The Dirty Outlaws Review

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The Dirty Outlaws

  • Franco Giornelli
  • Rosemary Dexter



View Database page | German Review

Because he was involved in scripting some of the most influential Spaghetti Westerns, Franco Rossetti's directorial contribution to the genre is often overlooked. It's the type of Spaghetti that every fan is aware of but is not talked about too much. It doesn't really have a bad reputation. It hardly has a reputation at all; which is a pity because it's an atmospheric, mean, brutal, and sinister film. The film begins with our anti hero about to be hanged for horse theft. The quick (divine?) intervention of a gun toting priest saves him. Our hero, Steve "El Desperado", soon comes across a dying confederate soldier who tells him about his gold. Steve impersonates the now dead soldier to convince the man's blind father that he is his son, all to get the gold. However, a gang of outlaws soon show up and team up with Steve to rob a Confederate gold shipment that will be passing through the ghost town they are staying in. The usual Spaghetti treachery soon follows.

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Though I usually like my Spaghetti with extra style over content, there are certain exceptions. This is one and is what I would call content and atmosphere over style. It does have some style but it isn't flashy with it. It's actually quite plot heavy. The stylistic flourishes mostly consist of the usual Spaghetti trademarks. The opening scene is especially memorable for seemingly incorporating all Spaghetti Western trademarks into one stylish scene. We have a bandit anti hero, a certain build up to violence, and strong anticlerical imagery combined with indiscriminate violence. However, the film doesn't really follow this nihilistic path. Once the plot is introduced, the film is pretty focused and moves along at a swift pace. As I said, it's a pretty plot heavy film and is much more professionally scripted than a lot of Spaghettis. The characters are introduced pretty thoroughly in a quick time period, and the plot starts gradually and unfolds step by step to hold the viewer with the film. And the muddy ghost town setting adds lots to the shifty atmosphere of the film with dilapidated buildings mostly covered in dust or cobwebs.

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This film has a reputation as being pretty damn sinister. The violence in the film is not only brutal, but tragic. Two Confederate hostages are mercilessly gunned down by the gang of "Dirty" outlaws after they are set free. Another character (I can't say who) is also gunned down being given little chance. He is tormented and shot like a dog. Even our anti hero suffers a good muddy beating. But the great thing about this genre is that all the atrocities I just mentioned are all a good thing in the eyes of us genre fans. This film certainly will satisfy any taste for nasty Spaghetti violence. Another plus is that our anti hero is really quite anti-heroic. He's an imposter who takes advantage of the love and money of a lonely old blindman, and also is a double crosser. But once he starts on the vengeance trail after the first 2/3 of the film, he goes about getting his revenge in pretty cold hearted ways, disabling and shooting his victims and even beating one to death in a saloon fight. So if you're looking for a down and dirty Spaghetti, this is your bag.

There are a couple of odd things about the film's production. First, it is apparently an Italian/American production. However, there is no American talent or crew behind it. Possibly only funding. The other thing is the location work of the film. There was a second unit that filmed entirely in Spain. But these Spanish scenes are all just riding scenes. In fact some scenes have both Spanish and Italian riding scenes. One shot in Spain, the other in a Roman sand pit. It seems a bit of a waste but, oh well. Gianni Ferrio supplies the film's score. It seems the type that some may like and others not. The main theme is a fast paced vocal tune. It's one of those irresistably catchy tunes that is hard to get out of your head. Different variations of this tune are played throughout the film. Andrea Giordano is acceptable as the lead. He seems to be a bit of a poor man's PLL but is a bit different. A little less boyish. His character, as noted, is quite mean and makes for a great anti hero.

I'd recommend this to any Spaghetti fan. It's a thoroughly satisfying venture. I watched the Wild East disc which has great quality. There are some trailers as special features but beyond that, it's pretty bare.

-- Korano 13:54, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

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