Jonathan of the Bears / Jonathan degli orsi (Enzo G. Castellari, 1993)


(Sebastian) #1

DATABASE PAGE: http://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Jonathan_degli_orsi

My opinion (didn’t make it till the second half, too boring):

Despite the nice locations, the decent cinematography and Franco Nero, the film is an unbelievable drag, especially the first half. The plot meanders along and the amount of flashbacks to Jonathan’s past is almost unbearable, so is the meaningless yadayada by the very Taijik-looking Indians. The movie gets better in the second half, but only if you haven’t fallen asleep by then. Worth watching just to check it off your list, but if you’re into late spaghetti western reunions, you should try Keoma.

comments? I’ll probably watch the second half some other time…


(Romaine Fielding) #2

[quote=“Sebastian, post:1, topic:1253”]DATABASE PAGE: http://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Jonathan_degli_orsi

My opinion (didn’t make it till the second half, too boring):

Despite the nice locations, the decent cinematography and Franco Nero, the film is an unbelievable drag, especially the first half. The plot meanders along and the amount of flashbacks to Jonathan’s past is almost unbearable, so is the meaningless yadayada by the very Taijik-looking Indians. The movie gets better in the second half, but only if you haven’t fallen asleep by then. Worth watching just to check it off your list, but if you’re into late spaghetti western reunions, you should try Keoma.

comments? I’ll probably watch the second half some other time…[/quote]

Well, I still gotta check this off my list but I am not really enthused…
I popped this in the DVD player this weekend but didn’t catch the mood so I watched Tepepa instead.
It’s too bad to hear that even with all the positives (Nero etc…) that it still fell short for you. Maybe I’ll save this one for the next time I can’t sleep…


(ENNIOO) #3

The first bit of the film (flashbacks) could have been trimmed. Good to see faces like Hess and Saxon in this one, and Saxon should have been in more Spaghetti westerns as plays a good bad guy (watch a few of his roles in Italian crime films).

The film is much better than some of the other directors westerns (Cry Onion and Tedeum spring to mind).I actually quite like this film with Nero good in the lead, and for me is a vast improvement on his last western before this (Django Strikes Again).

And of course some like the music and songs in this one, with me included.


(Søren) #4

Never seen this one… But got it on dvdr somewhere…

But why is it placed as an Eurowestern? Italian-coproduced, Italian director and Italian lead actor !


(scherpschutter) #5

[quote=“Søren, post:4, topic:1253”]Never seen this one… But got it on dvdr somewhere…

But why is it placed as an Eurowestern? Italian-coproduced, Italian director and Italian lead actor ![/quote]

I haven’t seen it, but from what other people are writing about it, I would say it doesn’t have the feel of a spaghetti
It’s all a bit vague of course, but we have the diehard spaghs, the Zapata’s, the comedy spaghs and the twilight spaghs. That are, more or less, the type of movies we identify as spaghettis (roughly made in the period '64 - '77); films like Tex and Jonathan seem not to be cast in that mould; I guess Jonathan was inspired by Dances with Wolves, not quite a western with a spaghetti feel.

I guess that was the motivation for listing it as a Euro, but I wouldn’t mind to call it a late spaghetti


(Søren) #6

Fair enough. I have no problem accepting only westerns made in the ‘golden period’ as real spaghetti westerns …

The feel of a movie is too diffuse for me. Would discount some of the early spaghetti westerns for the same reason then. Not that that would be a bad thing though.

Thanks for the answer amigo !


(Stanton) #7

The 1st half of Jonathan o.t.B. was indeed cast in the same mould as Dances with Wolves, but the in the 2nd half most of these motives are surprisingly dropped or at least not further worked out.
The 2nd part is then only a typical revenge driven SW which never gets particularly exciting.

The Keoma like film is overall quite ok, and is imo of course a Spagie. What else with Castellari and Nero?


(chuck connors brother) #8

I gave it 3… I love all the scenes with the bear… I wish he or she was in it more, instead of having something very similar to Keoma. Also the choreography of that stick fight was really strange.


