By ANTHONY LUSARDI
Though very notable spaghetti westerns have been reviewed, there are still so many others worthy for enthusiasts. So before we get to the final spaghetti western, here are a few honorable mentions.
Texas, Adios (1966), dir. Ferdinando Baldi
Released around the beginning of the spaghetti western wave, this flick plays more like a traditional American western. Its violence is not the focus, and Sheriff Burt Sullivan (played by Franco Nero) is the Italian Wyatt Earp: always willing to uphold the law. Together with his younger, reckless brother Jim, Sullivan crosses the Mexican border to bring the crime lord who murdered their father to justice. Known for its majestic settings, explosive action, and its theme music, Texas, Adios is one spaghetti western that remains underrated.
Django Kill... If You Live, Shoot! (1967), dir. Giulio Questi
Despite its title, this movie has nothing to do with Django. Merely marketed as a spin-off to capitalize on the character's popularity, the main protagonist (played by Tomas Milian) doesn't have a name at all. What we have instead is a revenge tale quickly turning into a battle for gold. Today, it has become a cult film, known for its savage, surrealistic violence and psychedelic editing by Franco "Kim" Arcalli. This is as if Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo) and Herschell Gordon Lewis (Blood Feast) teamed up for a spaghetti western; acid-style.
Cemetery Without Crosses (1968), dir. Robert Hossein
While most spaghetti westerns were Italian, some productions included companies from other countries like Spain, the United States, and West Germany. This particular spaghetti western is a French co-production, starring lead French actor Robert Hossein, who in a rarity among the subgenre, also co-wrote and directed the film. Italian horror master Dario Argento was a co-writer, and Sergio Leone is thought to have directed one scene, while making a cameo appearance. Also known as The Rope and the Colt, the movie is noted for its arthouse style, minimal dialogue, reliance on visuals, and music (composed by Hossein's father) to tell its Shakespearean tale of revenge.
The Price of Power (1969), dir. Tonino Valerii
This spaghetti western features Giuliano Gemma as a man uncovering a conspiracy to assassinate U.S. President James Garfield. The story offers an entirely fictionalized account of the historical events and portrays President Garfield as a benevolent, avid fighter for civil rights, following the aftermath of the Civil War. Some say this spaghetti western glamorizes the death of Garfield so much, it is in fact a commentary on the J.F.K. assassination. The movie's assassination scene even appears to imitate footage of the Zapruder film.
The Grand Duel (1972), dir. Giancarlo Santi
If there’s a spaghetti western where it's hard to tell the good from the bad (or the ugly), it's this one. With recurring flashbacks changing your opinion every time, and more memorable music of Luis Bacalov that found its way into the soundtrack of Tarantino's Kill Bill, The Grand Duel shows the subgenre wasn’t losing its mojo towards its inevitable demise.
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.
[Editor's Note: The next and last section of this column shall time next week.]