The Hellbenders / I crudeli (Sergio Corbucci, 1967)


(SARTANA DJANGO BALLADS) #21

I was also very impressed with this excellent Cavalry Film.

The DVD I have is part of the Japanese Box Set. :slight_smile:


(Hud) #22

I don’t think it’s a failed psychological drama - if there’s psychology in the script, it doesn’t really go beyond straightforward group dynamics and it doesn’t attempt to. HELLBENDERS is more of a black “action tragicomedy” where you think the situation can’t get any worse than this, until the next cruel twist of fate… And our protagonists are so fanatical or just rotten that they kind of deserve what’s coming, yet you can’t help having some sympathy for them. The ironic and macabre undertone is very SW and for a change I love it served without a heroic story. Too intense to be workmanlike, THE HELLBENDERS is just a different kind of Corbucci western (actually there are many kinds of them). For me the Rio Hondo finale is among his finest achievements, dark but with a strange glory. Morricone’s music is also different and very appropriate.

[quote=“Bill san Antonio, post:8, topic:578”]I’ve always felt that they’re all gonna die in the end. It’s Corbucci film anyway.
But I think the ending its left open on purpose in similar way as in Navajo Joe or The Specialist where you can’t really say if the hero is going to survive or if he’s just riding away to die alone.[/quote]
Bill, I’ve felt likewise and this is of course a common thread in Corbucci’s western output, beginning with MINNESOTA CLAY (some of you have only seen “the happy ending” version but it was also widely distributed without it), here it’s left a bit more open-ended but without much hope in the horizon.


(Romaine Fielding) #23

I’ve always liked this one a lot.
Maybe it’s because the theme music is recycled by other Spaghettis, but it always gets stuck in my head. (I love that trumpet)
I like Norma Bengall a lot in this one. She has a meatier role than most women get in Spaghettis. She plays it well.
I wonder, too, about whether Ben & Claire survive in the end. I tend to think not, since the rest of the film is so bleak and hopeless.
I’ve ordered The Tramplers from Atlas Visuals so I can compare the two films.
I think most of Corbucci’s films are dissimilar to each other, this one is nothing like Django or Navajo Joe (the two films that bookend this one). Corbucci never, to me, developed a consistent, recognizable style throughout his movies. But he made lots of very different, very interesting, & very good films.


(SARTANA DJANGO BALLADS) #24

JOSEPH COTTEN a very distinguished Hollywood Actor is superb in this film.


(Stanton) #25

I think he’s not.
He’s not as (awful) bad as many critics wrote, but he clearly makes an uninterested impression to me.

The greatest failure is that the actors of the 3 brothers are not able to give their roles any depth (which the screenplay also lacks), a depth in conventional characterization (in contrast to the usual SW characterization) which the film urgently needs to work.


(SARTANA DJANGO BALLADS) #26

It is possible Stanton I may need to watch the film again.
Joseph Cotten is not an immediate choice as an actor for SWs as he can be rather dour :o


(scherpschutter) #27

A review of this film is now up:

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


(ION BRITTON) #28

I have an original Greek VHS of this movie and although it is not the greatest Corbucci film around, it’s still way above your average SW. I loved that tragic ending! 3,5/5


(CactusCharlie) #29

[quote=“Bill san Antonio, post:1, topic:578”]Database linkhttp://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Crudeli%2C_I

I just watched the Anchor Bay disc of The Hellbenders. This is a different kind of spaghetti. More thriller than usual western based on action. Not among Corbucci’s greatest films but still good one including the familiar dark mood accompanied by Morricone score.

I love the ending of this film even if it’s not a big surprise but is very beautifully done. And Corbucci has a gift of making best ending scenes.

Joseph Cotten is especially good in it as a fanatic renegade soldier and Al Mulock does a hilarious part as a beggar.[/quote]

I concur. I must dig this one out and watch it again.


(Goodfella) #30

Holy hell was this a POS. I cannot remember the last time an hour and a half felt so long. The script has to be one of the most idiotic ever written and the acting is matched to fit.

The stupidity of this film was down right painful.

How the hell the same man could make The Great silence and this crap is beyond me.


(korano) #31

The soundtrack was reused in Drummer of Vengeance. Is it good?


(YourPallbearer) #32

What? Drummer of Vengeance or the soundtrack?
DOV is a okay. The Hellbenders soundtrack gets mixed reactions amoungst fans. I happen to like it.
It was also re-used in the second “Clint the Stranger” movie.


(korano) #33

I meant the soundtrack was reused in the drummer of vengeance.


(Col. Douglas Mortimer) #34

[quote=“Goodfella, post:30, topic:578”]Holy hell was this a POS. I cannot remember the last time an hour and a half felt so long. The script has to be one of the most idiotic ever written and the acting is matched to fit.

The stupidity of this film was down right painful.

How the hell the same man could make The Great silence and this crap is beyond me.[/quote]

This is not a film I would recommend to newcomers to the SW genre. This film definitely has a love/hate thing going with it from fans.


(korano) #35

It sounded a little boring in Hughes anaylisis


(YourPallbearer) #36

It was one of the first ones that I saw and Immediatly responded to it.
Great movie. Not an action movie, more of a suspense thriller.
If Hitchcock had directed a western it would be something like this.


(korano) #37

That’s better. A suspense thriller western. definetly a curiosity now.


(Stanton) #38

Sorry, never ever

This film has no suspense.

I also wouldn’t call it a love/hate movie, it’n not bad, it’s mainly indifferent. Not fish, not flesh, not cake.


(Goodfella) #39

To mention Hitch in the same sentance as this film is simply crazy.

Anyway, my initial response to the film was less mature than I usually would have posted, but thats how poor a film I felt it to be. And thats what was going through my mind when I posted it having just finished the film.

It had almost nothing positive going for it except the opening ambush. Other than that the film did not do a single thing succesfully. Everything it tried to do failed miserably IMO. Its one thing to suspend disbelief but this film required that you expell it.

But thats nothing compared to the utter stupidity of the script which was the by far the most punishing aspect of the film.


(YourPallbearer) #40

I’m not comparing a Hitchcock film to the movie I’m merely mentioning that if Hitch would have made a western it might have resembled this in way that he would make suspense the biggest part of the story rather than gunfights/action.

“Everything it tried to do failed miserably IMO. Its one thing to suspend disbelief but this film required that you expell it”.

I would like to hear some examples.
Not being patronising.
Just curious.