Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Mercenary (1968)

I'm a big fan of those spaghetti westerns that were shot in Spain and Italy in the late 1960's.  The Mercenary is one of those films that is pretty fun to watch.  Franco Nero stars as Sergei ‘The Polish’ Kowalski  who gets involved in the Mexican revolution.  The film is written and directed by Sergio Corbucci who gave us films such as Django (1966) , Companeros (1970), and The Great Silence (1968)

The movie is one big flash back as our Franco Nero's character explains to us how he and his revolutionary friend meet played by Tony Musante.  Musante gives a hilarious performance in the film, and he and Franco make an interesting pair.    Sergio Corbucci
does a good job keeping the audience entertained.  It is not one of Corbucci's best films, but he has fun here, and the film shows it.    Eduardo Fajardo and the ever nasty Jack Palance play the two villains in the piece, and Palance seems to have a ball doing so. 

For a spaghetti western the film shows restraint on the violence.  Corbucci deliberately averts the camera from the horror and by doing so he heightens the violence in an impersonal and more chilling fashion.

Finally, it is impossible to discuss the merits of this film without mentioning the outstanding musical score delivered by Ennio Morricone.  Everyone know his music from "the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly", but Morricone does here an excellent job in marrying both the image and sound together.  

The Mercenary is a film that is fun and well produced.  It stands the test of time, and should be enjoyed by many who see it.

It's currently on Xfinity, and is listed in the free movie section.

1 comment:

Neil Sarver said...

I liked this one, too.

My only issue, such as it was one, was how much of a parallel to Corbucci's later Compañeros, which I love a lot. It did lead me to wonder how I would feel if I hadn't seen Compañeros first, but it's such a favorite of mine that I can't imagine I wouldn't always prefer it.

It is great fun, though!