GREAT MOVIE BUT TERRIBLE TRANSFER
T. A. Hansen | eagan, mn USA | 01/27/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The acting and story are great but the transfer is just atrocious. It's pan and scan so there's the first bad news. Also this movie has been edited almost to death. In one scene two people are on the gallows. It then abruptly switches to an old woman running down the street srcreaming. I can only infer that they were hanged. This happens constantly throughout this transfer. We are left to guess at what has occured. The overall image and sound is below average.
Looking at the other releases on Amazon, it's hard to tell if there is a better quality DVD. Brentwood(ASIN: B0000CNY5C) has issued one but it's the same running time(95 min). There is another edition from Stonevision(?)(ASIN: B00004U0JG) it's listed as anamorphic. None of the reviewers mentions anything about the quality.
What did I like about this movie? Even with all the cuts the story is interesting and engrossing. Robert Shaw and Martin Landau give suprisingly good performances in roles other actors may have just mailed in. In one scene Martin Landau is eating a tortilla and compliments the cook. That small scene just seemed authentic. Robert Shaw at the end gives a speech to Stella Stevens that could have been but is not maudlin. Telly Savalas(forever underated) gives the Don Carlos character a laid-back evilness. Again it seems authentic. Then there is Stella Stevens(what a beauty). She does well with limited lines and understated role. You also get to hear Johnny Horton's "The Battle Of New Orleans"
My advice would be to get this. It's not that expensive, but after you watch it you'll wonder how great this movie could be with a descent transfer. This would seem like the perfect title for VCI or Anchor Bay to restore.Geneon [Pioneer]"
A very weird western...
S. Sidhu | Perth, AUS | 06/15/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The rating of 4 stars is given in comparison to the other b-grade Spaghetti Westerns, and NOT the Sergio Leone classics. The reason being, is because A Town Called Hell is a fresh look at the Spaghetti Western genre. Unlike the others, this tends to be fuelled with originality and authenticity that strays far away from the styles of Leone. Infact, the movie abstains from incredibly long duels, cat and mouse sequences, witty comedy elements and the profounding array of Leone trademarks. Instead, what we have here is unique western directed by Robert Parrish that would probably fit in a political-revolutionary/drama-esque category. A Town Called Hell has an
incredible mix of subplots, each represented by the key characters, and at times this makes the film a little confusing. The story begins with a group of mexican revolutionists led by the characters of Robert Shaw and Martin Landau that storm into and massacre an entire town called "Bastard" that is controlled by military units. Years pass on, and the story shifts to a woman named Alvira (Stella Stevens) who sleeps in a hearst inside a dark carriage manned by a supposed deaf mute called Spectre (Dudley Sutton). They have arrived at the same town, which is now under the crooked mayorship of Don Carlos (Telly Savalas) and an entourage of revolutionists turned bandits. The film then re-introduces the character of Shaw, who is now an alcohol driven town priest that doesn't take too lightly to Savalas' dictatorship, though he tolerates it for the sake of the peasants of the village. With Alvira's arrival in town, she offers Don Carlos a reward for the deliverance of her husband's murderer and wishes to place the murderer's body in the hearst she rests in. She believes the killer is named "Aguila", a name that is respected and protected by the peasants including the priest. But she is not the only one searching for Aguila. The character of Martin Landau, now a traitor to the revolution, has returned to the town as an army colonel and is searching for the same person, as he believes Aguila to be the leader of the revolution. The
film itself is a very peculiar and strange addition to the Spaghetti Western genre. That said, the film delivers some nice performances particularly from Telly Savalas and Robert Shaw. If you liked "Bullet for the General" and you're looking for an interesting western that stands out in its originality and is far from Leone standards, then I strongly recommend this. But if you prefer your westerns strictly Leone, then i suggest you stay away from this one.