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The Big Gundown

La resa dei conti

Influential and undervalued Spaghetti Western, with a revivified Lee Van Cleef as a steely-eyed avenger on the trail of a Mexican killer rapist.

Even if a screening is sold out, tickets are often available 30 minutes before the start of the film at the box office at each venue.

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  • Director Sergio Sollima
  • Producer Alberto Grimaldi
  • Screenwriter Sergio Donati, Sergio Sollima
  • With Lee Van Cleef, Tomas Milian, Luisa Rivelli
  • Italy-Spain 1966
  • 105 mins
  • UK distribution Park Circus

You don’t have to be an aficionado to appreciate this undervalued but influential Italian western, now happily restored by Sony Columbia. Directed by Sergio Sollima – as highly regarded in the genre as Sergios Leone and Corbucci – and reckoned to be his best film, it arose from an idea by Franco Solinas (The Battle of Algiers), features a memorable score by Ennio Morricone and launched the fashion for ‘political’ Spaghetti westerns. It also started the Italian career of Cuban actor Tomas Milian, and helped Spaghettis break into third world markets. The film’s resuscitated star, Lee Van Cleef – for years the mean villain of numerous Hollywood westerns – is at his steely-eyed best as Jonathan Corbett, scourge of Texan bandits, whose mission is to hunt down the Mexican Cuchillo (Milian), who has raped and killed a 12-year-old girl. As he closes in on Cuchillo, he wonders if the Mexican is as guilty as he thought... music – magnificent – by Morricone.

Clyde Jeavons

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