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Monday, September 29, 2014

La Resa Dei Conti (aka The Big Gundown) (1966)

A bounty hunter (Lee Van Cleef) is hired by a railroad baron (Walter Barnes) to go after a Mexican (Tomas Milian) who raped and murdered a 12 year old girl. But that's all on the surface as there are other motives both financial and political that would be better served by the elimination of the Mexican on the run. A solid entry in the spaghetti western genre, THE BIG GUNDOWN was co-written by its director Sergio Sollima and Sergio Donati who co-wrote ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST. It's an amusing give and take cat and mouse western as Van Cleef pursues Milian yet getting outwitted by him at every turn. When Van Cleef asks Milian why he doesn't kill him when he has the chance, Milian retorts, "Because they'd just send someone else, someone smarter than you!". It's an inventive screenplay with sturdy direction by Sollima that should please not only fans of the spaghetti genre but even if one is not, there's plenty to appreciate. Notably, Ennio Morricone's killer score and Carlo Carlini's (I VITELLONI) razor sharp cinematography.

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