Thanks to a rather nice forum member ::), I was able to watch the TCM TV print of this. The quality was not brilliant, but was widescreen and not too pixelly on my 37" LCD screen.
Set in 1746, the term “Zapata Western” is a bit of a misnomer for this one as it would be another 130 years before Zapata would even be born in 1879. Even in terms of style, this is more like a precursor to Roland Joffé’s “The Mission”, released almost 20 years later in 1986 also with an excellent Morricone score, than a Spaghetti Western. As a Franco-Italo-Mexican production, even the term Euro-Western is rather loose.
Although greater use could perhaps have been made of the authentic Mexican backdrop and Morricone’s truly incredible score, and the complex relationship between the ruling aristocracy, colonial settlers and indigenous populations could have been further developed, the film is nonetheless a real gem. Given the quality of the film and the presence of Anthony Quinn and Charles Bronson, it is astonishing that there is no official DVD release with original English audio. There apparently exists a 10 minute documentary on the shooting of the film called “San Sebastian 1746 in 1968” which would certainly make a very nice extra feature.
I might have to give my top-20 another re-jiggle ???