Thursday, December 24, 2015

Boot Hill (1969)

Original title: La Collina Degli Stivali

Director: Giuseppe Colizzi

Writer: Giuseppe Colizzi

Composer: Carlo Rustichelli

Starring: Terence Hill, Woody Strode, Bud Spencer, Lionel Stander, Eduardo Ciannelli, George Eastman, Glauco Onorato, Alberto Dell'Acqua, Nazzareno Zamperla

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Where Nobody Died of Natural Causes

Plot: Honey Fisher has become a powerful man in this small Western town that has grown up around gold-prospecting fields. Fisher and his gang have managed, through swindling, murder, and terror, to gain leases on the important gold-yielding land in the area. A state commissioner comes to town to review the leases, which are crucial to Fisher's power. Cat Stevens and Hutch Bessy join forces with circus performers and townsfolk led by Stevens' friend Finch to fight against Fisher and his henchmen.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? Maybe, but only if I get a better print.

If you come into this expecting a Terence Hill/Bud Spencer Trinity film (as I did many years ago) you will be sadly disappointed.  Those two hilarious pictures wouldn't come around for a few more years.  But if you come into it as just another Spaghetti Western then you might dig it.  I don't know what the obsession was with some filmmakers in the 60s and putting circus performers in their Spags but you can add this one to the list.  At least this film has the traveling circus an integral part in the story, and a good one at that.  Most of Hill's films (from the early 70s and on) were lighthearted family films so it's really strange seeing him in such a serious role and dubbed by someone else with a deeper voice.  Spencer, I think, is dubbed by the same guy who did all of his English dubs in the 70s and 80s.  Woody Strode is a badass and he brings some kickass weight to the picture.  All of these guys were great but Eduardo Ciannelli easily towers above them in acting skills as Judge Boon.  He's amazing to watch.  I'd like to see his scenes in Italian (with his voice).  Even dubbed you can tell this guy was an excellent actor.  He died the year this film was released but not without leaving behind a tremendous body of work.  The story is decent but there are some strange moments that don't sit well.  The biggest is near the end when a certain someone is shot and killed by Fisher (Buono) and Cat Stevens (Hill) immediately and emotionless tells him that now he can be convicted of murder.  He doesn't seem to care one bit that his good friend was just murdered.  Overall the film isn't as polished as it should've been but Colizzi put together a very watchable film.  The Wild East DVD satisfied me a decade ago when I bought it but not any longer.  The non-anamorphic widescreen print is on the dark side and dirty.  It's watchable but I've since discovered (AFTER I just watched the damn thing) a pristine anamorphic widescreen print.  Ugh.  I guess I'll watch it in another ten years.  The only extra is the non-anamorphic widescreen trailer. 

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