Spaghetti westerns and Education


(scherpschutter) #1

It’s rather bizarre that the spaghetti western until recently was not as popular in italy as you might think.
Sergio Leone had a place in the eternal hall of cinematographic fame, but ironically he wasn’t thought of as a spaghetti western director (which would have pleased him, by the way)
Only five or six years ago, I was in Rome for holidays and thought it would be easy to aquire the collected works of Sergio Corbucci
Not
The only two westerns available were Django and Il Mercenario
Things have changed recently; spaghetti westerns have become popular among students and a growing number of films is being released; an on-line shop like Videociak Genova offers as much spaghetti westerns as possible, imported from countries all over the world

Surfing on the Net I found out that the spaghetti western has even reached education
A language school in Rome offers foreign students didactical material on the spaghetti western, or - as some Italians still prefer - il western all’italiana:

http://www.scudit.net/mdwestern.htm

If you click on Pistoleri in Cinecittà, you’ll get a (incomplete) list of westerns made during the golden years, with the most important titles in bold type

It’s an interesting list of 17 titles:

A Fistful of Dollars
For a Few Dollars More
Django
Return of Ringo
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The Big Gundown
Face to Face
Quién Sabe?
Run Man Run
Once upon a Time in the West
Tepepa
They call me Trinity
Vamos a matar, Compañeros
Trinity is still my Name
Duck you Sucker!
Long live your Death
My Name is Nobody

Interesting and even a bit surprising
Some things can easily be explained:
*Tepepa might be a surprise to some, but like I have explained in my review, the film is more popular in Italy than abroad: it’s closer related to Italian post-war politics than most other political westerns
*The Mercenary (although available on DVD) has never been popular among Italian critics (I’m sorry, Stanton); they don’t like Musante and they don’t appreciate the episodic script; Compañeros, on the other hand, is often called Corbucci’s best film in Italy
*Italians tend to prefer Sollima to Corbucci as N° 2 : he has 3 films on the list, Corbucci only two; even The Great Silence is missing (No, I’m not pleased)

To me, Tessari’s Long Live your Death is the biggest surprise, but I must admit that I’ve never seen it (shame on me!)
Furthermore I think one Trinity is enough and I don’t think Duck you Sucker! is an essential film, but I suppose some will call that sacrilege


(lordradish) #2
*The Mercenary (although available on DVD) has never been popular among Italian critics (I'm sorry, Stanton); they don't like Musante and they don't appreciate the episodic script; Compañeros, on the other hand, is often called Corbucci's best film in Italy

That’s surprising… I think Musante is probably the one thing I really liked about the film, because he didn’t overact (as Milian tends to do, in my opinion). The comedic elements of both of those films are what keep them from being in my favorites, especially considering the seriousness of the subject matter.


(Frank Talby) #3

I prefer Musante to Milian as well. Milian really overacts on more than one occasion and that turns me off.


(scherpschutter) #4

Me too, I prefer Musante
I don’t dislike Milian, but yes, he sure hams it up from time to time, and in Compañeros it becomes irritating
But in Italy Milian was (or still is) an idol, the Italians adore him


(Phil H) #5

[quote=“scherpschutter, post:4, topic:1049”]Me too, I prefer Musante
I don’t dislike Milian, but yes, he sure hams it up from time to time, and in Compañeros it becomes irritating
But in Italy Milian was (or still is) an idol, the Italians adore him[/quote]

Well, I’m with the italians on this one. It’s Milian all the way for me. He brings an extra quality to every film he’s in as far as I’m concerned. Musante was Ok but Milian is the man.


(ENNIOO) #6

Milian as a person I find extremely arrogant, which is one quality I really hate in a person. But of course I like some of his films, but not when he overacts though.


(scherpschutter) #7

And what about the list?
It’s more or less an attempt to define an ‘essential list’

My attempt would be:

A Fistfull of Dollars
For a few Dollars more
Return of Ringo
Django
The Good the Bad and the Ugly
The Big Gundown
Quién Sabe
Face to Face
Death rides a Horse
Day of Anger
The Mercenary
The Great Silence
Once upon a Time in the West
Tepepa
Vamos a matar Compañeros
Trinity is still my Name
Keoma

  • one Sartana/Sabata movie : those films reflect a certain aspect of the genre too

(Lode) #8

Thanks for this Phil. I also think Milian would have made Mercenario even better.

And scherp, thanks for that info. Dang, I can’t speak italian so the page is kinda senseless for me. But it seems very interesting.

Essential list? How about our Top 20? Let’s mail it to them :wink:


(Stanton) #9

[quote=“scherpschutter, post:1, topic:1049”]If you click on Pistoleri in Cinecittà, you’ll get a (incomplete) list of westerns made during the golden years, with the most important titles in bold type

It’s an interesting list of 17 titles:

A Fistful of Dollars
For a Few Dollars More
Django
Return of Ringo
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The Big Gundown
Face to Face
Quién Sabe?
Run Man Run
Once upon a Time in the West
Tepepa
They call me Trinity
Vamos a matar, Compañeros
Trinity is still my Name
Duck you Sucker!
Long live your Death
My Name is Nobody

