Written by: Giuseppe Rijitano on September 2nd, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: Italy/UK/Spain, August, 1973
Director: Peter Collinson
Writers: Scott Finch (screenplay), Louis L’Amour (novel), Antonio Recoder (screenplay)
Cast: Richard Crenna, Stephen Boyd, Rosanna Schiaffino, Farley Granger, Patty Shepard, Ángel del Pozo, Howard Ross, Aldo Sambrell.
DVD released: August 23rd, 2010
Approximate running time: 92 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 15 (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Odeon Entertainment
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £14.99
“They Buried The Wrong Man. He Won’t Make The Same Mistake.” – Poster tagline.
Once upon a time in the old west….while getting dressed in his fancy 2nd floor boudoir an unnamed bloke (Richard Crenna) gets shot at through his window. Luckily enough the bullet bounces off his noggin and he survives but being a bit of a prat he decides the most efficient way out of the situation is face first through a closed window so out he goes and smacks down into the street outside. There’s a whole posse after him now so quite inexplicably our painseeking protagonist finds another closed window and smashes head first through it into another building. After a few more knocks to the head he makes it to a train and sneaks aboard. When he comes to he finds himself suffering from amnesia, possibly due to some cranial trauma – no shit! And so with the aid of scraggly rail bum/outlaw gunfighter Rimes (Stephen Boyd) he sets about finding out who he is, where he’s from and more importantly why the hell there’s a shitload of people trying to kill him. A journey that will lead him to discover that he may be the notorious legendary gunslinger Rubel Noon, responsible for countless deaths and wanted by the law for his many crimes.
First ever DVD release of this cult classic British made spaghetti western. Filmed in Spain in 1973 and helmed by UK born director Peter Collinson that made his name with flicks like The Italian Job. Based on a popular novel by prolific author of westerns Louis L’Amour and adapted for the screen by actor/writer Scott Finch.
This is a uniquely odd mix of noir story elements told through a spaghetti western style movie structure of dust filled ghost towns, forbidding canyons and extreme close-ups. The amnesiac man on the run plot becomes increasingly convoluted and confusing as the story progresses but whereas the best spaghetti westerns used grand style to cover up their plot deficiencies here we have no such visual flair. To be fair though Collinson is a competent enough director and nicely emulates the established spaghetti style only to the extent that you find yourself spotting familiar and less well executed camera tricks from better films unfortunately. Crenna (Rambo’s Colonel Trautman) is an odd choice for a leading man action hero, he certainly has the look and the screen presence but his over the top fight scenes and headers out of windows just look ridiculous and awkward. Stephen Boyd (Ben-Hur’s Messala) is a bit of a mumbling mess here, almost unrecognizable under his scruffy beard, but his performance does have a certain drawling charm.
Special mention must go to Farley Granger as the rather well played villain of the piece, introduced a little too late in the movie to make much of an impact however and the criminally underused Italian beauty Rosanna Schiaffino as the ridiculously named Fan Davidge. The location filming is surprisingly effective with a red sand box canyon locale and ruined forts that all look just a little offbeat and grim. The sets are also very well done with Rubel Noon’s hideout featuring a truly impressive batcave round the back making for one of the movie’s best what-the-fuck moments. And the schizophrenic soundtrack is a real trip, everything but the kitchen sink seems to be used, including the pots and pans!
An oddity even in the weird and wonderful word of 70’s spaghetti westerns that’s worth seeking out for genre fans only.
Digitally remastered from the original negatives the 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer looks very good indeed for such a lost cult flick; details are excellent, blacks are solid with good contrast levels and vivid colors (though they appear rarely) and there is very little noticeable dirt/print damage. The mono audio track is clean and clear with only a little minor background noise throughout.
The only extras are a short photo gallery and a trailer for Hannie Caulder.