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  • If nothing else can be said about it, A Man Called Sledge is a slightly above average spaghetti western. It boasts James Garner,playing against type, as Luther Sledge, a brutal robber who gets involved in a plot to steal a shipment of gold stored in a prison.It's a departure from his usual easygoing roles and he gets good support from TV western stars Dennis Weaver,Claude Akins,and Wayde Preston. It's also directed by veteran TV actor, Vic Morrow. It's okay,overall, and worth a look the next time it comes on TV.
  • I must confess to "umming and ahhing" a fair bit as to whether I really wanted to see this film. I've got nothing against James Garner, but he just didn't say "spaghetti western protagonist" to me. He doesn't have that certain "kill" look in his eye (think Eastwood, Nero, Gemma, Steffen et el). However, having always respected Howard Hughes' "Essentials" book, this was one of the few films that he had covered so far that I had not seen - and his recommendations had generally not disappointed. I am really glad that I did dispel these initial reservations, because Man Called Sledge makes great viewing from beginning to end.

    Luther Sledge (Garner) is introduced to us as he enters a bar with one of his cohorts. Leaving his colleague to participate in an ill-fated card game, Sledge reunites himself with his lover Ria (Laura Antonelli). After a night of passion (lucky man!) he is woken by the sound of a gunshot. He returns to the bar to find his partner dead, and forced to defend himself against the killers. An old timer witness (John Marley) confirms that Sledge has merely defended himself.

    Sledge and the old timer soon cross paths again, with the former assuming that he is being tracked due to the price on his head. However, it soon transpires that the old man has been spying on a delivery of gold. This gold is transported by a posse of armed guards and stored in a top security prison overnight. The old man recounts how he spent time in the jail, with his cell sitting side by side to the safe.

    The lure of the gold is too much for Sledge, and he is soon devising a scheme to get his hands on the horde and allow him to settle down and lead an honest life with Ria. And what better way to get access to the treasure than to find ones self imprisoned in the jail......

    A simple yet highly enjoyable idea for a story, with double crossing aplenty and a cracking soundtrack. If truth be told, I am still not completely sold on Messrs Garner and Weaver in the spaghetti genre, but the film itself more than makes up for such minor grumbles. There are some great scenes, with Sledge's wilful imprisonment (with some very shady characters forming his prison mates) a particular highlight.

    Highlighly recommended, and grasping at a possible "must view" berth.
  • "A Man Called Sledge" is unique among the spaghetti westerns I have seen so far because it is the only one directed by an American. Vic Morrow must have been a big fan of spaghetti westerns himself, because he really got it right. It must have been a lot of fun for an American director to go to Spain and Italy to shoot an authentic spaghetti western back when the genre was still being pumped out.

    I wasn't expecting much spaghetti style from this film because I knew it was by an American director with mainly American actors, but the movie really surprised me. It's nowhere near the very top of the spaghetti meter, but on the other hand you would never mistake this one for a Hollywood western. It's got Italian written all over it. The music score by Gianni Ferrio is quite good. A couple of parts sound a little too much like jazz for me, but most of it is well-suited for the genre, especially the tunes with vocals and over-the-top cheesy lyrics.

    Don't let the fact that this movie is one of the later-era spaghetti westerns and has James Garner in it fool you into thinking it's one of those goofy comedy type of Euro-westerns. There are a couple of funny lines in the film, but overall it's very serious and tragic with plenty of violence and action. This is not a happy film at all, which is definitely a good thing in this case.

    The production values and acting are above-average for a Eurowestern. James Garner and Dennis Weaver, both of whom have usually portrayed happy/funny do-gooders in American films and television shows, do an excellent job here in their roles as seriously bad people. Casting them for those parts was probably done for effect. It reminds me of how Leone used Henry Fonda as the evil character in Once Upon a Time in the West.