(Bill san Antonio) #9

I protest that this is in the eurowestern section!!!

I actually felt opposite about the film than Sebastian: the beginning is great, very well done and atmospheric stuff but it looks like they didn’t really know what to do then so it changes to carbon copy of Keoma in the end.


(Bad Lieutenant) #10

Clive Riche was pretty annoying and the scenes with the bear suffered from bad editing. Keoma got better on multiple viewings, but this one will probably get worse. Still worth a look if you’re into spaghettis.


(ENNIOO) #11

Forgot about Clive Riche, and is a bit of an arse in this one!


(Yodlaf Peterson) #12

The girl who played the tall squaw was lovely :slight_smile:


(T.H) #13

Except for the annoying first 30min, i really liked this one. Great music, especially towards the end of the movie.


(chuck connors brother) #14

The 2nd half would have been better for me if I hadn’t seen Keoma so i preferred the first 30 minutes.


(alk0) #15

I hated most of the music in this one i must admit. One or two cues were nice but the singing parts and especially synthetiser fragments were terrible. The film itself was pretty good, but at times too preachy and pompous for its own good. Some nice shootouts from time to time as could be expected from Castellari’s movie. 7/10


(Col. Douglas Mortimer) #16

Can somebody tell me how 19th century native americans learnt martial arts?


(alk0) #17

If i remeber correctly Native Americans had some kind of martial art or something like that. Maybe someone knows something about it.
For me the biggest WTF in this movie were those nazi-like guys with Mausers :stuck_out_tongue:


(scherpschutter) #18

Easy : Twenty years before Jonathan went to the Indians, the chop choy circus stopped in the Italian West


(korano) #19

What I didn’t e about this movie is the fact that it tried so hard to be a Spaghetti Western but it’s late filmingerod and mature look made their effort sadly showing. As if its trying to be one of the gang saying I’m hip but really, its too old to be hip. It sould have just treied to tell the story sithout so many spaghetti cliches. Why Russia?


(Paco Roman) #20

At the beginning we have the usual flashback scene in b/w which shows the killing of Jonathan’s Family. He was a child at this time and the only one who escapes. He hides himself in a cave and finds a new friend: a bear. Later we see his friendship to the bear and how he grows up to a “Mongolian” Indian Tribe. If it was a pure Italian Movie Jonathan would be a wolf as friend (romulus & remus the founder of rome were grown up by a wolf) but in a Russian Movie it’s of course a bear. The adult Jonathan is introduced in a short bar fight sequence. I found the musician (Clive Riche) from the first second annoying. His Music Score is better. Jonathan is a good boy who protects Indians and his Superpower is that he can shoot two arrows. Don’t worry he also uses his gun. There is also a Material Arts Drop Kick Fight with Jonathan and his Indian Brother in Law. Later there is a bizarre moment: a group of leather dressed Bodybuilders (Rocker Gang) who doesn’t look like the 19th century appears. BTW this group was really useless. With all the music and the landscapes Jonathan of the Bears tries to be more like an Epic (like most of the US Western) at the beginning and not like a SW. I liked the Forest Landscape it’s not Almeria or former Yugoslavia but it fits to the story. Franco Nero looks terrific as Jonathan. Keoma was about 15 years ago but this guy didn’t get older and Franco still looks the same. Two other highlights are Melody Robertson (according to IMDB that’s her only movie!) as Squaw and John Saxon as villain. The Action scenes are good photographed. Unfortunately I watched a TV Version so I’m sure that there were several cuts to show lesser violence. Is Jonathan of the Bears the SW Answer of Castellari and Nero on successes like Dances with the Wolves or Unforgiven? With his environmental statement it’s closer to Eastwood Pale Rider as to Unforgiven. Somehow I was reminded to the The Man called Horse Sequel and of course Keoma. This long introduction makes this movie a bit boring. The introduction with all the characters seems to be a bit too much cause about an hour starts another story. So you have to wait about an hour that the movie really starts. The Script and the storyline definitely would need some improvements. Not a bad western but IMO this movie wanted to tell too much.
3/5
:slight_smile: