These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends

The William Shakespeare tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, has served as the inspiration for countless movies about star-crossed lovers such as Beneath the 12-Mile Reef (1953), West Side Story (1961) and the zombie comedy Warm Bodies (2013) but it has rarely been re-imagined as a spaghetti western. One of the few but notable exceptions is Dove si spara di più (1967), which is also known under the alternate release titles of Fury of Johnny Kidd, Ultimate Gunfighter and Ride for a Massacre.

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Gabriel Axel’s The Red Mantle

The name Gabriel Axel might not be familiar to most American moviegoers but many are familiar with his 1987 film Babette’s Feast which became a surprise art house hit and won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, beating out Louis Malle’s Au Renoir les Enfants. Ironically, Axel was almost 70 and at the end of his filmmaking career when he experienced a career resurgence. But the film that is considered his first international art house breakthrough is Den Rode Kappe (1967), which was released in Europe as Hagbard and Signe and is best known under the title The Red Mantle in the U.S. The poster above with the awkwardly edited quote – and movie spoiler – from Time magazine also includes the reference “From the producers of Dear John” which means nothing to anyone today but that film was a slightly risque art film in its day (due to the nudity) and a nominee for Best Foreign Language Film of 1965 (It lost to Elmar Klosand and Jan Kadar’s The Shop on Main Street). Continue reading