    This is one that is definitely worth seeing if you are into Euro-westerns.
  • In the Old West, a gunfighting outlaw called Sledge(James Garner) connives his way into a prison in hopes of getting his hands a cache of gold on stored there . Sledge join forces with a varied bunch of bandits (John Marley , Dennis Weaver , Claude Akins , Bruno Corazzari , among others) attempting to take a large shipment of gold into a prison fort . The misfit group of outlaws wind up battling each over a cache of gold . A quintet of unlikely partners match wills and wits and fight enemies and each other .

    Entertaining Spaghetti Western with shootouts , action ,violence and amusement . It is a mainstream Western amusement with a lot of surprises , thrills and including a love story between James Garner and a whore played by gorgeous Laura Antonelli . This film realized in Spaghetti style contains action-Western , gun-play , fist-play and is pretty bemusing . Vic Morrow's spaghetti western, probably won't be making too many top ten lists, but its an agreeable flick . It's an exciting western that scrutinizes the greed and paranoia that afflicts a misfit group , including breathtaking showdown between protagonists and the enemies . The film blends violence , thrills , high body-count and it's fast moving and exciting . There is plenty of action in the movie , guaranteeing shootouts or stunts every few minutes , including a spectacular final confrontation . Although by many to be director Vic Morrow's finest film , this is a tale of fear , greed and murder , as some partners fall out over the gold they have robbed from an impenetrable safe . It also has probably the most brutal prison escape ever put on film . Underrrated by some reviewers , but till interesting to watch . It above all things mostly also remains a real characters movie, in which the five main roles are the essentials . Their dynamic together is also great and is what mostly keeps this movie going. They are five totally different characters, which is the foremost reason why they work out so great together on film . This theme about confrontation among mean people for a cache of gold has been treated in various Spaghetti such as ¨Ruthless four¨ by Giorgo Capitani with Van Heflin , Gilbert Roland , George Hilton , and ¨A reason to live , a reason to die¨ by Tonino Valeri with James Coburn , Jose Suarez and Bud Spencer . Here James Garner is superbly believable and gives a nice portrait of an increasingly unhinged thief . James Garner enthusiasts might be surprised to see the star play a villain . Furthermore , John Marley is very good as a cunning old man and remaining support cast is pretty well . There appears Spaghetti's ordinary actors such as Ken Clark , Wayde Preston , Steffen Zacharias , Fausto Tozzi , Bruno Corazzari , Angelo Infanti , Luciano Rossi , Barta Barry , among others.

    The musician Gianni Ferrio composes a vibrant soundtrack and well conducted ; including a catching leitmotif and considered to be one of the best . In addition , a marvelous song at the beginning titled ¨Other men's gold¨ , with lyrics by Bill Martin and Phil Coulter , sung by Stefan Grossman . Atmospheric scenario with barren outdoors , dirty landscapes under sunny exteriors and a shimmer sun and fine sets by production designer Mario Chiari with striking cinematography by Luigi Kuiveiller . The picture resulted to be shot entirely on location in Almeria , Spain , where in the 60s and 70s had been shot innumerable Ravioli/Paella Westerns , and interiors in Dino De Laurentiis Cinematographica S.A. , Rome . The motion picture was well written by Frank Kowalski ad Vic Morrow who also directed . While Morrow was filming ¨Twilight zone : the movie¨ , he was unfortunately killed on the early morning hours of July 23, 1982 in a tragic, freak accident on the set while filming a scene involving a helicopter which crashed right on top of him and two young children . Rating : 6'5 , acceptable Spaghetti with good lead from James Garner .
  • If you have read my profile I am a huge fan of Spaghetti Westerns, Film Noir, and Italian Giallo..this film has a mixture of all 3....in many ways this film does not look like a Spaghetti Western, almost like the recent film Open Range about average cowpokes who are very human and have to get by the best they can....Soundwise it is a very Spaghetti i.e. the high-pitched carbine sounds of the weapons and in an Italian Western it could be anything from a Derringer, rifle or Gatling Gun or even a small cannon, but that is what gives the Spaghetti Western its own identity, like bad effects are novel for a Godzilla film....anyway the storyline is very nourish especially James Garner who is quite excellent in this atypical role of a ruthless and merciless outlaw.....The Giallo comes in at 2 points, the creepy and ghoulish way one of his men ride thru town sacrificing his life shooting from his horse a la EL CID...and all 3 of the genres in the latter 3rd of the film.....the score by Gianni Ferrio is quite moody and hip for its day, today it is a little dated, but hey I like dated, again it gives it an identity...I am very proud to own the film finally on DVD in its original widescreen format of 2:40 to 1 ratio....and I enjoy anything that Dino De Laurentiis has produced, from Ulysses 1954 to most recently RED DRAGON with Anthony Hopkins...if you are a Italian Western buff I highly recommend this film..p.s. this film was shot in English but as most Italian productions most of the audio is Post Production, that explains why actors like Tony Young was evidently not available for post ADR and they had to re-voice it with another actor....
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I like the song sung in this movie so much that I will share the lyrics with all who might like to learn the song. Here goes.

