HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Lu Over the Wall
She's Funny That Way
Vox Lux
Aftermath, The
Five Fingers for Marseilles
Jupiter's Moon
Favourite, The
Mysteries of the Gods
Coming Home
De Sade
Patti Cake$
Hellbound
Final Destination 2
Romance
Bros: After the Screaming Stops
Cockleshell Heroes, The
Mule, The
Sunday in the Country
Nutcracker Fantasy
Spellcaster
Hipsters
Executive Action
Captain Marvel
Zombie Girl
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Rhinoceros
Monkey King 3, The
Adventurers, The
Stripped to Kill
Daughter of Dr. Jekyll
Aladdin's Magic Lamp
Christopher Robin
Hole in the Ground, The
Daniel
Blue Christmas
Death Trip
She's Missing
Return of the Soldier
Shaft
Summer Lovers
   
 
Newest Articles
The Hole in the Ground: Director Lee Cronin Interview
She's Missing: Director Alexandra McGuinness Interview
Woo's the Boss: Last Hurrah for Chivalry & Hand of Death on Blu-ray
Get Ahead in Showbiz: Expresso Bongo and It's All Happening
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
Tucked: The Derren Nesbitt Interview
Locomotion Pictures: The Best of British Transport Films on Blu-ray
Roman Scandals: Extreme Visions from Ancient Rome
Spider-Wrong and Spider-Right: The Dragon's Challenge and Into the Spider-Verse
Monster Dog: Cujo on Blu-ray
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
Hard Luck Story: Detour on Blu-ray
   
 
  Big Showdown, The Van Cleef reliefBuy this film here.
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, Action
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 6240 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 do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Darren Jones
   

 

Last Updated: