Full Length Spaghetti Western: Bad Mans River -- Robber Roy King loses his wife, Alicia, to revolutionary Montero. Despite their rivalry they collaborate in an attempt to rob the Mexican government of one million dollars.
Bad Mans River (1971)
Director: Eugenio Martín (as Gene Martin)
Writers: Philip Yordan (screenplay), Eugenio Martín (screenplay) (as Eugenio Martin)
Stars: Lee Van Cleef, James Mason, Gina Lollobrigida
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Western
Runtime: 1h 31min
Country: Spain | Italy | France
Also Known As: El hombre de Río Malo (original title)
After Roy King’s gang robs a train, the men split the loot and part ways. Unfortunately for Roy, he meets and falls in-love with beautiful temptress Alicia who agrees to marry him. However, she manages to double-cross Roy and run away with his loot. Roy escapes from his predicament and re-unites with his gang. At the Mexican border, Roy catches-up with Alicia who married yet another man, river-boat casino owner Francisco Montero. Roy is hungry for Alicia, for money and for revenge. Alicia convinces Roy and Montero to join forces and follow her into Mexico where a Revolutionary leader is offering one million dollars to any mercenary who can destroy a federal Mexican Army arsenal. Of course, Roy and Montero agree with Alicia’s plan. They all head to Mexico, willing to risk their lives for one million dollars. Once arrived at their destination, the unlikely partners find that the Revolutionary leader is a bit loco and the task more difficult than imagined. The million dollar reward is real alright but crosses and double-crosses ensue.
Lee Van Cleef plays King, the leader of a gang who robs a bank but quickly loses the money to Alicia (Lollobrigida) who marries him and has him sent to a lunatic asylum. Much later, King gets the gang back together again to go after her. She has meanwhile married Montero (James Mason) and made a new plan to steal even more money. King and his companions meet her on a steamship, like the sound of ‘million’ and decide to postpone their revenge…
“Bad Man’s River” has got an excellent cast (Fajardo as a general, Sambrell as a bandit, Garko as a gunman are in supporting roles), and it surely has some great dialog worth quoting, such as Van Cleef/Lollobrigida on their first meeting: “What do you look for most on a man?” -- “Honesty.” -- “Umm… second?”, Van Cleef tries again. Or when Alicia reminds both men she’s married to: “You should be friends, you’ve got a lot in common -- me!” I think I watched this movie at least 5 times by now, on British TV, German DVD and Italian DVD. Unfortunately, on neither DVD release the picture format was correct, clearly cut on the right and left and the quality was rather grainy, so the perfect remaster is something I still wait for. I always thought of “Bad Man’s River” as very entertaining despite its little flaws, and I’m rather surprised at the mostly negative other reviews here. It’s neither a typical European western of the time in its tone nor as well directed as American comedies (‘Cat Ballou’, for example), maybe somewhat unluckily caught in the middle. written by unbrokenmetal
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