Two Faces of the Dollar (1967)

Two Sides of the Dollar / Le Due facce del dollaro

This one's a French-Italian effort by director Roberti Bianchi Montero, about a group of four people who furnish an elaborate plot to steal a bunch of gold from an army fort. There's Matthew, the brainy mastermind of the plot (Jacques Herlin), Jane, the distracting beauty (Gabriella Giorgelli), the ruthless ex-Colonel Blackgrave (Gérard Herter), and the wiley gunfigheter thief (Maurice Poli), who has been credited as Django, Honey, and Miele, but I don't recall him being referred to by any particular name in the film.

The plot involves a lot of distraction... Matthew stops at the fort for a quick rest, Col. Blackgrave is impersonating another colonel he killed in cold blood, Jane is seducing the guy in charge of the storage, and Django is deliberately arrested and thrown in jail for being drunk. They then contrive to steal the gold using these various distractions, working with each other, finally smuggling the gold out successfully. This takes up the first two thirds of the film. Unfortunately, they're all quite greedy, and Col. Blackgrave tries to steal the gold for himself, but Matthew leads him and Django on a wild goose chase. Meanwhile, they're being followed by the army, who's figured out they've been duped. It ends badly, and let's just say that nobody seems to live happily ever after, with the exception of one of them, and he's not too happy, either.

Gerard Herter

The blondest gun in the west?

This is a pretty run-of-the-mill film for the genre, as many are: not too bad, not fantastic. The elaborate scheme to steal the gold is quite clever and entertaining, more so because as Matthew gets the group together, we don't know the plan - it was interesting to figure it out as it was happening, and had me guessing the whole time as to how it was finally going to go down. The acting was all around pretty decent, with some rather odd characters. Jane and Django look like pretty stock spaghetti characters, but Blackgrave is intense, ruthless, and striking to look at due to his unusually light blond hair, and he's pretty easy to hate, too. Matthew is a rather interesting, likeable character. We see him looking around a lot, thinking, and observing, often wondering what he could possibly have up his sleeve.

Matthew

The betrayal caught me off guard. I was so glad to see this motley group of people pull off this elaborate scheme that it was almost a letdown. Matthew set up Jane to get caught so he could get away, Blackgrave wants to take all the gold - in classic spaghetti fashion, these people have no allegiance other to themselves... with one notable exception towards the very end.

There is some able (as always) camera work by Stelvio Massi, and a great (if somewhat typical) soundtrack by Giosofat and Mario Capuano.

There is a French DVD available of this by Studio Canal. I saw an old VHS rip of fair quality. Like many others,it was a fairly average outing, worth a watch if you stumble upon it, but not worth paying top dollar for.

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