Interesting and even a bit surprising
Some things can easily be explained:
*Tepepa might be a surprise to some, but like I have explained in my review, the film is more popular in Italy than abroad: it’s closer related to Italian post-war politics than most other political westerns
*The Mercenary (although available on DVD) has never been popular among Italian critics (I’m sorry, Stanton); they don’t like Musante and they don’t appreciate the episodic script; Compañeros, on the other hand, is often called Corbucci’s best film in Italy
*Italians tend to prefer Sollima to Corbucci as N° 2 : he has 3 films on the list, Corbucci only two; even The Great Silence is missing (No, I’m not pleased)

To me, Tessari’s Long Live your Death is the biggest surprise, but I must admit that I’ve never seen it (shame on me!)
Furthermore I think one Trinity is enough and I don’t think Duck you Sucker! is an essential film, but I suppose some will call that sacrilege[/quote]

Those bastards!!!
How could they dare to leave The Great Silence and The Mercenary out of the list?

And Long Live Your Death is definitely a surprise. And I have seen it.


(Chris_Casey) #10

Well…you should’ve seen this one coming, amigo! :smiley:

Milian ruins COMPANEROS, in my opinion. His performance is just all over the place. He is a central figure to the story so his uneven performance, in turn, makes the film uneven. Sure, some of the “sloppiness” of the film might be due to Corbucci’s direction; but, I honestly believe the larger part of it is due to Milian’s apparent “to ham or not to ham” dilemma.
I, personally, feel THE MERCENARY is vastly superior to COMPANEROS–just because everything (the direction, the acting, etc.) is much more reigned-in and tightly put together.
Not that I don’t like COMPANEROS or think it isn’t praiseworthy—that isn’t the case at all.
I just think Musante was yards above Milian—when it comes to these two particular performances.

But, I understand your blind devotion to Milian! :wink:
I, myself, have a blind devotion to Salma Hayek! I think she brings an extra quality to every movie she is in—and I have enjoyed some incredibly bad performances that she was responsible for in some of them.

All respect to the Milian Hordes, though!
:slight_smile:


(Phil H) #11

[quote=“Chris_Casey, post:10, topic:1049”]Well…you should’ve seen this one coming, amigo! :smiley:

Milian ruins COMPANEROS, in my opinion. His performance is just all over the place. He is a central figure to the story so his uneven performance, in turn, makes the film uneven. Sure, some of the “sloppiness” of the film might be due to Corbucci’s direction; but, I honestly believe the larger part of it is due to Milian’s apparent “to ham or not to ham” dilemma.
I, personally, feel THE MERCENARY is vastly superior to COMPANEROS–just because everything (the direction, the acting, etc.) is much more reigned-in and tightly put together.
Not that I don’t like COMPANEROS or think it isn’t praiseworthy—that isn’t the case at all.
I just think Musante was yards above Milian—when it comes to these two particular performances.

But, I understand your blind devotion to Milian! :wink:
I, myself, have a blind devotion to Salma Hayek! I think she brings an extra quality to every movie she is in—and I have enjoyed some incredibly bad performances that she was responsible for in some of them.

All respect to the Milian Hordes, though!
:)[/quote]

Be careful Chris. It’s a proven medical fact that Anti Milian feelings over a prolonged period can lead to kidney stones :wink:


(Chris_Casey) #12

;D

Seriously, though…I am not really anti-Milian. I just don’t see why people think he is such a consistently brilliant actor. Yes, sometimes he is–but, not consistently. As I have said before he is excellent in THE BIG GUNDOWN, FACE TO FACE, and THE BOUNTY KILLER. I’ve not seen the psudeo-modern-Western LONG NIGHT IN TOMBSTONE, but I hear he is great in that, as well. I even like him in DEATH SENTENCE and DJANGO KILL. But, starting at about COMPANEROS I think he falls into a pattern of over-acting that stretched throughout the 70’s. However, in recent years I think he has returned to being a solid thespian–even if his roles are smaller.

And he was great as Salma Hayek’s father in FOOLS RUSH IN–which, of course, I had to watch simply for Salma. Had no idea Tomas Milian was in it before I saw it! But, I would have watched it anyway…because of Salma!! :wink:

By the way…I am STONE FREE, now!! Thank goodness!!!


(scherpschutter) #13

You should have written your comment to the last western you watched here:

I HATED IT, BUT SOMEHOW I’M GLAD TO HAVE WATCHED IT


(Reverend Danite) #14

…and I’m expecting to see this in the ‘What are you listening to …’ thread. A bit of Jimi does ya good! :wink:


(Stanton) #15

Support for Chris (with the benediction of SD):

  1. The acting in The Mercenary is in general much, much better than in Companeros. (But only one reason why The Mercenary is the superior film of the both)

  2. Milian was often overdoing his roles, the more Spags he made, the more problematic it became for me. I prefer him when he acts in a more restrained way. So his early roles (and 4 of the Apocalypse) are clearly his best.

From a german critic:
Milian pains himself everytime with the meticulousness of an Actor’s Studio’s trained man for psycholgical transparency - quite hopeless by the conversion of stereotypes.
(Milian müht sich jedesmal mit der Akribie eines vom Actor’s Studio Geschulten um psychologische Transparenz - ziemlich hoffnungslos bei der Umsetzung von Stereotypen.)


(Phil H) #16

Ha ha. Love that. I’ll never be able to listen to that track again now without thinking of Chris with a very relieved look on his face.