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Will Penny (1967) fu uno dei film che rivoluzionarono il western,
sia per il realismo figurativo sia per il tono crepuscolare,
sia per l'anti-eroismo dei personaggi sia per la
tesi civile della storia.
Will Penny (Charles Heston) is one of the cowboys who take a herd of cows
to the train terminal. They are paid by the boss and only a few are hired to
get on the train and help deliver the cows. Will is one of them, but sells
his ticket to a kid who wants to see his old pa one last time. The experienced
Will and two younger cowboys are left in the prairie, with no job and no
destination. And winter is coming.
The young ones get in an argument with a bunch of rawhiders over
the carcass of an animal, and Will has to rescue them. But he kills the son
of the boss of the rawhiders, and the old man swears to take revenge.
Looking for a doctor (one of the young ones is wounded),
the three cowboys take shelter in a desolate saloon in the middle of nowhere,
and meet a woman who is traveling with her child, escorted by a man hired
by her husband to take them to him in their wagon.
The woman and her escort depart, and the three cowboys continue their journey
to the nearest doctor (a barbershop).
Then Will leaves his young partners at the town and continues alone towards
a ranch where he hopes to find work. He finds a dead body, a cowboy who fell
and broke his neck, and thus finds a job at the ranch, replacing the dead man.
He is hired to be the "lone rider", guarding a huge territory till spring.
And finds out that the woman and the child have taken possession of his shack
after being abandoned by their guide. The woman points the gun at him, and
he tells her that she has to move on in a few days because the ranch's owner
does not allow squatters. Then Will continues his survey of the territory.
The rawhiders have followed him,
assault him and rob him of everything, leaving him to die in the
wilderness. He manages to walk back to the shack, and is cured and fed by
the woman. As he recovers, he begins to take care of them in turn, as winter
is coming and life is not going to be easy in the snow. The woman and the child
are obviously stuck there for the winter. He has lived all his life alone,
since he was a child. He falls in love with her, with the idea of having a
companion and a family.
The rawhiders find the shack and are surprised to find Will still alive.
The evil old rawhider rejoices at the idea of having found his wife and child
with him. He gives the woman two days to make up her mind which one of his sons
she wants to sleep with. Will asks the woman to comply with the request so
that he can have a chance to escape and look for help. The woman asks both
young boys to meet her in a shack, and then makes them fight over her.
Will seizes the opportunity to escape. They chase him, but luckily his two
young buddies have finally caught up with him and are there to help out.
Will and his two partners free the woman and kill all the members of the mad
The time has come for Will to move on with his partners and for the woman
to continue her journey. But she doesn't want to anymore: she would like
to become his woman. He tells her that he is old, that his best is behind
him, that he would not be able to take care of her and the child for much
longer. As much as he obviously likes her and dreamed of a woman like her,
he regretfully leaves her behind with a "too late for me".
El Verdugo (1968) e' invece un western d'azione epiu' convenzionale, ma
ancora attento alla tematica civile.
Durante la guerriglia degli indiani contro l'esercito messicano, un
mezzosangue ruba agli americani un carico d'armi e leo porta agli indiani. Alla sua caccia si e' messo uno
sceriffo negro, ligio al dovere nonostante senta che la causa del desperado e' quella giusta. I truci
messicani di El Verdugo lo catturano e lo condannano a morte: il generale si serve di un consulente
tedesco per progettare lo sterminio degli indiani, sotto l'occhio accondiscendente del capitalista americano
che deve costruire la sua ferrovia. Un'indiana (Welch) e lo sceriffo lo liberano e lui non perde tempo a
guidare un assalto al treno.
Breakout (1974 e' un film spettacolare in cui un americano, vittima di un
complotto, viene imprigionato e un avventuriero non bada a spese per farlo evadere.
Lady Ice (1973 e' un avventuroso su ladri di gioielli.
Heartbreak Pass (1976 e' un rude film d'azione.
Greatest (1977 e' la biografia di Cassius Clay.