DVD: Run, Man, Run (1968)

July 23, 2014 | By


RunManRunFilm: Very Good

Transfer: Very Good / Extras:  n/a

Label: Blue Underground

Region: 1 (NTSC)

Released:  May 4, 2004

Genre:  Spaghetti Western

Synopsis: The Big Gundown‘s knife-wielding bandit Cuchillo returns in this lengthy yet boisterous tale of gold, swaying loyalties, and one jealous finacee.

Special Features:  n/a




Sergio Sollima’s sequel to his bonafide spaghetti western classic The Big Gundown (1967) is a very different animal, following thief / knife maestro Cuchillo (Tomas Milian) several months after he and Corbett (Lee Van Cleef) split directions, heading off to their respective home and native lands.

Back in Mexico, Cuchillo becomes involved in a quest for stashed Mexican gold, hidden somewhere in a small town by a rebellious poet (they exist!) to ensure scoundrels didn’t make off with the People’s Treasure.

Sollima’s film (written by the director and one-timer Pompeo De Angelis) is exactly what Gundown scribe Sergio Donati tried to avoid in the pair’s two collaborations – it’s overlong, overtly political, and scenes often slow down due to longer didactic exchanges meant to frame the story’s setting which occurs somewhere between Juarez’ return to exile as the invading French attempt to usurp the country with their puppet Emperor.

The dialogue is also less sharp and concise, and the story becomes ridiculously convoluted before the finale in which Cuchillo and apolitical gunslinger Cassidy ride off for another adventure that was never filmed.

Milian is much less broad in Run, dropping the simian mannerisms and going more for a permanent state of “Huh?’ and Sollima’s tossed in several more characters who regularly bump into each other in classic moments of cause-and-effect: Cuchillo’s girlfriend Dolores (recast with fiery Cuban-born actress Chelo Alonso), intent on bruising yet marrying her irascible love; former gunslinger Cassidy (Donald O’Brien) who repeatedly saves Cuchillo’s life after the former prevented a sneaky attack in a barroom duel; rebel leader Santillana (John Ireland! As a Mexican! In 3 Scenes!); and Salvation Army soldierette Penny (ravishing Linda Veras) who tries to get in on the $3 million in hidden gold. Also after the loot are two French pinheads in Mexico on ‘official business,’ and a troupe of thugs who have little allegiance to anything or anyone.

On one level, Run feels highly contemporary – the buddy storyline, ample chases, wacky hijinks, and recurring characters are standard in action comedies – and there are moments when fidelity to the era isn’t wholly necessary (as when Veras unties her blonde mane and looks like a model from a motorcycle action flick), but it mostly works, and often makes up for the wordy exchanges. There’s also some clever use of props, physical comedy, and no-nonsense scene transitions which prove Sollima wasn’t out to make a fully subversive political film. Run is fun, but it has a few other major flaws.

The biggie is Bruno Nicolai’s score which does a fine job in evoking Ennio Morricone’s Gundown score with similar instrumentation, but errs in beating audiences over and over again with its corkscrew theme. Milian sings (in full character) the facile lyrics in the Main Titles, he hums its melody and sings it a few times in the film, and Nicolai (or Sollima) repeats music cues that restate rather than offer dramatically effective variations. It gets brutal at times, being short theme without any resolution, but to Nicolai’s credit, the damned thing is catchy and well orchestrated.

Veteran spaghetti western cinematographer Guglielmo Mancori delivers some striking widescreen compositions, but unlike Carlo Carlini’s impeccable images in Gundown, there’s a lot of zoom-happy shots with occasionally clumsy reframing.

At two hours, Run goes on much longer than necessary, but there are some genuinely amusing sequences, and Milian has more material to set up Cuchillo’s gradual shift from a smiling, wily bandit to a man of some conscience  – determined to do good, and save future lives.




© 2014 Mark R. Hasan



External References:
Editor’s BlogIMDB  —  Soundtrack Album  — Composer Filmography
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Category: Blu-ray / DVD Film Review

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