Director: Sergio Sollima
Odd how this one feels more like the work of someone specialising in westerns, and yet it was only Sollima’s third such film (actually a sort of sequel to his first, though evidently familiarity with the latter is unnecessary)… and his last western to boot, which seems kind of sad. Maybe a bit more traditional than the last couple of SWs we’ve seen—much more so than If You Live, Shoot—telling a story that you could easily imagine Hollywood doing in reasonably similar fashion; as such, it’s rather more immediately accessible and pleasing. It’s another “Zapata western”, this time revolving around three million dollars in gold being kept in hiding for revolutionary purposes, and quite a number of people want to get their hands on it for rather different reasons. The problem is, the one man who knows where it is inadvertently gets killed by one of those searching parties, so attention turns instead to the man everyone thinks knows where it is… our hero Cuchillo (Tomas Milian again), who doesn’t actually know anything of the sort. All of this is played for a certain amount of comedy; Cuchillo is basically a Mexican peasant with a propensity for small-time theft and a gift for knife-throwing, plus a similar gift for running away from trouble. He needs that right at the start of the film when he accidentally walks in upon a firing squad execution, and he’s going to need it through the film as he has to dodge various forces stacked against him, not the least of which is his beloved girl Dolores, who’s a bit sick of his shit and just wants to settle down with him (as Sollima observes on the DVD featurette, putting Milian together with another Latin actress was a good move). Nothing too intellectual or anything like that going on here; this one’s just fairly straightforward adventure topped off with a particularly good Ennio Morricone score (though credited to Bruno Nicolai for some odd contractual reason, apparently). I enjoyed this a lot.