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  • The film deals with the bandit Roy King (Lee Van Cleef) and his band (Gianni Garco, Simon Andreu, Jess Hahn) that are robbing trains and banks along Mexican border . King is deceived by his recent wife (Gina Lollobrigida) and a Mexican revolutionary (Daniel Martin) and offer to collaborate in an attempt to blow up an arsenal for a reward about one million dollars , but he will be double-crossed . The gang will confront the Mexican army commanded by a nasty Mexican general (Eduardo Fajardo) and his underling (Aldo Sambrell) and are besieged in a fort governed by a nutty revolutionary colonel (Sergio Fantoni).

    This is an average Western with humor and action . The film is plenty of gunplay , thrills , irony , shoot'em up , comedy with tongue-in-cheek and results to be quite entertaining . The movie gets comic remarks of the spoof Western genre originated on the late decade of the 60s by directors Burt Kennedy and Andrew McLagen and stretch out to Italian Western with the Trinity series (Terence Hill and Spencer). Lee Van Cleef as an outlaw chief is humorous though very old , Gina Lollobrigida is attractive and James Mason finds himself miscast . They are like a hawk , a dove and a vulture ; all circling for the biggest haul in the West . Besides , there appears the usual secondaries , familiar faces as Gianni Garko (Sartana), Eduardo Fajardo (villain in hundred Westerns as Djanjo), Aldo Sambrell (secondary in Leone Westerns), Daniel Martin (For a fistful of dollars) , Ricardo Palacios, Barta Barry , Dan Van Husen and many others . The picture was shot in Almeria (Spain) where during the 60s and 70s were filmed innumerable Spaghetti Western . The motion picture was regularly directed by Eugenio Martin who made among others , terror films (Horror express) and more Spaghetti (The bounty Killer , Requiem for a gringo and Pancho Villa) . Rating : Mediocre but amusing .
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Bad Man's River is a spaghetti western movie which I chose based on Lee Van Cleef being on the cover -- I'm not a massive western fan but even I recognised Van Cleef as a fairly famous actor in the genre. Unfortunately this did not equate into a good movie. Van Cleef is, I assume, the character for the title song: "He's the baddest man in Bad Man's River, where virtue is a sin".

    Does this movie have a good plot? No. It involves a complicated process of blowing things up and stealing a bank cheque, but seems to revolve largely around Alicia -- played by Gina Lollobrigida -- who marries men and betrays them but for some reason they never think she'll do it again. I mean seriously, after the third time a woman has sold you down the river to death or worse you've pretty much only yourself to blame if it happens again -- and it does.

    However, if we ignore the shoddy plot we have to ask ourselves if we're left with a good action movie. We ask that question, and we receive a negative answer. I'm a keen believer in suspending disbelief in have to go with the flow and accept what the directors are trying to do. Yet there is a limit. This limit was not reached when the good buys never missed a shot and the bad guys aimed for the feet and never got a hit* -- even with a sub-machine gun -- but the limit was reached and passed and left eating dust when a protagonist would fire his gun twice and four men would fall over. And who knew that a cheap mattress would provide better cover from bullets than an inch of solid oak? It's impossible to suspend disbelief for this movie, the plot is appalling, and the acting stilted. I rate it: A bullet to the head.

