By ANTHONY LUSARDI
Day of Anger (1967), Tonino Valerii
If Death Rides a Horse wasn’t enough to satisfy, and you wish to see another spaghetti western where payback is overdue, Day of Anger is a great choice.
Once again, Lee Van Cleef takes the lead as Frank Talby, an opportunist who strolls into the quiet town of Clifton to set up his own casino. But there are a couple of criminals and corrupted town officials that he must bring down. Things seem a bit okay for Talby though, when he receives a welcome from social outcast Scott Mary (Giuliano Gemma). And this outcast becomes a very big ally in Talby's ambitions in town.
Scott Mary is the town street sweeper and trash collector, and therefore treated as something unclean. Wishing to become someone big and important with a sense of acceptance, he finds opportunity when Talby shows him compassion and puts a revolver in his hand. And since Talby’s opponents are the same bullies of Scott Mary, it’s safe to assume that this whole town is about to erupt like a volcano.
Yet, payback isn’t the only thing that makes this story so interesting. In a world where trust can be defined by the type of gun somebody puts in your hand, things may not be what they seem between Talby and Scott Mary. Spaghetti westerns were known for reshaping the western genre by featuring more anti-heroic characters. Day of Anger blurs the line between who is good and who is bad. The chemistry between the characters is superb, backed up with flawless acting by Van Cleef and Gemma.
Day of Anger is noted for its own revenge theme, character development, and music by Riz Ortolani, whose musical reputation goes beyond spaghetti westerns. It also started a common “tutorship” theme where a younger gun seeks the tutelage of an older gun. Talby certainly has a lot of lessons for Scott Mary, one of them being that once you start killing, you can't stop. Such lessons turn out to be true, as Clifton is put on a path to gunfire and destruction.
Day of Anger is a .45 colt pistol that shoots a powerful bullet. Definitely don’t get between it and its target.
Trivia: Aside from spaghetti westerns, composer Riz Ortolani has achievements in a variety of genres, including Italian giallo, Eurospy, exploitation, and mondo. In 1962, he earned a Grammy award and Academy Award nomination for the song “More,” which appeared in the movie, Mondo Cane. His music has been used in modern video games such as Grand Theft Auto: London 1969, and in movies like Kill Bill, Drive, and Django Unchained.
Lives in Rockaway Borough
He's a 2013 graduate of Centenary College (now Centenary University) in Hackettstown, NJ
He currently work as a freelance reporter
Anthony is an avid movie fan, reader, and lover of arts and entertainment. I've attended and covered music concerts, art exhibits, festivals, parades, book readings, library lectures, and even a movie premiere in Parsippany and a movie shooting in Roxbury.
[Continued next week]