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I Giorni dell'Ira

Day of Anger
Der Tod ritt Dienstags / Days of Wrath / Gunlaw / Blood and Grit

Italy/West Germany 1967
produced by
Alfonso Sansone, Henryk Chroscicki for Sancrosiap, Corona Filmproduktion, Divina-Film
directed by Tonino Valerii
starring Lee Van Cleef, Giuliano Gemma, Walter Rilla, Christa Linder, Yvonne Sanson, Lukas Ammann, Andrea Bosic, Ennio Balbo, José Calvo, Giorgio Gargiullo, Anna Orso, Karl-Otto Alberty, Nino Nini, Virgilio Gazzolo, Eleonora Morana, Benito Stefanelli, Franco Balducci, Christian Consola, Nazzareno Natale, Ferruccio Viotti, Paolo Magalotti, Gianni Di Segni, Paul Naschy, Al Mulock, Romano Puppo
screenplay by Ernesto Gastaldi, Tonino Valerii, Renzo Genta, based on the novel Der Tod ritt Dienstags by Ron Barker, music by Riz Ortolani

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Scott (Giuliano Gemma) is the lowest of the low in the peaceful Western town of Clifton, sweeping the floors, collecting the shitbuckets, doing all sorts of filthy work, and never being respected by anyone other than old Murph (Walter Rilla), in whose stables he's allowed to sleep. Scott has dreams of one day owning a gun to earn himself the respect he yearns for, but so far he's only got a wooden replica, and the money he has saved won't afford him one by a longshot.

But then one day, gunman Talby (Lee Van Cleef) comes into town, and even though he doesn't have to, he treats Scott with respect, gets into a fight when a local wants to throw Scott out of the saloon, and ultimately he shoots another local in self defense - and is acquitted by judge Cutchell (Lukas Ammann) for it. Then he just rides on, but Scott is beaten to a pulp for confessing in Talby's defense in court, which is the final straw for him and he skips town, rides after Talby and ... well, asks him if he may become his student. Talby, a notorious loner, first tricks and humiliates Scott time and again to get rid of him, but when Scott saves his life, Talby gives in and makes him his sidekick - and since Scott proves to be a natural marksman, it seems a match made in heaven ...

Presently, Talby is after the loot of Wild Jack's (Al Mulock) last heist, but Wild Jack was tricked out of it as well, and the trail leads back to Clifton, where a handful of extremely respectable citizens - including judge Cutchell, the local banker Turner (Ennio Balbo) and the bar owner Murray (Andrea Bosic) - have taken possession of Wild Jack's money and sent him to prison for their own sake.

Talby soon makes it known that he is here, withdrawing money from the bank even if he has no account, than buying himself into Murray's bar for super cheap ... which of course has those who have tricked Wild Jack pretty nervous and jumpy - and soon enough, the city has turned into something of a war zone.

Scott seemingly thrives under the city's new rule, he's now on the winning side, he's respected as one of the greatest gunmen, and those who don't fear Scott feat Talby, who always has Scott's back. Murph warns Scott about Talby, but Scott won't listen.

At first, Talby does stay within the law, only shooting someone who draws first (and there are plenty), but eventually, he grows so big he starts to live more and more by his own standards, including burning down Murray's saloon with Murray inside to open a bigger and better one that is his and his alone. With stuff like this going on, the town hires deputies, but even they are no match for Talby, and Scott helps in eliminating them ... until Murph becomes the new sheriff - and now Scott has to decide between his trigger-happy idol and his honest-to-a-fault father figure ...

 

Day of Anger has pretty much everything you'd expect from a good spaghetti Western: Cynicism aplenty, scores of violence, stylized shoot-outs, an overly dramatic musical score, Lee Van Cleef, and so on and so forth - and yet, Day of Anger is more than just that, offering politico-social commentary under the surface, plus interesting and unusual characters and character constellations, and a very original story to top it off (especially in a genre as formulaic as the spaghetti Western). And add to that a very elegant directorial effort that includes plenty of action, shoot-outs, fights and the like, and you've got yourself a pretty great genre movie!

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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On the same day
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

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produced by and starring
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directed by
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written by
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starring
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out now on DVD