The Grand Duel

1972

Western

95
IMDb Rating 6.5 10 2,088

Synopsis


Downloaded 10,706 times
May 18, 2019

Cast

Lee Van Cleef as Fante
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
761.64 MB
1280*720
Italian
NR
23.976 fps
98 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.46 GB
1920×1080
Italian
NR
23.976 fps
98 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by The_Void 7 / 10 / 10

Van Cleef is the standout in a good example of the genre

It could be said that The Grand Dual is merely a vehicle for its lead star, and whoever said it wouldn't necessarily be wrong; but while this film doesn't feature a lot of originality, it's also true that Italian cinema was based on repeating itself, and the film definitely succeeds in providing an enjoyable slice of western action. The script was penned by Giallo supremo Ernesto Gastaldi (The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh, The Case of the Bloody Iris), and that's not surprising as there are shades of Giallo throughout, and the film works both as both as a violent action flick and an intriguing mystery film. The plot focuses on Sheriff Clayton as he becomes involved in the murder of a man so-called 'The Patriarch' through his association with the sly Philipp Wermeer. The film follows the pair as they make their way through bandits and bounty hunters and eventually end up in Saxon town, where the sons of the Patriarch live. They've fingered Wermeer as the murderer of their father, and naturally want him hanged; but there's a twist to the identity of the murderer. Lee Van Cleef made his name with Sergio Leone and the masterpiece westerns 'For a Few Dollars More' and, of course, 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly'. This film is nowhere near the quality of those two, but Van Cleef does well in his 'man in black role', which is a variation on the common western 'loner' theme, which was made famous by the likes of Clint Eastwood and Django. Van Cleef's presence is felt throughout, and he continually makes every scene his own. As you might expect, the rest of the cast don't live up to the central star; but even so, The Grand Dual features a good ensemble cast, and Peter O'Brien does especially well in his central role. The film features a lot of shootouts and chases on horseback, which are always good to see; but at times, The Grand Dual puts too much focus on entertainment value and this can mean that the plot suffers. Even so, the story plays out well; and the final twist is a real standout, as even though it's pretty obvious throughout - Gastaldi manages to throw in a twist just before it, which makes the final twist come as a surprise. Overall, this film isn't one of the great Spaghetti westerns - but it's a good one and comes recommended.

Reviewed by cdelacroix1 8 / 10 / 10

Lee Van Cleef, Man In Black

I read the other comments previous to mine, and won't add to what's already been said, except to say that I really thought there were some remarkable features here. For example, there's the device of panning a shot from point A to point B. I'm sure there's a technical term for this kind of shot, but I'm no professional, and don't know what it is. But what seemed to me unusual was the very smooth, automatic auto-timing of the transition. Say looking at Clayton for a few long seconds; then as if someone flips a switch, the camera looks from Clayton to Wermeer, traveling at a fixed rate of speed; and upon arriving at Wermeer, the camera proceeds to look at Wermeer for several long seconds. There were some strange anachronisms. The hair styles seemed very much out of 1970s era. Some of the strangest "western" headgear I've ever seen were in evidence. These chapeaux looked more like something from the Mardi Gras of New Orleans or the Carnivale of Milano than any Western story. Likewise, the almost Gucci-esquire look of the attire of Adam Saxon. Some very "spaghetti western" style over-the-top grittiness. So in the opening scene, the tall, tall, tall rock. Then we have Lee Van Cleef playing Clayton in a black, black Western outfit in stark contrast to the white outfits of the Saxons. Then we have this strange contraption involving a gun booby-trap set up to blow up their carriage on opening the door near Silver Bell. I loved the game of checkers played with full shot glasses that the players drank whenever they "jumped" someone. Then the room Clayton stays in, full of bullet holes in the walls. When he asks the proprietress if he could have another room, she says there are three kinds of rooms there: "rooms with women in them; rooms for card-games; and this one is for shooting bullets in." Nuff said, right? I loved the final scene ... sort of a Spaghetti Western version of the Shootout at the OK Corral. The love of the grotesque - such as Adam Saxon's pock-marked face - he is sardonically called "Pocksy" at one point. The typical spaghetti western tongue-in-cheek humor is present in such bits, and throughout the movie. All in all, if you like spaghetti westerns, please do yourself a favor, get this one on DVD, and enjoy! Charles Delacroix

Reviewed by zardoz-13 8 / 10 / 10

Above Average Italian Oater Enhanced by Lee Van Cleef and A Terrific Orchestral Score