    * Oh, one protagonist gets shot. At least, he falls against a wall clutching his arm or shoulder or chest or something. It doesn't slow him down though, in fact it doesn't even bleed.
  • JohnSeal2 January 2005
    Warning: Spoilers
    At the risk of being considered the Devil's advocate, I must admit to being puzzled by the extremely negative comments regarding this film that have preceded mine. First let's grant the obvious: James Mason is truly awful and his accent is bad that at first I thought he'd been dubbed by another actor. Waldo de los Rios' easy listening score is bizarre at best, and the Led Zeppelin style song performed by Jade Warrior during an otherwise atmospheric scene is completely inappropriate and terrible regardless. However, it must be said that Bad Man's River is an extremely attractive film, and the widely available Master Movies DVD is one of the better budget line discs you'll run across. Cinematographer Alejandro Ulloa clearly spent a lot of time on his set ups, and some of the footage--especially the riverboat sequences--are superb. Additionally, the action sequences are plentiful and quite well lensed. Bad Man's River is certainly a minor spaghetti, but as long as you can see it in widescreen, you'll be pleasantly surprised and reasonably entertained.
  • This eccentric Euro-Western has more in common with the revisionist, light-hearted approach of BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (1969) than with any of the sadistic Italian fare shot around the same time and on the same locations. A great, eclectic cast (Lee Van Cleef, James Mason, Gina Lollobrigida, Sergio Fantoni, Jess Hahn, Simon Andreu, Eduardo Fajardo, Gianni Garko, Diana Lorys) finds itself somewhat stranded - and in the case of Mason, evidently embarrassed - in the face of the film's bizarre changes of mood, some of which work (there are a few enjoyably comical action sequences) and some of which don't (why the director chose to overdose on the "freeze-frame" stuff at the beginning is anyone's guess); in light of all this, the involvement of talented Hollywood veterans Philip Yordan, Irving Lerner and Bernard Gordon is even more baffling. All in all, however, BAD MAN'S RIVER emerges as a surprisingly pleasant, if ultimately forgettable, diversion.
  • cengelm9 November 2001
    I have seen this film in a double feature together with SABATA and it fell clearly short in comparison with the latter. The cast is good(Van Cleef, James Mason, Eduardo Fajardo and Gina Lollobrigida) and the "sets"(e.g. a riverboat) are somewhat original. But the score is mostly annoying and the story was unable to really involve me(Don't ask me intensely about the plot!). The Comedy is often fast paced and sometimes mildly funny.

    For people who like the country/pop/rock score, however, things might look certainly different.

    3 / 10.
  • Lee Van Cleef, typically amusing, is cast as bandit Roy King, leader of a gang that also includes Angel Santos (Simon Andreu), Ed Pace (Gianni Garko), and Tom Odie (Jess Hahn). Roy makes the acquaintance of the devilish Alicia (Gina Lollobrigida), who's hatched a scheme with her fellow criminal Francisco Paco Montero to dupe the Mexican government out of a cool $1 million. But before that can happen, they fall into the clutches of revolutionaries (this tale takes place during the Mexican Revolution) and are forced to deal with them.

    As written by director Eugenio Martin ("Horror Express") and Hollywood veteran Philip Yordan ("Johnny Guitar", "El Cid"), this is a rather lightweight, forgettable Euro Western- comedy. While it's always nice to see the leading actors in anything, they've certainly been better utilized before and after. In the beginning, the movie is decidedly annoying, with too many dopey songs and Martin overdoing it on use of freeze frames. While it's appreciable that Martin and Yordan were going for irreverence, they make things just a little too silly.

    Adequate action sequences help, and the filmmaking is technically fairly slick. There are some fun gags, especially right at the start when two men are inside a bank vault.

    Lollobrigida and her co-star Diana Lorys are fine scenery attractions, and the former plays such a conniving character that she helps to keep things interesting. The movie doesn't really hit its stride until James Mason shows up. (For fans of the actor, be warned that almost an hour is over until he does.) It's a treat to see him in this kind of setting, and he gives the story a real shot in the arm.

    The exemplary cast of familiar faces also includes Aldo Sambrell, Lone Fleming, Eduardo Fajardo, and Sergio Fantoni.

    Admittedly, if one is looking for a Lee Van Cleef fix, they could do a lot better than this, but "Bad Man's River" delivers some undemanding fun for 92 minutes.

    Six out of 10.
  • Not really a spaghetti western; as well as Italy it was financed by Spain and France. It's meant to be a comedy western, MEANT to be; it has a handful of funny lines and a bizarre accent from James Mason. It's a complete mystery to me why he and Lee Van Cleef bothered to appear in this. Put simply, the film is boring - the characters are cardboard and the actors look like they'd be having more fun watching paint dry. The plot is clichéd and contrived, and difficult to follow. The freeze-frames at the beginning are just plain stupid. Beautiful as Gina Lollobrigida is, she just can't carry the film alone. Eugenio Martin really hasn't got an excuse for rearing such a turkey here, as the following year, he [the director] went on to make the far superior horror classic "Horror Express".

