The Grand Duel / Il grande duello (Giancarlo Santi, 1972)

To say the least !

“We can kill creepy crawlies, ugly animals, but not the pretty horses!” :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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That’s pretty dumb.

While I’m still happy with the version of the Blu I’ve got I’m with you entirely on that.

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A couple of years ago I said I was going to re-watch this what was going to be “over the next week or so” at the time. I finally did a couple of nights ago ( :rofl:) and I actually liked it more than I remembered. I loved Lee, the music the atmosphere, the villains and Dentice even though I think it was his only major role. I even thought it was quite fitting in a way that Santi directed a lot like Leone given that this was probably the last good spaghetti Lee made, so the copycat style didn’t bother me at all. I had it ranked around 50th place on my list but I it’s definitely in my top 40 now.

While I don’t usually care for comedies, I really enjoyed this one. The humor in it was toned down enough that it didn’t overwhelm the action and I enjoyed a lot of the characters. The Saxons, in particular, are the type of plotting, amoral villains I love in a Spaghetti Western.
I think Bill Willer is right when he says Giancarlo Santi was trying to channel Leon, particularly in the flashback scene, but that’s fine by me since Leon’s style is the best of the genre.
My biggest complaint is that I wish we got just a little more back and forth trickery between Clayton and Philip. I love when a older gunslinger is pitted against a younger one.


It doesn’t strike me as a comedy, although a lack of character depth and development results in a slightly comic book feel. I rewatched it last week - there are comic elements, as in Leone’s films, but the general tone isn’t comic. Strong points are the Bardotti/Bacalov score, Van Cleef, the landscape and cinematography.


Oh yeah I forgot to mention the score. Really incredible stuff, I think it’s one of my all time favorites. I’m ashamed to say, though, I actually heard it the first time in Kill Bill and didn’t even realize it was from another film.

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Definitely agree not a comedy :sunglasses:


Recently watched this one via the Apple TV app ($0.99 for the rental, decent deal)…good picture quality (widescreen) and while clearly not uncut this version includes the famed bloody hand print scene cut from some of the other versions (also includes the nudity but I think I spotted a jump where a horsefall was likely cut).

I certainly enjoyed it, not great but I didn’t think it was as bad as some others found. As many have noted the score, particularly the main theme, is brilliant, although I found that the song’s dual personalities often didn’t fit or even clashed with what was happening in the film. For example, the scene where LVC walks through the town (Gila Bend) pointing out all the bounty hunters to Philip sounds great during the harmonica/guitar/oboe parts, but less so during the operatic/strings/flute parts (reminiscent of OUATITW) because it just seem doesn’t jive with what is happening (this could also be said, to a lesser extent about the final duel).

Two minor things bugged me, the first being LVC catching the bullet with his teeth, but the explanation provided here that LVC had previously removed the bullet from the cartridge makes perfect sense. Upon re-watching the scene, LVC clearly does speak as if he has something in his mouth, and Philip/O’Brien notes after that the gun is only good for making noise (i.e., shooting blanks). The other was when Clayton/LVC rescues Philip at the waterfall and Philip rides off on Clayton’s horse, leaving Clayton to walk to town (eventually picked up by the coach)…why didn’t he take one of the bounty hunters’ horses? we also know he didn’t because they arrive in town shortly after, each riding their own horse.

There are some loose ends (does the machine gun massacre advance the plot in anyway? not sure why it was needed, although it does a great job of establishing just how much of a sociopath Adam is), but also some memorable moments and fun little twists (I thought LVC had shot/killed Philip in that first saloon scene, so was surprised to see him suddenly stand up when the gunfight broke out). The final duel was slightly rushed or lacking in tension a bit, but still entertaining, the hat shot was an original way to get things started and I appreciated how the setting seemed to be a nod towards the famous OK corral shootout.

minor spoiler alert*
In the flashback sequence, we see David (Horst Frank’s character, the older Saxon brother) peeking out of a wagon as the patriarch is killed. I assume this was shown to throw up a red herring and cast some doubt as to the identity of the patriarch’s killer. However, in the end, his presence there is never explained. What he is doing there, and why is he in a position to know the real killer’s identity? Are we to assume that he hired the shooter to kill the patriarch? The other kind of odd thing in the flashback is seeing Philip dressed in fancy clothes when him and his dutch immigrant followers always appear dressed as peasants the rest of the time.


Watched again after a long break (Arrow Video blu ray). Still good, but the plot was just so-so. Lee Van Cleef is great here. I didn’t like the comedy elements. Stepehn Prince’s audio commentary is interesting. I didn’t know the whole movie was made in Italy, not Almeria.



Should probably check that out at some point.

I waited for his explanation of the boots-clapping scene after the old man was killed by Adam Saxon, but he said nothing :smile:

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Damn such an awesome western, Van Cleef really was the coolest, superbly shot, great music, lots of tension and well paced.

I have a couple questions though (probably something I’ve missed) why did David Saxon not want anybody to know it was Clayton, as far as I can tell, he’d still inherit his fathers money and power, to put the blame on Philipp seemed like extra hassle.

And whilst the massacre scene was incredible and showcases how fucked up the villains are - was there a reason it happened?



My interpretation is that both your questions relate to the wish of David Saxon to get hold of the silver/silver mine. The plot is probably well described here : The Grand Duel - Wikipedia