Corbucci’s most serious film, a brilliant revisionist western starring two titans of European cinema, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Klaus Kinski, just because they became household names
A devastating Morricone score as well- perhaps not as catchy as some of his other works—but more nuanced and layered- quite beautiful
Corbucci’s trademark zooms throughout
Both actors play it pretty close to the vest actually- which is Trintignant’s trademark style (and he’s one of the best ever at it) but it’s rare to see Kinski not go bananas (who was no stranger to Spaghetti westerns- he was in For a Few Dollars More with Leone a few years before)
Corbucci had an impressive run here- (this is his fifth archiveable film from1966-1968) but it is impossible to talk about him without talking about the superior Leone. He’s using Morricone, names like “Loco” for Kinski’s bounty hunter villain. And Trintignant’s name is “Silence”- like Bronson’s “Harmonica” in Once Upon a Time in the West– Trintignant never speaks (and it’s still a great performance).
Breathtaking shot of the foggy with snow-filled backdrop- almost a whiteout – Kinski on horseback at 19 minutes.
Corbucci revels in the long shot here, the mountain ranges to Morricone’s score
Largely humorless, the least pastiche of Corbucci’s films— the Trintignant scene where he makes love to the widow wouldn’t work at all in his other films and it’s quite poignant here
The dedication to snow as the backdrop is impressive- apparently much of it is shaving cream—it is pervading- a part of the film for sure—makes it unique in the western canon (McCabe from Altman for sure a few years after—and both using heavy camera zooms)—another one is Tarantino’s Hateful Eight which owes much to this film (Tarantino in general owes much to the spaghetti western and Corbucci). Like Corbucci’s film this snow-laden film about the carrying philosophies of bounty hunters and law men, new sheriffs, stagecoach rides, and Morricone scores
Duality in two leads- both men paid $1000 for a kill, one to kill a criminal for a bounty, one to kill the bounty hunter for revenge – I’m not going to say this has the moral weight of like an Unforgiven but the weight of the leads and equality among them remind me Hackman and Eastwood
A great edit match to a flame at 44 minutes—which leads to a flashback to a horrific past (and the reason Trintignant is silent)—a flame out again to end the flashback – well done
They’re both awesome- but at 5’7 and 5’8 Trintignant and Kinski aren’t exactly John Wayne and Lee Marvin (I think Alan Ladd and Jack Palance in Shane were even smaller so whatever- haha).
An absolute jaw-dropper at 97 minutes- reminds me of the Ikiru shot at the playground through the play structure- here it’s a wood structure- but a perfect frame of a designed mise-en-scene
The ending is grim, dog eat dog nihilism—slaughtering, masochistic