Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Cool Ass Cinema Book Reviews: Euro-western Edition!
ANY GUN CAN PLAY: THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO EURO-WESTERNS
By Kevin Grant
480 pages; softcover; color and B/W; editions: 2011 (Hardcover 2012)
All the Euro-westerns big guns, banditos and more are corralled into this sumptuous volume covering the beginning of the Eur-oater through its transformations, and its eventual decline. Any fan of the genre -- as well as those who think the films began and ended with Leone -- should own this book. A monumentally impressive first work by its author, Kevin Grant.
There have been a few top of the line volumes written on the subject of the European western over the last decade. While those touched on the genre as a whole, Kevin Grant's lavish book on the subject goes into far more detail. The West German successes that paved the way for the Italian variants are given a wider berth than normally afforded them, for instance.
The chapters all follow the Euro-western trajectory from its early 60s beginnings to its decline in the 70s; yet each is chapter is topic specific ranging from the various Italian western styles, the numerous anti-heroes that became iconic domestically and internationally; and also the themes of the genre like that old standby, revenge as well as the political agendas of these films.
Skimming through the book, the passion for the subject material is increasingly obvious to the reader. It's quite a staggering accomplishment. You'll get the impression Mr. Grant desired to go on longer about certain topics, but space permitting didn't allow for it. Still, there's an incredible amount of information crammed inside, as well as plentiful footnotes supplied for each chapter.
The author also includes a 'Who's Who' chapter covering literally everyone that appeared in front of, and behind the cameras where these western productions were concerned.
For those who desire lots of pictures, the book is generously dotted with dozens of photographs in both B/W and color. These include rare behind the scenes images, publicity photos and also promotional materials including posters and lobby cards from around the world.
A Foreword by Franco Nero compliments the package making this a truly essential purchase and, at the moment, the best all around volume on the genre. The books from FAB Press are exhaustive, meticulous works and 'Any Gun Can Play' sits proudly amongst the best of their publications. An exemplar work among the accessible books on the subject, and highly recommended.
You can buy the softcover edition at amazon HERE. A hardcover edition is available there as well.