Johnny Hamlet / Quella sporca storia nel West (Enzo G. Castellari, 1968)


(scherpschutter) #21

[quote=“ENNIOO, post:19, topic:402”]Just viewed this one for the first time, and has to be one of the directors best westerns I have seen so far.

Well made film in all departments, and no slapstick which is always a good thing for me.
Camerawork, choice of actors, fine music score, excellent locations and story and the Koch Media disc (whether missing a scene or two ?) is great quality.

If you have not seen…go and make a purchase ![/quote]

Well, I’ll order it in january.

The Italian title means (literally) “That dirty story in the West”, not: “That dirty story of the West”.
So not the West is said to be dirty, but the story; the use of the demonstrative ‘quella’ indicates in Italian that a specific, well-known story is meant, more than likely Shakespeare’s Hamlet. You could read the title as “That dirty (Shakespearean) story (set) in the West”


(Hud) #22

I consider it about as good as those which is to say they’re all recommended by me (maybe with some reservations). If the point is more people should see JOHNNY HAMLET then I fully agree - it could be Castellari’s finest western and unique for him as it doesn’t take itself über seriously but manages to resist anything goes comedic silliness… It took Kochmedia’s release to make me grasp how gorgeous the cinematography is.


(Dorado) #23

I just recieved and watched this film.
It’s not top 20 stuff IMO, but it’s one of the better films outside that list.

It’s Castallari’s second best film behind Keoma that’s for sure.

Highly recomemnded.


(Bill san Antonio) #24

[quote=“Dorado, post:23, topic:402”]It’s not top 20 stuff IMO, but it’s one of the better films outside that list.
It’s Castallari’s second best film behind Keoma that’s for sure.
Highly recomemnded.[/quote]My thoughts exactly. I liked the first part of the film most: the dream, scene at the beach with circus folks (Can’t help of thinking Fellini here) and the graveyard scene. But later there’s the mandatory mexican bandits and the stolen gold plot which is so regular sw stuff that it’s bound to get boring.

“Find the Man” hmm, what a great theme song!


(Sebastian) #25

bump for the focus film ::slight_smile:


(scherpschutter) #26

A special Shakespearian Review is now available in the database

Don’t be afraid of the Bard, he was a nice guy who usually killed off nearly his entire cast

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


(Phil H) #27

Great stuff Scherp.
Castellari’s best film in my opinion and one of my all time favourites. As is the painting by Millais which you included in your review. It’s home is at the Tate Britain gallery here in London and it is breathtaking when seen up close.

You are right about Shakespeare being prime material for adaptation into westerns. His themes are often similar and his plays, although seen as high brow arty stuff now, were aimed squarely at a popular audience in his day. Like the Spanish Golden Age plays of Lope de Vega and Calderon, they were the popular culture of their time and blood feuds, romance and fight scenes were just as effective in putting bums on seats in a 17th century theatre as they are in a contemporary cinema.


(T.H) #28

Very good SW. One of Castellaris best for sure.


(autephex) #29

well… i dunno… there is Horaz / Gilbert Roland and his goofy fight scenes. These scenes are probably my only gripe with this film. Other than that, one of my top, definitely. Beautiful looking film. The interview with Castellari on the Koch disc is great too, he comes across as a very warm character that truely loves what he did.


(ENNIOO) #30

I forgot about that…good point !


(Stanton) #31

Should be cut out, these fisty fights. Worst scene in the film.


(Romaine Fielding) #32

Excellent “combination” review, Scherps.

I watched this movie for the second time last week. I liked it much better on second viewing. With the extravagant use of color and the frequent scenes in the subterranean crypt, this is a very unusual looking Spaghetti. I think it may have moved into my top 20.
To me, Castellari never came close to making another Spaghetti as well as this one.


(korano) #33

What are your thoughts about Keoma? I love Keoma but Castellari seems to hae a hit or mss reputation with his westerns. Kill Them All Was a bit much. I haven’t seen any other Castelllari movie but I’ve been interested in this one. What version do you have RF?


(Phil H) #34

Completely agree RF. I like Keoma but this one is Castellari’s best by a mile imo.


(Stanton) #35

But Keoma contains some really good scenes (next to some rubbish ones), better than anything in Quella sporcia, which is also an interesting SW.


(Romaine Fielding) #36

Actually I failed to even consider Keoma (oops). But I still DO think Johnny Hamlet is better. Keoma is fine. It has a great mood (that is, if you can handle the music which is grating to some). At times JH seems baroque while Keoma seems gothic. Both are good but I was really surprised at how my impression of JH changed from my last viewing several years ago. I don’t think I orignally gave it the proper credit it deserves for it’s style, it’s look, it’s uniqueness. It is now somewhere in my top 20 (bottom half). I think I was originally put off because the Hamlet story did not play well as interpreted by Enzo G. I WAS expecting a little more existential angst with it. That did not bother me the second time.
Guess I need to go back and see Keoma again soon. It’s been several years.
By the way, I have the Koch Media version of JH, Korano.


(Spaghetti Monkey) #37

Great stuff, i always hold out on the sub-titled ones ‘cause you need to be in a focused mood. But i really shoulda’ watched this sooner. Absolutely gorgeous film, with some awesome locations. From the scenes in the crypt to the awesome valleys, not to mention starting on the beach. Pretty much everything in this film works for me. Wasn’t even bothered by the fisty fights, though now the seed has been planted, it’ll probably bother me on the next view. I always like it when Gilbert Roland pops up in one of these. Haven’t seen any of his Cisco Kid’s since i was a kid. But i still like it when he shows up in a SW.

Fun Factor 8/10

And while i’m here, these crucifixions on the big X’s are great stuff (much better than what we were taught in sunday school). Kojak definitely gets it this way in TOWN CALLED HELL,and i’m pretty sure i remember something similar in PLANET OF THE APES. But i also think i’ve seen it somewhere else that i can’t pull from my memory. Where else have these been used?


(Bad Lieutenant) #38

Arizona Colt Returns is the first one I can think of.


(Dillinger) #39

This is no real crucifixation. He Just gets tied upside down, like Navajo Joe.


(LankyFellow) #40

The same here !
Its one of the few movies i’ve seen at cinema and i remind the crucifixion as a great scene for the big screen.