Yankee (Tinto Brass, 1966)


(Phil H) #1

I know there is a thread comparing this film with One After Another but I thought it was worthy of its own discussion.

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

Having only recently received my copy of the Koch Media release this was my first opportunity to see this film and I must say I was genuinely impressed. With Brass’ reputation for titty flicks I wasn’t sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised. It was visually impressive with lots of interesting editing and religious imagery, had a good theme tune which was well used and I liked Phillipe Leroy in the lead role. On top of that, Adolfo Celi made an excellent baddie as El Grande Concho; combining the physical presence of Fernando Sancho with the cruel megalomania of Eduardo Fajardo.

My only disappointment was in the final showdown which was building really well but poorly executed at the end.

All in all though a first rate Spaghetti in my opinion and thoroughly enjoyed. Also, an excellent quality DVD release. Great picture quality and sound and with english subtitles to boot. Well done Koch Media.


(Bill san Antonio) #2

For those who didn’t already know: Tinto Brass is best know for his erotic films as Salon Kitty, Miranda, All Ladies Do It etc. What distinguishes him in this genre is his great directing skills, detailed scenery, inventive camerawork and lightning (as well as his constant focusing on womens buttocks). Yankee is his second film and made 10 years before Salon Kitty so even though I had heard good things about I wasn’t expecting much of his trademark in Yankee. Well, I was wrong. This is easily the most beautiful looking spaghetti western with all the good aspects I expect from Brass film. The whole look of the film is very different than in usual spaghettis: bright lights and colours, pop-art influenced sets, imaginative camera angles and editing.

Too bad that the script isn’t that original. It’s just a little variation of the familiar fistfull of Dollars plot and at the times some scenes became too long and boring.
The cast is unusual to spaghetti western but good. Adolfo Celi makes a good villain and Philippe LeRoy does ok job in the lead though he might seem to be strange choice at first sight because it’s not the role he’s used to be seen. Music by Nini Rosso is good too and works well with the film but isn’t that kind of stuff that you’ll be humming for days afterwards.

My rating 4 / 5.


(Reverend Danite) #3

My views on this are over on the ‘Yankee/One after the Other’ thread … but to summarise - A great looking film, a bit … style over content (which I don’t neccesarily mind), a bit too ‘wordy’ … I like my heroes a bit more moody and silent. Some of the themes and characters (e.g. Philosopher) too underdeveloped (he should have been the one ‘with something to say’). There is a definate arty circle motif running thru’ which could have done more … and a bit of an easy cop-out for Yankee’s escape. Having said all that negative stuff - please dont get me wrong -still a very enjoyable film (that very nearly achieves its potential) and I’d enjoy watching this (yet) again. Stylish!


(Hud) #4

The look of the film is fun, lots of very “flat” images and few foreground-background compositions you’d expect from a spaghetti western. YANKEE has its offbeat charm and a nice cast of eccentrics, it could very well be the best of Brass before he found his softcore niché. Frayling (SPAGHETTI WESTERNS) claims that the producer dragged Brass out of the editing room and in this instance I tend to believe, as the movie doesn’t have the headache-style experimental editing of his other early efforts.


(Silver Wolf) #5

This story is also in many Italian sources (and in some interviews with Brass) so it’s not something Frayling made up. Producers wanted Yankee to be standard SW but of course Brass had to do it his way. When producers saw his version they tried to cut out Brass’ symbolism and frenzied editing in order to make the film more ‘normal’. Brass has said that the film was supposed to be even more fumetti-style, with symbolic shots of guns and spurs playing an important role. Because of re-cutting he disowns this producer’s cut to some degree, like he (partly) disowns Caligula. Great film, maybe Bass’ version was even better but we never know. I have seen this only as Italian language VHS, not the best version, I hope KOCH DVD I ordered will arrive before Christmas.


(Stanton) #6

I have meanwhile watched Yankee for a 2nd time, now in the subtitled italian version (could set a trend for me) instead of the german dub, which has it’s usual shortcomings.

It’s a good (6/10 I think), sometimes unusual SW, which belongs to the more interesting variations of the FoD formula. Brass tries hard to deliver several surprises by photography and montage to a not so surprising, but straight story.
But he doesn’t succeed in creating an continuous overall style to carry the whole film, there are also some unimaginative shots which have a purely routine look (like the sequence with the rafts). Routine are also many of the costumes which have only a “50s american middle of the road western” look, typical for most of the early SWs up to 67.

Another major fault are imo the two leads. Leroy, who looks like an unhappy salesman beneath his much too great hat, lacks the necessary charisma to fill in his role (which would have been a great one for e.g. Robert Woods) and his dialogues.
Adolfo Celi has done better (Thunderball), here he gives us too much of the usual fierce grinning mexican heavy, and he has the burden of a slightly ridiculous looking (and much too clean) costume.

The overall impact is nonetheless positive, because there are so many interesting ideas concerning dialogues, shootouts, violence, story development, which is all done in good and inventive SW fashion.

I would like to see a director’s cut of Yankee.


