Friday, November 4, 2011

DVD Review by Lee Broughton

It Can Be Done... Amigo!. Widescreen (2.35:1). Directed by Maurizio Lucidi. 103 minutes. 1972.

Wild East, USA. Format: NTSC Region 0.

A strongman drifter, Coburn (Bud Spencer), promises a dying man that he will escort his small nephew, Chip (Renato Cestie), to their new farm at Westland. Unfortunately, Coburn is being tailed by the sharp-shooting manager of a troupe of itinerant dance hall girls, Sonny (Jack Palance), who has vengeance on his mind. Coburn inadvertently deflowered Sonny's sister, Mary (Dany Saval), and Sonny wants Coburn to make an honest woman of her before he kills him. Complications arise when it becomes clear that Westland's corrupt Preacher-cum-Sheriff-cum-Judge, Franciscus (Francisco Rabal), wants Chip's land and Sonny's plans go awry when he discovers that Mary is pregnant.

I have a real fondness for the genre work of both Bud Spencer and Jack Palance but I've managed to avoid It Can Be Done... Amigo! up until now. I've read reviews of this show over the past decade that made it sound like the worst Spaghetti Western ever made. I can only assume that the extremely poor quality of earlier panned and scanned DVDs of this title had some influence on the film's adverse reception because fans of both Spencer and Palance -- and the Spaghetti Western genre itself -- are pretty well served here in my opinion. Coburn is a slightly softer, gentler and more easy going variant of Spencer's usual screen persona but this remains a classic Spencer performance. Highlights for Spencer fans include a number of the big man's trademark one-against-many brawls, a dispute over an out-sized plate full of turkey, a ham-fisted attempt to get close to an amorous widow and a tussle or two with Jack Palance. Palance also turns in an interesting performance here as the unforgiving and mean-spirited Sonny. While he has a noticeably wicked glint in his eyes at all times and gets quite physically rough when he's pushing people around, this remains an uncharacteristically subdued but none-the-less enjoyable turn from the veteran scenery chewer.

Spencer's regular screen partner Terence Hill doesn't appear in this show but the kind of antagonistic relationship that Hill usually shares with Spencer is reproduced here in part by the presence of young Renato Cestie. Cestie's Chip is wise beyond his years and so he is able to convincingly hold his own in arguments with Coburn and the boy's acts of defiance and his contrary outlook manage to convincingly prompt the kind of exasperated responses from Spencer that Hill's characters traditionally provoke. Similarly, Chip can be likened to Hill's characters in the way that he manipulates the events unfolding around him to some extent. Within the skewed internal logic of the film this works fine, thanks in no small part to the fact that Chip's activities are never telegraphed in an overly cute or overly sentimental way. As far as comedy Spaghetti Westerns and Bud Spencer flicks go, It Can Be Done... Amigo! is a good-looking, enjoyable and largely inoffensive dalliance. Cinematographer Aldo Tonti's inch perfect framing, stylish camera angles and fluid camera movements result in a classy looking film and the show's noteworthy art direction and costume designs bring with them an aesthetic look that is pleasingly "revisionist" in nature. There are lots of familiar faces amongst the film's bit part players and genre legend Roberto Camardiel appears in a brief but effective guest spot. Genre stalwart Luis Enriquez Bacalov provides the show's pleasant soundtrack score.

Previously only available as ropey panned and scanned presentations, the long awaited rehabilitation of It Can Be Done... Amigo!'s unfairly tarnished reputation can surely now begin thanks to Wild East's new release of the film. This isn't quite a perfect presentation picture-wise but it isn't far off. Picture quality does fluctuate a little in a couple of places but it remains generally very good and there's very little in the way of print damage present here. The presentation's sound quality suffers from the odd bit of background noise in spots but this doesn't pose a major problem.

Extras: U.S. trailer, German trailer, an image gallery and two alternate credits sequences

More detailed reviews of It Can Be Done... Amigo! and Death Rides a Horse can be found at:

© 2011 Copyright Lee Broughton.

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