Chino / Valdez, il mezzosangue (John Sturges, Duilio Coletti, 1973)


(korano) #1

Just saw this film a little while back and thought it was satisfying. I wasn’t expecting too much action based on the reviews I read but it’s still very good. Never really boring. Well, the Indians I thought were an unwelcome adition here and did slow some stuff up. But when talking about this one, I’m sure Great Silence will come into the discussion. A very interesting ending.


(Stanton) #2

Great Silence?

And the Indians are what the film is about. Or not?


(korano) #3

GS because of the ending. A pinch pessimestic.

Yes, this is about Indians but the main character is an anglicized indian. Not a tribal. And a loner. Why couldn’t they leave it like that is what I’m saying.

Share your opinion instead of questioning mine if it’s no trouble.


(Stanton) #4
  1. Of course it’s pessimistic, but there are lots of pessimistic westerns in the 70s. You can even say pessimism was en vogue in westerns in these days.
    (That’s btw one of the reasons why they lost their audience. Westerns had changed from blatant optimism to blatant pessimism. But pessimism is not a message you can sell too often.)

But TGS is too special to be compared to any other western. I still can’t think of any other genre film which has done an end similar to TGS. (The Wicker Man for example is different enough cause there isn’t a hero, there isn’t a “good guy” in it)

  1. I think the film is interested to widen the sole perspective of Chino’s problems to the general perspective of the vanishing Indians. And that’s done by the few scenes in the reservation.

  2. I have used the question form because I was a bit surprised about your views in this case.

I don’t see generally a great difference between sharing and questioning, if I have another opinion. It’s only another way to express me. And it’s always free for discussion. No offense meant, of course.


(korano) #5

Well, you certainly know what your talking about. And I suppose I agree. But to me, know matter how importantit was to chino’s storyline, I still found their inclusion dull no matter how necessary. Or maybe because I am a man of none too simple taste but cinematic Indians are always prtrayed a little too simple to my eyes. But still are portrayed so often in this waythat seeing them here only makes it feel likecountless other westerns with Whooping indians who stare and look noble while talking in chopped English that can be very cliched.

The type of Indian I usually enjoy is that of Chief Dan George who has the all knowing appearance and no t the low brow stare. But a punderous pose. And his poetic speeches in Josey Wales add a depth to all Indians. But seeing Spaniards in wigs go through the silent indian cliche is a bit tedious.

But what I appreciated about Chino is the image of days in a life of a man almost literally between worlds. Not just in a cultural sense, because he is almost completely anglicized, but in a sense about his very existance. He lives the life commonly accepted by Whites but has his face spat in like an Indian. S maybe what I man to say is that he is between world’s in an acceptance sense. Or maybe I’m putting too much thought into this?

Oh, and no offense taken or meant :wink:


(ENNIOO) #6

Viewed this one a few times now over the years. Much better than Sturge’s previous western in my view, even though I cannot really tell he directs the film when compared to some of his epics of the 60’s. Bronson could have easily been shot at the end of the film, and I would have liked that ending. Bronson is his usual self, unlike the last western I viewed him in From Noon Till Three.


(scherpschutter) #7

I still have to watch the entire movie

It was on television a while ago and I started watching halfway or so and discovered I had never seen it because I had always mixed the thing up with Chato’s Land!


(Stanton) #8

[quote=“korano, post:5, topic:1880”]Well, you certainly know what your talking about. And I suppose I agree. But to me, know matter how importantit was to chino’s storyline, I still found their inclusion dull no matter how necessary. Or maybe because I am a man of none too simple taste but cinematic Indians are always prtrayed a little too simple to my eyes. But still are portrayed so often in this waythat seeing them here only makes it feel likecountless other westerns with Whooping indians who stare and look noble while talking in chopped English that can be very cliched.

The type of Indian I usually enjoy is that of Chief Dan George who has the all knowing appearance and no t the low brow stare. But a punderous pose. And his poetic speeches in Josey Wales add a depth to all Indians. But seeing Spaniards in wigs go through the silent indian cliche is a bit tedious.

But what I appreciated about Chino is the image of days in a life of a man almost literally between worlds. Not just in a cultural sense, because he is almost completely anglicized, but in a sense about his very existance. He lives the life commonly accepted by Whites but has his face spat in like an Indian. S maybe what I man to say is that he is between world’s in an acceptance sense. Or maybe I’m putting too much thought into this?

Oh, and no offense taken or meant ;)[/quote]

See, the questions were meant for getting these type of responses or discussions, which dig deeper into the subject. There were lately too less interesting discussions here in the forum. For my taste.
And sometimes a small “provocation” ain’t too bad. But in this case no provocation was intended. I was only lurking for some more explanations.

And I don’t think you put too much thought into it. He is surely a man between the cultures. A half-breed. And the Indians accept him more than the Whites.

Frankly, I do not remember exactly if these “Spanish Indians” look in Chino as fake as they usually do in SWs. At least I didn’t remember them being annoying.

But I also never had problems with Lancaster in Apache.
And on the other hand, if the cowboys in westerns are seldom (never?) portrayed accurately, why should the Indians look more real?


(ENNIOO) #9

Never thought the Indians looked fake looking… guess I am used to seeing wigs in films.


(korano) #10

[quote=“Stanton, post:8, topic:1880”]See, the questions were meant for getting these type of responses or discussions, which dig deeper into the subject. There were lately to less interesting discussions here in the forum. For my taste.
And sometimes a small “provocation” ain’t too bad. But in this case no provocation was intended. I was only lurking for some more explanations.

