In the 1960s, from the depths of Italian exploitation cinema, which had long reworked American genres, came a new way of appreciating that most American of films : the western. In the late 1960s, almost half of the films produced in Italy were westerns. Despite a ‘western’ setting, these movies were never shot in America, and often featured dubbed European or English-speaking stars, and showcased a greater sense of stylish operatic violence, edgy political commentary and a twisted sense of humour than their American cousins. The cycle of spaghetti westerns lasted just a few years, but before hanging up its spurs in the 70s, it completely rewrote the genre, and introduced back to Americans a new way of experiencing a class of film that they had previously thought they owned. Sergio Leone’s 1964 A Fistful of Dollars (1964) defined the spaghetti style: from the vast desert vistas (filmed in Spain!) to the moody micro-close ups, the dance-of-death shootouts and the majestic and exotic Ennio Morricone score. It made star Clint Eastwood such an iconic gunslinging figure that he now arguably defines the image of the western over John Wayne. This summer at Deptford Cinema, ride back with us to the Italian West!
DAY OF ANGER: Gritty spaghetti western icon Lee Van Cleef rides again, this time playing villainous loner Frank Talby, an ageing cynical gunfighter who shoots down a small-town sheriff in order to boost his reputation, then takes over the entire town piece by piece. Talby then has to face his own protégé (played by Giuliano Gemma) who was the sheriff’s best friend in days gone by. Director Tonino Valerii, former assistant to Leone, largely forsakes the violence of most spaghetti westerns in favour of characterisation, with the focus on the mentor-antagonist relationship between Van Cleef and Gemma. Riz Ortolani’s jazz score provides an intriguing contrast to the works of ubiquitous genre composer Ennio Morricone.
- dir: Tonino Valerii
- Year: 1967
- country: Italy | West Germany
- run-time: 111m.
- rating: 18
£6.00 (£4.50 conc.)
Doors 19:00 - Film 19:30