Sunday, September 4, 2011

Cut-Throats Nine (1972)

I’m not even sure when I heard of Cut-Throats Nine the first time, but people said it was something special. I missed out on the legendary bootleg from Eurovista and that was it, I thought it would never appear on an easy-to-find and not to damn expensive DVD again. But as usual Code Red came to the rescue with a very cheap and good-looking version, completely uncut and with the right Grindhouse-quality (scratches and dirt, but overall very good quality). I’ve mostly heard about the gore and violence, but what really surprised by was the complex and interesting storyline, which makes it to the top of my favourite westerns now.

Nine mine-workers, convicts – killers, rapists, bastards. After a lot of hard work they are being transferred from the mines together with a tough sergeant (Claudio Undari) and his daughter (played by Emma Cohen). It won’t take long until some bandit’s stops and tries to rob them, believing there’s gold in the wagon. When they can’t find gold they kill the guards and let the convicts – including the sergeant and the daughter, believing them to be convicts to. The carriage crashes and soon they find themselves far out in the wilderness attached only in thick chains. The sergeant knows one of the men killed his wife, but keeps a low profile, trying to figure out who it is. But that’s not the only secret he has, something that makes the friction between the chained men and him more tense…

Writers Joaquín Romero Hernández and Santiago Moncada really cooked up something special here. On the surface a typical snow-set western, but filled with so many great ideas and twists that I actually can understand the upcoming remake. It’s a too good story to just be forgotten! Not only have we the sergeant looking for the killer of his wife, we have nine men who all wants to be free but can’t because of the chains, and then we have the twist that comes halfway through the movie and makes everything more interesting. I’m sure most of you know about it, but for those who haven’t seen it I’m not gonna reveal anything. It’s just lot of great ideas mixed with a very gritty and raw atmosphere, created in an excellent way by director Joaquín Luis Romero Marchent and cinematographer Luis Cuadrado. I mean, you can feel it’s cold and shitty all the way from start to finish. So far away from the US romantic westerns as a movie can take you.

With actors like taken from what I could imagine is the reality and brutal and very graphic violence (it has a lot of gore and blood, cheap but effective – and also very sadistic), this is one helluva good western. The ending, downbeat and even more black, is the rotten cherry on the bloody cake.

I really don’t want to say so much about Cut-Throats Nine, it’s a movie that’s important to be experienced without spoilers and to much hype (which I’m already guilty of, hyping…). Go get the Code Red DVD and thank me later, please :)

1 comment:

Samuel Wilson said...

In the US Cuthroats 9 has been available in a widescreen bootleg edition along with other allegedly public-domain Euro-westerns. I saw it a few years ago and I agree that it was pretty uncompromising in its grimness -- in a good way.