    Come listen here to my story which must be told. Of how men fought and died but not for glory, only for gold. Gold was their god, gold was their guide, For it they lived, for it they lied, And my friends, for gold they died.

    Seven men dreamed of holding fortunes in gold, Gold that would make them rich until they grew old. Dreams of the thrill, as they feel their dust spill, through their fingertips, And they laugh at the curse that follows other men's gold.

    Remember man, you are dust, and to dust you'll return. If you sell out your soul, then in Hell you will burn. Think of what you've been told, 'bout worshiping gold. And take care my friend, You must beware... of the curse that follows other men's gold.

    Seven men gambled on the turn of a card, gambling their gold away and losing came hard. They weren't satisfied until 6 of them died, only one man lived... to tell the tale of the curse that follows other men's gold.

    Remember man, you are dust, and to dust you'll return. If you sell out your soul, then in Hell you will burn. Think of what you've been told, 'bout worshiping gold. And take care my friend, You must beware... of the curse that follows other men's gold.

    Remember man, you are dust, and to dust you'll return. If you sell out your soul, then in Hell you will burn. Think of what you've been told, 'bout worshiping gold. And take care my friend, You must beware... of the curse that follows other men's gold.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Many American leading men trailed Clint Eastwood to Europe during the heyday of the Spaghetti western in the 1960s and 1970s. Reportedly, not only did Lee Van Cleef achieve superstar status on the continent, but he also surpassed Eastwood's popularity in westerns. Burt Reynolds took top billing in Sergio Corbucci's "Navajo Joe," about a vengeful redskin. Henry Fonda and Charles Bronson tangled in Sergio Leone's "Once Upon A Time in the West." James Coburn and Eli Wallach anted up for a couple of oaters. Most American stars were either solidly established or whose careers were riding the rails to the big sundown, such as Guy Madison, Rod Cameron, Stewart Granger, John Ireland, Yul Brynner, etc. Surprisingly, lightweight leading man James Garner crossed the Atlantic for "War & Peace" producer Dino De Laurentiis to star in a savage western "A Man Called Sledge" with former "Combat" star Vic Morrow at the helm. Fellow "Combat" alumnus Frank Kowlaski co-scripted "A Man Called Sledge" with Morrow. This formulaic shoot'em up saga qualifies as James Garner's most unusual role. The "Maverick" star shunned his affable image to play against type as a no-holds barred outlaw who is clearly on the wrong side of the law. Dennis Weaver of "Gunsmoke," Claude Akins of "Return of the Seven," and "Colt .45" star Wade Preston fleshed out the "Sledge" cast along with fellow Americans Ken Clark and Tony Young. Shot on location by seasoned lenser Luigi Kuveiller against the sheer, raw beauty of Spain, this frontier western adventure told a tale about greed and revenge. Essentially, "Sledge" emerged as an impossible heist western, similar to director Don Taylor's "The 5-Man Army" (1969) with Peter Graves and James Daly.