    And now, the plot: Roy King (Van Cleef) and his bank-robbing gang get caught up in a plan by his ex-wife and her new husband (James Mason) to steal $1 million from the Mexican government. But the group are captured and sent to a rebel stronghold. Besieged and under fire from the Mexican army, the rebel general is forced to offer King and his gang freedom if they can pull the rebel side through. And I only know that basic outline 'cause it's given in a slightly more in depth form on the packaging...

    Like I say, "Bad Man's River" is unquestionably awful. It's simply not even worth seeing as a curiosity piece. I bought it in a 2 for £10 sale and now consider that to have been a waste of money. Some people say that for the sake of top billing, Lee Van Cleef appeared in some real stinkers. This time, I'm inclined to agree.
  • Wow, did the soundtrack for this film stink...and I mean STINK! Imagine if the same person who scored some of the old Rankin-Bass Christmas specials got together with a guy who produces elevator music--that's what the music from this film sounds like! The horrible lyrics and music are completely wrong for an Italian "Spaghetti Western"--and are about as far removed from the great Ennio Morricone (who scored all the greatest films of the genre) scores as you can get. It's full of weird Lawrence Welk-style singing, weird European rock and whatever else they felt like haphazardly chucking into it. And, sadly music is one of the biggest reasons you'd want to see one of these Italian westerns in the first place. Because of this, I nominate this film for the most god-awful soundtrack in film history. If there's a worse one, I'd love to hear about it! Another big reason to see the films is the incredibly tough characters and style. This film stars the meanest and scariest of the bad-men, Lee Van Cleef. Yet, inexplicably, they decided to make this one a bit of a comedy!!! Lee Van Cleef in a western comedy?! That makes about as much sense as Richard Nixon becoming one of the backup singers for Diana Ross!! Van Cleef should NEVER, EVER be in a comedy.

    The rest of the cast, apart from the no-name Italians who play most of the minor roles, is pretty odd as well. None other than James Mason co-stars (a guy who seemed totally out of place in the genre and sported a weird accent to say the least). And looking quite fetching, Italian star Gina Lollobrigida.

    So, at the outset, this film had some pretty substantial strikes against it. Could the rest of the film overcome this goofiness?! Well, not really. While there were a few good moments, too much emphasis on bad comedy that fell flat was the film's undoing. One of the worst scenes that was supposed to be funny was the scene where the bad guys came to talk to the Federale commander and then began throwing dynamite about--it was sloppy, impossible to believe and not the lest bit entertaining. Overall, a bad film that just didn't work, the plot never gels and is clearly among the least interesting Italian westerns I've ever seen. Thank you Eugenio Martin for putting the BAD in "Bad Man's River"!
  • Lovable rogue Lee Van Cleef steals from banks and blows things up for a living. He and his gang are hired by James Mason to explode an Army munitions stockpile in Mexico, using a luxury riverboat as a base of operations, only to be pulled into a bigger scheme that digs them even deeper into the revolution.

    Like most of the Mexican Revolution spaghetti westerns (A Bullet For The General being one exception), this is an acquired taste. Production values are a little iffy and it does run out of steam a bit near the end. On the whole though, there's certainly a lot of action and adventure to make up for it's shortcomings.

    A Spanish-made, but American-produced minor addition to the genre, this benefits from the participation of Hollywood veterans Philip Yordan and Bernard Gordon, as well as Van Cleef, Mason, and a few familiar European favorites like Aldo Sambrell, Eduardo Fajardo, Gianni Garko, Diana Lorys, and the beautiful Gina Lollabrigida.

    An oddball soundtrack goes from really dated vocal-quartets, to early-seventies style hard rock, with a marching band in-between!

