Friday, May 11, 2012

Grand Duel (1972)

This spaghetti western has Lee Van Cleef playing a sheriff looking for a wanted man. It seems his quarry killed the patriarch of a family who very much wants to see justice is done. However Van Cleef's reasoning for tracking the man down has less to do with getting the reward and more to do with finding who the real killer is...Van Cleef was there when the killing happened and he knows who did it.

Solid western may not be among the greatest of the genre, but it is a nice way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon.

For me the film works for a couple of reasons.First off is the aire of mystery that pervades the first half of this film. What exactly is going on? We're not sure for a good half of the film. It's not because they aren't telling us, there simply isn't any point where we're going to get the exposition necessary to clue us in.

Second the film doesn't really feel like a cliched spaghetti western. Sure it has many of the actors who wandered through the films of the period, however it doesn't behave like a typical film. It doesn't get into the weird for weird sake or overly jokiness that many of the films developed in the ealry 1970's. The film is simply a really good tale.

Lastly the film has some great characters and actors, starting with Lee van Cleef. Van Cleef mad a good number of these films and he somehow managed to always give good performance. He remained dignified when all around him was slipping into silliness. The rest of the cast manages to keep things on point, and while the sons of the murdered man may be a little cartoony, they are never silly.

I really like the film.

The best thing I can say is that the film is one I would gladly watch again.

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