Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Grand Duel (1972) Review

The Grand Duel (AKA The Big Showdown, Storm Riders) (1972)
Dir. Giancarlo Santi
Starring: Lee Van Cleef

Lee Van Cleef plays a retired sheriff that teams up with an outlaw who is wrongfully accused of murdering the patriarch of a well off family of criminals. The film kicks off with a bang, with Lee Van Cleef walking through a town leading up to a impressive action scene featuring Phillip (Peter O’Brien AKA Alberto Dentice). In the film the villainous character David Saxon says “In a violent country, he who seizes today controls tomorrow.”  This seems like something that could only come from a writer who lived under the rule of a dictator. The director Giancarlo Santi and the writer Ernesto Gastaldi both lived in (and most likely heard stories from) Italy while it was under Mussolini’s rule. But the stand out among the villains is Klaus Grünberg as Adam Saxon, the crazy (and homosexual?)l member of the Saxon family, who gets a moment with a machine gun that gives him a chance to chew on some scenery. The movie also features a score by Luis Bacalov that was reused in Kill Bill Vol. 1.
Overall I thought that this was a great film. It was a fun way to spend an hour and a half, and it was breezy movie with no sense of pretention.  It sets out to tell a story and it does it extremely well, with a great performance by Lee Van Cleef at the center of it. Very Recommended.
Silver Bell: Eat, sleep, and toilet facilities.

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