Keoma


Production Year: 1976
Release Date: 11/01/2011
Studio: Argent Films
Collection Number: 1031

Keoma has everything I want in a spaghetti western.  Creative direction, a good score, interesting story, and of coarse...Franco Nero.

In the film Keoma (Franco Nero) returns to his home town after the civil war to find it has been taken over by a man named Caldwell and his vicious gang.   To make matters worse the leader has enlisted the help of three of Keoma's siblings, together they rule with an iron fist, killing with no qualms whether it be man or woman.

The film actually begins a lot like Django in that the titular hero saves a young woman from being killed.  The woman in question is with child and supposedly infected with the plague.  Feeling that everyone, especially an unborn child, should have a fair chance at life, Keoma saves her and together they travel back to the town.  This is where his troubles begin.  Anyone accused of having the illness must be rounded up and kept prisoner.  While the disease is easily curable, Caldwell and his gang control every aspect of the town, including the transportation of medicine.


By 1976 the popularity of the western had subsided quite a bit.  This is one of the last of the more well known spaghetti epics, a collaboration between director Enzo G. Castelliri, actor Franco Nero, and writer Luigi Montefiori  (aka; George Eastman.)  It has many of the more popular staples of the genre tied together with an original story about family betrayal and a half-Indian man who fights for the freedom of a town under siege.


A few weeks back I reviewed another Castelerri film "The Cold Eyes of Fear," in the review I mentioned the man's knack for creative shots.  Keoma is no different, the film has a very specific direction to it along with a handful of great POV shots from various perspectives.   Castellari and photographer Aiace Parolin paint a very bleak portrait of a post-civil war west and it's no surprise that the director claims Keoma to be the favorite of his work.


Franco Nero delivers per usual.  Keoma is a half-breed badass who rolls into town like a storm and beings to clean things up.  The name "Keoma" means "freedom," and that's what the character wants to deliver...Due to Caldwell and his army of men the town is unable to get medicine for the sick or food for the needy, Nero's character wants nothing more than for everyone to have a fair chance at freedom, a true shot at a decent life.


 This isn't the only film that Nero and Castellari have teamed up on.  The duo would collaborate on a handful of great films such as Street Law, The Shark Hunter, and Jonathon of the Bears.  Keoma is easily one of the best of the pack, a film that no western fan should be without.  Argent Films handled the region two release and while the film is remastered and presented in it's original aspect ratio, the PQ is a bit underwhelming at times.  I'm not sure if it was just the print available, but this doesn't look as nice as their other western  releases.  On the other end of things the audio offers a pretty big punch during some of the various shootouts in the film, I've got no real issues with the sound.   It's not loaded down with supplements, though there's an interview with Enzo that's well worth a watch.  In it the director recants on the creation of the film along with a few anecdotes of those involved.  He praises actor Franco Nero, who had more duties during the film than just acting.  Also on the disc is an introduction by Alex Cox, the film's theatrical trailer, and a number of Argent western trailers.


Keoma isn't the most well known or popular of the spaghetti westerns, however with it's sharp direction, tight editing, and great performances it succeeds in being one that should not be missed.   For more information on the label click here.

4 comments:

  1. I have a soft spot for StreetLaw, Franco really takes a beating!

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