California (Michele Lupo, 1977)

(Asa) #161

Just watched this. Thought it was very good indeed. Yes, it was a “game of two halves” as they say but I enjoyed both parts of it. Mr. Gemma was as good as I’ve ever seen him, Raimund Harmstorf was fantastic as the principal antagonist and everybody else was strong too (well, Miguel Bose was a trifle over-demonstrative but I guess the role was calling for that). And it looked beautiful. I love that ruined look. Score was good if a little over-mournful and occasionally a little too 1970’s if that makes any sense but generally it complemented the picture well. Might just be my favourite Gemma movie (it’s either this or The Price of Power).

(Mickey13) #162

Glad you enjoyed it. I guess it’s high time I revisited the flick. Even if the work isn’t immaculately structurally constructed, I still venerate its downbeat tone and sepulchral landscapes.

(Reverend Danite) #163

Wow! :slight_smile:
Crepuscular and “sepulchral” - no wonder this is such a good film!

(gringo_bastardo) #164

I wish it turns out to be that. My “Italowestern Enzyklopädie No.2” arrived to post office yesterday but I did not have time to pick it up. Well, monday then…

(morgan) #165

“A masterpiece and a true work of art.” I’ll drink to that. The last of the great SWs. And it was given to Gemma.

(Stanton) #166

I still think California is closer to crap than to a masterpiece.

(morgan) #167

1965: Gemma in a Pistol for Ringo. 1966: Nero in Django. 1976: Nero in Keoma. 1977: Gemma in California. One of those beautiful moments of symmetry in history!

(Mickey13) #168

OK, my statement was an exaggeration, but I’d still call California a beautiful late spaghetti western. Can’t forget those Storaresque, crimson beams of dusk making their way through the windows of the Preston’s hut.

(Stanton) #169

Looks more like a cheap imitation of Zsigmind by one who has not he talent for such things. Not the right taste.

(Mickey13) #170

Well, the cinematography might not be that super, top-notch and so on (Storaro or Zsigmond it is not), but it generally chimes with the wistful aura of the film. I like it. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so don’t spank me, please Stanton. :wink:

(Stanton) #171


(kung fu gunman) #172

4/5. Very different from most of the SWs I’ve seen. The hero of the movie is not the fastest gun in the west, but he’s a very likeable guy. I like downbeat movies like this where tragedies happen in the blink of an eye, everybody is always hungry, always dirty. William Berger is brilliant in his small role. It turns into more of a traditional SW at the end with the hero taking revenge. The furious final fight reminded me of JCVD vs Dolph in Universal Soldier Regeneration.

I need to watch this one again soon. I might have missed something. At the start of the movie California seemed like he was going somewhere before he met his new friend. Where was he going?


I’ve seen the trailer for this and it looks great, but is their a region free dvd or blu ray with english audio or english subtitles?

(Asa) #174

I won’t pretend that the picture quality is pristine,but it’s 25 spags (one of which - Execution - comes with neither English audio OR subs) crammed on a single blu-ray disc for under $10. Looked at for what it is, it’s a decent enough little purchase, and California’s on there somewhere, in English. It’s an excellent spag, fwiw.


Thanks. just ordered it. Can’t wait.I see Adios Gringo, My name is Peco’s, May God Forgive you, and Twice a Judas are also in this set were on my upcoming watch list anyway. If nothing else California for 10$ is well worth it since I’ve paid around 90.00 for the dirty outlaws, around 60 or so for day of anger (wild east) and quite a lot for ben and charlie ( wild east). I have never been able to find Johnny Yuma ( wild east) but the copy I have is viewable, I just find wild east to be of above average quality.

(Søren) #176

I would (and I have actually done that) invest in the Italowestern Enzyklopädie No.2 from Koch Media:

Got California, God Forgives… His Life Is Mine, Kill the Wicked! and Those Dirty Dogs all with English dub. Usual great Koch Media-quality. Non-region free dvds really shouldn’t be a problem.

(chuck connors brother) #177

I don’t know about the 2nd but the first Italowestern - Enzyklopädie is region free

(Søren) #178

Oh it might very well be. They all specify region 2 on the box but that doesn’t really mean anything. But again isn’t dvd region freedomness something that was an issue 15 years ago? All the dvd players I ever bought was region free out of the box or could be made region free by a couple of clicks on the remote. Blu-ray region free players are a totally different animal.


After viewing this, I find it to be my favorite of the “twlight” spaghetti westerns. This entire film is depressing as hell, violent, bleak and downright dim. Guilano Gemma is brillant as Michael Random/California. (Gemma’s most serious role, and my favorite spaghetti western of his) At the end of the civil war, California is released from prison camp and must start a new life with no family, no home, and few supplies. California does gain one friend, named Willie Preston, Preston offers California to come and stay with him, but not all goes according to plan. Willie is killed, and California takes it upon himself to go to Wilie’s ranch to deliver the bad news. California gets work from Willie’s father, and falls in love with Willie’s sister, who is eventually kidnapped. This forces California to become the cold killer he was in the war. So glad I got to see this. worth every minute, and is one of my top ten favorite sapghetti westerns. This is no “Ben and Charlie” film thats for sure.


Yes, California is my second favorite spaghetti western of the 1970’s ( not far behind Shoot the Living… Pray for the dead 1971) Unlike the other “twlight” spaghetti westerns, this one seems very authentic. I can imagine a man coming home from the civil war in a situation nearly identical California’s. Gemma’s best performance, by far.