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Any Gun Can Play: The Essential Guide to Euro-westerns
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2011
The title of the book is an affectionate nod to the 1967 film of that name - regarding the sub title I could also use invaluable as an adjective because this veritable encyclopedia is an exhaustive study of a fascinating genre. The film that inspired the catch phrase of Spaghetti Western was Fistful of Dollars (1964) but it was not the first Italian Western - this can be traced back to 1955 which saw the release of The Coyote. The audience appeal can be assessed on many levels - firstly appearance of the characters. These fellows were invariably stubbly or had ragged beards & tatty unkempt hair - exactly how you would have imagined guys of that era to have looked because bathing facilities would not have been that sophisticated & probably deemed unnecessary while chasing after someone else's gold or tracking down & killing an outlaw in order to claim a bounty! The leading characters were usually the anti hero type with whom the audience could relate as personified by Clint Eastwood - for example in For a few dollars more he piles up a heap of dead outlaws onto a cart but rather than tick their names off he merely adds up the amount of bounty he's planning to collect! Another important appeal was Ennio Morricone's superb music - usually characterized by twanging guitars, soaring trumpet playing & soulful whistling of the theme song during the opening credits. Many titles followed on by cashing in on the dollar word - one of my favorites being Barrelful of Dollars (1971. Later on religion, horror & even martial arts were blended into the Western mix - The wrath of God (1968), Clumsy hands (1970) & The dragon strikes back (1973) are good examples. There's also a rogue's gallery of participants in the genre with American sounding names who were in fact European actors & actresses - the gallery (or Who's who?) includes photos & mini bios. However a legion of Hollywood actors followed in the bootsteps of Clint Eastwood, Lee van Cleef & Eli Wallach - Jack Palance, Charles Bronson, Van Heflin, lex Barker, Mark Damon & Brad Harris to name a mere handful! Only two Westerns are mentioned in 2009 & prior to that year output had been sparse but what a wonderful back catalogue exists & you can check it all out in the 480 pages of this brilliant book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 September 2011
Exhaustively researched and very well written this is an excellent guide to the world of the Euro-Western - think stubbly and normally taciturn anti-hero types who let their Colts and Winchesters do the talking, mostly dry desert landscapes and extreme cinematography. Really only using the Leone movies as a stylistic blueprint this book is a thorough introduction to those wonderful movies from the 60s and early 70s. Useful as a history and as a reference book afterwards too, you will spend money tracking down some of the titles just like I did and probably everybody else who has bought a copy. Not too expensive either unless like me you wanted one of the (Franco Nero) signed hardback editions. And should fit snugly on your bookshelf next to Christopher Frayling's 'Spaghetti Westerns - from Karl May to Sergio Leone' tome. Now repeat after me '......if you've got to shoot, shoot, dont't talk.....'
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 May 2012
Hello wild west fans,

Under youtube, the essential guide to euro westerns Äny gun can play" you can really watch in the book.
With a foreword by franco nero, this English book about the euro westerns is the best book written about the subject so far.
Any gun can play puts the phenomenon into perspective, showing its themes, characters and motifs. The actors, the musicians, the directors and the films relation witch their american ancestors are brought in the spotlight. Interviews with the main actors, directors and musicians makes this book of Kevin Grant a beauty into your bookshell.
With 64 pages in colour, the book is nice in combination with books like "the screen greats Clint eastwood" (exeter), Clint a retrospective (sterling) or Christopher Frayling's Sergio Leone once upon a time in Italy or "spagetti western buch (german language).

M Ritzen
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 November 2012
The best book on the subject I have ever read (and re-read many times). Perfect mix of information and photos. Fascinating and informative, with very few if any errors I could spot. The index of actors towards the end is a real bonus too. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. A treasured part of my collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 January 2012
Anyone who enjoys spagheti westerns has to get this book. Full of facts about the films/actors/directors et.c. Crammed full of fascinating photos and promotional posters too.
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on 31 October 2011
You just cannot reasonably ask for more on the Genre than this Book, with the Colour Sections and the monumental reseach, a labour of love indded. At any price it is really excellent value. If you have an interest in the Italian Western, this should be the main reference source for you. EXCELLENTE!!!!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 1 July 2011
This is an encyclopedic treat for genre fans, plenty of sensible analysis, full of fascinating detail, well printed on good quality paper, stuffed full of pictures -many in colour. FAB indeed!
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