The Price of Power / Il prezzo del potere (Tonino Valerii, 1969)


(Romaine Fielding) #41

Nice.


(Romaine Fielding) #42

Hey, can anybody help me identify the actor who played Slim in this one?
I see him all the time and have never been able to figure out his name.
IMDB incorrectly says Slim is played by Jose Suarez. Suarez actually played the Veep.


(Novecento) #43

Excluding My Name is Nobody, which I am sure I prefer due to the Leone input, and For The Taste of Killing, which I haven’t seen, this is my favorite Tonino Valerii contribution to the genre. Of course I may be biased due to Valerii reusing some of the sets from Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West.

Yes it’s great, even rivals some of Morricone’s best.


(Stanton) #44

I’m still unsure about The Price of Power.

The uncut version is a definite improvement over the 94 min german version. But the film fails to be a real pleasure. Somehow the story of an Kennedy like assassination and it’s political aftermath, mixed with a revenge story, mixed with a loyalty guilt from civil war times, is interesting, but seems to be as naive as the character of the president and his ideas.
I don’t think that this film has to be count to the cycle of political westerns. The political parts of The Price of Power are mainly there to have a story going, which is a more mature variation of the early Gemma westerns directed by Giorgio Ferroni.

The Price of Power must have been one of the bigger budgeted SWs, but look at the scenes with the president’s arrival at the railway station, look how the parade is filmed with about 10 extras in one of the usual small SW town sets, which should here represent Dallas, or look at the fact that he is accompanied on his journey to a political hostile region only by his wife and one security officer. Well, than you know that there is something missing, something which should be there to make the scenes work, like they are intended to work.
It’s the same with the whole film and his style, there seems always to be something missing, even if I’m often not exactly sure what it is.

Valerii is obviously trying to inject some more style in this film (he has probably seen meanwhile OuTW, which sets he partly reuses), but somehow the overall impression remains a flat one.
The film has of course some weak moments like the usual unimaginative bigger action scenes (the raid on the jail wagon), but mostly the scenes look good, are well enough directed, but then again without any brilliance. What Vallerii lacks is a deeper understanding of what he films and how he has to film it.
Oh yes, he tries, but he never achieves more than the status of a solid copier.

A good enough SW, but not much more. 6/10


(scherpschutter) #45

One of the few so-called ‘bigger’ SWs that I’ve never seen, for some reason (I guess I never stumbled upon it). Also the only Gemma film along with Silver saddle that has never passed before my eyes. There’s still work to do! Still films to discover!

Funny that Phil hardy is so enthousiastic about it

Well-written review, a bit grumpy here and there:

The film has of course some weak moments like the usual unimaginative bigger action scenes
What Vallerii lacks is a deeper understanding of what he films
Oh yes, he tries, but he never achieves more than the status of a solid copier

What if you ever were to review a film you don’t like …


(korano) #46

I imagine that would be hard as you would feel no passion towards it. Or maybe if you hate it passionatley then it would be easy.


(Stanton) #47

[quote=“scherpschutter, post:45, topic:392”]Funny that Phil hardy is so enthousiastic about it

Well-written review, a bit grumpy here and there:

The film has of course some weak moments like the usual unimaginative bigger action scenes
What Vallerii lacks is a deeper understanding of what he films
Oh yes, he tries, but he never achieves more than the status of a solid copier

What if you ever were to review a film you don’t like …[/quote]

But I’m not a grumpy young man …

Korano is right, if I don’t like a film it’s not worth to waste the time thinking about it. To say that this particular film is boring is just enough.

These beeeg action scenes in SWs are mostly a real pain, while the shorter ones, the quick ones are mostly a real pleasure.
I find the beeeg ones nearly all terrible. They are done mostly in a rather static and unbalanced way, often against the rhythm of the film, and they are too often build around old fashioned looking stuntwork.
Even worse most of them are a bit unnecessary, at least in their excessive length.

Nowadays nearly every action film seems to have unbelievable well done big action scenes. Even in cheap modern action flics I can find easily an undeniable sense for highly aesthetic action directing. That many of the modern action films fail to include these brilliant filmed action scenes in the narrative in a satisfying way, that’s another story …

And Valerii as director …

I have changed my mind about several SW directors I disliked a few years ago. Most prominent I learned to appreciate the work of directors like Carnimeo, Parolini, Mulargia.
But Valerii’s directing hasn’t improved in my esteem despite multiple viewings.
Day of Anger and the Price of Power belong nevertheless meanwhile to the good ones. When I first saw them back in the late 80s, both were only mediocre films for me. Since my personal SW craze has started a few years ago, this has changed also, but not as much as it could have been with a more powerful and imaginative directing.
In these 2 and in Taste of Killing he is copying Leone, but without any inspiration, without a personal input, without giving the often copied Leone style a personal touch to make something own out of it. As a result his films are only solid and overall a bit lifeless.

Phil Hardy is right about the absence of style in Day of Anger. Only that The Price of Power isn’t a great improvement, despite Valerii’s efforts.
Both films are as good as their stories, and Valerii isn’t able to make something outstanding with these promising ideas. After all, he doesn’t spoil them, as he did with the inferior A Reason to Live, a Reason to Die.

Everything I don’t see in any of Valerii’s 4 westerns, I can find in abundance in My Name Is Nobody. None I have said about Valerii goes for Nobody.
Thank you very much Sergio.


