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Keoma

Italy 1976
produced by
Manolo Bolognini for Uranos Cinematografica
directed by Enzo G. Castellari
starring Franco Nero, William Berger, Woody Strode, Olga Karlatos, Donald O'Brien, Orso Maria Guerrini, Gabriella Giacobbe, Antonia Marsina, John Loffredo (= Joshua Sinclair), Leon Lenoir (= Leonardo Scavino), Wolfango Soldati, Victoria Zinny, Alfio Caltabiano
story by Luigi Montefiori (= George Eastman), screenplay by Mino Roli, Nino Ducci, Luigi Montefiori (= George Eastman), Enzo G. Castellari, music by Guido De Angelis & Maurizio De Angelis

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Despite not being wanted there, halfbreed Keoma (Franco Nero) returns to his hometown, and finds, having not yet even reached it, that it is in dire need of some cleaning up, as he frees a pregnant woman (Olga Karlatos) from a convoy supposed to bring her to a plague colony - despite her not being infected (yet). In town he hears about Caldwell (Donald O'Brien), a crooked landowner who has taken control over the city from Keoma's father Shannon (William Berger), has Keoma's halfbrothers (Orso Maria Guerrini, Antonia Marsina, John Loffredo) in his employ and prevents the town from getting proper medication. So, together with his friend, the former slave George (Woody Strode) and the town's doctor (Leon Lenor), Keoma figures out a way to get the population medicine anyhow, much to the dislike of Caldwell, who sends Keoma's brothers after him, and, when they fail in getting him, fires them. He then goes after Keoma himself, and in town he and his men face Keoma, his father and George, and are vastly decimated, but manage to kill George and take Keoma's father hostage. To save the old man from Caldwell, Keoma gives himself up - all the more reason for Caldwell to shoot Keoma's father anyhow, and then tie Keoma to a big wheel on the town square (making him look somewhat look like a crucified Jesus) and torture him. Keoma's halfbrothers though are reasonably upset about the shooting of their father, and in retribution shoot Caldwell to take over the city for themselves, and they even manage to put all the blame for the chaos in the city on Keoma - whom they leave in his crucified position. Keoma though has still a few aces up his sleeve - but so have his half brothers ...

 

Depite being made at (or past) the tail-end of the Spaghetti Western boom, and telling the exact same story as so many other films before it, Keoma is one of the best, most interesting, seminal Westerns ever, as it - despite great action setpieces - cares little about genre-conventions, istead tells its story more along the lines of an existentialist drama, with influences of Greek tragedy, expressionist cinema and even grand opera. The extremely dusty scenery of mainly half-ruins furthermore give the movie an eerie end of the world feeling.

A masterpiece, and no matter if you like Spaghetti Westerns, or even Westerns in general, you're very likely to get a kick out of this one!

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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produced by and starring
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directed by
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written by
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