Monday, May 7, 2007

A Spaghetti Western Top Ten

Giallo Fever started a post focusing on ten personal favorite Euro-westerns so I thought I would chime in. Like Giallo Fever I am only including one Sergio Leone picture, otherwise half the list would be made up of his films. Keep in mind that mine isn't a 'best of' list but my own personal favorites.

1. THE GREAT SILENCE: Sergio Corbucci's mystical film is one of the most haunting I have ever seen. Jean-Louis Trintignant delivers one of the great performances and is joined by a stellar cast including Klaus Kinski, Luigi Pistilli, and Vonetta Mcgee among others. Features one of the most powerful Morricone scores ever. A masterpiece.

2. FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE: Not one of Leone's best films but a personal favorite due to the chilling work by Gian Maria Volonte. Again featuring Klaus Kinski, a stirring Morricone score and Eastwood at his best and most beautiful.

3. KEOMA: Enzo Castellari's unforgettable film stars Franco Nero in one of his greatest roles. The shrieking score seems to turn off a lot of viewers but I love it. HOT FUZZ recently had a sly tribute to this fantastic film.

4. CHINA 9 LIBERTY 37: Monte Hellman's striking vision of the Italian western is one of the strangest films I have ever seen. The lovely Jenny Agutter joins Warren Oates, Fabio Testi and Sam Peckinpah for this violent rethinking of the western film.

5. DJANGO: Corbucci's iconic film stars a beautifully savage Franco Nero and features on of Luis Enriquez Bacalov's greatest scores.

6. DJANGO KILL: The always strange Giulio Questi joins up with a crazed Tomas Milian in this violent and at times off the hook film. Ray Lovecock and the beautiful Marilu Tolo are also featured in this, one of the most graphic of all Italain westerns.

7. THE BIG GUNDOWN: A sweeping Morricone score highlights this great Sergio Sollima film that stars Lee Van Cleef and Tomas Milian. Ripped to shreds in it's original American run, the original uncut version was picked by Tarantino as his favorite Spaghetti Western.

8. A BULLET FOR THE GENERAL: The underrated Damiano Damiani's political western is still captivating and challenging stuff. Featuring Volonte and Kinski again along with a scene stealing Martine Beswick. Plus a moving underrated score credited to Bacalov and Morricone.

9. FOUR OF THE APOCALYPSE: Fulci's under-valued 1975 film is filled with startling moments and features Fabio Testi in one of his great performances. Fabio Frizzi delivers a fine score in this, one of fulci's most subtle films of the seventies.

10. STRANGER AND THE GUNFIGHTER: The great Antonio Margheriti delivers this genre mixing piece of nonsense that is a whole lot of fun. West and East collide when Lee Van Cleef and Lieh Lo square off. Look for sexy Femi Benussi and Erica Blanc in featured roles and sit back and enjoy one of the funnest Spaghetti Western's ever made, if also one of the most inconsequential.

Just missing my list were DEATH RIDES A HORSE, SHALAKO, TEXAS ADIOS, ANY GUN CAN PLAY and A MAN CALLED BLADE...and about a dozen others that aren't popping into my head right now that I will regret not including later.


Marty McKee said...

Hi, Jeremy. I posted my wordy Top 10 list over
on my blog
, so come take a look if you get a chance.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks for stopping by Marty. I always enjoy your blog and appreciate you comment here. I'll look forward to seeing your list.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Jeremy

The film predates when Jenny Agutter found a decent hairdresser in LA! It wasn't until Spooks by the BBC (approx 2002) that she finally had it cut properly

Jeremy Richey said...

I think Jenny looks just fine with any haircut she might have, check out "Walkabout"

cinebeats said...

Great list Jeremy! I never would have thought of including something like CHINA 9 LIBERTY 37 or SHALAKO since they're not dircted by Italians (even if they're Italian productions - I don't think SHALAKO is though). I made a point of making my list Italian directors/productions only.

I still need to see STRANGER AND THE GUNFIGHTER which sounds great!

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Kimberly,
I debated whether or not to include China 9 Liberty 37 and finally decided I couldn't leave it out but it might be a stretch to label it a Spaghetti Western since an American directed it. Still I love the film and it definately has the feel of the genre.
Loved your list too...Stranger and The Gunfighter is just a lot of fun...was glad to see it pop up on Marty Mckee's list also...
thanks for the comments.

Anonymous said...

Nice list and site, Jeremy! Though I would have added COMPANEROS to your list, personally. Just a lot of fun (if sometimes clumsily staged), with juicy performances from Nero and Milian, and another wonderful Morricone score (man that guy was prolific!)

Jeff Flugel

Jeremy Richey said...

Ah yes Jeff, COMPANEROS is really terrific. In the couple of weeks since I have made this list I have thought of several that could have gone on there. I guess that's the problem with lists of any kind though.
Thanks for the comments and for reading.

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