26 January 2012 | MartinHafer
It's not without its problems but on balance it's a very good film.
I appreciate the DVD for this film very much. It seems that the original American version was not the same as the Italian release. So, in this restoration, the missing bits have been added. But, since it was so many years later that it was reassembled, the new portions have captions--not dubbed like the rest of the film. Some may dislike this, but I like that you can note what was and wasn't in the original release.
The film begins with four small-time misfits sharing a jail cell--a gambler (Fabio Testi), a pregnant prostitute (Lynne Frederick), a drunk (Michael J. Pollard) and a crazy man (Harry Baird). They are eventually thrown out of town and find themselves in the inhospitable countryside. Considering how hot and dry it is, it seems that their troubles MAY be over when they meet up with a hippie-esque guy named Chaco (Tomas Milian). Chaco is amazing with the gun and soon they have plenty to eat and they have every reason to be happy. But the gambler seems to reserve his judgment here--and soon you learn it's for good reason. Chaco is a maniac--and he soon begins terrorizing them and quickly kills a posse looking for him. Now, all trussed up, the three friends can only sit back when Chaco rapes the lady. He then leaves them to die--without horses and in the middle of nowhere. What's next? Well, watch the film--as there's a lot more to follow in this odd little Italian western.
Although I enjoyed this film, it had a very sloppy quality about the film. Continuity was often a problem. In one case, it's warm and they're in a desert when a woman goes into labor--suddenly they're in a snow-filled town! Also, the women appears through most of the film to be, at most, 4-5 months pregnant--then gives birth to a healthy baby. It's also NOT a film for kid--with lots of blood, rape, unintentional cannibalism and more! The thing that bothered me most, however, was the awful hippie-style music with the dreadful singing--very sappy and very 1970s.
But there also was quite a bit to like. The film, at times, had some real heart. I liked the portion set in the mining town--the miners were great characters and offered a nice contrast to all the violence early in the film. Also, the character development of several in the film (such as the gambler and the drunk) was nice--very nice. An oddly moving film that, with a bit of editing and cleanup, could have been a classic.
By the way, I did think it was odd that the western began in a lawless town in Utah. I am sure there were some, but considering Utah was mostly filled with Mormons at that time, this did seem a bit unlikely. Also, the prostitute (Lynne Frederick) was once married to Peter Sellers as well as David Frost. This beautiful lady died very, very young--apparently from the effects of drugs and alcohol.