Combustible Celluloid
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With: Johnny Hallyday, Gastone Moschin, Françoise Fabian, Mario Adorf, Sylvie Fennec, Angela Luce, Serge Marquand, Gino Pernice, Mario Castellani, Remo De Angelis
Written by: Sergio Corbucci, Sabatino Ciuffini
Directed by: Sergio Corbucci
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 104
Date: 11/26/1969

The Specialists (1969)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Hud Pressure

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

I love Sergio Corbucci's Westerns, and I'm usually willing to make some concessions, but something about The Specialists just doesn't quite work. It could be that French star Johnny Halliday just isn't very interesting, at least as a gunslinger. Or it could be those weird hippie characters that just don't seem to fit. It could be the lack of an Ennio Morricone score. Or it could be the way that the simple revenge story — Halliday plays a man named Hud who wishes to avenge the wrongful death of his brother — seems to continually wander off track. Even the title doesn't seem to apply the story. It still has some strong imagery — such as the one-handed villain "El Diablo," or the naked people crawling up the street — and for completists, it will be worth seeing. But beginners should start elsewhere. Kino Lorber released it on Blu-ray for 2020. It comes with an Alex Cox commentary track, and even he seems to be trying very hard to find worthwhile things to talk about. The disc also includes trailers.

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