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Brother Outlaw review

From The Spaghetti Western Database


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Dakota was a well-respected sheriff untill he was falsely accused of masterminding a stagecoach robbery. All passengers were killed but Dakota’s life was miraculously saved. We soon discover that the public prosecutor is in league with the bandits and that Dakota was spared because the conspirators wanted to use him as a scapegoat. Dakota is acquitted after his brother Slim has presented some new evidence to the authorities. The two brothers set out to bring the culprits to justice, but as predicted by the wonderful Italian title, only one person will see the end of the movie, all others will bite the dust.

Made in 1971, this is a late spaghetti western of the violent kind. It received some very negative comments, but to me it’s a middle of the road effort, only half-decent maybe, but not down there with the Crea crap. There are a few good scenes but unfortunately they go on far too long. The main problem is the script: the story of a man who must try to clear his name would’ve been perfect for an episode of a TV-series like Bonanza or Gunsmoke, but is too thin for a full length action western. In order to get to an acceptable running time of 80 minutes, director Edoardo Mulargia wrings out the last drop of every scene, as if he were Sergio Leone himself. The opening sequence, a stage coach robbery intercut by the main titles, goes on for some nine minutes! In spite of the straightforward storyline, some parts are a bit puzzling: It took me a while to realize that the two ladies in the movie were in fact one and the same character, played by an actress wearing (I suppose) different whigs.

Tony Kendall (Kommissar X. from Gianfranco Parolini’s spoofy spy thrillers) is okay, but he’s too smooth to be a dirty western hero (his shirts create a sort of Saturday Day Night Fever effect) and it’s Dino Strano who steals the show as the ultra-mean bandit Alvarez. Man, what a face! According to Giusti (*1), it was a patchwork movie: some ideas for planned (but never realized) movies were thrown in a hat in the hope that Mulargia would produce a miracle. The style is pure Leone but the final shootout has a pinch of Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch, with citizens shooting at bandits in the town street from the rooftops. Some story elements (the corrupt prosecutor in league with the bandits, a lawman who is recognized in jail by his inmates as the man who put them behind bars) seem more characteristic for a Mafia story, so maybe they were written for a poliziottesco instead of a western. Large parts of the score (and reportedly also some scenes) were recycled from Why Go on Killing?, co-directed by Mulargia, but the score suits the movie anyway.

Note:

  • (1) Marco Giusti, Dizionario del western all'italiana

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Dir: Edoardo Mulargia - Cast: Tony Kendall, Jean Louis, Dino Strano, Celsio Faria, Sophia Kammara, Omero Gargano, Nino Musco, Vincenzo Maggio, Fortunato Arena - Music: Gianfranco & Felice Di Stefano

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Simon Gelten
Simon Gelten is a long time contributor to the SWDb. "I'm not as old as Tom B. but I'm working on it. I hope to catch up with him by the end of the next decade.", he says. Simon saw all movies by Sergio Leone and several by Sergio Corbucci in cinema, most of the time in Eindhoven, the city where he was born. Currently, Simon is living in Turnhout, Belgium. Simon is active within the database as both Scherpschutter and his alter ego Tiratore Scelto.
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