Wrongfully imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit, Minnesota Clay seeks revenge on the man who withheld evidence at his trial. There is a problem however, he is going blind.
As a huge lover of Italian Westerns, Sergio Corbucci is one of my favorite directors ever. Corbucci's most famous and influential film is doubtlessly the blood-soaked cult-flick "Django" of 1966, his most brilliant achievement is the dark 1968 masterpiece "Il Grande Silenzio" ("The Great Silence"). But Corbucci enriched the Spaghetti-Western genre by even more masterpieces than the aforementioned two films, such as the Mexican revolutionary Westerns "Il Mercenario" (aka. "The Mercenary", 1968) and "Vamos A Matar, Compañeros" (1970). And even his lesser known films, such as "I Crudeli" ("Hellbenders", 1967) or "Navajo Joe" (1966) stand out as gritty and great Spaghetti Westerns, which makes Corbucci the undisputed number 2 in the genre, right after Sergio Leone. This being said, Corbucci's early Western "Minesota Clay" of 1965 does not live up to his later films in the Genre. While this is by no means a bad film, it is nowhere near as cynical, gritty and memorable as Corbucci's later Westerns were, as it bears more resemblance to the traditional American 'Good Guys Vs. Bad Guys' Westerns than the masterpieces of Corbucci's later career.
The eponymous hero, Minnesota Clay (played by the great Cameron Mitchell) is not really a typical anti-hero, as he is looking partly for revenge, but mainly for justice and for an opportunity to redeem his name. The two rivaling gangs (Mexican vs. American) that control the little town where this is set resemble the premise of "Django" as well as Leone's milestone "Fistful Of Dollars" (both of which were based on Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece "Yojimbo"). Yet, "Minnesota Clay" can not nearly make as much of it as "Fistful..." and "Django". Since the aforementioned films are masterpieces, this is not to say that this film is bad, however. "Minesota Clay" is an entertaining film, without doubt. The film's main fault is probably the lack of a real anti-hero with hardly any morals. If the film had just been a little more 'evil', it could have been way better. Even though a tough guy, Minesota Clay is basically an honest man who is looking for justice, and not nowhere near as immoral as anti-heroes like The Man With No Name or Django. Yet, Cameron Mitchell gives the character a certain greatness. I've been a fan of Mitchell since I first saw Mario Bava's Giallo-milestone "Sei Donne Per L'Assassino" (aka. "Blood And Black Lace", 1964) years ago, and he once again delivers a great performance here. The sexy Ethel Rojo and Diana Martin make a nice-looking female cast and the supporting cast includes Spaghetti Western regulars Antonio Casas ("The Good, The Bad And The Ugly"), Fernando Sancho ("The Big Gundown") and Gino Pernice ("Django"). As mentioned above, this film often resembles a traditional American Western - only with a bit more violence and Spaghetti-style. The locations and photography are great and the score by Piero Piccioni is also quite nice. Overall, I would have probably rated this a 7/10 as such, but I have to detract one star as it is way inferior compared to Corbucci's later films. This is an entertaining film that my fellow Spaghetti-Western-freaks should enjoy, yet I recommend everybody to see some of Corbucci's other films before. Especially "The Great Silence" and "Django" are essential. My opinion on "Minesota Clay": 6.5/10 Spaghetti with Chorizo Western filmed in Spanish location as La Pedriza ,Manzanares Del Real and Colmenar Viejo and interior scenes shot in usual Italian scenarios called Elios studios. It deals with an inmate wrongfully imprisoned for twenty years for a crime he didn't commit and escaping from jail . As Minnesota Clay (Cameron Michell) takes prisoner a lieutenant (Julio Peña) and seeks revenge on the man who withheld evidence at his trial and arrives in a town ravaged by a sheriff and bandits . The gunfighter enemy is Fox (Georges Riviere), who nowadays results to be the Sheriff of a little town who himself terrorises the villagers . At the beginning Clay rescues a woman from bandits , she is named Stella (Ethel Rojo) a gorgeous but devious woman . Later on , Clay is imprisoned by outlaw Ortiz ( Fernando Sancho) and also townsfolk is living in terror of his band . In the middle of these two waring parties is Clay's daughter named Nancy (Diana Martin) who thinks her father is dead . The gunslinger enters the town caught between two feuding factions, a nasty sheriff and a gang of Mexican bandits, and is caught up in a struggle against them. But here is a problem however, Clay is going blind.
The film packs violence , shootouts , high body-count and it's fast moving and quite entertaining . There is plenty of action in the movie , guaranteeing some shoot'em up or stunts every few minutes . It's an exciting western with breathtaking showdown between the starring Cameron Mitchell and his enemies , Geoges Riviere and Fernando Sancho . The movie contains gun-play, action Western , thrills and bloody spectacle . This interesting theme about a blind gunslinger is also treated in other films such as ¨The blind man¨ by Ferdinando Baldi , ¨An eye for eye¨ by Michael Moore with Robert Lansing and ¨Blind Justice¨ by Richard Spence with Armando Assante . In ¨Minessota Clay¨ appears as secondaries the habitual in Spanish/Italian Western such as Jose Luis Martin , Simon Arriga , Alfonso Rojas , Antonio Casas ,Alvaro De Luna and Guido Pernice , many of them usual in Corbucci films . Special mention to Fernando Sancho in his ordinary role as fatty Mexican bandit and in a cruelly baddie role , he is terrific, and bears a hysterical and mocking aspect , subsequently he would play similar characters . The movie gets the ordinary Western issues, such as avengers antiheroes , violent facing off , quick scenes and exaggerated baddies . It's an improbable blending of standard Western with pursuits, high body-count and it's fast moving and quite entertaining. An interesting casting full of usual Spaghetti make this oater well worth the watching . Mediocre cinematography by Jose Aguayo , Luis Buñuel's customary , but is necessary a perfect remastering , being the copy washed-out .
Screenplay with interesting premise about a 'blind gunfighter' is written by Corbucci and Jose G . Maesso , also producer ( he produced several Western as ¨The ugly ones , Minnesota Clay , Django , A train to Durango , Hellbenders¨) . Sergio Corbucci's direction is acceptable , he made numerous Spaghetti classics . Direction is well crafted, here Corbucci is more cynical and violent and less inclined toward humor and packs too much action , but especially this moving Western contains broad violence specially on the character played by Georges Riviere . The other Sergio made several Western classics as ¨ Django¨, ¨The great silence¨, ¨The specialist¨ , ¨The Hellbenders¨ , ¨Navajo Joe¨ , and Zapata Western as ¨The Mercenary¨, ¨The Compañeros¨ and ¨What am I doing in middle of the revolution¨ . In addition Sergio directed other inferior S.W. as ¨Far West story¨ ,¨Johnny Oro¨, ¨The white the yellow an the black¨ , ¨Massacre at Great Canyon (his first Spaghetti) ¨ and ¨Minnesota Clay (his second Western)¨. Corbucci makes a nice camera work with clever choreography on the showdown , fighting , moving shootouts and bemusing scenes . It's an offbeat , surprising and uneven Western but will appeal to Corbucci aficionados . Rating : 6 , riotous Western in which there's too much action and violence and enough excitement . 646f9e108c
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