(korano) #48

I never understood why people dislike Valerii’s Massacre at Fort Holman. It is a good film.


(Silver Wolf) #49

I see this in exactly opposite way. I can’t stand action scenes in new movies (though it’s also true that I can’t mostly stand new movies at all ::)). The way their “action” scenes are made is very annoying, always with fast editing pace, flash cuts, jumps to close-ups, 50 different camera angles in 25 seconds… the music video stuff. All I get from this style is a headache. I like 70s style much more… with handheld camera, often "needlessly"long shots that actually take some planning and choreography, frequent used of zoom lens, etc. Spaghetti westerns are not the best films when it comes to actions scenes but I really like poliziotteschi and 70s samurai/yakuza films where the "drive"of the film is created with camerawork, not with shitty editing. Long like Lenzi & Fukasaku!


(Col. Douglas Mortimer) #50

Good film but not exactly my cup of tea as I don’t really like civil war era SWs.


(scherpschutter) #51

I didn’t mean to be too serious.
I wasn’t critisizing you for critisizing Valerii (or anybody else), it was just an observation. Actually I like the way you criticize stuntmen falling from roofs, directors having no sense of style etc. It’s a new sound on the site. More in general I don’t like reviews that show no critical sense at all; a review reflects a personal meaning, sure, but therefore a reviewer shouldn’t be afraid to express his opinion

I agree with you about Valerii’s Day of Anger: it’s a great film thanks to the story, but he (Valerii) shows very little sense of style. Some scenes, especially those set in the western town, feel like belonging to an installment of Bonanza. Just compare those scenes to what Corbucci & Barboni did with the western town in Django.


(Stanton) #52

[quote=“scherpschutter, post:51, topic:392”]I didn’t mean to be too serious.
I wasn’t critisizing you for critisizing Valerii (or anybody else), it was just an observation. Actually I like the way you criticize stuntmen falling from roofs, directors having no sense of style etc. It’s a new sound on the site. More in general I don’t like reviews that show no critical sense at all; a review reflects a personal meaning, sure, but therefore a reviewer shouldn’t be afraid to express his opinion

I agree with you about Valerii’s Day of Anger: it’s a great film thanks to the story, but he (Valerii) shows very little sense of style. Some scenes, especially those set in the western town, feel like belonging to an installment of Bonanza. Just compare those scenes to what Corbucci & Barboni did with the western town in Django.[/quote]

My “grumpy young” response was also not to be meant to be taken too serious. Should have added a smiley.

I like it to be criticized for what I’m writing. Could always become the starting point for an interesting discussion, which maybe even deepens my understanding of this film or brings me (us) some new ideas we didn’t thought about before.
So critical responses are always welcome by me. Very welcome.

I don’t think btw that Day of Anger is a great film, only a good film. It would at this moment even not any more make my list of the top 50 SWs, due to this lack of real impressive scenes and due to the still growing amount of convincing SWs.

Hmm, I have written half of an article about the plot structure of Day of Anger with some interesting ideas, but since it sounds rather shallow I maybe will rewrite it in german. That is, if I find the time.


(Phil H) #53

I hear what you’re saying but I think the ‘duel on horseback’ is an impressive scene. Maybe not enough to lift the film’s overall rating for you but memorable nonetheless.


(Stanton) #54

We had already discussed about this in other threads, but in addition to what I had written above it seems okay to take the danger to repeat me.

If Valerii’s first 3 Spags are mainly moulded by good and solid scenes (and only a few weaker ones), and he became more assured with every new western he made, than A Reason to Live was a major drop back.
Surprisingly this film is filled with lots of absolutely uninspired looking shots, so that here the good shots are in the minority (you’ll find them mainly in the first half). And the word uninspired is also very fitting to describe the screenplay, according to what I can see on the screen. The whole film gives me the impression that all people involved had not the slightest interest in making this film.


(Stanton) #55

The duel on horseback is in itself not bad.
In another film. In Day of Anger this scene (and the character played by Benito Stefanelli) seems to be completely out of place. I would have cut it out for being unnecessary for the plot.


(scherpschutter) #56

Please, do that, try to find time

I’d have to rewatch Day of Anger, I always thought it was great, but of course I can be wrong.

I thought it was a nice and interesting variation on the older man/younger man theme from For a Few dollars More, just like Death rides a Horse. (But if i’m not mistaken, you seem to have doubts about that movie too.)


(Stanton) #57

He, he, yes true, the appreciation for Death Rides a Horse amongst SW fans is still puzzling me. But life should always have it’s unsolved secrets.


(Phil H) #58

[quote=“Stanton, post:55, topic:392”]The duel on horseback is in itself not bad.
In another film. In Day of Anger these scene (and the character played by Benito Stefanelli) seems to be completely out of place. I would have cut it out for being unnecessary for the plot.[/quote]

Cut it Out!? Damn, your a hard man Stanton :smiley:


(scherpschutter) #59

http://img16.imageshack.us/my.php?image=prezzopotere1fb1.jpg

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


(Dillinger) #60

As usual a superb review, sherp.

I haven’t seen this one for a long time. In my memory I always tended to put it in a row with the Ferronis, although I’m aware of this one being much more complex and well done. But it somehow has the feel of these movies, its look.

One more for the rewatch list…