A master gunfighter teams up with a banjo-playing drifter and a Mexican tramp to foil the town leaders of Daugherty, Texas, who want to steal $100,000 from their own bank to buy land that the approaching railroad will cross.
Lee Van Cleef,
Jonathan Corbett is a gunman so brave to have eliminated all the bandits of Texas. For this he is proposed for the candidacy to the Senate of the United States. In exchange he has only to support the construction of one railway line. Only after he accepts does he come to know that the Mexican Cuchillo has raped and killed a 12 year old girl. Corbett leaves on a long manhunt during which he gets to know his adversary better and discovers a variation on the crime for which the accused Cuchillo may not be as guilty as he first thought.Written by
Baldinotto da Pistoia, translated by Philip-12
Death has many faces. In The Big Gundown, it comes suddenly... with the speed of a bullet. It comes slowly... with the crack of a whip. It comes unexpectedly... with the flick of a knife. It comes brutally... with the charge of a bull. See more »
Despite having played on US television over the years, the film never received a physical US release until 2013. See more »
At around an hour and twenty minutes into the movie there is a scene where a girl is carrying a tray with 6 glasses of which 5 are full and 1 is empty.
In the next shot however there are 7 glasses on the tray of which 3 are full and 4 are empty. See more »
Baron von Schulenberg:
When you are about to kill a man, what do you look at? I've asked this question of other men, and do you know what they always say? They look at his hands. I don't. I look at his eyes...
Baron von Schulenberg:
...because a moment before he moves his hand, his eyes betray him. And you can always read death in them: yours or his.
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The most complete version of the movie available is the German DVD by Koch media. See more »
This is absolutely one of the best so-called spaghetti westerns ever, after Sergio Leone's films of course, and it rates very highly among all westerns. Unlike many other non-Sergio Leone westerns, the cinematography, camera-work, etc., are all very good and some scenes are very artistic and even worthy of Leone himself.
Lee van Cleef is excellent as the pseudo-lawman/bounty hunter with integrity who believes in "justice" and "progress" for society.
Ennio Morricone, as usual, provides a great score for the film. The song is rousing, while the music for the chase scenes is excellent. Morricone also does a folk-music/square dance version of the theme for the wedding party, which is a neat touch.
The story is interesting and well-developed, as well. In its full-length version, it is in fact somewhat deep, with van Cleef's Corbett being a fairly complex character who undergoes a significant character development in the course of the film. In the abridged American version, unfortunately, he is shown as simply bounty hunter who mercilessly kills all before him in cold blood, who never bats an eye at his job, making his character two-dimensional and making the end more flat, more perfunctory, and less convincing or meaningful. In the full-length version, though, he cares about justice, gives outlaws a choice (and a chance), and there is significant development on how he becomes so obsessed with finding Cuchillo that he crosses the boundary between justice and personal obsession. He then re-examines himself and the events in which he finds himself to come to a significant realisation near the end.
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