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

5.0 out of 5

If a decent Spaghetti Western needs a gimmick then this one definitely has one of those. In this film there is a horseback duel between gunfighters armed with front loading rifles. It also has a sheriff called Nigel in it, which is certainly not a gimmick but is, nevertheless, pretty cool also.

In Day of Anger Lee Van Cleef, a cold calculating and experienced gunfigher, takes on an apprentice in the form of Giuliano Gemma. This makes for a familiar tale of inter-generational conflict as the pupil, ultimately, must challenge the teacher. It is a well worn theme that has been played out in all sorts of genres over the years, but with a writing team that includes the ever brilliant Ernesto Gastaldi this telling has a certain panache.

Featuring some excellent location choices, Day of Anger is a superior Italian western on all levels and is one that can easily be grouped in the upper reaches of the second tier that makes up the rest beyond the incomparable work of Sergio Leonne. Tonino Valerii's direction is assured and Enzo Serafin's cinematography is very much in the style of that of the Dollars movies.

The first class scoring is provided by the late, great, Riz Ortolani. A real must-see!

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