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Author Topic: Mannaja: A Man Called Blade (Sergio Martino, 1977)  (Read 2015 times)

IL COMMISSARIO

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MANNAJA, A MAN CALLED BLADE 1977

Maurizio Merli, Phillipe Leroy, John Steiner, Donal O'brien

A bounty hunter arrives in the mud caked town of Suttonville and offers his services to rich businessman McGowan who runs the silver mine. After several uneasy encounters with McGowan and his brutal henchman, Voller, it is discovered that Blade has a hidden vendetta to settle with the town dictator and his cohorts.

MANNAJA from 1977 is serviceable but is let down by an ending that feels a bit rushed. CALIFORNIA, starring Guiliano Gemma from the same year has the same gloomy doom laden atmosphere and sense of dread but is a much better picture. MANNAJA is good also but mostly because of its evil and despicable villain. There are also some decent characterizations along the way and a couple of good action scenes but it just doesn't seem like enough. The ending was the biggest letdown for me as I was expecting more. Still, for the price, it's worth picking up for the gothic horror style setting which recalls such films as GREAT SILENCE (1968), DJANGO (1966) and the horror pictures of Mario Bava. Several scenes of violence and gore grab your attention and Maurizio Merli who was famous for his Italian crime films, makes a good western anti-hero in his one stab at the genre.

Interestingly, here is a review from an Italian viewer from SLWB and his thoughts on Merli and the film...

"This is the first Maurizio Merli movie I ever watched. Ever since he first came up to public notoriety I wondered why he was considered (by some) a very good actor. He doesn't know where to start playing, has not a "presence" or face memorable, has a diminutive figure. He was a poor man's Franco Nero, without any of his (small) charisma and handsomeness. The movie starts great, with that first manhunting scene and the card game. After that I was let down by watching the same landscapes used in Fidani, Batzella and co. movies. The opening scene  made me hope for more imaginative result. It goes through the motions, with that cave's darkness shooting (well, hatcheting) and there is nothing more.
The score. Well, the De Angelis bros had more chutzpah than inventiveness. I don't think (sorry, Banjo!) that those mediocre folksy songs marry well with the images. Still they are so ugly that, at least, they keep you awake. (for the amateurishness of the bros check the unmusical comment to the dancing scene: embarassing). So I give it 6\10".
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paperbag

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Re: Mannaja: A Man Called Blade (Sergio Martino, 1977)
« Reply #1 on: 12 Apr 2008 - 05:01 »

I think Mannaja is Sergio Martino's masterpiece.. my favourite score from Guido & Maurizio, very powerful with alot of variation.. I liked the ending, even though it doesn't seem any different from most Spaghetti Western endings (Maurizio Merli throwing his poncho up like Clint Eastwood in slow motion was a nice touch). The only thing I didn't like were the horses falling head first, they were the most extreme horse falls i've seen.
It's hard to recommend the film, I guess it partly depends if you like the music or not.
Also I thought it was better in Italian.
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Nico Giraldi

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Re: Mannaja: A Man Called Blade (Sergio Martino, 1977)
« Reply #2 on: 12 Apr 2008 - 09:11 »

I think Mannaja is highly overrated film, It has good atmosphere, some very powerful scenes, violence and I like the music too but it doesn't live up to it's potential. I was also disappointed with the ending with stupid joke(?) with the egg guy. Ok film but not a masterpiece.

This is one of those films you see in people's top10 or 20 favorite sw's and I can't help thinking that it's just because it's so easily available everywhere. Like Commissario said: California is much better late spaghetti but not that widely seen I guess.

This talk about Merli's lack of charisma is of course utter BS but I have to admit that I didn't either think he was that good in western role. He's better than Nero in cop films but somehow I felt he didn't fit in the western that good.
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Inspector Tanzi

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Re: Mannaja: A Man Called Blade (Sergio Martino, 1977)
« Reply #3 on: 12 Apr 2008 - 14:18 »

I think Merli was great in this and it is a shame he didn't make any other westerns (not counting a bit part in 2 RR Ringos nel Texas)
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"When I read the book of Mormon, I feel closer to Jesus Christ."

The Hunchback

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Re: Mannaja: A Man Called Blade (Sergio Martino, 1977)
« Reply #4 on: 15 Apr 2008 - 22:46 »

The movie is okay. It doesn't pick up until the final half hour though.
Good to see Merli in a different role for a change.

Much talk is made of the "eyeball torture" sequence but it has been done before in numerous other spaghettis ("vengeance" being one).
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Inspector Tanzi

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Re: Mannaja: A Man Called Blade (Sergio Martino, 1977)
« Reply #5 on: 31 Mar 2015 - 19:17 »

German Blu Ray with English language out end of the month.

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"When I read the book of Mormon, I feel closer to Jesus Christ."
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