The Big Gundown

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The Big Gundown
La-resa-dei-conti-italian-movie-poster-md.jpg
Italian film poster
Directed by Sergio Sollima
Produced by Alberto Grimaldi [1]
Screenplay by
Story by
Starring
Music by Ennio Morricone [1]
CinematographyCarlo Carlini [1]
Edited byGaby Penalba [1]
Production
companies
  • PEA
  • Produzioni Cinematographice Tulio Demicheli [1]
Release date
  • March 1967 (1967-03)(Italy)
Country
  • Italy
  • Spain [1]
Box office1.441 billion ITL (Italy) [2]

The Big Gundown (Italian : La resa dei conti, lit.  'The Settling of Scores') is a Spaghetti Western film directed by Sergio Sollima, and starring Lee Van Cleef and Tomas Milian.

Italian language Romance language

Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire and, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to it of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it still plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. Italian is included under the languages covered by the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Romania, although Italian is neither a co-official nor a protected language in these countries. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both Italian and other regional languages.

Literal translation, direct translation, or word-for-word translation is the rendering of text from one language to another one word at a time with or without conveying the sense of the original whole.

Spaghetti Western Film genre

Spaghetti Western, also known as Italian Western or Macaroni Western, is a broad subgenre of Western films that emerged in the mid-1960s in the wake of Sergio Leone's film-making style and international box-office success. The term was used by American critics and those in other countries because most of these Westerns were produced and directed by Italians.

Contents

Plot

Possessing a reputation for bringing criminals to justice, ready-to-retire bounty hunter Jonathan Corbett (Lee Van Cleef) is summoned to a party by a Texas railroad tycoon by the name of Brockston (Walter Barnes), whose daughter is getting married. Brockston plants the seed that Corbett should consider a run for the Senate, but not before doing one last bounty hunt.

Lee Van Cleef American actor

Clarence Leroy Van Cleef Jr., was an American actor best known for his roles in Spaghetti Westerns such as For A Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Hatchet-faced with piercing eyes, he declined to have his nose altered to play a sympathetic character in his film debut, High Noon, and was relegated to a non-speaking outlaw as a result. For a decade he was typecast as a minor villain, his "sinister" features overshadowing his acting skills. After suffering serious injuries in a car crash, Van Cleef had begun to lose interest in his declining career by the time Sergio Leone gave him a major role in For a Few Dollars More. The film made him a box-office draw, especially in Europe.

Texas State of the United States of America

Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, and has a coastline with the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast.

Brockston offers Corbett his political backing in exchange for tracking down a 12-year-old girl's accused rapist and murderer, who goes by the name of Cuchillo (Tomas Milian), a Mexican who is fleeing back to his native land. Cuchillo means "knife" in Spanish, which is the rascal’s weapon of choice. Corbett expects it to be easy, even offering to do it as a wedding gift.

Tomas Milian American actor

Tomas Milian was a Cuban American actor and singer with Italian citizenship, known for the emotional intensity and humour he brought to roles in European genre films.

Corbett sets out in pursuit of Cuchillo, who is not as dumb as he acts, and who is rather crafty at vexing Corbett at every turn. Corbett pursues Cuchillo into Mexico, where he is arrested when a fight starts in a brothel. Brockston pulls strings to free Corbett from jail and intercepts him, hiring a gang of mercenaries to find Cuchillo. Corbett learns that Cuchillo is innocent and in fact the witness that Brockston's alcoholic son-in-law, Chet Miller (Ángel del Pozo), was the rapist. Corbett misleads the mercenaries to confront Cuchillo with Chet himself. In the final showdown, Corbett provides a knife to Cuchillo to kill Chet, then killing Brockston himself. The two ride together from the scene before parting ways.

Ángel del Pozo Spanish actor and film director

Ángel del Pozo is a Spanish actor. He appeared in more than seventy films since 1960.

Cast

Nieves Navarro Spanish actress

Nieves Navarro García is a retired Spanish-born Italian actress and fashion model. Navarro worked extensively in Italian cinema appearing alongside actors such as Totò and Lino Banfi in the 1960s and 1970s. She later adopted the Americanized stage name Susan Scott for many of her productions after 1969.

