A REASON TO LIVE, A REASON TO DIE 1972- aka UNA RAGIONE PER VIVERE E UNA PER MORIRE aka MASSACRE AT FORT HOLMAN
James Coburn, Telly Savalas, Bud Spencer
Directed by Tonino Valerii
James Coburn plays a disgraced Colonel who recruits some criminals minutes from the Hangman's noose to infiltrate an impenetrable fortress run by a Confederate madman played by Telly Savalas.
*REVIEW FOR BAD BOOTLEG VERSION*
Fitfully boring Tonino Valerii western that obviously had a sizeable budget. Although it’s shot well, the film is not as good as it sounds. Literally nothing happens until the final 20 minutes which is where the bulk of the budget appears to have been spent showcasing the spectacular destruction of the fortress. Savalas is wasted in his role as the bad guy. You never see him until the film is nearly over and he never does anything to make you really despise him.
A final revelation from Coburn reveals Savalas’s villainous past. Bud Spencer seems lost without Terence Hill at his side. A preponderance of dirty language is used throughout. An unseen prologue is added to this version which does nothing to improve things only ruining the ending for the viewer as it gives away who survives. Anyway, the finale nearly makes it all worthwhile. Not a bad film in the slightest just a missed opportunity. A memorable and bombastic score by Morricone.
*SECOND REVIEW FOR NEW WILD EAST RELEASE*
The recent WE DVD which I'm sure is simply the recent Italian DVD synced with an english track, doesn't improve the film at all. An added prologue hinders the film even further as it begins with the Fort destroyed and reveals to the audience who exactly will make it out alive. It's an okay movie, just not much happens during its 2 hour running time until the final 20 minutes. No Savalas until then either and he does nothing for the length of his brief screen time. The subplot involving Coburn and Savalas would have been great and the final bit between the two had more punch had this angle been explored a bit more. Still a missed opportunity.
Released to American theaters in a compromised release removing the dirty language as MASSACRE AT FORT HOLMAN.
The two times I've watched it, I can't stop laughing when I hear the fat guy at the end utter, immediately after manning a gatling gun tells Bud Spencer to "go f*ck yourself!"