The Hills Run Red / Un fiume di dollari (Carlo Lizzani, 1966)


(Half Soldier) #1

Last week I nestled up on the sofa and watched…

THE HILLS RUN RED

Database link
http://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Fiume_di_dollari%2C_Un

Directed by one time film critic Carlo Lizzani, “The Hills Run Red” is a welcome addition to anyone’s spaghetti western collection.

The film begins with ex-confederates Jerry Brewster (Thomas Hunter) and Ken Seagall (Nando Gazzalo) fleeing by stagecoach from soldiers following a successful heist. They agree that the only chance for escape is if one of the partners bails out with the cash. To decide who should get away the two draw cards, with Brewster the unlucky loser. Seagall promises to look after Brewster’s family before leaping from the stagecoach. He successfully hides with the money, whilst Brewster is captured and imprisoned for five years.

On his release, Brewster returns to his now derelict family home. He finds a diary from his wife, and learns that she has been living in poverty during his absence, struggling to bring up their son alone. Seagall had shunned them, keeping the money himself and starting a new life under the name Ken Milton.

Brewster screams out his intention for revenge, and is soon faced by gun-hands sent by Seagall. Luckily for him, an ageing gunman Winny Getz (Dan Duryea) is on hand to help out - a mysterious character that is never fully explained (although some assumptions can be made that I won’t spoil here!) but acts as Brewster’s “guardian angel” throughout the film.

Learning that his wife has died and his son is missing, Brewster decides to settle his score with Seagall. On beginning his search he discovers that Seagall is attempting to drive out the local inhabitants of Austin, and in particular the leading light and saloon owner Brian Horner (Geoffrey Copleston). Aided by the demented Garcia Mendez (Henry Silva) and his gang. To confront Seagall and get his revenge, Brewster is forced to infiltrate the gang.

“The Hills Run Red” certainly has some interesting characters. Silva plays Mendez as a black clad demented psychopath. Hunter’s lead role is not too far behind in the madness stakes (presumably bought on by that five years stretch, which appeared quite a gruelling and cruel imprisonment). Lets just say that both have some serious issues!! Of the two, Silva is particularly convincing, and his is the stand-out performance of the film. Hunter meanwhile could be accused of over acting at times here, although it is still an enjoyable display. Duryea’s portrayal of the mysterious Getz also merits much applause.

The love interest is provided by Nicoletta Machiavelli as Seagall’s sister Mary-Ann. Constantly having to dismiss advances from Mendez, her attraction to Brewster is immediate.

Music is courtesy of one Leo Nichols (better known as Ennio Morricone to you and I). In truth it is not one of his better scores, but still adds great atmosphere to the film, as one would expect from the master. It just does not have anything to make it unique, and is not as memorable as his more heralded efforts.

All in all “The Hills Run Red” makes for a great viewing. At times it can be quite brutal (such as the saloon massacre). And how I winced as Brewster’s tattoo is cut from his arm whilst he is awake! But it is a gripping story, well directed and well worth watching.


(Silvanito) #2

Recently rewatched this film, and it’s also a very good spaghettiwestern, I like it a lot!

It’s much better than Lizzani’s second western Kill and Prey!

Story is a bit american in style, but it works for this film. ( Too many spoilers in the above review though :wink: )

It has another wonderful score by Morricone, I love the main theme, sadly it rarely turns up on compilation cd’s.

Henry Silva is by far the best aspect of the film’s cast, he makes a terrific villain!
I think this was his only italian western and it’s really too bad!

Recommended viewing even if it’s not your typical spaghettiwestern.


(Bluntwolf) #3

I completely agree with Silvanito !!!

It was nice to watch !!!


(JONAH HEX) #4

Just finished watching this one, and i agree with everyone ,silva was the best part of this movie,i just wish the showdown between him and brewster had been better.3 stars,worth a watch. if you like silva check out “The tall T” also starring randolph scott and richard boone.


(Sabbath) #5

I really like this film, too - fairly Americanized, yes, but with an edge. Silva is enjoyably menacing, Nicoletta is as lovely as ever, and you know it’s vengeance time when Hunter screams uncontrollably into the face of a dying henchman. Lizzani was a cut above - imho “Kill and Pray” is superb, though Mark Damon as George Bello Fergusson has a lot to do with that :wink:

And that really is the worst saloon singing I’ve ever heard…


(Yodlaf Peterson) #6

It’s a shame that Henry Silva wasn’t in any other spaghetti’s (to my knowledge) as he makes a terrific bad guy, he’s great in many Italian crime movies as bad and good characters :slight_smile:


(ENNIOO) #7

HENRY SILVIA IS GREAT AND A CULT ACTOR, AFTER HE STARRED IN HIS ITALIAN CRIME FILMS HE WAS THE BAD GUY IN BURT REYNOLDS 1981 FEATURE CALLED SHARKY’S MACHINE, AND HE WAS ALSO GREAT IN THIS.

I CANNOT UNDERSTAND THOUGH WHY HE HAS ONLY BEEN IN ONE SPAGHETTI, BUT LOADS OF CRIME FILMS, USUALLY IN THE MOST CASE IT IS THE OPPOSITE WAY AROUND.

HENRY SILVIA IS ONE MEAN MOTHER, AND COULD SHOW THE SCUM TODAY ON ARE STREETS A THING OR TWO!!!


(me) #8

Just watched Hills run red, not the best western I have seen but not an bad one. If you havent seen it as a fan I recommend giving it a try.


(Frank Talby) #9

Hi first time posting here…

that being said I really enjoyed this movie. I am really enjoying pasta’s that do not have the big named actor or someone who did just a couple of them. Henry Silva was dynamic as Mendez - what a crazy loon.


(Dorado) #10

Welcome Amigo :slight_smile:


(Frank Talby) #11

thank you.


(scherpschutter) #12

http://img185.imageshack.us/img185/1281/u36218gcz271sr5.jpg

Guys, we’re ready for you:

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


(Phil H) #13

Nice review Scherp and pretty much sums up my feelings on the film. Silva was great, Hunter was not. But a pretty decent, middle of the road film for all that.


(Ming) #14

Does anyone know whether the MGM release has better picture quality than the Stingray release?


(YourPallbearer) #15

The review on this site states that Hunter had no previous acting gigs before his HRR stint.
Is this so?
How do we know this film came before DEATH WALKS IN LAREDO?

Both were released the same year.


(scherpschutter) #16

[quote=“YourPallbearer, post:15, topic:134”]The review on this site states that Hunter had no previous acting gigs before his HRR stint.
Is this so?
How do we know this film came before DEATH WALKS IN LAREDO?

Both were released the same year.[/quote]

Marco Giusti writes in Il DIZIONARIO DEL WESTERN ALL’ITALIANA about The Hills run red (page 199):

“Un filmetto girato per provare il nuovo villaggio western di De Laurentiis e un nuovo attore, Thomas Hunter (…) Hunter fece per De Laurentiis Tre pistole contro Cesare”

Translation:
“A little film made as a test for the new western town of the De Laurentiis studios and a new actor, Thomas Hunter (…) Hunter would also make Death walks in Laredo for De laurentiis”


(Stanton) #17

And Death in Laredo was released nearly 1 year later.


(YourPallbearer) #18

Thanks! I wanted to know because I have always seen them both listed as “released in 1966”.


(Stanton) #19

Un fiume di dollari: 9.9.66

Tre pistole contro Cesare: 16.8.67

But it seems the latter one was nevertheless already shot in 66.


(Pacificador) #20

Wonderful movie, had me from start to finish. Silva of course should have done more work in the genre - what a freak! When an actor can portray a psychopath like that and really carry it off - wow.