Monday, August 10, 2009

THE BIG GUNDOWN

La resa dei conti – Italian title
El halcón y la presa – Spanish title
La presa – Spanish title
Luodin laki - Finnish title
Colorado – French title
Un maudit de plus – French title
Colorado – Polish title
O grande pistoleiro - Portuguese title
Der Gehetzte der Sierra Madre – German title
En blodig kniv, et dödande skott – Swedish title
Account Rendered – English title
The Big Gundown – U.S.A. title

A 1966 Italian, Spanish co-production [PEA (Rome), Tulio Demicheli (Madrid)]
Producer: Alberto Grimaldi, Tulio DeMicheli
Director: Sergio Sollima
Story: Fernando Morandi, Franco Solinas
Screenplay: Tulio Demicheli, Sergio Donati, Sergio Sollima
Cinematography: Carlo Carlini [Technicolor, Techniscope]
Music: Ennio Morricone
Song: “Somewhere” sung by Cristy (Maria Brancucci)
Song: “Run, Man, Run” sung by Cristy (Maria Brancucci)
Running time: 108 minutes

Cast:
Jonathan “Colorado” Corbett - Lee Van Cleef (Clarence Van Cleef, Jr.)
Manuel “Cuchillo” Sanchez - Tomas Milian (Tomas Rodriguez)
Brokston – Walter Barnes
Captain Segura - Fernando Sancho (Fernando Les)
Lizzie Miller- Luisa Rivelli (Rosella Lanfranchi)
widow - Nieves Navarro (Nieves Garcia)
Jess - Benito Stefanelli
Brokston - Walter Barnes
Baron Von Schulenberg - Gérard Herter (Gerhard Haerter)
Rosita Sanchez - Maria Granada (Manuela Barrosa)
Jack - Lanfranco Ceccarelli
Sheriff Jellicol - Roberto Camardiel (Roberto Escudero)
Hondo - Nello Pazzafini (Giovanni Pazzafini)
Mitchell - Spartaco Conversi
Rocky - Romano Puppo
Mr. Lynch - Calisto Calisti
Shemp Miller - Ángel del Pozo (Angel Merino)
Mr. Miller - Tom Felleghy (Tamas Fellegi)
Brother Smith & Wesson - Antonio Casas (Antonio Barros)
Paco Molinas - José Torres (José Medina)
Sheriff of Willow Creek - Fernando Sánchez Polack
Mexican barber - José Zalde
Mexican barman - Angelo Susani
Mexican prostitute - Silvana Bacci
Mormon leader - Herman Reynoso (Hermano Reynoso)
Sarah - Maribel Martín (Maria Martinez)
outlaws - Barta Barry (Bernabe Barri), Luis Gaspar (Luis Osorio)
pioneer - Lorenzo Robledo
widow’s men - Frank Braña (Francisco Pérez), Antonio Molino Rojo, Luis Barboo, Fernando Bilbao
Willow Creek prostitute - Christine Heffernan
wedding guests -  Mark Spencer (Raniero Darascenzi) José Galera Balazote
with; Santiago Santos

After years of playing supporting roles, even in his first two Leone films Lee Van Cleef was offered a starring role in a big budget Spaghetti Westerns. “Mr. Ugly come to town” shouted the film’s advertisements, still using the incorrect tagged character from “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” Here was Lee’s chance to make a lead man’s name for himself and he doesn’t disappoint. Playing against the multi-talented and scene stealing Tomas Milian he comes across as a silent leading man and anti-hero should. No one did it better than Lee. He had the look and that was enough for most fans of the genre but Lee could also act when given a good script and he has one here. He plays Jonathan Corbett and ex-lawman looking to possibly run for the U.S. Senate in the upcoming election. He finds a benefactor in railroad owner Brokston who needs someone in his back pocket to help push an intercontinental railroad through Congress. Lee’s no one’s pawn and he accepts Brokston’s backing conditionally and to show his thanks he takes on the job of hunting down a Mexican peasant named Cuchillo who is suspected of raping and killing a 12 year-old girl and is on the run back to Mexico. Van Cleef at first finds his prey an easy catch but Cuchillo is no fool and years on the run as a thief have made him a difficult man to capture. Milian turns the table on Corbett several times and eventually he begins to realize he is being set up by Brokston to eliminate a witness against his new son-in-law who is the real criminal. In the end Corbett allows justice to take place between Cuchillo and Shep and then he gets his own revenge with the help of Cuchillo when Brockston tries to take control one last time.

If you haven’t seen the uncut version of this film you are truly missing a classic. Most fans of the genre rank this Sollima classic up with any of the Leone films. The uncut version is finally available thanks to Franco Cleef’s painstaking editing of several versions and reinserting missing scenes from the U.S. video release. Have you ever seen the Father Smith & Wesson scene or the 3 bullets for 3 guns scene pictured below. I doubt it, but they are all now available in this fairly new DVD version. Sollima followed up the success of this film with “Run, Man, Run” with Milian reprising his Cuchillo role but Van Cleef was replaced with Donal O’Brien. The results are nowhere near the same proving Lee Van Cleef was what makes “The Big Gundown” the classic that it is.

You Tube link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Z4T3QvglSE

7 comments:

  1. Proper Finnish title is LUODIN LAKI

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  2. Thanks Smjango, titled changed and posted.

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  3. I believe the scene also appears on my spanish dvd (Divisa).

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  4. I can't seem to get hold of this movie (with English subs) - any suggestions?

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  5. The Franco Cleef DVD-R complete version is available at The Drive-In Connection. This has English and Italian language options. See link below to the Franco Cleef DVD-R collection website page. Highly recommended.

    http://www.thedriveinconnection.com/fc.html

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  6. Portuguese title:
    O GRANDE PISTOLEIRO

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  7. Thanks Antonio, Portuguese title added.

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