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Sunday, 21 June 2009


China 9, Liberty 37
Directed by Monte Hellman

China 9, Liberty 37 (the title refers to a sign at the start of the film) is a strange latter day sphagetti western that really does deserve to be better known. The disc I watched is part of the 50 western movies megapack from Treeline Films. The print doesn't look as if it has been remastered at all for the digital age and so both the sound and picture are a little muddy.

It's a great film, though.

Fabio Testi,a big Italian star, plays the Eastwood-alike Clayton Drumm who is spared from the hangman's noose by the greedy railroad in order to kill a farmer, Warren Oates, in his last western role, who is refusing to sell his property to the land hungry railroad.

However Clayton grows to like the man and decides he can not kill him - he also starts a love affair with his wife played by the lovely Jenny Agutter. When Warren Oates discovers his wife's infidelity it sparks a fight and she stabs him. She then flees with Clayton Drumm, thinking she has killed her husband, and soon they have not only the railroad after them but her wronged husband and his retard brothers. It is worth noting that Sam Peckinpah has a small role as a hack writer.

The film has a curious dreamy feel to it and it's very 1970's in the way it depicts the west as an immoral place but inhabited by basically good people who do what they have to do in order to survive.

I thorughly enjoyed this western.


Cullen Gallagher said...

I've heard good things about Monte Hellman's movies, but hadn't heard of this one before. I need to check out some of his stuff.

Have you seen Duel in the Sun? Video rental stores in New York seem to be fading away sadly, but I went to two of the better remaining ones, and neither had it! I was surprised. I guess I have to buy it now if I want to see it.


Cullen - Duel in the Sun is also a part of the fifty western box set. I've also seen it on budget priced DVD.

Iren said...

I have been meaning to see this film after seeing the Doc Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession about one of the writers of the film Jerry Harvey.