    Recommended mainly for Van Cleef fanatics.
  • Heaven knows how a talent like Philip Yordan came to such a sorry pass as writing this mess. Heaven knows how badly James Mason must have needed money for him to take part. Lee Van Cleef, one of my great movie heroes, made some really awful films here and there, but this one takes the cake. The pop-rock/barbershop-quartet score, completely inappropriate to the time and place, is the first clue that the viewer is in for a melange of malarkey. Everyone is dubbed, of course--it's a spaghetti Western. But at least Van Cleef and Mason dub themselves. However, Mason, who despite being second-billed doesn't show up until 2/3 of the way through, makes the most embarrassing attempt at a southern American accent I can recall ever hearing. Gina Lollobrigida exposes her talent in her special way, and the rest of the parts are played in the broadest fashion by a cast of overacting hambones. The plot is virtually unintelligible, though it does involve a river for a moment or two (the good guys hope their engine-less riverboat can drift from Matamoros to Laredo before the bad guys catch up to them--despite the fact that Laredo is UPSTREAM from Matamoros.) It's obvious that much of what goes on here is intended as comedy, except, one presumes, for scenes of people being shot and burned to death. Let's just say that none of the stars ever made a worse movie and then just pretend this farago never happened.
  • Is it just me, or does James Mason wear a guilty look upon his face throughout this film, almost as if he's aware that he's wasting his talent in a sub standard cheapo? Bad Man's River is a bad film, but what makes it even more unforgivable is that a lot of classy stars were mysteriously persuaded to appear in it.

    It's an eccentric paella western about various outlaws and swindlers trying to steal cash from the Mexican government. Mason was once quoted as saying that he made it for fun and money, never thinking that it would get a release in England, but much to his horror and dismay it was picked up by Rank and got cinematic distribution.

