Sunday, 24 February 2013

Wayward Westerns


The Great Silence is an atmospheric spaghetti western directed by Sergio Corbucci (of Django fame) in 1968. During a harsh winter a mute gunslinger squares off against a band of voracious bounty hunters who store their victims in snow drifts till spring. Though there’s not much to the script and it’s seems a little clich├ęd 40+ years later there’s a delicious cynicism and plenty of merciless violence to keep you entertained as the atmosphere builds to an explosive and suitably dark finale. Brilliant but probably not to everyone’s taste.

Sidney Poiter joins forces with James Garner to escort a bunch of soldiers through Indian infested territory in Duel at Diablo but the wheels soon fall off their wagon haha and a relentless siege ensues. It starts off fairly atypically, the usual technicolour 60’s western bedecked in thinly veiled social commentary but it soon reveals a surprisingly dark underbelly of violence once the journey gets underway. With a strong, sharp script and some talented performances this tense little gem packs a punch and is woefully neglected.

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