Gérard Herter, also known as Gerhard Haerter, Gerard Haerther, Gerald Herter, Gerard Herter, and Gerhard Herter was a German actor of the 1950s and 1960 who played many villains, especially Prussian types, in spaghetti westerns. He made his film debut in Caltiki - il mostro immortale in 1959. His last credited appearance was in Ludwig in 1972.

Fernando Sancho actor

Fernando Sancho Les was a Spanish actor. He was born in Zaragoza, in Aragon, Spain, and died in Madrid after surgery.

Production

The Big Gundown was shot in Almeria in late 1966. [3]

Release

The Big Gundown was released in Italy in March 1967 with a running time of 105 minutes. [4] On its release in Spain, the climactic cane-field chase was shortened. [4] In the United States and United Kingdom, the film was released by Columbia Pictures in 1968. Most English-dubbed prints have a runtime of 89 minutes; the cuts therein serve primarily to tighten the film's pacing and remove sequences that do not directly serve the film's plot, although Corbett's character is made to appear more prone to use violence compared to his level-headed characterization in the Italian version. [5] Another English version of the film, which runs for 85 minutes, removes all references to the rape and murder which drives the story. [4] The film was a moderate success during its US theatrical run, grossing $2 million. [6]

In December 2013, Grindhouse Releasing, in association with original rights holder Columbia/Sony, re-released the film with two different cuts, the original 110-minute Italian version, and a 95-minute "expanded US cut", which includes three scenes (which also appear in the Italian version) that were prepared for showing on television despite not being present in the original theatrical prints. [5] [7]

Critical reception

In a contemporary review, the Monthly Film Bulletin stated that "at least this makes for a variation on the familiar solitary superman theme, and the two protagonists are given time to create characters with some personality", noting that "the violence is on the whole less gratuitously excessive than usual; and though the plot tends to ramble, there are several impressively staged sequences to keep interest alive-in particular a manhunt with the wily Mexican pursued through cane fields by dogs and an army of trackers". [8]

In a retrospective review, Stuart Galbraith IV remarked that the film was "unusually fine" noting its "taut, intelligent screenplay" and "Lee Van Cleef's marvelous screen presence" and "especially the outstanding musical score by the great Ennio Morricone.“ [7] Daryl Loomis of DVD Verdict commented: “The story, written by Sergio Donati ( Duck, You Sucker ), is strong, with a darker framing story than one often sees, and a lot of wit and humor throughout... Great performances and some amazing music, combined with strong direction, gorgeous locations, and top-notch camera work (by Carlo Carlini, Death Rides a Horse )... is among the best work of any of the participants' careers... There's no question that, had more people seen The Big Gundown, it would be clearly recognized at the pinnacle of the genre. Luckily, Grindhouse Releasing has graced us with one of the best Blu-ray packages I've seen in a long time... With the extras, the commentaries, and especially the soundtrack CD, this is my pick for Blu-ray release of the year.” [9]

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References

Footnotes

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Hughes 2004, p. 146.
  2. Fisher, Austin (2014). Radical Frontiers in the Spaghetti Western: Politics, Violence and Popular Italian Cinema. I.B.Tauris. p. 220.
  3. Hughes 2004, p. 149.
  4. 1 2 3 Hughes 2004, p. 154.
  5. 1 2 The Big Gundown (Cutting to the Chase: The Tale of Two Gundowns (Media notes). Los Angeles: Grindhouse Releasing. 2013.
  6. Hughes 2004, p. 157.
  7. 1 2 Galbraith IV, Stuart (December 10, 2013). ""The Big Gundown Blu-ray" review,". DVD Talk . Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  8. "Resa dei Conti, La (The Big Gundown)". Monthly Film Bulletin . Vol. 36 no. 420. 1969. pp. 59–60.
  9. DVD Verdict “The Big Gundown (1966) (Blu-ray) review” DVD Verdict, by Daryl Loomis, December 26th, 2013

Sources