Excellent Spaghetti Western for 'Django' Fans
Montoya | El Dorado Hills, CA United States | 08/01/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"'Strangers Gundown' of 1968 does not appear in director Sergio Garrone's film bio, however 'Tre croci per non morire' or 'No Graves on Boot Hill' does and may have been the original title. Garrone is better known for his Italian murder films in the Giallo tradition. It is easy to call 'Strangers Gundown' a successful film since it succeeds very well as one of the better films in this genre. Some of the technical ideas in the movie seem to have been borrowed by Leone himself for the making of 'Once Upon a Time in the West'. Anyway the plot is quite simple: a former confederate soldier named Django tracks down three CSA officers who conspired with Yankees to murder his company during a civil war battle, and he guns them down one-by-one [in gothic horror fashion btw] after tracking them to a desert town many years later. One traitor-officer happens to have a psychotic homicidal brother and this character is included to brilliant effect and the role is played very well. This film benefits from typical spaghetti gritty realism teamed with stylish gothic horror filmmaking which [amazingly] works well. Only complaint is with Garrone's direction of Anthony Steffen - Steffen plays the Stranger role in such a wooden manner it seems as though he could catch on fire at any moment. But Garrone accidentally saves the day with this idea of a stilted stranger when the character is compared to the earlier ebullient confederate soldier prior to the battle tragedy. Whether Garrone intended to or not he makes menaingful statements on how extreme violence can deeply effect personality. The movie is a little slow in places but spaghetti fans of european westerns will probably love this film in spite of it's faults -- for example why did it take Django 15 years to seek revenge and in the first Django film he was a Yankee, NOT a Confederate -- but traditional American western fans will probably hate it. Ponitora"