California (Michele Lupo, 1977)


(Stanton) #21

Have rewatched California recently, and even if I see the film now more positive, it still remains a mixed quality work.

The uneveness of the film is obvious.

The 1st half is about the struggle for survival of the confederate soldiers in the aftermath of the civilwar, but similar to The Hellbenders it lacks an interesting enough perspective to catch my interest. Mud combined with washed out colors became long since cliches for showing the war. Also the Vilmos Zsigmond style lighting, which is overused by the photography, had becom still a visual cliche in the late 70s.
But if you watch California you’ll understand easily why these last SWs are often called Twilight Spaghettis.

Then there is a bridging section with a bit farming (made by people who had not the slightest ideas about farming, which in this film disturbed me) and a quickly developed romance to set the basis for the search/revenge of the 2nd half. Too shortly developed to create an emotianal involvement.

The 2nd half then suddenly turns the whole thing into a SW, and even if some elements of the 1st half are still present, most of what we had seen up to this point wasn’t excatly necessary for the rest of California’s runtime.

Now the film surprisingly turns the Raimund Harmstorff character into a tragic figure, who now himself became a victim of the new times, and suddenly there seems to be a not expected connection between Gemma and him. But again this new elements of the story are hardly established, when the film hastily ends in a usual way, instead of intensifying the relationship of the men.

At least California is like all of Lupo SWs often good to look at, with an affectionate production design, several nicely made scenes, but as an overall effect it also leaves me behind a bit unsatisfied.


(Stanton) #22

Something about the music (by Gianni Ferrio).

Like in all of the last attempts to make again a “serious” SW after the heydays of the genre lay still behind, here we have again, instead of the typical Morricone like SW score, a 70s pop music influenced soundtrack. (Compare 4 of the Apocalypse, Keoma, Mannaja, Silver Saddle)

And this one sounds with it’s synthesizer passages and it’s overproduced drum sound terrible to my ears. And rather inappropiate to the movie.


(korano) #23

I had high expectations for this one since I usually like SPW’s that came late in the cycle but was dissapointed by this one. It seems that the beginning is just an over long prelude to the real plot of the story which really actually starts after the second half of the movie. 2 out of 5 stars.


(Phil H) #24

I just posted a review of this one on the database. It seems to be a film which divides opinion but here’s my take on it.

http://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/California_Film_Review


(scherpschutter) #25

I’ve said some things before about disc/film

First the disc:
I didn’t think it was up to any standards
Actually, I found it a rather poor release:

[quote=“scherpschutter, post:7, topic:947”]Image quality is far from great; colours have faded, nearly absent (was it meant to be this way?), and there’s a green shimmering on the right of the screen
The print is widescreen; actually it looks a bit more than the usual 2,35:1
I guess they removed a small strip top and bottom (the parts with most print damage?)

Audio is OK and there are some nice extras: tons of photos, trailer, and best of all an interview with Gemma (in Italian, with only German subs)[/quote]

I think the sets (western town) used in the film, were really delapidated and worn-out
I Keoma they were used to the same effect (watch the opening scene, Nero riding through a town blown apart during the Civil War)

All in all a good film, along with Keoma the best of the twilight spaghettis (haven’t seen Silver Saddle, though)


(Squonkamatic) #26

I actually just sold a DVD of this to a guy named “Roel” from the Netherlands and can’t help but wonder …


(Lasky) #27

4 stars,one of the very best from the tailend of the sw era.


(Col. Douglas Mortimer) #28

Anybody wanna answer my original question?


(Paco Roman) #29

Watched it recently. Is the girl telling California that she is pregnant? ??? Cannot remember such a line. The Dialogue at the end was like this: Helen: Sorry Michael I just couldn’t manage to die. California: We are going home and forget .

I’m also not quite a fan of the soundtrack of California but the Keoma Crying was much more annyoing. The fighting scene between Harmsdorf and Gemma was great. I like this Western with an apocalyptic feeling and found the scenes in the Ghost Town pretty good.


(korano) #30

I hayed th music I must say. Too depressing and not very catchy.


(Paco Roman) #31

The whole movie was a little bit depressing. :’(


(Col. Douglas Mortimer) #32

In my version it goes like this:

Helen: Sorry, I didn’t have the heart to tell you. (refering to her pregnancy?)

California: Its okay. We are going home. (or something like that)

And when California was fighting the bad guy she seemed like she was in a trance or something.


(Stanton) #33

Reset it


(Phil H) #34

[quote=“Col. Douglas Mortimer, post:32, topic:947”]In my version it goes like this:

Helen: Sorry, I didn’t have the heart to tell you. (refering to her pregnancy?)

California: Its okay. We are going home. (or something like that)[/quote]

That’s interesting. The version I have (NEW) has the same dialogue as stated above by Paco Roman.

Is yours english audio or subtitled Len?


(Col. Douglas Mortimer) #35

[quote=“Phil H, post:34, topic:947”]That’s interesting. The version I have (NEW) has the same dialogue as stated above by Paco Roman.

Is yours english audio or subtitled Len?[/quote]

I have an english version. It might be the FC version I’m not sure.


(korano) #36

I just remebered that one thing that really bothered me was the fact that when gemma and bose get into a fight with some cowboys, gemma’s character was a sergeant or something in the war and had to kick all the assesfor bose. While bose was a lieutenant and got the living shit beat out of him by some lowly cowboy! It doesn’t make sense. >:( ???


(AceHigh) #37

korano, the star always is the toughest, no matter his rank :wink:


(AceHigh) #38

Thought this was a fine entry as one of the last of a genre. Gemma was on top of his game, great cast, and a well-moving storyline. One of the great SW scenes with Gemma and the whiskey bottle. IMO certainly better than Keoma or Mannaja. By the way, kudos to all who reviewed this film.


(korano) #39

[quote=“AceHigh, post:37, topic:947”]korano, the star always is the toughest, no matter his rank ;)[/quote]I guess your right. Miguel Bose doesn’t look tough at all.


(Silver) #40

Wasn’t he a singer or something???