Friday, 24 February 2012

Red Blood, Yellow Gold (1967)

Red Blood, Yellow Gold (Professionisti per un massacro, Professionals for a Massacre) is a fairly routine but still entertaining 1967 spaghetti western.

The basic plot idea is well-worn but there are enough twists to keep it reasonably interesting.

Three Confederate soldiers do a deal to sell Confederate arms to the Union but the Yankees find themselves double-crossed. Everybody in this movie gets double-crossed. Anyway their defence that their treason doesn’t count because they blew up the Union soldiers involved afterwards doesn’t help them and they are sentenced to be executed. They are reprieved at the last moment when the Confederate commander realises he can make use of these three resourceful thieves. So they’re sent on a sort of Dirty Dozen mission with the promise they will gain their freedom if it succeeds.

They have to track down a wagonload of gold that’s been stolen from the Confederacy by one of its own officers, Major Lloyd (who proves to be a very nasty piece of work). They’ll get a bonus if they bring back Major Lloyd’s head. Several plot twists later the gold has fallen into the hand of a cut-throat family of Mexican bandits. Everyone wants the gold and there will be a lot of corpses before this is over.

The three thieves are Chattanooga Jim (Edd Byrnes), Fidel Ramirez (George Martin) and defrocked priest and dynamite enthusiast Steel Downey (George Hilton). The acting is passable enough and Hilton is pretty good. Gérard Herter as Major Lloyd makes a suitably menacing and mendacious villain.

There are plenty of spaghetti western clichés in this one. There’s a Gatling Gun which serves no plot purpose except that Gatling Guns are cool so this movie has one. There are coffins. There are explosions. And then more explosions. Thousands of rounds of ammunition are expended.

Technically this movie is nothing special but the action moves along at a brisk pace. Director Nando Cicero does a competent job and while he does nothing to put any kind of personal stamp on the film he does understand the basic principles of the spaghetti western - if you’re not sure what should happen next blow something up or have a fist fight start for no reason at all.

This is a spaghetti western that plays things with tongue planted firmly in cheek. You don’t want to think too much about this one. It’s not going to tell you anything profound about the human condition so if you’re looking for art you’d best look elsewhere.

It’s extremely violent but the violence is not graphic at all by spaghetti western standards. The version I saw was presumably uncut or fairly close to it judging by the running time although I certainly can’t swear to it.

I picked up the DVD on a bargain table and apart from the fact that it’s all-region I can’t tell you anything about it. There’s no indication on the disc or the case of a company name. That’s not a good sign but at least it’s an acceptable print and in the correct aspect ratio. And it was cheap!

This is at best an average example of its genre but if you like mindless fun with machine-guns and dynamite (and what right-thinking person doesn’t) then there’s no reason you won’t enjoy this picture.

1 comment:

G-8 said...

An accurate review. It's an entertaing movie and that's all it was ever meant to be.