The Hills Run Red Film Details
Overview: At the end of the Civil War, 2 Confederates holding stolen Union money and chased by Union troops separate, one escaping with the loot and the other getting a 5-year prison term.
Tagline: The man who had five years to think about killing… his best friend! Finally they meet…
Review: Originally titled A River of Dollars and often retitled as Blood In The Hills & Dollar Power, the film remind me of the psychological Hollywood westerns of the 1950s in how bland, it is. Despite, being one of the earliest spaghetti westerns made after the Eastwood/Leone Italian Spaghetti western boom, in 1967. A lot of people have never heard of this movie. It’s easy to understand, why. The reason why this film isn’t going to stand out, much is because how genetic the plot is. The revenge plot isn’t anything new, to the Western genre, as if it was often used in previous films like Marlon Brando’s 1961’s film, One-Eyed Jacks. Directed by Carlo Lizzani, a former film critic and veteran director of a multitude of spy thrillers and war dramas, the movie tells the story of two ex-rebel soldiers, Jerry Brewster (Thomas Hunter) & Ken Seagull (Nando Gazzolo) fleeing toward the Mexican border in a wagon, having made off with a huge sum of money stolen from the United States government, during the end of the Civil War. Just before reaching the safety of foreign soil, they are intercepted by a U.S. army patrol and Jerry is capture and sent to a military prison. Five years later, Brewster is released and returns home to reunite with his wife and son. He soon finds out that his house is deserted, his wife has pass away, and his son is missing, all, because of Seagull’s greed. Maddened by the betrayal, Brewster seek revenge, over his former-friend, in hope, of finding his missing son. Without spoiling the movie too much, you can clearly see, by the appearance of the film’s main actor, Thomas Hunter, that he was hired, because how much, he looks like Clint Eastwood. Thomas Hunter isn’t a bad actor, but he does overacted a bit. He mostly does a very earnest performance. I can’t say, the same with Henry Silva’s performance, as the Seagull’s psychopathic henchmen, Garcia Mendez. Silva laughs, sings and snarls his way through the film. He was, way over-the top and surreal. He did have some of the most entertaining dialogue in the film. I love his quote about Brewster winning the right to work on his ranch. That was kinda funny. Still, his over-screaming of dialogue was a bit much and was very annoying, but he made it up with his sinister look in the film. It remind me, of a male version of the actress Rosie Perez. You can’t stand them, but you like them, enough, to buy into, them, being the villains. Silva’s character was modeled after Dirk Bogarde in the 1961’s film, The Singer not the Song. Silva’s performance was very influential to other actors such as Jack Palance. Jack probably based his character Ricciolo AKA Curly in 1968’s film, ‘A Professional Gun’ on Silva’s character. Dan Duryea looks way too old and tired, but turns in a touching performance as the stranger Getz, whose identity and motivation are only revealed in the film’s final scene. Nicoletta Machiavelli is hauntingly beautiful as Mary Ann, Seagull’s sister. She’s a looker. I wish, they had, more for her character, but I’m alright with the amount of screen time, she was given. The movie has some strange bad dubbing, and the facial expressions that go along with it, don’t match. It adds to the unintentional humor. The action is pretty good. Director Carlo Lizzani does good work here, mixing solid camera-work throughout most of the film with some neat touches including a Corbucci-esque style close-up fistfight. The best scene had to be the Saloon, toward the middle. Toni Secchi’s cinematography is quite inventive with a camera shooting through windows, doors and interstices, giving the viewer the impression that the hero is in the middle of the most of the action. A set piece in which Mendez and his men massacre the patrons of an Austin saloon plays without music, lending the sequence a disturbing brutal realism. Similarly, the final shootout in the streets of Austin unfolds with little underscore. In my opinion, it’s pretty forgettable. The tattoo cutting scene might be winced-worthy, but it’s pretty tame for today’s standards. The tone throughout is generally quite dark although there are a few light hearted moments, that stop it becoming too grim. Pacing is very good. The script was often tampered with, and a lot of things, went deeply wrongs like the feel good ending. I like how weird, it is, with deceased characters suddenly reappeared. I guess, prolific, Oscar-winning producer Dino De Laurentiis didn’t like, the downer ending. The feel-good ending is a little too American Western in style, but this is only a minor criticism. Ennio Morricone provides a suitable music score under the pseudonym Leo Nichols. Most of it was alright. The big, brassy theme here wasn’t one of his better works, but still adds great atmosphere to the film. It does get overplayed too much, and become a bit annoying as the film drags along. The bittersweet love song, “Home to My Love,” is performed by Italian singer Gino Spiachetti is pretty forgettable. The movie has aged well, due to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios & United Artists, coming in, and saving the prints. They did a pretty good, DVD transplant. While, it shows some grain in places. Most of the film footage is very clean and bright. The full screen version (pan and scan of the widescreen original) has contrast problems, making it difficult to see exactly who or what is on screen in some scenes. I really can’t understand why MGM have bothered to include this far inferior version of the exact same cut of the movie on the disc at all. In 2008 there was a documentary developed about this spaghetti western entitled, ‘A History of Dollars’. It’s also worth- checking out. Overall: The Hills Run Red is a welcome addition to anyone’s spaghetti western collection. It’s an enjoyable movie. Pretty watchable.
Duration: 89 min
Genre: Action, Western
Also known as: The Hills Run Red,Sziklák vére,Rzeka dolarów,Ena potami dollaria,Het Bloedspoor in de Heuvels,Река от долари,Un río de dólares,For få dollars,Un fiume di dollari,Dealurile sunt roşii,Sangre en las colinas,Kanlı tepeler,Доллары текут рекой,Bloed in het gebergte,A Vingança do Condenado,Eine Flut von Dollars,Dollarivirta,Kaette kita ganman,Du sang dans la montagne,Balík dolarů,Sangue nas Montanhas,En flod av dollar,River of Dollars