    The film isn't as funny as it thinks it is and is made doubly irritating by frequent freeze frame shots (why were so many 70s films obsessed with the freeze frame gimmick?) and pantomime style music. It's a unique film, with a bizarre and unconventional flavour all of its own, but don't take that as a recommendation. The only thing I would recommend about this film is that you don't see it!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Bad habits are hard to die hard for Lee Van Cleef. Once again, he starred in a really horrible movie. Directed by Gene Martin AKA Eugenio Martín, this euro-western film also known as Hunt the Man down, or Four Mercenaries from El Paso, is a mess. The movie tells the story of bandit Roy King (Lee Van Cleef) and his gang. They were hired by a mysterious wealthy man, Montero (James Mason) to blow up a Mexican Army munitions stockpile in Mexico, using a luxury riverboat as a base of operations. The only problem, is that they were lured into a bigger scheme that digs them even deeper into the troubles of the Mexican revolution. Can Roy King and his group dig themselves out of this hole or will the problems of this job, become too much for them to handle? Watch the movie to find out! Without spoiling too much of the movie, I think I would have more respect for this film, if the movie flown right. Don't get me wrong, the movie could had work, with all the double-crossing and twist turns, but it got really annoying with all, the repetitive. Seeing these dummies get duped, time and time, again got frustrated, pretty fast. All the men in this film, are portray as cartoony idiots! The main character that Lee Van Cleef plays, is supposed to be smart, and clever. Yet, he even dumb himself down, by marry a woman, he only knew a few hours in the opening scene? Come on! Who does that! It didn't help that music that came with this film, claims that Lee Van Cleef's character is supposed to be the meanest and scariest of the bad-men of the old west! All we see, as the audience, is Ron King being afraid, and goofing off. The worst twist had to be, toward the end, when the schemes stop making sense. The last twist; comes out of nowhere, and felt so damn confusing. The movie gets dumber, when it comes to the music. Bad Man's River has a god-awful soundtrack, mixed with silly Barber shop quartet songs & out of place, rock music by Jade Warrior. It's completely wrong. It doesn't match the Spaghetti Western, feel, at all. Another problem with the film is the way, it was filmed. The dark blue color picture montage of Lee Van Cleef's face during the opening was really hard to see. I can barely notice, what the picture slideshow was showing. The film quality is so washed out, and faded. It gets worst, as the movie starts to use freeze frame, excessive! I really thought, there was something wrong with my DVD copy, at first! I thought, the dish was skipping frames, but I find out, later, that the film was doing this, on purpose. I don't get, why the director would chose to do this! It really ruins the feel of the film! Thank God, it's only in the first bits of the film. Still, the movie does have some bad editing, chops, toward the middle of the end, that's hard, not to notice. The pacing is a bit off, as well. The movie starts out, with a bank robbery, being successful and the movie plays it off, as if it was finishing up. It really seem like the movie is already, over. Then somewhat Ron King, end up in a mental asylum, only for it to blow up, minutes later! I know it's supposed to tell us, that King has escape, but it seem like he got killed, by the explosion, since the film doesn't show him, escaping! Anyways, the movie jumps around for the rest of the film, from locations in both US & Mexico. Despite, the locations haven't no rivers, near it, a steam boat, somewhat connection them, together. Honestly, I don't know, how Lee Van Cleef & his gang were able to move around, so quick. It's really puzzling, how they even got on the boat. Nothing about the boat's speed, makes logically sense. I guess, the boat is able to travel, both quickly & slow. The movie really push, the runtime, to its limits due to this. There are lots of slow moments with barely any good humor or action. The movie has this weird cartoony feel to its action. Good guys are able to kill, multiply bad guys, while bad guys aimed for the feet and seem like they can't even hit. Even with a sub-machine gun, no less! It's really impossible to suspend disbelief for this movie, when a six-shooter is able to shot, more than six bullets, at a time! I really hate the moment, when one of the villains, receiving a cannon shot to his face, and only appears scorched like a Looney Toon cartoon. It really makes this film appalling to watch! No wonder, why James Mason feels so embarrassed, taking this role. The acting is very stilted, due to the awful dialogue, given. It's clear, that the audio English dubbing, doesn't match the lips, any more. While, this movie is bad, it's not the worst, Lee Van Cleef's film, I saw. He was somewhat alright in this film. I like that he cover his toupet with a bowler hat. James Mason looks like he's isn't have fun like Cleef. He looks so miserable, being there. Eduardo Fajardo, Sergio Fantoni & Aldo Sambrell as the villains, were all funny, at times. By far, the worst character in the film, had to be Alicia (Gina Lollobrigida). I really don't get, how the men in the film were able to stand her. Her acting was over the top. While, her character is a bitch. The actress that played her, was indeed, a sexy sex symbol! Overall: This movie belong in the 1 dollar bargain bins. I just glad, I don't have to watch this movie, ever again. Thank God, all bad things must do come to an end.
  • American Lee Van Cleef and Englishman James Mason join Gina Lollobrigida and a number of unfamiliar European players for this spaghetti western about the Mexican Revolution of the teen years. For James Mason this marked his first appearance in a horse opera albeit not a genuine American one.

    For the most part I'm a firm believer that the only real westerns are done in the western hemisphere and Bad Man's River won't convince any of you I'm wrong. It's a comic western, but western icon Lee Van Cleef just does not have a comic bone in his body. As for Gina Lollobrigida she pairs off far better with Rock Hudson and I'm sure she wished she was making another comedy with him.

    Mason is a revolutionary and Gina his wife. She's also the former wife of outlaw Lee Van Cleef and they find it might be to their mutual advantage to pull off a caper. Easier said than done however and Gina has quite the surprise in the end.

    According to the Citadel Film series book on the films of James Mason he didn't think much of Bad Man's River and I agree.
  • In the summer of 1972 I was a missionary for the LDS Church in Bandung, Indonesia. In those days we had one day a month we could go to a movie. On that particular day we chose to go see "Bad Man's River". I can't tell you how this movie ended as I got up and walked out in the middle of it! Mind you, this was the ONLY opportunity over a month long period that I could see I movie. In those circumstances, if I was to walk of a movie it must have been a real bowser. As I recall the straw that broke the camel's back was the sad realization that a more or less distinguished actor like James Mason had been reduced to appearing in total Derek. Lee Van Cleef was in his element, but even he was approaching the margin with this one.
  • julianfsmith22 October 2014
    I would cheerfully watch a barrel of manure if it had Lee Van Cleef in it. But I draw the line at this.