    "A Man Called Sledge" opens--in Sergio Corbucci country--with Luther Sledge (James Garner) and Mallory (Tony Young of "Taggart") robbing a stagecoach on a snowy mountain trail. During the hold-up, the shotgun guard chucks his weapon. Incredibly, a freak accident--that neither Sledge nor Mallory anticipated—occurs. The shotgun discharges and kills the driver. Talk about coincidence! Sledge and Mallory make off with the loot to a secluded saloon known as 'the 3 Ws. They feel awful about the accidental death of the driver. Sledge has come to meet his girlfriend Ria (Laura Antonelli of "Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs") and he joins her upstairs in a room. Overconfident Mallory decides to play poker. "You're the worse poker player I ever saw," Sledge reminds Mallory. Ironically, Mallory wins hand after hand. Triumphantly, as he gathers his fortune, Mallory observes, "I just made a killing," and evil Floyd (Ken Clark of "Attack of the Giant Leeches") shoots him in the back. Sledge stumbles down the stairs and finds Mallory dead on the floor. Floyd and his cohorts ridicule Sledge. Sledge whips out Mallory's pistol and guns them both down. An old man (John Marley of "Love Story") witnesses the gunfight. Later, Sledge intercepts him in Rockville and suspects him for being a bounty hunter. The old man goes berserk after Sledge trusses him up so he cannot watch an escort of 40-armed riders take a gold payroll into a nearly prison for safekeeping. He explains that the riders lock up the gold—usually about $300-thousand worth—in the prison vault overnight before they continue to the clear house.

    The old man recounts his prison days. "I never could sleep when that gold was next to me. You know gold gives off a scent. It's like an animal or a man. Paper money don't throw off a scent. Paper money don't whisper to you like gold does through six inches of steel." Sledge decides to steal the gold, but Ward (Dennis Weaver) and Hooker (Claude Atkins) are leery about the heist. Similarly, Sledge reveals a lot about himself when he says, "I ain't kidding myself that it is the last. I'm gonna finish my life with a white picket fence and the little woman making biscuits. Me sprouting gray like a tree in the fall. I wanna go out with a bullet in my head or a rope around my neck. I want a little taste of living before I go." Sledge and company follow the gold from mine to prison but find no flaw in the security precautions. They ride into Rockville for supplies and the Old Man poses as a head of a westbound family and an arsenal of weapons. "I feel like one of those Eastern war profiteers," Sims confides in Rockville Sheriff Ripley (Wade Preston) that the Old Man bought "enough firepower to save Custer. When Ripley enters the store, Sledge pokes a gun in his back. Another gunfight erupts and a Sledge man dies in a murderous crossfire. After the death of one of their own, Ward and Hooker are really reluctant about the gold shipment robbery, until Sledge devises a daring plan. Since they cannot take it from the outside, Sledge proposes to take it in the prison. Ward poses as Deputy Marshall and gains entrance to the prison because he has Sledge in his custody. They put Sledge in solitary with the rest of the other loonies and Sledge breaks out with Ward's help. Morrow generates considerable suspense in solitary with their breakout. The way that Sledge gets out of being taken by Ripley to the Rockville City Jail is clever, too.

    Thematically, "A Man Called Sledge" concerns greed and the song 'The Curse that Follows Other Men's Gold' summarizes the storyline. Everybody is after somebody else's gold, and greed consumes them to the point that nothing else matters. This western boasts some irony so that the action contains greater depth. Mallory wins at cards but loses his life. Audaciously, Sledge engineers a way into the worst prison in the Southwest where the authorities would dearly love to incarcerate him. Later, he lashes a crucifix to his hand so he can fire his gun. "A Man Called Sledge" qualifies a gritty but entertaining Italian western!
  • It's possible that A Man Called Sledge might have been done irreparable damage on the cutting room floor. Maybe someone will demand a director's cut one day, but I seriously doubt it.

    James Garner decided to cash in on the spaghetti western market and in doing so brought a whole lot of Americans over to fill the cast out. Folks like Dennis Weaver, Claude Akins, John Marley. And of course we have Vic Morrow who both wrote and directed this film.

    Garner always gets cast as likable rogues because he's so darn good at playing them. But he has played serious and done it well in films like The Children's Hour and Hour of the Gun. He can and has broken away from his usual stereotyped part successfully. But A Man Called Sledge can't be counted as one of his successes.

