Day of Anger / I giorni dell'ira (1967)

4.0 out of 5

Clifton, Arizona is the setting for this impressive western directed by Tonino Valerii that features the sublime talents of the predatory Lee Van Cleef and the dynamic athleticism of Giuliano Gemma. Gemma plays Scott Mary, a naïve innocent who spends his days cleaning out the latrines, sweeping the sidewalks and being spat on for being a bastard. His saviour comes in the shape of the ruthless and intelligent gunslinger Frank Talby who takes him under his wing and teaches him in the art of killing. But Talby also lusts for power and control and is motivated by material gain. Talby is not a moralist, and his attitude to justice is in meting out the poetic variety. He punishes the cruel townsfolk for their mistreatment of Scott as a side effect of his own plot to dethrone the holders of power and assume the mantle himself. On discovering the web of manipulation he is entrapped in Scott soon realises what must be done to break free of it. Beautiful cinematography of the Spanish countryside from Enzo Serafin compliments a terrific score from Riz Ortolani. Valerii directs with assurance and inspiration, especially in a duel on horseback in which the weapons are front loaded rifles.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics