xploited Cinema (which offers it at a rather hefty $24.95) and Amazon.de (where it is priced at a more reasonable EUR11.99 - but, unfortunately, I can't make heads or tails of the German-only info available on the site!).

Thanks a lot for any forthcoming help.

#20 of 128 OFFLINE   R-T-C Tim

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Posted March 07 2008 - 10:05 AM

Amazon UK have it for just £4.98 - I assume they ship to the US but don't know much about postage costs etc.

If you don't already have it, you might want to add the UK release of 'The Great Silence' to your order - the UK DVD includes the superior Italian audio track with English subs.
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