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The Wrath of God

Posted by pachoj en febrero 23, 2006

No es la de Herzog sino la de Ralph Nelson, “The Wrath of God“, un cheese western de 1972 filmado en México, con un super elenco (Rita Hayworth, Robert Mitchum, Frank Langella) donde todos mueren liquidados (A “Pablito” le cambiaron una E por una A en su crédito: J.L. ParAdes).

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No creí que la peli tuviera fans:

 1.- “NOT a parody, 8 November 2002. Remarkably funny western/revolutionary action pic stars Mitchum as a con artist who poses as a priest and Langella as the South American’ dictator he and his friends have been blackmailed into assassinating. Hayworth appears briefly as Langella’s tormented mother.

The action is fast and well staged, and the film’s humor is so effective that it has often been seen (mistakenly, I believe) as a spoof of its genre, rather than as the fine example it is of the genre at its best.”

2.- “It’s been my experience that many times,reviewers of this strange gem have been puzzled or turned off by the strange plot and readings that the players have provided.This is NOT just a standard western,with rebels trying to overthrow a tyrant.This is a parody of every flm cliche of that particular vintage.Mitchum is doing a burlesque of Bogart or any other reluctant hero fighting a tyrany.Langella is doing Jay Robinson’s psychotic Caligula from ‘The Robe’ or ‘demetrius and the Gladiators’.Hayworth is every suffering mother,Colicos is every sly villain,and Buono is having the time of his life and career as a virtuoso impersonator of Sydney Greenstreet.Get this film,make lots of popcorn,plenty of beverages,and enjoy.”

3.- “In her last screen performance Rita Hayworth has preternaturally red hair (fire-engine red, not a color of any natural human hair), few lines, and is required to look devout (which she manages to do). As her flamboyantly traumatized and traumatizing son, Frank Langella gets to chew up the scenery, which he does with great relish (before ‘Dracula’, after his memorable film debut in ‘Diary of a Mad Housewife’ and Mel Brooks’s adaptation of ‘The Twelve Chairs’). Ken Hutchinson does fine as the token normal guy who is embroiled in others’ plots, including the romantic subplot that involves him with a mute Indian maiden (Paula Pritchett). In a Sidney Greenstreet-kind of role as a corpulent and corrupt gun-runner Victor Buono is suitably droll. Still, it is Mitchum’s movie, and he is as compelling when he takes his priestly role seriously as when he plays the usual disengaged but competent existentialist who expects nothin’ from nobody. 
A motley gang of foreign mercenaries getting involved in the confusions of the long-running Mexican revolution and taking a side against their financial interest recurred in a number of late-1960s and early-70s movies, including ‘The Wild Bunch’, ‘The Professionals’, and ‘A Fistful of Dynamite’. The latter two use considerable humor within the genre of expatriates taking sides (which in Mexican settings of different eras includes ‘Vera Cruz’, ‘Old Gringo’, and ‘Bring Me the Head, of Alfredo García’).”

4.- “What a splendid mix this film has. It uses Robert Mitchum in some ways better than any of his later vehicles ever attempted to. He plays ‘Father’ Van Horne who on the surface is a Catholic missionary but in actuality is an accomplished bank robber cutting a swath through Central America with a prayer book in one hand and a Thompson machine gun in the other. He encounters Victor Buono as an English gun runner named Jenning and Ken Hutchinson as an IRA assassin named Emmett Keogh. Together the 3 men comprise Col Santilla Unholy Trinity charged with the liquidation of his nemesis, one Tomas De Laplata(Frank Langella) who has a murderous antipathy toward any and all clergy. With a setup like this you go along for the ride. Believe me you won’t be bored.”

5.- “Ralph Nelson proved himself to be a great director shooting some really great productions in black and white (’Requiem for a Heavyweight, Lilies of the Field) but his color efforts are clumsy and “TV movie-like” (’Duel at Diablo’, ‘Embryo’ and this, ‘The Wrath of God’. Nelson captures not of the epic sweep and poignance available in this material. One could only dream of what director Sergio Leone might have accomplished, even given the awkwardly structured, exposition-laden storyline. Fortunately, Nelson had a wonderful cast (Mitchum, Buono, Hayworth and, most notably, Ken Hutchinson and John Colicos) with which to work. Only Frank Langella seems to indulge in overacting, and he arrives more than 45 minutes after the beginning of the film (my “45 minute” rule: if a two hour movie is still introducing major characters after 45 minutes, the movie is usually a dog. Fortunately, Nelson handles the humor better than the drama and there is an abundance of it, albeit irreverent.

“The theme of ‘The Wrath of God’ is ‘redemption through sacrifice’. Mitchum did this better in ‘Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison’. Sam Peckinpah did it better with ‘The Wild Bunch’. Richard Brooks did it better with ‘The Professionals’. Heck, even Anthony Quin did it better in ‘Guns for San Sebastian’, the movie this one most nearly resembles thematically. Still, there is much to enjoy in The Wrath of God to dismiss it entirely, even with the flat, disappointing ending. I give ‘The Wrath of God’ a ‘5′.”

6.- “Not everyone agrees that this a parody. I have read that the film turned out confusing because of problems on the set. Including, Rita Hayworth’s Alzheimer’s and an actor who had a part for the first six weeks of filming. He was severly injured and couldn’t complete his part properly.”

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