And I don’t think you put too much thought into it. He is surely a man between the cultures. A half-breed. And the Indians accept him more than the Whites.

Frankly, I do not remember exactly if these “Spanish Indians” look in Chino as fake as they usually do in SWs. At least I didn’t remember them being annoying.

But I also never had problems with Lancaster in Apache.
And on the other hand, if the cowboys in westerns are seldom (never?) portrayed accurately, why should the Indians look more real?[/quote]

I see that now and maybe cause you called my bluffiswhy I went defensive. Sorry.


(Stanton) #11

There was nothing to be sorry for.


(korano) #12

You never know when you can’t see the other person.


(The Highweed Kid) #13

The look of the Indians in Chino really seems to be inspired by the Cheyennes seen in Little Big Man. I was reminded of Little Big Man as soon as Chino and the boy got to the reservation. Even the boy’s seduction by the Indian girl reminded me of Jack Crabb and his Indian wives.


(chuck connors brother) #14

How does this look compared to other releases? It’s from the Australian DVD


(korano) #15

terrible. The Italian DVD has awesome picture quality and I think english. I got mine from CG a while ago and it said Italian DVD.


(chuck connors brother) #16

It looks pretty good compared to the VHS ripped releases. Can’t find screenshots for this movie anywhere.


(The Stranger) #17

I do not think that the film has many spaghetti westerns elements.
The score is reminiscent of some '70s dramas.
There is almost no action. No shooting. No coolness.
Then there are also Indians. I always thought Indians do not belong in a spaghetti Western.

For me a bad attempt to give the genre new impulse.
My Rating 3 / 10


(chuck connors brother) #18

I was impressed with this… the way they filmed the horses and a great score, I wouldn’t mind Bronson being my dad after seeing this. I didn’t expect a Spaghetti Western… i’d have to give it no less than a 9/10.

The version I saw was fullscreen… but a really nice clear picture.


(Richard--W) #19

Although filmed in Almeria, Spain and staffed by an Italian and Spanish crew and actors, VALDEZ HORSES is not a spaghetti western. A spaghetti western is essentially about seeking reward or vengeance through violent action. That’s why we like spaghetti westerns. VALDEZ HORSES has some action, and some violence, but it’s not about revenge or reward, and it doesn’t segue into mythological themes about gunfighters. It is essentially a character-driven drama about giving up what you love in order to save it from destruction. It’s also a bittersweet romance. Chino Valdez finds some happiness in mentoring an orphan and romancing an English lady who obviously loves him, but in the end, he has to give up everything. He is a halfbreed who is not fully accepted in either culture. This is a thoughtful and intelligent drama, adapted from a popular novel by an influential western author, scripted by a respected western author, and directed by an acknowledged expert of the genre. The film plays out on the plausible scale and realistic scale. It’s cinematic brothers are THE MISFITS (1961), HUD (1963), and THE LAST PICTURE SHOW (1971) except that it’s a period piece. I find it a satisfying western drama. I enjoy the interaction between Charles Bronson and Jill Ireland. They clearly enjoy working together, their scenes ring true emotionally, and she brings out a light in his eyes that isn’t just acting. I also enjoy the footage of wild horses and wrangling which everybody works hard to get right.

Does anyone know why John Sturges was replaced by Duilio Coletti?
How much of the film did Sturges direct, and what did Coletti direct?

VALDEZ HORSES wasn’t a box-office success in the USA. Perhaps audiences expected an action film, or a spaghetti western and were disappointed to find out it wasn’t either, or perhaps they stayed away because it was sold as an action film / spaghetti western. Since the film makers clearly intended to make a period drama, perhaps the distributors didn’t know how to market the film. In any case VALDEZ HORSES is an under-rated gem that merits another chance on home video.

In view of the quality of the film, the presence of a big star whose films remain popular on home video, and an A-list director, it is surprising that VALDEZ HORSES doesn’t have a decent release in the USA. Is there a widescreen, anamorphic print somewhere in the world? There is a Momentum/Arrow DVD and a Optimum DVD in the U.K., but are they widescreen and anamorphic, or pan & scanned? And how is the picture quality?

All the public domain editions in the USA look like crap.

Richard


(Stanton) #20

[quote=“Richard–W, post:19, topic:1880”]In view of the quality of the film, the presence of a big star whose films remain popular on home video, and an A-list director, it is surprising that VALDEZ HORSES doesn’t have a decent release in the USA. Is there a widescreen, anamorphic print somewhere in the world? There is a Momentum/Arrow DVD and a Optimum DVD in the U.K., but are they widescreen and anamorphic, or pan & scanned? And how is the picture quality?

All the public domain editions in the USA look like crap.[/quote]

The original aspect ratio of this oen is 1,85:1 or maybe even only 1,66:1. I doubt that there ever was pan & scan version, as this does not make much sense for a film which could easily be shown in 4:3 open matte.
All DVDs and all TV versions I have seen so far were 1,33:1 and open matte.

I also think that this is surely not a SW.

About your question about the directors, we can’t be sure if this other director really had directed any substantial parts of the film, or if he only was named for the usual co-production reasons.If he ever was named on one version. He was one of the producers, so maybe he interfered. Maybe the Giusti book can tell us more about this.

And here is late, but not too late, the database link.

http://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Valdez,_il_mezzosangue