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Author Topic: The Greatest Robbery in the West (Maurizio Lucidi, 1967)  (Read 1433 times)

IL COMMISSARIO

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THE GREATEST ROBBERY IN THE WEST 1967 aka LA PIU GRANDE RAPINA DEL WEST

George Hilton, Hunt Powers, Erika Blanc

A gang of robbers stealthily rob a town of its gold. Afterwards, they hole up in another town to wait for an Indian guide to lead them across the border into Mexico. Inevitably, certain members of the gang want the coins for themselves. Town drunk, Billy Rum (Hilton) witnesses his brother, the sheriff gunned down in the street by the leader of the gang. Once the Indian arrives, the gang plans to destroy the town and kill everyone in it. Billy bides his time until the moment to take his revenge.

Rum spends much of the films running time in jail. However, he has a secret means of getting in and out without anyone noticing. One of the villains is disguised as a priest. He is secretly having an affair with the gang leaders woman. He has his own plans for the gold coins after realizing the gangs actions will get them all killed. When it's discovered that Rum has secretly hidden the loot, the two form an uneasy alliance until the gang is out of the way.

The accent here is on stealth as opposed to gun battles and lots of action. The main action doesn't come until the final 20 minutes. The gang bides their time impatiently awaiting the arrival of their guide who, as it is revealed later, isn't coming. Towards the end, a large posse headed by a sheriff from another town are on the trail of the gang. Now, the gang must use stealth again to fool the posse.

Hilton though, foils this plan in a very humorous scene where he, dressed as the sheriff, "convinces" the gang to ride along with the other sheriff and his posse to catch the robbers! This is where the action kicks in. First in a well done playful dueling scene between Rum and the fake priest. As the posse travels through a valley, the gang lose them in a dust trail and head back to the town. The final square off with the good and bad guys is also handled well even though Rum never quite gets revenge on Jarrett, the leader of the gang. He is blown up inside the jail.

I really enjoyed this movie a lot. It started off as a comedy (not in the insane ADD fashion of Carnimeo's movies mind you) but slowly turns serious and we are treated to a more serious performance by Hilton, something he seldom ever did in his westerns. If you're expecting to see lots of action, you'll be disappointed, but the story mechanics build nicely and you get to spend more time with the characters moreso than usual. The villains are suitably vicious and the heroes are likeable especially the fake priest who is a complicated character himself. He's one of the gang but he's not interested in unnecessary violence. He even saves one of the women from a possible double rape. When he foresees the gangs downfall, he plans to make off with the coins and Jarrett's woman. His character changes further by the end.

The second disc in the DICKIE LUFT IN SACRAMENTO set, this version is 105 minutes, apparently longer than the previous release. The film is not remastered unfortunately. I do not know if the two previous versions were or not. (One had an english track, the other did not) There is noticeable grain and the color shifts on several occassions. In fact, the title of the movie is never shown. There are credits at the beginning and the end. GREATEST ROBBERY... is the better and more restrained of the two films. I have portions of the score on a Luis Bacalov set and it's not bad. This film could do with some restoration. It has much going for it to warrant it. 
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LANZETTA

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Re: The Greatest Robbery in the West (Maurizio Lucidi, 1967)
« Reply #1 on: 15 Jul 2007 - 16:34 »

I need to get off my butt and watch GREATEST ROBBERY :( , but DICK LUFT(aka CRAZY BUNCH) is a candidate for the all time worst. :)
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