Spaghetti Westerns, Part 2

Companeros (Vamos a Matar, Compañeros!) (1970)

I gave considerable thought to how best to follow up my post about Django, but eventually decided to write something about the magnificent Companeros. Another film from director Sergio Corbucci and again starring the impressive Franco Nero, but this effort is considerably less bleak than Django. Nero is as much comic as he is brooding in the role of Yodlaf Petersen, or “The Swede”, a smooth but snobbish arms dealer.

Starring opposite Nero is the excellent Tomas Milian, a stalwart of spaghetti westerns, who plays Vasco, a somewhat misguided bandit leader. This odd couple, lured by the promise of an abandoned safe full of gold, become embrolied in a revolution led by pacifist Professor Xantos (Fernando Rey). As they fight their way across Mexico the pair are forced to reassess their motivations and as well as their allegiances.

The duo of Nero and Milian is enough to make the film enjoyable, but they are ably supported by Fernando Rey, Jack Palance and Iris Berben. Corbucci directs with his usual flair, but the film is greatly enhanced by a superb soundtrack from the remarkable Ennio Morricone. Companeros is a big production which simply oozes quality from beginning to end.

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