I just picked up this box set at Best Buy for $12.99 and while I’m not one to advocate shopping at chain stores, it’s significantly cheaper than I’ve seen it anywhere else (literally the best buy) so I thought I’d spread the word. Plus, the sell-through DVD industry really needs all the help it can get right now- so if you like buying movie, go buy some DVDs, someone has to. I’m sure the quality of the films isn’t great, but they’re spread out over 11 DVDs (2 per side), there’s a booklet with synopses of all the films in the set, and (you cheap bastard) it comes to less than $0.30 per movie so you can’t really complain.
The DVD case does the usual 1 star per movie listing on the outside (with 3 actors per movie in the booklet) with no mention of the crew, so for those who are interested here’s some of the behind-the-camera talent included in this set: Sergio Corbucci (Minnesota Clay), Sergio Martino (Mannaja [my review]), Lucio Fulci (Four of the Apocalypse and Challenge to White Fang), Enzo G. Castellari (Keoma [aka Django Rides Again]), Antonio Margheriti (And God Said to Cain), 4 films written by Ernesto Gastaldi (Man from Nowhere, It Can Be Done Amigo, The Price of Power, and Grand Duel), 2 scored by Ennio Morricone (Run, Man, Run and Death Rides a Horse), and one by Stelvio Cipriani (Cry of the Wolf). Plus you also get a lot of films starring Klaus Kinski, Lee Van Cleef, Gianni Garko, and George Hilton, and a bunch of characters named Django and Sartana (including If You Meet Sartana, Pray for Your Death [my review]).
With Tarantino announcing his next project is a “spaghetti western,” I’m sure sets like this will start appearing everywhere- maybe, if the DVD industry isn’t dead by then (fingers crossed).
At my current review-posting rate, this set should give me enough stuff to write about for the next decade.
If You Meet Sartana, Pray for Your Death (Se Incontri Sartana Prega per la Tua Morte) (1968) [Sartana: The Complete Saga]
Alright. Second film in the DVD set and the first film of the official Sartana series and I know what you’re thinking- is this review going to be as amazing as your review of the first film in the set? No.
I might make people mad here, but I wasn’t really all that into this movie. The plot concerns some stolen gold and insurance fraud, and while stolen gold is a pretty tried-and-true plot device for a western… insurance fraud? Seriously. Why not make a western about golf? And a lot of people think of this as the “movie where Sartana fights Klaus Kinski” and sure Kinski is in it- for a couple of minutes (participation credit!) so… you know…
While the film isn’t great, I will give it this; Sartana has some pretty cool guns and the shoot-out sequences are really-well done. Also, Sartana’s first scene is pretty amazing and it really introduces us to a bad-ass, but then it doesn’t really give him anything to do.
So I realize that reading this review probably wasn’t any more useful than not reading any review at all, but I’m going to keep reviewing this set and posting the reviews here until I’ve watched all of them. So, sorry in advance.
Directors: Gianfranco Parolini Writers: Adolfo Cagnacci, Luigi De Santis, Werner Hauff, Renato Izzo, Gianfranco Parolini, Fabio Piccioni Producers: Aldo Addobbati, Theo Maria Werner Cinematographer: Sandro Mancori Editor: Edmond Lozzi Original Music: Piero Piccioni
The Great Silence / The Big Silence (Il Grande Silenzio) (1968)
Director: Sergio Corbucci
Writers: Mario Amendola, Bruno Corbucci, Sergio Corbucci, Vittoriano Petrilli
Cinematographer: Silvano Ippoliti
Music: Ennio Morricone, Bruno Nicolai
“…All according to the law…”
This is one of those films where the ending knocks you on your ass with so much force that you forgive any problems you might have had with the first 2.5 acts- but this is also a really solid film throughout- so I guess I would say that it’s actually just a really good movie.
I don’t want to ruin anything for those who haven’t seen it so I’ll avoid spoilers here- but- damn! Nihilistic and genuinely moving in a way that most exploitation films simply can’t touch.
Okay, so, the plot: Silence (played by Jean-Louis Trintignant) is a mute vigilante-for-hire (not a bounty-hunter- or a ‘bounty-killer’ as they’re called in this film) who is hired by a widow (
Beyoncé Vonetta McGee) to hunt down the psychotic ‘bounty killer’ (see why I made the distinction) who shot her husband. Wait for it. The psychotic ‘bounty killer’ is played by Klaus Kinski. So, essentially, the film is a show-down between two bounty-hunters both operating by their own interpretation of the law.
The film’s snow-covered scenery combined with Morricone’s haunting score (Hey! Look!) give the film a very distinct feel. Corbucci’s love of cinematic violence is on display here with a lot of really great set-pieces (example: a man is shot-dead while surrounded by panicked prostitutes) and, Corbucci’s Luis Buñuel-influence (noted in Fantoma’s liner notes) is also seen here (example: the satirical handling of the ‘rules of etiquette’ that murderers-for-hire must follow).
I’m going to stop talking about this film because I seriously don’t want to ruin anything for you. I will say this though, Fantoma’s DVD contains an ‘alternate ending’ that I definitely suggest checking out.
So to summarize: I liked it. A lot. I think you’ll like it. And I think you should watch it.