[quote=“scherpschutter, post:21, topic:711”]As for Corbucci, I have five of his films in my Top 20, so it’s clear that I adore him. He certainly was a very inventive director, but not a disciplined one and very often, even in his best films, he was rather careless. At his best, he was brilliant, but very often, he simply wasn’t at his best.
Even his undisputed masterpiece, The Great Silence, counts several under-directed sequences, and The Mercenary is (I’m exaggerating a little) a series of brilliant and mediocre scenes thrown together in a narrative that, for most part, doesn’t make much sense.[/quote]
Ok here we are.
And I’m interested in learning about the underdirected and mediocre elements in these 2 films which are Corbucci’s most assured works.
I agree with your over-all statement about Corbucci.
If he had died soon after The Mercenary, or after Companeros, he would have a much better reputation nowadays. Maybe he would regarded as a lost classic. But in the 20 years after he had worked hard to kill his reputation.
I was always surprised that The Mercenary wasn’t regarded as high by SW fans as The Great Silence or Django. Even the more superficial successor Companeros seems to be preferable by many viewers. ( See my above post, I’m repeating myself)
Maybe this film only needs a proper worldwide DVD release to come to it’s rights.
You have The Mercenary at #8 of your top 20, so you can’t see too much mediocre scenes in it. I think that the narrative in The Mercenary works extremely well, and the only weak scene is the comical style brawl between Nero and Musante (including falling into a pigsty), but even this scene is strictly within the concept of the relationship between both, with the mercenary always manipulating the unreflected revolutionist.
Stylistically here (and also in The Great Silence) everything becomes fruitful what in Django was promised, but in Navajo Joe and The Hellbenders only partially was delivered.
Stylistically and thematically both are the peak of Corbucci’s career, and also together with Leone’s first four the peak of the SWs.
In The Mercenary Corbucci walks with a dreamlike competence, by creating breathtaking images and always cutting at the right point, through a more complex (and cynical) narrative than it seems on the surface. Astonishingly the film manages to be serious and parodistic at once.
In The Great Silence Corbucci takes the audience by surprise by refusing the expected end. In The Mercenary the audience didn’t get the end when it was expected, instead the flashback is closed, the great Leone like duel in an arena is finished, but not the film, which starts again and goes on with more complications and an still increasing body count (brillantly filmed like all the other shoot-outs).
And shortly before the film finally ends, there is another scene which should be the end, but is only another fake end, now complete with music and the typical long shot of a vanishing rider when the camera movement suddenly seizes riders with rifles in their hands.