Wow! I re-watched this film after a decade or so (the
first time from the Blue Underground DVD) and this time from
the German Klaus Kinski western collection, and it looked great also
this time in anamorphic widescreen 2.35:1 and
with english audio DD 2.0 with 2 options: an old synchronisation/dub
or a new one. In the old dub everyone speaks
english and in the new one some (the locals, small roles) speaks spanish
and the main roles speaks english.
There are also an italian dub and, as this is a German edition, also
a german audio dub. German subtitles available
And, i was as impressed this time as when i watched it the 1st time.
Gian Maria Volonté as El
Chucho, Andrea Checchi as Don Felipe and Carla Gravina as Rosaria
It's a Masterpiece of the genre. One of the Political
spaghetti westerns and in this reflecting the revolutionary times
1960's. It's absolutely Brutal and Dark with it's
violence and everyone killing everyone in the 1914 Mexico, just like
the philosopher Thomas Hobbes once said - "Homo homini lupus
est" and .... just as they're killing each other today in
Mexico due to criminal gangs fighting about controlling the narcotics
trade to the USA.
Homo homini lupus - Man is Wolf to Man
It's also epical looking, grand in scale for a spaghetti western,
if not up on the Leone production level of visuals. OK, i'm
getting older and sometimes the violence makes me feel bad, as the
brutality in this film do, especially in the impressive
early scene - with the attack on the train. The killing of all the
army soldiers, the joyful killing that is, the members of the
Chucho gang really enjoys the Killing, and i've no doubt the army
soldiers as much enjoys killing the revolutionaries.
Really depressing and a bleak outlook on the world and the humans
.... maybe WW3 will end human life on this planet as
we know it, only the slime leaders that ordered the nuclear missiles
will be alive in their atom safe bunkers deep down
under the surface of the earth, hiding like the cockroaches they are.
Yes, i know, this sounds a bit depressing, i'm sorry, but when writing
this October has arrived and i guess the Autumn
Blues has hit me. Being a mexican soldier vs. bandits in a spaghetti
western, or a poor mexican peon vs. yankee "heroes"
in a racist Hollywood western, or an underling to a gangster boss
in an asian martial arts action - Not the ideal job and
with a 99 % chance of being slaughtered
El Santo - Klaus Kinski as the
priest, the half-brother of El Chucho and a member of the gang
The Story - Warning for Spoilers below
The year is 1914 and there's a revolution going on
in Mexico. A criminal gang led by El Chucho (Gian Maria Volonté)
robbing a train carrying army weapons and ammunition and slaughters
all the soldiers.
They will support the revolution by then selling all the weapons and
bullets to the leader of the uprising, General Elias,
and Chucho, besides enjoying the murdering also do have a social conscience,
a feeling for the poor people, which leads
up to the AMAZING ending of this film, maybe the best ending to any
western film, Ever.
An ice-cold young american, the yankee, El Gringo or El Niño
(Lou Castel) infiltrates the gang and becomes a member.
El Chucho likes the kid even though some of the members, as Adelita
(Martine Beswick) are sceptical of the yankees
intentions. And Bill Tate do have an agenda of his own .... i guess
the english title of this film does give a clue.
The El Chucho gang starts a series of attacks on military
camps to get their hands on more weapons and stuff to the
General. They stay for a while in the village of San Miguel, which
have risen against their "oppressors" and joined the
revolution, and i think this is the most memorable part of the film.
When Chucho has to deal with the former Big man in
the city, the rich Don Felipe (played nicely by the great Andrea Checchi)
and this scenes made me feel bad.
Yes, i'm sensitive i know, but the scenes with his family, his old
mother wondering what's going on with all the locals
and armed men suddenly entering their quiet elegant home, and his
young wife Rosaria (played also very memorable by
Carla Gravina) fighting for their home and for her husbands life,
El Chucho delivering the old aristocrat to the village for the execution,
and this in a memorable scene, driving in Felipe's
automobile and with Don Felipe himself doing the driving as he's the
only who knows to drive a car, an automobile, a
new thing and a oddity then. Later we se Don Felipe lying murdered
in the gutter, as forgotten garbage. At the end we're
told that the whole village has been slaughtered by the army in a
revenge raid, and the bloodshed just goes on and on ...
Volonté and Castel are both very good in the
main roles, the lively likeable one with a social conscience and the
likeable scheming one, a great couple. Director Damiani can be seen
briefly in the general's camp at the end.
I really like this film and this must be one of the greatest Spaghetti
westerns ever made (but it's also a drama about the
cruelties of war and with a revolutionary context fitting a film from
the second part of the red 1960's).
The Soundtrack is made by Luis Bacalov under the supervision of Ennio
Extras : Damiano Damiani: What is a Western? (12 min,
in italian without english subtitles but with german subs) interview
with the old director, Lou Castel: The Western is Boring (22 min in
english) - born in 1943 in Colombia, but is he italian
or swedish? He has acted in everything from art movies with renowned
directors as Fassbinder and Visconti to grade C
films and exploitation, and also in the really obscure swedish "Gangsterfilmen"
from 1974 (i saw it in a Cinema once),
3 trailers and a picture gallery.
The Old US Blue Underground DVD also had a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen
presentation with an english mono audio
and an international and US trailer as extra