Reason to Live, a Reason to Die, A / Una ragione per vivere e una per morire (1972)

2.0 out of 5

A disgraced Colonel named Pembroke recruits a number of criminals for a suicide mission minutes before their date with the Hangman's noose. The plan is to infiltrate an impenetrable fortress lorded over by a former adversary of Pembroke's named Major Ward, a Confederate madman.

Tonino Valerii's Dirty sort of Dozen men on a mission movie stumbles and trips its way through American western trappings by way of Italian financiers delivering a barely average pseudo epic oater. Torturously overlong at nearly two hours, the film was cut down to 90 minutes for its American release and rechristened Massacre at Fort Holman. For whatever reason, James Coburn dubbed his own lines for the truncated US release, but passed on lending his vocal chordes for the Italian version.

The apparent bigger budget appears to have been blown sky high during the 'storm the fortress' finale. The fort itself is the same one used in the US film, El Condor, 1970, starring Jim Brown and Lee Van Cleef. The score by Riz Ortolani is recycled from some of the striking composers other western soundtracks. Bud Spencer is among the cast. More foul mouthed than any other Euroater, the finale is worth the wait, but it's a struggle getting there.

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