    He's got the title role as Luther Sledge notorious outlaw with a big price on his head. After partner Tony Young gets killed in a saloon and Garner takes appropriate Eastwood style measures, he's followed from the saloon by John Marley.

    Marley's spent time in the nearby territorial prison and it seems as though gold shipments are put under lock and key there on a rest stop for the folks transporting the stuff on a regular run. Garner gets his gang together for a heist.

    Here's where the movie goes totally off the wall. Usually heist films show the protagonists going into a lot of methodical planning. Certainly that was the case in The War Wagon which some other reviewer cited. But in this one Garner decides to break into the prison as a prisoner of fake US Marshal Dennis Weaver and cause a jailbreak at which time the gold will be robbed.

    That was just too much to swallow. If taking the gold was this easy it should have been done a long time before. But I will say for those who like the blood and guts of Italian westerns, during that prison break there's enough there for three movies.

    That's not the whole thing, of course the outlaws fall out and we have another gore fest before the film ends. But by that time the whole film has lost a lot of coherency.

    The great movie singer of the Thirties Allan Jones is listed in the credits. But for the life of me I can't find him in the film. Maybe a chorus of the Donkey Serenade might have made this better.

    Couldn't have hurt any.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Even Brian Garfield in his book, 'Western Films' says that this one is "brainless but well acted." I happen to like it more than he does since James Garner is out of type here, but I can never see him as a totally convincing evil guy although this film tries to make him out as one.

    Anyway, James Garner, Claude Atkins and Dennis Weaver plot to rob some gold that's stored in a maximum security prison for safe-keeping. The plan is that since Sledge (Garner) already has a price on his head, they take him there so he can get on the inside. Once himself and Weaver are in, they get the keys from a guard they've overpowered and let all the prisoners loose so they can break into the vault during the confusion.

    They manage to crack the combination and get inside the safe and take the gold. In the confusion and gunbattle outside, Weaver gets killed and Sledge is pinned down until all the prisoners overpower the guards. Before they know what happens, Sledge and his gang make their escape and hold up at an oasis in order to let their horses rest.

    It's at this point that the film starts to get silly as the gang start gambling and losing all their shares to Sledge. He heads south to Mexico with his winnings and to hook up with his girl that is waiting for him there. Of course the rest of the gang isn't going to let him get away with this and follows and ambushes him and captures his girl. They wind up killing her and take the loot off of Sledge's horses.

    Although Sledge wins in the end, he loses all the gold because his dead partners hid it and he doesn't know where it is. It's one of those morality tales about the lust for gold and how everyone loses out in the end.

    The action is decent although I've seen better. The rest of it is uneven and it's missing something. I don't know if it's because I don't like the ending to it or I wasn't sympathetic to any of the characters or what.

    Still, I'll give it a 5 out of 10 for keeping me somewhat entertained throughout the whole thing. There are worse out there.
  • A Man Called Sledge is directed by Vic Morrow and Morrow co-writes the screenplay with Frank Kowalski. It stars James Garner, Dennis Weaver, Claude Akins, John Marley, Laura Antonelli, Wayde Preston and Ken Clarke. Music is by Gianni Ferrio and cinematography by Luigi Kuveiller.

    Luther Sledge (Garner) is a wanted outlaw who upon hearing about a huge gold shipment stored in a prison, promptly assembles his gang and sets about executing a daring robbery.

    A Pasta Western filmed in Technicolor/Techniscope out of Andalucia in Spain, A Man Called Sledge is a most interesting and entertaining addition to this splinter of Westerns. From the off we are in no doubt that Garner is serving up a character not of his normal portrayal varieties, here he's not heroic, all American or a lovable rogue, he's a bad egg, gruff, rough and tough, and driven by law breaking activities. Added into the mix is a rather cheeky premise, that of gold being stored in a working prison, which is naturally heavily fortified, protected and seemingly impossible to breach, but Sledge and his cohorts have other ideas that gives the narrative and dramatic drive much strength.

    You couldn't take it with a pope!

    In spite of the odd flecks of humour, such as a terrific organ sequence and Akins' constant cynical asides (both orally and visually), pic is grim in texture, there will be blood and the unfurling of other hateful human traits. Morrow knows his Pasta Oaters, both as regards visual ticks and via characterisations. So we get camera zooms, low level up-tilts and spins, while the characters range from the foolish to the greedy - to the twitchy and the dumb - and even a howling man! The story plays out through differing back drops, be it a snow storm, an arid landscape or a sweaty bar - not least the imposing prison at the centre of the plot - Morrow is taking his story through visual variations.

    I would have died for you Sledge!

    There are a number of great scenes to enjoy, usually where action is concerned, not least the quite exhilarating show-piece involving a jailbreak, where here we are treated to top stunt work as dynamite and a Gatling Gun join the usual bullets and blood carnage. Cards are a big feature, as are crosses - cum - crucifixes, the latter providing some striking (and scary) imagery. While all the time Ferrio's varied musical score hits all the right Pasta Western notes. Hell! even the irritating theme song is hauntingly chaotic and thus fitting once the pic reaches its denouement. With the mostly American cast turning in good perfs, and Morrow proving deft at genre compliance, this is very much an under valued pic and worthy of either seeking out for a first time view or for reevaluation purpose. 7.5/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Two kinds of movies we like are (1) westerns, and (2) movies from 30 or 40 years ago. We ought to have liked A Man Called Sledge; BUT.....

    BUT... this picture is disagreeable, annoying and stupid from start to finish. Since there is nobody in the story (good or bad) to warm up to, there is nobody to motivate the necessary suspense to keep the viewer interested. No camaraderie among the guys trying to steal the gold, and no camaraderie among those trying to protect it. Sledge has a pretty girl friend, but there's no reason why she slobbers all over the guy or why she wants to be in the same room with this no-account pig.

    The film also suffers from an intrusive and gawdawful musical score, and from extremely bad writing and direction by Vic Morrow.

    Of the last 30 older movies rented from Netflix or Video Vault, this was the rock bottom, the only true dud in the bunch.
  • Although there are a lot of familiar "television" names associated with "A Man Called Sledge", there is nothing extraordinary about the film itself or about any of the performances. In fact, the only thing that distinguishes it from a 1960's-70's television series like "The Rat Patrol" is a bigger cast and a lot more violence.

    James Garner is the biggest star and apparently thought he should try to break away from all the light comedy stuff he had been doing ("Maverick", "Support Your Local Sheriff"-"Gunfighter" etc.). Unfortunately his earthy likability works against him, as Sledge is a humorless character written to cash in on the popularity of Clint Eastwood's spaghetti western character. But Eastwood's stuff was not this flat and uninteresting.

    I suppose that "A Man Called Sledge" could be classified as a spaghetti western although the pacing is too slow to really fit that sub-genre. Fans of the slow-paced "Combat" television series will feel an instant connection as Vic Morrow directed the film and co-wrote the script with Frank Kowalski. Throw in some then trendy slow-mo shots and cross-dissolves, which call attention to themselves rather than serve a story-telling purpose.

    The plot is the standard "big heist" thing (insert "The War Wagon" here) with Sledge plotting how to heist a $300,000 gold shipment. His gang includes Claude Akins and Dennis Weaver. The problem is that while on the move the shipment is guarded by 40 outriders and while stopped it is locked in a vault inside the territorial prison. I think there was an episode of "Alias Smith and Jones" with the same plot.

    The story would make a decent hour of television but gets old very fast as a very padded feature length film. Garner does not allow any of his charm to leak into his characterization and the film does not generate enough suspense to hold a viewer's interest.

    The thing finally crashes and burns shortly after the heist when the gang engages in a contrived and totally illogical card game.

    Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
  • Released in 1970 and directed by Vic Morrow (and Giorgio Gentili), "A Man Called Sledge" stars James Garner as the leader of an outlaw gang, who experience gold fever after hearing about a cache of gold temporarily stored at a desert prison. They hatch a harebrained heist, but things go awry due to their greedy obsessions. Dennis Weaver and Claude Akins play members of the gang while John Marley appears as an old man who joins them. Laura Antonelli is on hand as the striking babe while Wayde Preston appears as the sheriff.