(ENNIOO) #7

Just viewed this one and took me a bit to get into, but when I did I enjoyed.
Seemed a bit talky at first, but this may be due to the fact I do not view many subtitled films.
Some nice colours and image stuff going on in he film, but like what has already been mentioned it is not the most original of story.
The main character who sports a very large hat was lacking something at times, and cannot quite put my finger on it so to speak.
Music was OK, but could have done with more at times.

I will probably prefer more the next time I view, as I will not have to concentrate on the subtitles as much.


(Paco Roman) #8

An interesting Movie of Tinto Brass with an unusual photography. I enjoyed the Trumpet Music and the look of this Movie. But the story was a very usual one, nothing special with no big Surprises. One Man against a bunch of mexican outlaws. Never liked Jumping Scene in a SW, but in Yankee I had to see one again. Also there was scene earlier in this movie: Yankee (the hero) is hanging up some pictures of the Bandit Chief Concho (Adolpho Celi good performance) in the city. IMO there was no really need for this action. A good and more interesting story would be helpful. Because of the photography and some really good pictures I would say better than average and it is no wonder that it was the only SW of Tinto Brass. :slight_smile:


(Chris_Casey) #9

This one has been a favorite of mine for a long, long time.
It is a bit odd–and surrealistic; but, that is most likely why I like it so much!

The bit where the man on horseback rides right into the Saloon/Barber Shop at the beginning of the film is priceless…and in a way entirely realistic from a historical standpoint. As soon as I saw that scene (when I first saw it about five years ago)—I was sold on the entire film!

I like the cast very much and I think they do a great job. If I had to replace anyone in the cast it would be Leroy. I with “stanton” 100% when he says the role would have been perfect for Robert Woods. I also think it would have been a good role for Brett Halsey (aka, Montgomery Ford).

The music is quite good and well used. The script might be a tad too talky; but, I like that it is just a straight-forward tale. Anything more complex might have made for tough viewing, given all the quirky visuals–but, then again, that might just be me. And speaking of quirky visuals, I think this film is excellent from a cinematographic standpoint.

Overall a great little film that I am incredibly happy Koch Media released on DVD!


(T.H) #10

I liked it a lot. Many beautiful settings and overall a very good SW. 8/10


(Dillinger) #11

That’s a good idea, I also tried this procedure with some movies. One bad thing about it is the fact, that the German subtitles use the German dub, so you got the Ialian language but (in many cases) still German nonsense.

So this would be another task for Koch: real 1:1 subtitles!


(Stanton) #12

No, no, no, nearly on all Koch DVDs the subs are a translation from the italian version. Check it on Yankee!

From the newer ones only The Big Gundown has dub subs, which were taken over from the Sollima box. This one I only can watch with the english subs.

If there are only dub subs there is no big need to watch it in italian for me. Generally said, if there are dub subs (or no subs) on a DVD with a distorted german dub, I don’t buy it.


(Col. Douglas Mortimer) #13

Its a good western. It think Leroy is a pretty cool hero and this. Its hard to believe a decade later this same guy played a wheelchair riding old scrooge in Mannaja.

The one thing I didn’t like about this movie was the Grande Concho character. He did not show why he was held in such great reverence. Everybody treated him like he was a great leader but he was just an average dude. The movie would’ve been better served to actually show why he was so great.


(jaho) #14

This one was surprisingly good. It surprised me because I’ve seen Tintos’ other films, and needless to say he is an ass master. So I went into this one a little cautious and was greatly rewarded. Adolfo Celi completely stole the show. I thought the final showdown was a bit weak. However, I believe I’ll return to this one again in the future.


(ENNIOO) #15

[quote=“ENNIOO, post:7, topic:779”]Just viewed this one and took me a bit to get into, but when I did I enjoyed.
Seemed a bit talky at first, but this may be due to the fact I do not view many subtitled films.
Some nice colours and image stuff going on in he film, but like what has already been mentioned it is not the most original of story.
The main character who sports a very large hat was lacking something at times, and cannot quite put my finger on it so to speak.
Music was OK, but could have done with more at times.

I will probably prefer more the next time I view, as I will not have to concentrate on the subtitles as much.[/quote]

Just viewed this one again (Franco Cleef version) and seems more like a western with the english dub to me. The woman is very sexy in this, and shame she dies, but like I have said before this is the way it goes sometimes. And again the film needed more music.


(cm215) #16

Anyone know where I can find this in English?


(Spaghetti Monkey) #17

(ION BRITTON) #18

Excellent one, i can’t think of many SW’s from '66 that can top this.


(uncknown) #19

so, tell me…
any one get nekkid?


(korano) #20

Probably the most sylish spaghetti i’ve seen.

I have a question for someone who is good at catching smybolism in spaghettis. At the end where we see Leroy riding off with th bag of gold, there is a long shot of Leroy holding the gold which also focuses on Leroy’s crotch. Is it posible that Brass is making some sort of symoblic gesture with this shot of Leroy’s gold and crotch. It makes me uncomfortable noticing this but Tinto Brass has a history with sex and nudity.