on 7 January 2014
****This review is for the Grindhouse Blu-ray 4 disc set!!!!******
Lee Van Cleef plays a bad-ass bounty hunter renowned for getting his man who accepts a job to track and capture a Mexican outlaw named Chuchillo (knife) played by Tomas Milian who is wanted for the rape and murder of a twelve year old girl. While Chuchillo is no good with a gun and relies on his knife skills, he successfully manages to constantly evade capture by Van Cleef using only his wits. The battle of wits between hunter and prey feels like a more serious take on the Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd relationship as Chuchillo's constant escapes begin to make things personal for Van Cleef. Director Sergio Sollima adds a deep political subtext to the proceedings as the pursuit of Milians character begins to represent the persecution of the poor by authority.
The Big Gundown is a superb western. I suspect most fans of Italian Westerns have already seen it but if you have not then it's highly recommended and considered one of the best non-Sergio Leone Spaghetti westerns there is. Ennio Morricone provides a genuinely excellent score that compliments proceedings superbly. Overall this is a fantastic western and if your only familiar with Sergio Leone's films this is a great jumping off point to explore the wider world of the Spaghetti western.
Grindhouse have released a superb REGION FREE blu-ray that gives excellent Audio and Visual presentation. The film looks bright detailed while preserving the natural film grain and is ironically a far better presentation than the American and Uk releases of the more widely know dollars trilogy.
We get two Blu-rays with the set. One has an extended version of the U.S cut with several new scenes, a raft of interviews as extras and a great audio commentary track. The second Blu-ray gives us the full length Italian language release with added scenes cut from the U.S release on grounds of pacing as well as political concerns. There is also an easter egg on the disc as well as a bunch of other grindhouse trailers. There is also a DVD of the U.S cut and a fourth CD that contains the entire Morricone soundtrack.
If your a fan of this film or just like Spaghetti westerns in general this is an essential purchase!
on 23 August 2014
The item came really fast in perfect condition, brand new as described.The movie is good and funny, western classic.The picture quality and sound are great."Grindhouse Releasing" did perfect job as usual.There's beautiful booklet with info about the production and even CD with original music inside the package.So, don't think twice.
on 29 September 2015
This review is for the release (bluray, Grindhouse), not the movie itself. Fantastico, absolute stunning picture and sound also tons of extra. If you like this movie, this release is a must have!
on 31 January 2015
Let me say first that this is a Fantastic Western. In fact, next to the 'Dollars' trilogy I think this is the next best Speghetti Western ever made. Directed by Sergio Sellima, with a great score by Ennio Morricone (who also done the score on the Dollars Trilogy, and Once Upon A Time In The West), it has all the hallmarks of a Sergio Leone film. Lots of Action, a great script, good dialogue, great acting from all concerned (especially Cleef and Milian), great landscapes, and a great ending that is reminiscent of the endings of 'For a Few Dollars More', and 'The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly'. The only reason I have given it 4 stars (wanted to give it 5) is the horrendous title song (Run Man Run) sung by a high pitched woman called Christy at the beginning (and at the end) that makes me grit my teeth and slightly (just slightly) ruins my enjoyment of it. The second reason is that the better version of the film (the uncut 110 min Italian version) is only with English subtitles. However, I realise the cut scenes were never dubbed in English so this is all you can get. The extra scenes do make the film better in my opinion. However, the 95 min U.S. Cut is still great and is fully dubbed in English. You get both versions on Blu Ray with this 'Grindhouse' release. Plus (For some strange reason), you also get the DVD of the U.S. Cut. Plus a CD of the Ennio Morricone's score. Both picture and sound on both versions of this film are superb in Blu Ray (Haven't watched it on DVD). Anyone in Britain with a Region B Blu Ray Player wondering if they should risk sending of for this from America have no fear. It took about 10 days to come, but all discs (Blu Rays at least) are region free so will play on your player.
So, why only Four stars? Well, I have to knock one star off, just because it could of been slightly better if (A.) They had dubbed the whole 110min cut, and (B.) The opening and end credits had Ennio's wonderful Battle Scene score instead of the aforementioned abomination. (Why use a singer anyway, with such great music from Ennio?) Still, those points aside, I still rate this as one of my favourite Speghetti Westerns. It's nearly (but not quite) up there with 'For A Few Dollars More' and 'The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly'. But, I actually have it in front of 'A Fistfull Of Dollars', 'Once Upon A Time In The West', and even slightly ahead of 'Django' (Another great one).
La resa dei conti (The Big Gundown) is directed by Sergio Sollima and written by Sollima and Sergio Donati. It stars Lee Van Cleef, Tomas Milian, Walter Barnes and Gerard Herter. Music is by Ennio Morricone and cinematography by Carlo Calini.
Superior Spaghetti Western with shades of Zapata for good measure, The Big Gundown finds Van Cleef as bounty hunter - cum - unofficial lawman Jonathan Corbett, whose reputation for bringing in the criminals, dead or alive, has caught the attention of business baron Brockston (Barnes). With an interest in getting into politics, Corbett is sold on Brockston's offer of political help if he will do a job for him. The job is to hunt down a Mexican rogue by the name of Cuchillo (Milian) who is alleged to have raped and murdered a 12 year old girl. Tracking Cuchillo across the land, the Mexican proves to be a slippery customer, and more importantly, Corbett begins to doubt the veracity of the charges against him.
What do you need for a great Italo Western? A leading man with screen presence supreme? Check! Rogue antagonist able to overact opposite the leading man whilst still exuding charm personified? Check! Scorching vistas? Check! A musical score so in tune with the story it's a character all by itself? Check! And violence? Check! Sollima's movie has it all.
Much of the film is about the manhunt and how the two men involved develop a relationship. Cuchillo claims he's being set up and seems to have friends in every town featured in the play. Corbett is a dandy with a gun, but he's not perfect, he can be outsmarted and get caught cold. There's good thought gone into the screenplay in this respect, not putting the anti-hero up as an infallible superman.
Then there's the side-bar narrative strands that show Sollima's political bent, even though this is hardly a heavily politico piece. From class struggles and racism, to asides on the justice system and the fat cats who operate around the system, Sollima does enjoy dangling such carrots. With zippy set pieces fuelled by brooding machismo that is in turn enhanced by the top work from Carlini and Morricone (it's one of Moricone's best scores, real dynamite), this is grade "A" Spaghetti and well worth feasting on. 9/10