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Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:10am

Hi Maggie--

On this there is no dispute: Lee's prime as an actor was between 1965 and 1974--I chose 1974 as a cutoff as I consider THE STRANGER & THE GUNFIGHTER Lee's last great role as a classic, serious gunfighter in the Spaghetti Western genre. More importantly, TS & TG left quite an impression on me as Lee was able to reach a perfect 50/50 balance between a comedic character, and his traditional hard-as-nails gunslinger persona. His acting was at peak, and all his signatures as an actor are visible in the roles he took during these years.

I don't blame the flaws of this picture on Lee or any of the cast. This was an early Golan-Globus production--they became famous in the 80s for releasing a slew of action films of varying quality (usually starring Charles Bronson or Chuck Norris)--and they were notorious for being less than honorable in their business practices. I believe this is the reason that Lee did not return during post-production to do voice work. Ordinarily, this would bother me as Lee has a unique, inimitable voice--right up there alongside actors like Sam Elliott or (looking at the young generation, Garrett Hedlund). Given that films across the pond were shot without sound as it would be added in during post-production, it usually worked that Lee would return with the rest of the cast, especially American actors and actresses, to do his voice parts. With the exception of GG, I generally subscribe to the rule that it is paramount to hear Lee's voice; however, GG has a strong story, and this is one lone exception to the rule in which I can tolerate (barely) not hearing Lee's voice while seeing him onscreen. Bob O wrote about this some time back in great detail--Richard Boone was another American actor involved in the production, and he had NO compunction about ripping the producers, the director, and the moneymen in movie publications here in the States. Boone did not come back to do his voice parts, either--I believe only Jack Palance came back to do his voice work, but at that time, he was basically doing anything that came his way strictly for the $$$. The void left by lacking Lee's voice might be what leaves you wanting.

MF & CT:
I popped this in over the weekend, and in the version available on Amazon PRIME app, he is called Frankie Diomedes. Close enough for government work, I suppose. ;) Tony LoBianco is fine in his role as the young and somewhat goofy Tony Breda. This is Lee's show: he brings that experience, that gravitas, and that hard edge to this mob boss role, and he pulls it off beautifully. For me, this is the clincher: Lee is in his element when he plays "hard guy" characters. I have mentioned in previous posts that I am a big fan of Jack Palance--he did quite a few of these "polizziotteschi" (cop movies) around the same time, and they are quite good. Those characters of Palance's are identical in most respects to how Lee approached the Frankie Diomedes character in MF & CT, so if you want to go further in exploration in that genre, I'd recommend looking there--particularly, 1976's RULES OF THE CITY (a.k.a., MR. SCARFACE) or 1976's SANGUE DI SBIRRO (a.k.a., BLOOD & BULLETS). These pictures took over the box office after the Spaghetti Western craze expired--my only regret is that Lee didn't do more of these roles. Also, Lee would have been great in roles written for tough, crusty detective-type characters--I would have liked to've seen him attack some of these roles.


  • will add a couple of comments: It was interesting to see that the same fistful (hah!) of movies scored high on all our rankings, and that they all lean to the Spaghetti Westrn era in the late 60s and ... more
    • @Maggie — TheBad7, Mon Feb 19 1:10am
      • hi tb7Maggie, Mon Feb 19 2:52am
        Great comments! And food for thought. Yes, I would agree on 1974 - for the very reason you mentioned. I think we read repeatedly in this forum he really did want to do more comedy, so it must have... more
        • @Maggie Pt. 2 - Lee The ActorTheBad7, Mon Feb 19 5:30am
          Hi Maggie-- I consider myself a huge L.V.C. fan; however, I was always frustrated by his infatuation with wanting to do comedy. This might upset some fans, but I'm going to say it anyway: Lee, like... more
          • tb7, are you sure...Maggie, Mon Feb 19 7:28am
            ... you meant bad man's river and not barquero (1970)? Bad man's river is a comedy and there is much more slapstick than with Sabata... Can't answer in detail at the moment, got to hop along. I'll be ... more
            • BAD MAN'S RIVERTheBad7, Mon Feb 19 8:40am
              Hi Maggie-- Oh no, I did mean BAD MAN'S RIVER--in fact, Lee's Roy King in that film reminds me of Dakota from THE STRANGER & THE GUNFIGHTER, and I liked the concept of a bank robber taking on a huge... more
    • MF+CT, 1970's era EuroComedy, et alDCG, Fri Feb 16 1:08pm
      Well, first of all, Maggs: I did mention that over multiple viewings, over many years, I have gotten used to Tony LoBianco's goofy "Tony Breda" performance. ;) But you raise a great point, re: that... more
    • @MaggieTheBad7, Fri Feb 16 12:52pm
      Hi Maggie-- Love your comments on MF & CT. I will add to your comments when I can this weekend. :) tb7
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