Originally released as "A Town Called Bastard", this film is one of those strange western hybrids which is co British/Spanish financed. We therefore get the odd casting of Brits, Spanish and American actors all working together in that favourite western location, Almeria, Spain. I decided to watch the film on the strength of it's cast and director. A western film that boasts Robert Shaw, Martin Landau, Telly Savalas, Stella Stevens and supporting actors like Fernando Rey, Al Lettieri and Michael Craig just had to be worth watching. The American director Robert Parrish made two fine westerns with "The Wonderful Country" and "Saddle the Wind", which gave it a strong CV. Sadly it did not turn out to be particularly good!
The story is set during the Mexican revolution. A mysterious woman arrives in town to find the killer of her husband. She is willing to pay a shed load of money to find the almost mythical revolutionary leader Aguila, who was the supposed culprit. Given the original title of the film there are a lot of bandits in this little den of iniquity who are happy to help. In this quest lots of people get killed. The collateral damage count goes through the roof! A mysterious priest played by Robert Shaw watches on impassively and comes out with a few pearls of wisdom which nobody understands, including him I suspect. It is all a bit muddled and hard to follow at times to be honest, and given this I found my attention span waverering. Shaw and Landau certainly strive manfully with a silly script. Perhaps given a major doctoring by someone like the Coen Brothers, Sergio Leone or Tarantino we might have had something worthwhile. Now it is simply an oddity floating around the film ether. Another weird misfire.
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