    By rights, films this bad should be hilarious. Yet this is anything but. Why? Partly because it is SUPPOSED to be a comedy (did they decide that before or after production - difficult to tell). But mostly because there is no conviction. The over-riding production value is to go through the motions and get the thing over with. Hence the appalling score is unhingingly irritating and the "action" is so badly put together with freeze frames and plot jumps that I assumed my DVD player was playing up and I took the disk out to clean it. Sadly it didn't help. An electric sander might have improved matters by making the thing impossible to play. This film is drivel. Avoid.
  • Lee Van Cleef plays King, the leader of a gang who robs a bank but quickly loses the money to Alicia (Lollobrigida) who marries him and has him sent to a lunatic asylum. Much later, King gets the gang back together again to go after her. She has meanwhile married Montero (James Mason) and made a new plan to steal even more money. King and his companions meet her on a steamship, like the sound of 'million' and decide to postpone their revenge...

    "Bad Man's River" has got an excellent cast (Fajardo as a general, Sambrell as a bandit, Garko as a gunman are in supporting roles), and it surely has some great dialog worth quoting, such as Van Cleef/Lollobrigida on their first meeting: "What do you look for most on a man?" - "Honesty." - "Umm... second?", Van Cleef tries again. Or when Alicia reminds both men she's married to: "You should be friends, you've got a lot in common - me!" I think I watched this movie at least 5 times by now, on British TV, German DVD and Italian DVD. Unfortunately, on neither DVD release the picture format was correct, clearly cut on the right and left and the quality was rather grainy, so the perfect remaster is something I still wait for. I always thought of "Bad Man's River" as very entertaining despite its little flaws, and I'm rather surprised at the mostly negative other reviews here. It's neither a typical European western of the time in its tone nor as well directed as American comedies ('Cat Ballou', for example), maybe somewhat unluckily caught in the middle.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    With all the draws in the film - Lee Van Cleef, James Mason, Gina Lollabrigida - you would think there would be some redeeming quality to all the flowing marinara in this one. But sadly that's not the case. I had a bit of a struggle to make sense of the action, and about as difficult a time in keeping the minor characters straight. The best lines of the film have to do with my summary above, and another by Van Cleef describing his fascination with the banking business - he enjoyed transferring funds from one place to another. Sadly, that wasn't enough to carry the picture. I enjoy my share of spaghetti like the next Western fan, but this one was weak and and shy on the Parmesan. Recommended only for the die hard.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Lee Van Cleef is conned by Gina Lollobrigida TWICE...first into marrying her (she robs him), then into helping her come into a million dollars thanks to her involvement with Mexican revolutionary James Mason. The unlikely pairing of Van Cleef & Lollobrigida actually works well but Mason is miscast in his relatively small role. Director "Gene" Martin keeps the pace moving briskly. This is a spaghetti western with a real sense of humor. A fun comic western marred by some really insipid faux country rock ballads thrown into an otherwise fine incidental music score. Also featuring the great Jess Hahn as one of Van Cleef's cronies.
  • julianfsmith21 October 2014
    I would cheerfully watch a barrel of manure if it had Lee Van Cleef in it. But I draw the line at this.

    By rights, films this bad should be hilarious. Yet this is anything but. Why? Partly because it is SUPPOSED to be a comedy (did they decide that before or after production - difficult to tell). But mostly because there is no conviction. The over-riding production value is to go through the motions and get the thing over with. Hence the appalling score is unhingingly irritating and the "action" is so badly put together with freeze frames and plot jumps that I assumed my DVD player was playing up and I took the disk out to clean it. Sadly it didn't help. An electric sander might have improved matters by making the thing impossible to play. This film is drivel. Avoid.
  • arfdawg-124 April 2014
    Robber Roy King loses his wife, Alicia, to revolutionary Montero.

    Despite their rivalry they collaborate in an attempt to rob the Mexican government of one million dollars.

    Sort of a comedy spaghetti western.

    Lee Van Clef is wanted with an award on his head of a dollar. Wow.

    Directed like a TV movie. The print I saw was not wide screen.

    Nor was it pan and scan.

    That's right. It was swished.

    The title song will make your head explode.

    It's a very colorful movie. Just not so good.