20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Ground Breaking, must-see western, 25 July 2002
If you are a fan of the western genre then this 1973 masterpiece directed by and Starring Clint Eastwood breaks new ground.Clint re-works his character of "The man with new name" to give him a similar handle "The Stranger" but creates a new niche in this particular sphere by surrounding his star in mysticism yet creating an almost Gothic-Western with a chilling storyline.Straight from the outset the camera work is of exquisite quality following the slow horseback trail of "The Stranger" who almost floats into town to the glares and inquisitive looks of the small village of Lago.He finds himself the central character in a village with a dark secret who are in fear of attack from a gang responsible for the Horse-whipping to death of a previous marshall.After shooting dead some unsavory characters and raping a local woman the townsfolk take the unusual step of hiring the stranger to "protect their interests" in the local mine.From the off a midget (played by Billy Curtis) befriends the stranger and becomes his aide, firstly providing mundane tasks such as lighting his cigars before he is promoted to mayor later on.The Stranger uses his new position in the town to the limit and in preparation for the return of the violent gang seizes the opportunity to give the town a more chiling but appropriate new identity.The entire village is painted red, renamed "hell" before The stranger literally dissapears in a heat haze underlying the mythical and gothic elements in his character. Awaiting his imminant return the anxious villagers grow restless among themselves about their new recruit and they also begin to feel the pangs of guilt over the death of the marshall.The strangers response is clinical and justifiable on the behalf of the townsfolk and the gang who return to plunder it, but to the memory of the marshall it seems that his death albeit a savage one was not in vain.This film includes a strong cast,many of whom were to return to act alongside clint in his "Every Which Way....." series. The camera work is extremely effective and the result is a seriously watchable at times comical and overall a really classic film of its generation, including one of those famous Clint lines.....A rowdy mob confront him at the start in a saloon and tell him that "Drifters dont usually live long in lago.....they usually find life a little too quick for them"Clints response- "IM FASTER THAN YOU WILL EVER LIVE TO SEE" before shooting them one by one and walking out.Note In(your) Diary- Must see film before I Die!!!!