Wednesday, May 9, 2007

THE HELLBENDERS

Anchor Bay recently released the 1967 Spaghetti western, THE HELLBENDERS, with no fanfare. That’s a shame, because this gritty, dark little film by Sergio Corbucci (DJANGO, THE GREAT SILENCE) is a minor classic of the genre.

The story is basically that of the "heist gone wrong," set in the Old West. Joseph Cotton (THE THIRD MAN) plays the fanatical patriarch of a family of ex-Confederate soldiers who steal a million dollars or more from a military convoy, whom they massacre. They hide the cash in a coffin, and with a woman pretending to be the deceased widow, set out for their home, where they plan to use the cash to finance the reorganization of the Confederate Army and start a second Civil War.

I’m always a fan of stories where I’m forced into the position of identifying with and rooting for the bad guys. You can’t help but hope that they make it as obstacle after obstacle is thrown in their way. But as this is a Corbucci film, you know there’ll be no happy endings for anyone.

Anchor Bay’s disc is pretty bare bones, but does have a very nice 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer. The mono soundtrack is dubbed into English, but it’s not too bad. The only extras are a Corbucci text bio and the American theatrical trailer.

A good example of the Spaghetti western genre, nicely presented by Anchor Bay. Recommended.

BUY: The Hellbenders