If you follow me on Tumblr, y’all know how much I love westerns, so I was really excited to find out about these two newly remastered films from the Warner Archive. The first is a Zapata spaghetti western Un esercito di cinque uomini aka The Five Man Army, from producer/director Italo Zingarelli with a screenplay co-written by master of Italian horror Dario Argento (who also co-wrote Once Upon a Time in the West). A Zapata spaghetti western, fyi, is an Italian western from the late-1960s/early-1970s that is set in Mexico and usually they have political (i.e. dealing with the revolution, etc.) themes. The second film is 1972′s The Wrath of God directed by Ralph Nelson (not to be confused with Werner Herzog’s similarly named film, which also came out in 1972).
The Warner Archive recently released two great 1970s flicks featuring the legendary Jim Brown: …tick…tick…tick…, 1970 (dir. Ralph Nelson) and The Slams, 1973 (dir. Jonathan Kaplan). While both films feature Jim Brown in strong leading roles, they are quite the opposite of each other. In one he plays a newly elected sheriff of a southern town, in the other a criminal who’s just been sent to prison and decides to break out. The films both have different tones as well. One is a rather subdued look at race relations in post-Civils Rights Movement America and the other is a straight up jive-ass blaxploitation film. But they are both a barrel of fun.
I finally saw this movie a few months ago after being a fan of Sidney Poitier since I was a little girl. I have no idea what took me so long. It is a marvelous film and Poitier gives such a stirring performance. Though he was already on his way to being a huge star in his own right, this film cemented him in the history of cinema and paved the way for countless others while it was at it. It was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning one: Best B&W Cinematography, Best Supporting Actress Lilia Skala, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor Sidney Poitier (won) and Best Picture. It was up against America, America, Cleopatra, How The West Was Won and winner Tom Jones.