HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Come True
Kagemusha
Justine
Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché
Madchen in Uniform
Fire Will Come
Suspect
Jailbreak Pact
News of the World
Dementer
Beyond Clueless
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Blush
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
Archenemy
Zappa
Mindwarp
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
Greenland
Broil
Dead Pigs
Willy's Wonderland
It's in the Air
School's Out Forever
Breeder
Stump the Guesser
Sator
Last Warning, The
PVT CHAT
Ascent, The
   
 
Newest Articles
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 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 7255 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
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
   

 

Last Updated: