Saturday, July 29, 2023



The best way I can sum up Christopher Nolan's OPPENHEIMER is to call it a thinking person's historical epic. It's a three-hour film filled with all sorts of technical wizardry, but it's really more of an intimate drama than a big-budget spectacle. 

Despite what the trailers and advertising make you think, there's much more to OPPENHEIMER than just the man's involvement with the development of the atomic bomb during WWII. Nolan shifts back and forth into various times in J. Robert Oppenheimer's history, examining parts of his life before and after the Manhattan Project. 

I appreciated OPPENHEIMER, but I must say it's a film that's easier to admire than get excited about. Cillian Murphy is excellent in the title role, and I give credit to the actor and to Christopher Nolan for not trying to make Oppenheimer the person more palatable to a mainstream audience. I believe that one of the themes Nolan was trying to put across was the irony of Oppenheimer having such a profound effect on humanity when the man himself seemed to be somewhat removed from his fellow beings. 

The overall quirkiness of Oppenheimer may have been the main reason why it was hard for me to be fully engaged toward his personal story. Murphy's Oppenheimer isn't the most appealing character in the world, and neither are his wife (Emily Blunt) or his mistress (Florence Pugh). The scenes where Murphy, Blunt, and Pugh interact with one another are in my opinion the weakest in the film. 

The sequences dealing with the Manhattan Project are the main highlights here, with the Trinity test being a true stunner. After the WWII phase, the story becomes almost a courtroom drama, with Oppenheimer getting ensnared in bureaucratic and Cold War backbiting. 

There's a lot to deal with in OPPENHEIMER. It's a film filled with debate and discussion, a film with no easy answers. I certainly think you should go see it in a theater, but I also believe this movie might even work better after multiple viewings at home, where one can go back at one's leisure and discover things that might have been missed or overlooked the first time. It does have a fantastic ensemble cast, and brilliant editing and cinematography. 

OPPENHEIMER is very well made, and very well done, but personally it didn't have as much of an impact on me as I thought it would. Another review of the film stated that it was two ninety-minute movies mixed together, and that's a very good point.....with the 90 minutes dealing with the atom bomb being more impressive. 

Monday, July 24, 2023



Another Poverty Row zombie flick? Yes, it's Monogram's 1943 REVENGE OF THE ZOMBIES, which has a lot of similarities with the company's earlier KING OF THE ZOMBIES. 

REVENGE OF THE ZOMBIES starts right out with the "good stuff". On a stormy, windswept night, a mysterious fellow holding a lantern (James Baskett, who would later play Uncle Remus in Disney's SONG OF THE SOUTH) raises up a crop of the living dead from a cemetery by using a zombie call ("Ahhhhh-OOOOOOHHHH!"). Unfortunately this is the best scene in the film. The story is set in a spooky manor somewhere in Louisiana, where a Dr. Von Altermann (John Carradine) is experimenting with the local populace in order to create an unstoppable army for the Third Reich. The brother of Von Altermann's late wife (Mauritz Hugo)--along with his detective friend (Robert Lowery) and servant Jeff (Mantan Moreland)-- arrives to investigate how the woman died. Mrs. Von Altermann (Veda Ann Borg) has been turned into a zombie by her husband....but the late woman still has ideas of her own, and she eventually gives the doctor his comeuppance. 

REVENGE OF THE ZOMBIES and KING OF THE ZOMBIES have a lot in common. Both movies have two leading men and a black servant investigating weird happenings at a creepy remote location, a villainous scientist whose loyalties are with Nazi Germany, a cackling old woman who works in the household (and is played in both stories by an actress credited as Madame Sul-Te-Wan), and, of course, zombies. It's a tossup on which film is best. Mantan Moreland doesn't get as much to do in REVENGE as he did in KING, and the story suffers as a result. John Carradine is a much more "proper" mad doctor in REVENGE than Henry Victor is in KING, but Carradine acts more haughty than crazy. 

In both features the zombies are a letdown. Dr. Von Altermann is convinced he can create a cadre of  invincible warriors with his subjects, but the zombies in REVENGE move so slow, they make Kharis the Mummy seem like Rickey Henderson in comparison. The character in REVENGE that makes the biggest impact is Mrs. Von Altermann, despite the fact that she spends most of her time wandering around in a nightgown. Every so often the woman reveals a disconcerting smile, letting the viewer know that she's not fully under the control of her husband. (Veda Ann Borg, who played the zombified missus, was a B movie queen who later became an unofficial member of the John Ford/John Wayne stock company due to her marriage to Andrew V. McLaglen. She got a small, but movie-stealing part in John Wayne's THE ALAMO.)

Robert Lowery and Mauritz Hugo are the usual dull heroes one finds in low budget thrillers like this. Cowboy matinee star Bob Steele shows up posing as a German agent, but he turns out to be a good guy, and Gale Storm plays Dr. Von Altermann's clueless secretary. 

The director of REVENGE OF THE ZOMBIES was Steve Sekely, and one of the screenwriters was Edmond Kelso, who wrote KING OF THE ZOMBIES (no surprise there). Sekely tries a few visual tricks to get things hopping, but he's limited in what he can do (this is a Monogram movie, after all). REVENGE OF THE ZOMBIES is a mid-level Poverty Row horror--it's not one of the best, but it isn't terrible. It's perfect for late night viewing when you can't sleep....and since it's only an hour, it won't take up too much of your time. (You can find it on just about every streaming service there is, as well as YouTube.) 

Saturday, July 22, 2023



The latest volume in Frank Dello Stritto's series of books combining classic horror film characters with historical fiction is PATRON SAINTS OF THE LIVING DEAD, from Cult Movie Press. 

Like the other three books in the series (A WEREWOLF REMEMBERS, CARL DENHAM'S GIANT MONSTERS, and THE PASSION OF THE MUMMY), this novel presents a world where all the characters of classic horror and science fiction films actually existed, and the events in those features actually happened. I'm a huge fan of this series--I personally call it the "Strittoverse"--and I'm constantly impressed and amazed with the creativity and ingenuity that the author displays in putting everything together. Characters from the most famous movies of all time smoothly interact with supporting players from the cheapest of poverty row thrillers--and instead of seeming forced and arbitrary, the idea works out so well you wonder why Dello Stritto isn't writing screenplays (his storytelling talents are sorely needed in today's cinema). 

PATRON SAINTS OF THE LIVING DEAD is set in 1983, and the main character is a young man named Brent Marassas. Marassas' father is seriously ill, and the man sends his son on a quest to investigate the lives and activities of 13 mysterious European scientists who immigrated to America after World War One. The older Marassas is convinced that one of the 13 is his father.....but the son finds that the strange baker's dozen were all involved with experiments in hypnotism, mind control, black magic, voodoo, and zombies. 

The young Marassas journeys from New York, to New Orleans, to the Caribbean, to even....Idaho (!), all to try and determine his family's history, and to determine what this group of scientists were exactly up to. It's a fast moving and complex tale, touching upon the numerous legends of the living dead and world & religious history. 

As in the rest of the books that make up the "Strittoverse", there's plenty of surprises along the way, along with a number of familiar movie characters, and some that will have you going over to IMDB. PATRON SAINTS OF THE LIVING DEAD has the same clean, impressive design as the other books in the series, and it is heavily illustrated with pictures of the "people" that Marassas either encounters or investigates. 

It must be pointed out that the author focuses on the stories of the living dead and zombies mainly produced before the 1968 NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. If your idea of zombies revolves around Romero, Fulci, and THE WALKING DEAD, this book probably isn't for you (but you should read it anyway). 

When the author announced he was writing this book, I wondered how much of a story he could tell, since I assumed that there were very few movies and TV shows dealing with zombies before George Romero totally changed the way the living dead were looked upon. But PATRON SAINTS happens to be the longest book in the series, at over 540 pages (you certainly get your money's worth). Dello Stritto makes all sorts of connections and associations I never would have dreamed of, and most of all he makes them work within the overall story he is telling. 

As someone who is a film and history buff, PATRON SAINTS OF THE LIVING DEAD is right up my alley. It's an engaging and enjoyable read, and it gives anyone diving into it plenty to think about. Film/history geeks will love it. I can only imagine which trail the "Strittoverse" will go down next. 

Sunday, July 16, 2023



Another low-budget zombie tale. This time it's the 1941 Monogram production KING OF THE ZOMBIES. 

Three Americans (John Archer, Dick Purcell, and Mantan Moreland) are flying in a storm somewhere between Cuba and Puerto Rico. The trio crash land on an island, and find it to be inhabited by a mysterious doctor named Miklos Sangre (Henry Victor). The Americans eventually discover that Sangre is a foreign agent, and that he has zombiefied many of the native population of the island in his quest to control the human mind. 

What makes KING OF THE ZOMBIES notable today is the comedic presence of Mantan Moreland. Some now may find the African-American Moreland's role of manservant Jefferson Jackson inappropriate, but he's the real star of the film, and his portrayal is hardly offensive. (Moreland here is essentially doing the same type of thing Bob Hope did in many more better-known and better-budgeted features.) Unlike other annoying comedic "relief" in several other poverty row horrors, Moreland's antics are always welcome--he has far more personality than anyone else in the cast, and his timing and way with a quip enlivens anything he appears in. 

Moreland is sorely needed here, because there isn't much to KING OF THE ZOMBIES without him. John Archer and Dick Purcell are very generic hero types. For some reason Purcell gets top billing, despite the fact that he has more of a supporting role, and Archer, even though he's the leading man, is billed fifth. 

Henry Victor (best known for playing the conniving carnival strongman in FREAKS) does an acceptable job as the lead villain, but he comes off as a minor league Bela Lugosi. Speaking of Bela, various sources claim that Lugosi was originally supposed to play Dr. Sangre.....if he had, this movie would have gotten a special edition Blu-ray release by now. 

The movie never officially states it, but Dr. Sangre is a German scientist (the film came out in 1941 before Pearl Harbor). In Monogram's 1943 follow-up REVENGE OF THE ZOMBIES, the Nazi angle is openly stressed. 

Joan Woodbury, as Mrs. Sangre's niece, is ostensibly the female lead, even though she gets very little to do. Mrs. Sangre, by the way, is a zombie (she's played by Patricia Stacey). Marguerite Whitten is the Sangre maid, and she develops something of a relationship with Mantan Moreland (the two of them are much more enjoyable to watch than the supposed leads). 

Jean Yarbrough directed KING OF THE ZOMBIES, and he had a long history with low-budget genre material. He keeps things moving, but most of the story is set inside Dr. Sangre's gloomy mansion, and there isn't much of an attempt to make things creepy. There are zombies, but they spend their time wandering around aimlessly in a non-threatening manner. The climax does have a quasi-voodoo ceremony, but its tone becomes almost silly. 

Believe it or not, the music score for KING OF THE ZOMBIES, which is credited to Edward Kay, was nominated for an Academy Award!! Was this due to some sort of Hollywood industry inside joke?? Perhaps, because the music doesn't sound all that much different than one hears in any other typical Monogram picture of the period. 

KING OF THE ZOMBIES isn't one of the worst Poverty Row Horrors, but it lacks dynamic good (and bad) guys, and the living dead element isn't used creatively. Its saving grace is Mantan Moreland. Monogram would bring back Moreland and the Nazi mad scientist creating zombies plot for REVENGE OF THE ZOMBIES. I'll be dealing with that movie in a future blog post. 

Saturday, July 15, 2023



I'm currently reading Frank Dello Stritto's new book PATRON SAINTS OF THE LIVING DEAD. It's the latest volume in what I call the "Strittoverse", where the author takes various classic movies, TV episodes, and characters and weaves fantastic tales of his own. In PATRON SAINTS, Frank takes on the numerous filmed stories involving zombies, voodoo, possession, and the living dead--at least the stories made before George Romero totally changed those genres in 1968. 

One of the films Frank touches upon in his book is the 1936 REVOLT OF THE ZOMBIES, directed and produced by the Halperin brothers. The movie is considered a follow-up to the Halperins' now-legendary WHITE ZOMBIE, but the two productions are very, very different. 

REVOLT OF THE ZOMBIES starts off with a promising enough premise, as a squad of seemingly unstoppable Cambodian soldiers fights in World War One. The men are actually being controlled by a mysterious East Asian priest, and a number of Allied officials are so worried about what these men could do that an expedition is sent to Cambodia to discover the secrets behind their development. Included in the expedition is a young French officer named Armand Louque (Dean Jagger). Louque is obsessed with learning the secret of controlling the will of others, and he discovers it, in a lost jungle temple. Louque is also obsessed with the blonde daughter (Dorothy Stone) of one of the expedition's officials, and this leads him to use the secret for his own nefarious ends--but in time-honored fashion, the would-be dictator gets his comeuppance. 

WHITE ZOMBIE had a very, very low budget, but it also had a spooky, off-kilter atmosphere that allowed it to make an impact. It also featured a fantastic performance by Bela Lugosi. REVOLT OF THE ZOMBIES also has a very, very low budget, but the atmosphere is dull and lifeless, and Dean Jagger is obviously no Bela Lugosi. 

Most of the "action" in REVOLT takes place in front of a back-projection screen, and most of the scenes take place during the day (why the Halperins didn't use darkness to hide the low budget and pump up the atmosphere is beyond me). The Halperins were able to get Arthur Martinelli as cinematographer--he did the same job on WHITE ZOMBIE--but REVOLT has a lackluster tone to it. 

Dean Jagger, at least at this early point in his acting career, just isn't up to carrying a poverty row thriller through his own personality. In all fairness, it has to be pointed out that Armand Louque isn't the most charismatic guy in the world. He's established in the beginning of the story as lacking in confidence and assurance--which makes his later turn into a zombie master a bit hard to swallow. (Jagger doesn't even get top billing in the movie's credits--Dorothy Stone gets that spot.) 

At various points the Halperins interject a dramatic close-up of Bela Lugosi's eyes from WHITE ZOMBIE to try and convince the viewer that Louque is using his "power". But the story never really explains how Louque is able to control others, and he's such a nebbish you can't understand why the rest of the cast doesn't just stand up to him. One thing a poverty row horror desperately needs is a strong, forceful personality in the cast--a Lugosi, an Atwill, or Zucco, etc.--a performer that can make a viewer overlook any low-budget flaws. REVOLT OF THE ZOMBIES doesn't have that--and it really doesn't have very much zombie action either. What's left is a boring tale that makes one realize why the Halperins never achieved consistent success in the American movie industry. 


Sunday, July 9, 2023

WILL PENNY On Blu-ray From Kino


Charlton Heston considered WILL PENNY to be his favorite film role. This unique 1967 Western gets a nice Blu-ray treatment courtesy of Kino Lorber. 

Heston's Will Penny isn't a larger-than-life legend of the Old West. He's an ordinary man, a true working cowboy, and he's spent his entire life on his own, fending for himself. While spending a winter as a line rider for a large spread, Penny comes upon a woman (Joan Hackett) and her young son, who have been abandoned by their guide. Penny lets them stay at the line rider shack, while forming an attachment to them. Penny starts to consider that he might have a chance at a new way of life, while fending off a crazed "preacher" (Donald Pleasence) and his degenerate brood. 

WILL PENNY was written & directed by Tom Gries, and the story was based on an episode of the short-lived TV series THE WESTERNER that Gries also wrote & directed. This movie is about as anti-formulaic as you can get--there's a true sense of the real West here, and even the California locations feel more authentic than those constantly used in the typical Hollywood cowboy flick. 

Charlton Heston gives one of his best performances as Will Penny, portraying a man who has lived a hard, cold life, but one who still has an innate sense of decency about him. Penny is a give-and-take-no-excuses type of guy, but the more time he spends around Joan Hackett's Catherine, he realizes how empty his life has been. Heston expertly shows this through his eyes and subtle body language. At one point Penny tells Catherine he's nearly 50, but Heston looks and acts older. displaying the wear and tear that the actual Western life does to a working cowboy. 

Joan Hackett gives a wonderful performance as well (a better known or more glamorous actress wouldn't have worked in the role). Tom Gries' son Jon plays Catherine's young boy, and he's very good, despite the fact that he had never acted before (maybe that's the reason why he did so well). WILL PENNY also features a great supporting cast of welcome faces such as Anthony Zerbe, Ben Johnson, and Slim Pickens.

The one issue I have with this movie--and I know plenty will disagree with me on this--is the subplot concerning Donald Pleasence's mad villain and his grungy "family". These brutes (including Bruce Dern doing one of his many 1960s bad guy Western roles) are so over the top, they jar with the overall tone of the story--it feels as if they wandered in from the set of another film. I realize that the movie needed some sort of conflict, and some type of a shootout, being a big studio Western.....but Will Penny's predicament is far more interesting to the viewer. (I also wonder if Pleasence's brood was Tom Gries' comment on the hippy culture of the time.) 

The most important thing about Kino's Region A Blu-ray of WILL PENNY is how magnificent it looks. The back of the disc case claims that the source used for the HD master comes from a 4K scan of the 35mm original camera negative--and I believe it. The color and visual quality is fantastic, allowing the viewer to properly appreciate Lucien Ballard's brilliant cinematography. The sound is bolder and sharper as well. 

The main extra is a new commentary featuring C. Courtney Joyner, Henry Parke, and Michael Preece, who was script supervisor on WILL PENNY. Most of the talk revolves around Preece and his TV and movie career, and he has plenty of stories to tell, although there are times when the chat wanders away from the main subject at hand. There are also two short featurettes from 2002 that have Charlton Heston and Jon Gries discussing the making of the film, and trailers for other similar movies released by Kino. 

WILL PENNY pops up occasionally on various retro movie cable channels, but I've never seen it look and sound as good as it does on this Blu-ray. That fact alone makes it worth purchasing, along with it being one of Charlton Heston's best big-screen titles. 

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Book Review--PLATINUM WIDOW: Who Killed Jean Harlow's Husband?


Esteemed classic Hollywood historian Gregory William Mank brings back his private eye Porter Down in the new novel PLATINUM WIDOW: Who Killed Jean Harlow's Husband?, published by Bear Manor Media. 

PLATINUM WIDOW is a follow-up to last year's FRANKENSTEIN'S WITCH, the book that introduced Porter Down. This new novel begins with a prologue set on September 5, 1932, the day that MGM producer Paul Bern's body was discovered. Bern had been married to Jean Harlow for only a short time. The story then goes back a few months, with P.I. Porter Down being hired by MGM to make sure nothing untoward happens to Harlow and Bern before their wedding. Down gets way more than he bargained for, as he deals with gangsters, pornographers, deceitful (and dangerous) studio executives, fallen women, and Tinseltown royalty. 

It's ironic that this book is set during 1932, and much of the action takes place at the MGM studios. 1932 was the year that MGM released the notorious FREAKS, and PLATINUM WIDOW has Porter Down dealing with plenty of "freaks" on his own--but this menagerie is afflicted morally & mentally instead of physically. Porter (and the reader) is taken down a number of disturbing and bizarre paths. 

As I did for my review of FRANKENSTEIN'S WITCH, I must point out that this book is not for very young or very sensitive readers. It's an R rated story for sure, but I don't believe it's lurid on purpose. (What really went on in 1932 Hollywood may be even worse than Mank can imagine.) 

A number of famous personalities make "cameos" in the story, including Lionel Atwill, Fredric March, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, John Gilbert, and even Charles Gemora. As for Jean Harlow, Mank portrays her as a lost little girl instead of a busty sex symbol, a troubled soul who would have been much better off if she had never appeared in a film in the first place. 

PLATINUM WIDOW is a true page-turner, especially as the reader gets nearer and nearer the fateful date of Sept. 5. For this novel Mank uses a straightforward, to-the-point writing style that keeps the reader wondering what is going to happen in the next chapter. The book also has a small photo section featuring the real-life people involved in the story. 

Film buffs and especially fans of Pre-Code cinema will appreciate PLATINUM WIDOW the most. It's an entertaining, if dark, read. When I talked to the author at this June's Monster Bash Conference outside of Pittsburgh, he wanted me to know that this is a work of fiction. He doesn't mean for people to think that he has officially "solved' what happened to Paul Bern, nor does he want readers to think that this is what he believes actually happened. It's a well-thought out speculation, and it presents a wild ride to those who are willing to take it. Greg Mank has many more Porter Down adventures planned, and I'm eagerly awaiting them. 

Thursday, July 6, 2023



After I first saw INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL, I wondered if the movie needed to be made in the first place. When INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY was first announced, I wondered the same thing....but a company like Disney isn't going to buy a famed product and not get some use out of it. 

DIAL OF DESTINY wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, and for the most part, it's better than CRYSTAL SKULL. Better, that is, until the last part of the film, when things really go off the rails. Some may accept the wild ending, while others may do like I did and sit in a theater thinking "What the--????" 

The movie starts in 1945, near the end of WWII, with Indy trying to stop desperate Nazis from destroying more historical artifacts. This opening sequence with a de-aged Harrison Ford has gotten a lot of attention--personally I thought the filmmakers might as well just have had the whole story set in 1945. Then things move to 1969, where the aged Indy, living a desultory life as a professor in New York City, is approached by his goddaughter (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) to search for the Archimedes Dial, a device that has the power to literally change history. A German scientist that Indy encountered in the opening sequence (Mads Mikkelsen) wants the Dial as well. 

DIAL OF DESTINY feels very much like a Marvel movie (which I believe is what Disney was aiming for). Director-co-writer James Mangold of course has superhero experience, and a lot of what makes up the film will be very familiar--two and a half hour running time, plenty of CGI, and and action set-pieces that go on just a bit too long. 

It's still a treat to watch Harrison Ford as Indy, no matter how old the actor might be. He fits right back into the character as if he never left it, effortlessly portraying Jones' sardonic attitude, impatience, and frustration (even in his younger days Indy was a grump). The script bends over backwards to make Phoebe Waller-Bridge a crowd-pleasing charming rogue, but I wasn't all that impressed (your mileage may vary). Mads Mikkelsen does another of his creepy bad guy roles. 

It was nice to see John Rhys-Davies as Sallah, despite his limited screen time (honestly, if Indy and Sallah had just sat around for a couple hours recounting their adventures, I would have been totally fine with that). 

One thing that needs to be pointed out about DIAL OF DESTINY is that it's somewhat darker than the usual brand name franchise summer fare. A lot of innocent folks are shot and killed, and Indy's life in 1969 is a sad and lonely one. 

Something else that struck me while watching DIAL OF DESTINY: there's been a spate of big-name movies in the last decade that have as a major plot device an attempt by various characters to go back in time and "fix" things. THE FLASH (which I saw a few weeks ago) has this device, and the biggest example is AVENGERS: ENDGAME....but this goes all the way back at least to X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. It seems it isn't enough now for heroic characters to save the world--they have to change it (and history) as well. What this says about early 21st Century pop culture, I don't know....but it's food for thought. 

As for DIAL OF DESTINY, I'd recommend seeing it in the theater, mainly because it's Harrison Ford's last go-round as Dr. Henry Jones, Jr......but does anyone seriously believe this is the last time?? 

Sunday, July 2, 2023



MINNESOTA CLAY is the second  Euro Western directed by Sergio Corbucci. First released in Italy in late 1964, it stars Cameron Mitchell in the title role (by this time Mitchell had plenty of experience working on productions made in Italy and Spain). 

The story is set in 1883, and Minnesota Clay, a famed gunman, is serving time in a prison labor camp near the Mexican border. Clay escapes and goes back to his hometown, looking for the men who set him up. Clay gets involved in a war between two factions trying to control the town--one group led by Mexican bandit chief Ortiz (Fernando Sancho) and the other by corrupt sheriff Fox (Georges Riviere). Clay tries to fend off both, and protect his long-lost daughter, while dealing with the fact that his eyesight is failing. 

MINNESOTA CLAY was released after A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, and it has a few similarities with that game-changing classic. Both movies deal with a deadly lone gunman and two warring criminal gangs, and at one point Cameron Mitchell is captured and beaten up just like Clint Eastwood was in FISTFUL. MINNESOTA CLAY is a much more traditional western, but it does have some cold-blooded elements typical of a Sergio Corbucci film. The climatic shootout nighttime shootout, in which Clay takes advantage of the darkness and uses his hearing to defeat his foes, has a touch of the Gothic about it, a style that would be much more pronounced in future Corbucci westerns. 

Cameron Mitchell's Minnesota Clay is a dour protagonist, and he isn't as intriguing as a Man With No Name or a Django. It does need to be pointed out that Clay has a lot on his mind, having just escaped from jail and gotten himself into a gang war. He also encounters the daughter that he never knew (and she in turn doesn't know who he really is). Clay's poor eyesight is an effective gimmick, and Corbucci would later use variations on this plot point, such as Django's mangled hands in DJANGO and the hero's mute status in THE GREAT SILENCE. 

Cameron Mitchell as MINNESOTA CLAY

There are plenty of familiar Spaghetti Western faces in the supporting cast, such as Antonio Casas. Georges Riviere is a particularly slimy villain, and Fernando Sancho plays one of his many larger-than-life Mexican warlords. Every performer in the film is overshadowed by Ethel Rojo as the sexy but duplicitous Estella, who uses her devious charms on Ortiz, Fox, and Clay in order to get what she wants. 

The version I watched of MINNESOTA CLAY was on the Tubi channel, and while the visual quality was decent enough, the English dub track was mediocre, with plenty of clunky dialogue and campy voice overs. The English version of this movie also ends very abruptly after the climax of the final shootout. International versions feature a coda after the shootout, which presents a more positive outcome. I was able to view the alternate ending on the internet, and personally I think the finale of the English version is much better. 

I wouldn't call MINNESOTA CLAY a great Euro Western, or even one of Sergio Corbucci's better Westerns. It will probably be appreciated by those who don't like the more wild and wacky aspects of the Spaghetti Western genre.