Corri, uomo, corri
Last night I watched the third Spaghetti Western by director Sergio Sollima, 1967’s Run, Man, Run (Corri, Uomo, Corri), the first being The Big Gundown and the second, Face to Face. This film is actually the sequel to The Big Gundown.
Thomas Milian returns as the knife-wielding Mexican bandito, Cuchillo. As the film begins, we see him returning from the adventure in the first film, where his bride-to-be Dolores (Chelo Alonso) is waiting to get married. Somehow, Cuchillo ends up in jail and happens to be sharing a cell with some poet named Ramirez, who is just about to get out, where several people are plotting his assassination, because as it turns out, he’s one of the revolutionaries working for Juarez against Diaz (we’re talking Mexican revolution here). He offers Cuchillo $100 dollars to break him out and to accompany him to a town in Texas, where 3 million dollars in gold is stashed, to be used for the revolution. They break out, returning to Ramirez’s hometown, where he is killed by a bandito that he used to run with who is also interested in the whereabouts of the gold. As he breathes his last breath, he gives Cuchillo a newspaper with a clue as to the whereabouts of the gold.
There’s also two French secret service agents, as well as a former American lawman named Cassidy (Donald O’Brien), and a beautiful blonde Salvation Army missionary (Linda Veras) after the gold. Although not as popular as the ‘revenge for murdered family’ motif of the genre, this is another one of those ’search-for-the-lost-gold’ films, also typical of the genre. The ensuing story involves Chucillo making he way to find the gold, fighting the bandits and eventually the Frenchmen in a final showdown, with Cassidy as his ally.
Ok, as far as the Sollima westerns, although by no means a bad film, this is definitely the weakest of the three. Milian plays Cuchillo a lot lighter than he did in The Big Gundown. It never reaches the slapstick stupidity of the “Trinity’ films, however. It’s just that the edginess he had in the first film is missed in this one. After watching several B-grade spag westerns since the last time I watched a Sollima film, I can most definitely say that his are definitely in the upper echelon as far as quality, although still not within the range of the Sergio Leone films.
I will say this - Sollima most certainly has a great eye for filling up the frame, as you can see in his other films, as well as this one.
Whether it be the placement of the characters in the landscape..
Or the landscape itself…
All of his films are visually spectacular in that regard. He makes the most of the familiar Almerian landscape, as well as some shots in some snowy montains in central Italy. My only complaint in this regard is the town set has a very movie set/theme park to it. It looks too new and clean. Overall, the acting was pretty good, Milian plays it light but not venturing into the overacting he is often known for.
The soundtrack is listed as being by Bruno Nicolai, but was actually by Ennio Morricone.The widescreen release from Blue Underground looks and sounds great, with English and Italian language tracks. I watched it in English because the sound was a bit better and the voiceovers were good. It had some great extras, featuring trailers, an old late ’60’s documentary (38 min) on Italian westerns that shows them filming a few great films, as well as another 18 minute piece featuring present day interviews with Sollima and Milian. As usual, like in every other interview I’ve ever seen with him, Milian is arrogant as hell, emphatically letting us know how ‘fucking talented’ he is. Okay.
Overall, not a bad film as far as the genre goes, and it’s great looking but if you’re going to watch a Sollima western for the first time, I’d start with The Big Gundown, Face to Face to see the progression of Sollima's filmaking.