    Aside from his TV work with shows like Maverick and Cheyenne, Garner only appeared in nine Westerns with just four being serious Westerns (rather than comedy-tinged Westerns). "A Man Called Sledge" was the last of those four and his character, Luther Sledge, is a far cry from likable gambler Bret Maverick or heroic Jess Remsberg in "Duel at Diablo" (1966) or the determined Wyatt Earp in "Hour of the Gun" (1967). Even as an outlaw, though, Garner still has his genial charm, but when innocents start dying due to his lucre-hungry schemes he pretty much loses all sympathy. And his band of owlhoots get zero sympathy from the get-go.

    While often referred to as a Spaghetti Western, "Sledge" is actually a Dino De Laurentiis production with an American director/writer (Morrow) and main cast, but shot in Spain with Italians and other Europeans in peripheral positions (cast & production); for instance, the Spaghetti-flavored music by Gianni Ferrio.

    The movie comes across as a mish-mash of Sergio Leone Westerns, "The War Wagon" (1967), "Mackenna's Gold" (1969), "The Wild Bunch" (1969) and "There was a Crooked Man" (1970). But with a few imaginative elements, such as the wintery opening, which is rare for a Western, and the funeral component at the Mexican village in the final act, not to mention the quirky late 60s-ish theme song repeated throughout. Also the opening gunfight in the saloon is thrilling and I like how the film closes with a pretty moving moral. It's even haunting. Unfortunately, the movie features some clumsy editing in the third act starting with the card game and the immediate aftermath.

    The film runs 93 minutes and was shot in Almeria, Andalucia, Spain, and Rome (interiors). WRITERS: Morrow, Frank Kowalski & Massimo D'Avak.

    GRADE: B-
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A MAN CALLED SLEDGE is a US/Italian western featuring a starring role for TV actor James Garner. It very much feels like a US rather than a spaghetti western, and it has a notably dark and nihilistic streak that makes it worth a look for those who think they've seen everything the genre has to offer. Garner plays the usual sharpshooter who teams up with a few ne'er-do-wells (including character actors Claude Akins and Dennis Weaver) in order to rob a gold shipment that's heavily guarded.

    The most entertaining part of the movie is the midsection which sees Garner going undercover in prison in order to effect a breakout. There are some memorably kooky character creations here and oodles of suspense. The film gets grimmer and grimmer as it goes on, building to a climactic shoot-out which works well and fits the subject matter like a glove.
  • This film does not look like a Western spaghetti, at least not one of those many bad ones. The fact that it is an Italo-American co-production and was filmed in Almeria, Andalucia, Spain, as many sub-productions, does not necessarily include it in the category of Italian "culinary specialties". Or, if someone wants to include it in spaghetti, then it can be put alongside Sergio Leone's first two westerns. I have never seen James Garner in such a good role, and I've seen him in many movies, almost all of them. In fact, the real reason I wanted to see the movie is Laura Antonelli. Unfortunately, she appears so little, having a minimal screen time. But, she's prettier than ever. Dennis Weaver, John Marley, Claude Akins, all three have cool, credible roles. Ken Clark, known from some Eurospy films, has a minor role, is shot at the very beginning. Very good music by Gianni Ferrio, in the Morricone in his good days spirit. Great Luigi Kuveiller as director of photography. Good direction by Vic Morrow, the actor who died young in that unfortunate accident. Those who wrote bad about the movie should take a cold shower and see the movie once again.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Ruthless outlaw Luther Sledge (a splendidly nasty performance by James Garner in a rare change-of-pace full-blooded villain role) and his band of thieves try to figure out a way to steal a fortune in gold that's stored in a prison fortress. Sledge concocts a bold plan to get said fortune, but can he and his men successfully pull off this daring caper? Director Vic Morrow, who also co-wrote the tight and hard-hitting script with Frank Kowalski, relates the absorbing story at a steady pace, delivers a vivid and credible evocation of the 18th century period setting, ably creates and maintains a resolutely tough, gritty, no-nonsense tone throughout, and stages the thrilling shoot-outs with real rip-snorting aplomb. The robbery itself is an expertly executed set piece: tense, gripping, and extremely exciting. This film really hits its stride with an especially dark and harsh last third in which Sledge's carefully thought out plan is undone by greed and treachery. The sturdy acting from the sound cast qualifies as another major asset, with stand-out contributions by Laura Antonelli as Sledge's loyal and worried main squeeze Ria, Dennis Weaver as the laid-back, pragmatic Erwin Ward, Claude Akins as the fierce, hot-tempered Hooker, John Marley as a wily and rascally old man, and Wayde Preston as the vengeful Sheriff Ripley. Luigi Kuveiller's sharp widescreen cinematography makes striking use of artful fades and elaborate dissolves. Gianni Ferrio's twangy'n'lively score does the rousing tuneful trick. The surprise downbeat ending packs a wickedly potent punch. A very good and gutsy movie.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A Man Called Sledge is a lackluster western, with great ideas.

