In Mexico at the time of the Revolution, Juan, the leader of a bandit family, meets John Mallory, an IRA explosives expert on the run from the British. Seeing John’s skill with explosives, Juan decides to persuade him to join the bandits in a raid on the great bank of Mesa Verde. John in the meantime has made contact with the revolutionaries, and intends to use his dynamite in their service. —IMDb
Sergio Leone was virtually born into the cinema – he was the son of Roberto Roberti (aka Vincenzo Leone), one of Italy’s cinema pioneers, and actress Bice Valerian. Leone entered films in his late teens, working as an assistant director to both Italian directors and American directors working in Italy (usually making Biblical and Roman epics, much in vogue at the time). Towards the end of the 1950s he started writing screenplays, and began directing after taking over Gli ultimi giorni di Pompei (1959) in mid-shoot after its original director fell ill. His first solo feature, Il colosso di Rodi (1961), was a routine Roman epic, but his second feature, A Fistful of Dollars (1964), a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo (1961), caused a revolution. Although it wasn’t the first spaghetti Western, it was far and away the most successful, and shot former TV cowboy Clint Eastwood to stardom (Leone wanted Henry Fonda or Charles Bronson but couldn’t afford them). The… read more
Hmmmmm, a bit disappointing coming from a massive massive Leone fan. It just didn't have the magic that is in Once Upon a Time in America, Once Upon a Time in the West and his dollars trilogy. I really wanted to love it, but just didn't quite. Still, not at all bad, I would certainly give it 3.5.
"I know what I am talking about when I am talking about the revolutions. The people who read the books go to the people who can't read the books, the poor people, and say, 'We have to have a change.' So, the poor people make the change, ah? And then, the people who read the books, they all sit around the big polished tables, and they talk and talk and talk and eat and eat and eat, eh? But what has happened to the poor people? They're dead! That's your revolution. So, please, don't tell me about revolutions! And what happens afterwards? The same fucking thing starts all over again!"
With Spaghetti Westerns, commercial cinema provided a lively and genuine commentary on the growing radicalization of the Italian left.
It’s got nowhere near the acting talent and style of Sergio Leone’s other films, but the good story and the film making make it a worthwhile film. I actually really liked James Coburn in this, but… read review