Decent sequel to Sollima's great spaghetti western, THE BIG GUNDOWN (1966), this one involves the return of Cuchillo (Thomas Milian) who helps revolutionary Santillana (John Ireland in a small role) return $3,000,000 in gold from Texas back to Mexico. Cuchillo also makes a promise to an old revolutionary before he dies to also help return the gold in order to help finance the revolution and overthrow the dictator, Porfirio Diaz.
But Cuchillo also has to deal with former sheriff Cassidy (Donal O'Brien) who also wants the gold for himself. Then there are the French assassins and bounty hunters who also want a share as well as blond Salvation Army turned gold huntress Penny (Linda Vargas) and many other bandits, too numerous to name. As comic relief we have Cuchillio's girlfriend (Chelo Alonso) following Cuchillio across the desert, trying to force him to give up the search for the gold and marry her. Cuchilio's relationship with her can be funny at times.
The nighttime gunbattle in the Texas town with the Mexican bandits is suspenseful as we see Cuchillio go to work on the bandits with his slick knife throwing skills as he kills each bandit, one after the other. It doesn't hurt that Cassidy also helps him since he needs Cuchillio to help him find the gold. The two of them eventually find out that the gold was melted down into the shape of an old printing press and painted black in order to hide it. Now that's an imaginative touch instead of the usual cave or hole in the ground plot device where people want to hide gold.
The ending is roughly the same as in THE BIG GUNDOWN only not as good since Donal O'Brien can't hope to top Lee Van Cleef in the earlier film. In fact, if there's one big flaw about this film, it's that Van Cleef isn't in it. Otherwise I'd rate it a couple of notches higher.
Blue Underground's anamorphic DVD looks pretty good and the sound and dubbing is excellent. As an earlier reviewer mentioned, there is an interview with director Sollima and Milian and their reflections on the film, as well as an interesting 1969 mini-documentary on the making of spaghetti westerns and their (then) popularity in Italy, including behind the scenes looks at this film as well as Sergio Corbucci's THE GRAND SILENCE (1968).
Decent flick although I think there are better.
6 out of 10
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