    Thinking about this film as if I was to describe it to someone, I can't see how I wouldn't put it in a good light. Imprisoning yourself to steal the gold and then playing a winner take all poker game to leave one man standing with everything, then the losers hunting him down. Sounds bloody great, but it isn't at all. I quite disliked James Garner as the lead, thought he was quite bland. Dennis Weaver should have been cast as Sledge, he would have brought intensity to the role. Imprisoning themselves at a high security prison, relying on the fact that Sledge won't be searched and be stuck locked up for ever, seems too heavy a risk. They kept showing who was winning and losing in the poker and their expressions and outbursts, but never actually showing the poker or discussing it. It's like the script says "poker scene" and it's basically a blank page, such a shame. Then you have the old man who seems to all of a sudden be in charge of this group once Sledge is gone, why are they trying to go up against their gun slinging leader with this stranger, he didn't do them wrong at all and they know they can't beat him.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Shot in Spain and Italy (check out all the Italian names in the credits) with American stars and director, this is one unusual psychotronic Spaghetti western ! As an actor himself, Morrow can get the best performances out of his cast but his direction is sometimes great, sometimes surprisingly sloppy. He's way too fond of hand-held 360 degree shots (something he also used many times in the few COMBAT shows he directed. While it might have been relevant in a war environment, in a western it's highly unusual and distracting for the viewer). He also often disregard the old rule of "not crossing the axis" with the camera, which makes for startling camera placement ! Only western I know that goes from western, to men-in-prison film, to film noir (check out the nighttime prison scene where all other prisoners suddenly start howling at the moon !! ) to a very nasty STRAW DOGS style revenge movie (with a Mexican Death Ceremony thrown in near the end) ! Soundtrack goes from efficient, to unusually jazzy to down right silly, the theme song being particularly atrocious ! A few years before he was to find a bloody horse head in his bed in THE GODFATHER, veteran actor John Marley (as the Old Man) shows us he could actually ride one for real ;) Finally, I don't care what the credits say, this is definitely NOT gorgeous Italian beauty Laura Antonelli playing Ria (Sledge's girlfriend) ... I mean COME ON ! This girl is borderline ugly !
  • A Man Called Sledge

    The main proponent of laxed prison sentences is always the man who prints the Wanted Posters.

    Mind you, the outlaw in this Western doesn't need any likeness to land him in jail – just the promise of untold riches.

    Tipped off to a regular gold shipment that is locked up overnight at the nearby prison, notorious bandit Luther Sledge (James Garner) rounds up his gang (Dennis Weaver, Claude Akins) and plots to purloin the bullion by getting himself apprehended.

    Incarcerated, Sledge frees the inmates and escapes with the booty during the melee.

    However, infighting amongst Sledge's men over the gold during a poker game results in bloodshed, and the kidnapping of Sledge's prostitute girlfriend.

    An unorthodox Western thanks to its substantial Italian influence, A Man Called Sledge features a refreshing departure from the affable gunslinger characters that Garner usually played.

    Furthermore, pioneer prisons were notoriously ineffective on account of their sod roofs.

    Yellow Light

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