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Cool Ass Cinema Book Reviews: Gunfighters Of the Italian West
10,000 WAYS TO DIE: A Director's Take On the Spaghetti Western
By Alex Cox
Softcover; 336 pages; Color & Black & White
The director of REPO MAN (1984), a devout fan of the Italian brand of westerns, divulges his thoughts on 51 European westerns from 1963 through the 1970's. The book is incredibly thoughtful and precise in terms of what works and what doesn't as viewed through the eyes of its author. Cox has some startlingly diverse opinions on these movies and some fans may be a slight bit put off at Cox's disdain for some of the more respected entries in the spaghetti western canon.
It's a great read and one you may find yourself skipping around curious as to how one of your favorite pasta land westerns stacks up to the authors scrutiny. Ostensibly an entirely new publication from the authors original work entitled '10,000 Ways To Die' that was written some 40 years ago, this refurbished version is as the books subtitle suggests, 'A Director's Take On the Spaghetti Western'. One of the best aspects of this book is the attention paid to Sergio Corbucci, an Italian director whom I feel was more talented and definitely more versatile, than Sergio Leone.
If you are a fan of the genre, than this book is a must own for your library. It only features a handful of pictures in color and black and white, but excels in background information and a unique critical analysis easily understood by the casual fan. It's much simpler to follow than the academic approach taken by Sir Christopher Frayling, a much respected author who has written almost exclusively about Sergio Leone within this genre.
The books chapters are broken up into years from 1963 to 1969. Then there's a chapter entitled The Seventies where Cox discusses the comedic trappings and the succeeding downfall of the genre as the decade wore on. The films discussed are listed below...
RED PASTURES FISTFUL OF DOLLARS MINNESOTA CLAY IN A COLT'S SHADOW FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE A PISTOL FOR RINGO RETURN OF RINGO JOHNNY ORO DJANGO ARIZONA COLT THE BOUNTY KILLER THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY THE BIG GUNDOWN QUIEN SABE? (A BULLET FOR THE GENERAL) MASSACRE TIME A STRANGER IN TOWN NAVAJO JOE DJANGO KILL REQUIESCANT $1,000 ON THE BLACK HELLBENDERS FACE TO FACE DEATH RIDES A HORSE BANDIDOS RITA OF THE WEST THE BIG SILENCE ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST TEPEPA A PROFESSIONAL GUN BLACK JACK JOHNNY HAMLET EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF (THE RUTHLESS FOUR) TODAY IT'S ME, TOMORROW YOU! SARTANA THE PRICE OF POWER CEMETERY WITHOUT CROSSES DJANGO THE BASTARD AND GOD SAID TO CAIN... SABATA THE SPECIALIST COMPANEROS THEY CALL ME TRINITY DUCK, YOU SUCKER! BLINDMAN THE BIG SHOWDOWN (THE GRAND DUEL) TO KILL OR DIE MY NAME IS NOBODY A GENIUS, TWO PARTNERS & A DUPE DON'T TOUCH THE WHITE WOMAN CLOSED CIRCUIT CALIFORNIA
The book is available rather cheaply at amazon.com.
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I've been a huge movie buff since childhood catching old horror and monster flicks on Shock Theater and kung fu movies at the drive-in during the late 70's and early 80's. I've had a long time fascination with, and appreciate all genres of fantastic cinema, good and bad. One fans cheese is another fans juicy steak. I like both equally and seldom find a film I truly dislike as I will find something of interest in just about anything. The bulk of the films or tv series' seen here are mostly from my childhood, or films I own in what has become an Amazing Colossal DVD collection.