Long Days of Vengeance Review 2
Long Days of Vengeance (I Lunghi giorni della vendetta)
Review 1 | Review 2
|LONG DAYS OF VENGEANCE (1967)|
Ted Barnett, imprisoned at a work camp in the middle of the desert, escapes after several years of hard labor to take care of some very nasty business. He must discover who killed his father, avenge his father, and clear his name. This truely is an oddity in the Spaghetti Western genre. It contains many of the genre's themes and trademarks but seems to go against the style of the genre in many ways.
Twilight Spaghettis of the late 70's were modelled after the Revisionist American Westerns of the 70's. And by the 70's, Revisionist film-making in many forms and genres was gaining popularity. Robert Altman and Peter Bogdanovich led this new wave with films like The Long Goodbye, Last Picture Show, and McCabe & Mrs. Miller. The idea behind this Revisionist approach is to turn the mythology of these film's genres on their heads. The Long Goodbye went against everything that made Film Noir popular. And McCabe did the same for the Western. My point is that this is the idea that seems to be behind Florestano Vancini's Spaghetti Western. In many ways, Long Days of Vengeance is the first Revisionist Spaghetti Western. In that it goes against many standbys of the genre.
The storyline sets it up to sound like any other Spaghetti oater. But Vancini's approach to the material seems predominatley anti-Leone. In a genre that revelled in its violent content and action, Vancini often cuts away from such scenes of action and violence. Our hero stows away on a train filled with gunrunners who work for the villain. But just as we think there's going to be a big massacre, the scene cuts away to the aftermath of such goings on. Another scene shows the build up to a stand off between two gangs. And just as they're about to start shooting, we cut away again to a group of travellers witnessing the end of the shootout from afar. Many scenes go on like this. A lot of it is involved in point of view. But there are numerous other Revisionist touches. Our hero is not the down and dirty Eastwood type. He is a fancy dresser first of all; and instead of killing the villain, he attempts to turn him in to the law. Despite these Revisionist touches, the film has a strong Spaghetti feel. Many scenes have a ritualistic quality often used in the better Spaghettis. And some of the violence that is shown is quite brutal. In fact, it's downright nasty at times.
When I first saw the film, I wasn't exactly sure how I felt about it. It seems to be trying to avoid being a Western. But it impressed me. It's a very well directed film. Among maybe even the top ten best directed Spaghettis. But like a Leone film, it features a number of very long scenes that have some sort of action going on. But unlike Leone, Vancini doesn't shy away from dialogue so it can feel a tad bit talky at certain points. But luckily, the film doesn't feel as sappy as most as far as dialogue goes. Maybe it's closer to a Tarantino approach.
One thing about the film that may have not enthused me that much was the focus of the story. A lot of attention is given to other characters and they all talk about the same thing: Barnett. Gemma seems to be in the background of the film a lot. We don't even get to see his face until 20 minutes into the film. Armando Trovaioli's score is quite good. Very traditional Spaghetti score. Though at times it fits to the movie like a Silent film. It tends to narrate scenes without dialogue. I liked this aspect. This was Trovaioli's only Spaghetti Western score.
I have come to like this film a lot. It's very well made and interesting. But I don't think it is the film for every type of Spaghetti fan. If you want something a little bit different, give this one a try.
--Korano 20:44, 9 August 2010 (UTC)