Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|A Minute to Pray A Second to Die|
Actors: Alex Cord, Arthur Kennedy, Robert Ryan, Enzo Fiermonte, Renato Romano
Director: Franco Giraldi
Genres: Westerns, Art House & International
WHEN OUTLAW CLAY MCCORD LEARNS THE GOVERNOR OF NEW MEXICO HAS OFFERED AN AMNESTY TO ALL WHO APPLY FOR IT AT THE TOWN OF TUSCOSA, HE IS INTRIGUED BUT SUSPICIOUS.
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And 1/3rd of an hour for things to start making sense
Steven Hellerstedt | 12/21/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Six minutes into A MINUTE TO PRAY, A SECOND TO DIE I'd seen one chase, one ambush, and one quasi-Freudian flashback. Without a Clint or a Lee van to latch onto, I wasn't even sure who I was supposed to be watching, although I guessed right and kept my eyes on the blond guy with a bad case of the shakes.
Blond Alex Cord plays outlaw Clay McCord, a hard case bad guy tracked by bounty hunters, spurned by a town marshal played by Arthur Kennedy - even though there's an amnesty in effect - and resented by his fellow outlaws. Whip quick and deadly accurate with a gun, McCord is more or less a standard-issue spaghetti western protagonist - proficient, humorless, a two-dimensional loner in a dangerous world. Most of these quote unquote heroes are difficult to impossible to warm up to, and most spaghetti westerns are analogous to tossing a scorpion into a boxful of fire ants. There's a good chance you'll see an interesting fight or two, but you won't much care who crawls out of the box at the end.
In any event, after around twenty minutes or so the plot kicked into gear and the movie began to gain some serious momentum. McCord suffers from periodic, debilitating seizures - a bad case of the shakes that mimics the epilepsy his father suffered from. Not a good thing for a gunslinger who lives, or dies, on nerves and reflexes. McCord's search for a doctor takes him past Kennedy's town, where the governor's amnesty is mocked and bounty hunters are paid off on the sly, to the dingy town of Escondido. Escondido is a typical spaghetti western town, something of a cross between a hippie commune, a Hells Angels' boot camp and a leper colony. Oh, yeah, and there's a doctor hanging around in a back alley - right behind the house where the model-beautiful peasant girl lives alone, huddling in a dark corner of her hovel, ripe pickings for a shaky, sullen stranger with a strong need to lay low.
I sat down to this movie expecting to hate it, but found myself enjoying it quite a bit. At about the halfway point Robert Ryan appears as the bare-knuckle, amnesty-granting governor who has a strong desire to bring the elusive McCord into the fold. It may simply be the reassuring presence of Kennedy, and especially Ryan, that sold me on A MINUTE TO PRAY. Cord certainly seems to turn it up a notch in his scenes with these Hollywood veterans. The story was unusually strong for the genre. There's something about a handicapped hero that lends itself to a strong plot. Cord may not have the gritty, laconic charisma of Clint Eastwood - or even Lee van Cleef, for that matter - but by the end of the movie I found myself rooting for him. A moderately strong recommendation for this one.
Atmospheric Spaghetti Western
hille2000 | USA | 06/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Alex Cord is excellent as the stoic outlaw Clay McCord in this atmospheric Spaghetti Western. Hunted by both the law and the lawless he manages to overcome seizures that paralyze his gun-hand. Flashbacks give insight into the psyche of this unlikely hero. Arthur Kennedy, Mario Brega and Robert Ryan also star in this interesting movie but Alex Cord's performance is the real high point of this movie."
Solid sixties spaghetti western
Gary Cross | Auckland New Zealand | 06/08/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This was originally released to the English speaking world as Dead or Alive - which makes a lot more sense when you consider the storyline concerns bounty hunters, a town full of outlaws and a crooked sherrif offering amnesty. Alex Cord (whose big chance at stardom with Stagecoach came to grief two years before this film was made) plays an outlaw who's lightning fast on the draw, until he's wracked by shaking fits. Flashbacks reveal his father was an epileptic, and Cord is terrified that the same fate is in store for him. Although it's not up there with the classics (Django, Texas Adio, Keoma, The Bounty Killer), this is an enjoyable example of the sort of westerns the Italians were churning out in the sixties: silly dialogue, plenty of gunfire, lashings of sadism (the villains drowning a hapless civilan in a pool of oil; Cord being beaten to a pulp before being suspended by ropes above the town; a priest being tortured and gunned down) and the ubiquitous Mario Brega and Aldo Sambrell as leering, sweating bad guys. My only complaint is that this is the edited version - from the reviews I've read that were written in the 1960s, the film had a downbeat ending that sounded similar to The Great Silence."
Be Warned... This is the cut version!
Arch Stanton | London, UK | 11/05/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Further to one of the other reviews on this page, this is indeed a truncated version of the original film, which is a shame, as the plot is actually more involving than most. If you weren't aware of the original ending, the film seems complete, but the actual finale would give the film an extra ironic punch that this version lacks."