Prolific Spaghetti western scenarist Ernesto Gastaldi penned the script for this Lee Van Cleef continental oater "The Grand Duel," directed with considerable competence by Giancarlo Santi. Although he didn't helm any Spaghetti westerns aside from "Grand Duel" on his own, Santi served as Sergio Leone's assistant director on "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" (1966) and his masterpiece "Once Upon A Time in the West" (1968) as well as Giulio Petroni's assistant director on "Death Rides A Horse"(1967). In short, not only did Santi know how to stage gunfights, but he also knew about the conventions of the Spaghetti western bullet ballet. Originally, Santi was hired to direct "Duck You Sucker," but Rod Steiger's complaints prompted Leone to replace Santi. "The Grand Duel" ranks high up in the lower 25 Spaghetti westerns out of the best 100. Three things make it memorable. First, this above-average shoot'em up benefits largely from Lee Van Cleef's iconic gimlet-eyed presence. Second, the mystery gradually unraveled --presented in surrealistic flashbacks--generates suspense and tension. Third, Sergio Bardotti & Luis Enriquez Bacalov's unforgettable orchestral score that signals the tonal changes in the narrative. Roughly speaking, the motives of the characters in "The Grand Duel" reverse the relationship between the old gunslinger (Henry Fonda) and youthful gunfighter (Terence Hill) in Tonino Valerii's "My Name Is Nobody." Meanwhile, Van Cleef's entrance in "The Grand Duel" imitates his striking introduction in Leone's "For A Few Dollars More." In these Italian horse operas, Van Cleef is presented initially as a commercial passenger. In "The Grand Duel," he rides in a stagecoach, while he rides in a train with his head bowed beneath a black hat in "For A Few Dollars More." In the latter film, Van Cleef concealed his face behind a huge Bible when he asked the conductor about the train making an unscheduled stop. The conductor warns him they aren't going to stop where Van Cleef's frock-coated, black hat clad character wants. Nevertheless, Van Cleef tugs the emergency cord, halting the train, and disembarks to fetch his horse from the freight car. As "The Grand Duel" opens, lawmen fire warning shots at the stagecoach that Sheriff Clayton (Lee Van Cleef) is riding in and refuse to let Big Horse (Jess Han of "Escape from Death Row") enter Gila Bend. They explain that escaped killer Philipp Wermeer (one-time-only actor Peter O'Brien, aka Alberto Dentice) has holed up with a girl in town after breaking out of jail in Jefferson. The authorities have posted a $3-thousand bounty on Vermeer's head. Nevertheless, Clayton disembarks and strolls without any apparent concern past two lawmen and several bounty hunters to quench his thirst in Gila Bend. This introductory scene unfolds at a leisurely pace as it covers points, such as where the bounty hunters are hidden and Clayton's imperturbability in the face of death. Clayton indicates the positions of all the bounty hunters to Vermeer. Later, after our wrongly convicted hero eludes the bounty hunters during a furious horse chase. The villains kill his horse, but he flags down a stagecoach. The entire scene resembles the scene from John Ford's "Stagecoach" when Ringo (John Wayne) who was afoot clambered inside the vehicle. The omniscient Lee Van Cleef hero dominates the action. The hooked-nosed, veteran Hollywood heavy delivers a stern but seasoned performance as the worldly-wise elder. Van Cleef smokes his signature curved pipe. Actually, when we meet Clayton, he is no longer the sheriff of Jefferson. He protested Philip Vermeer's conviction and the authorities stripped him of his badge. Earlier, he had taken the Patriarch to court three times. Eventually, as the best man with a gun in the entire state, Clayton ushers in justice above the law. Anyway, one of the Patriarch's sons Eli Saxon (bald headed Marc Mazza of "Moonraker") accused Philipp Vermeer of killing the Patriarch, (Horst Frank in a dual role wearing whiskers), a wealthy, unscrupulous power-broker hated by half of the state. Vermeer suspects that the Patriarch had his father shot in the back because he learned about the silver on Vermeer's land. Meanwhile, Eli demands to know the identity of the man who killed his father. Clayton reminds Eli that the Patriarch was gunned down from behind and that Vermeer stood in front of them at the railway depot. Clearly, Vermeer couldn't have killed the Patriarch. The vicious and degenerate "Grand Duel" villains qualify as challenging adversaries. David (Horst Frank of "Johnny Hamlet") rules the Saxon clan, while Eli serves as Saxon City's marshal, and Adam Saxon (Klaus Grunberg of "Fire, Ice, and Dynamite") runs the saloon. Grunberg plays Adam as a depraved homosexual who wears a vanilla-white suit, fedora, and constantly caresses a long scarf looped around his neck. The first time that we see Adam, he guns down an old man that his henchmen have thrown out of the saloon. Later, Adam massacres a wagon train with a machine gun and Brother David orders him to leave no eyewitnesses. David's words: "In a violent country, he who seizes today, controls tomorrow," epitomizes his treachery. "The Grand Duel" plays out in three settings: first in Gila Bend; second at the isolated Silver Bells stagecoach station, and third in Saxon City where a showdown occurs in the stock pens in traditional western style. Santi never lets the action malinger. He does a good job with the first large-scale gunfight at the stagecoach station. The bounty vermin not only blow-up the stagecoach, but also shoot each other to increase their shares after Vermeer surrenders. The Saxon City shootout when Vermin pole vaults to safety is neat. The black & white night sequence that he stages during the Patriarch's killing has surrealistic quality. Meantime, hardcore Lee Van Cleef fans won't want to miss "The Grand Duel" for its several shootouts as well as the twists and turns in Gastaldi's screenplay. Get the wide-screen Wild East DVD; it surpasses the full-frame, public domain DVD or the foreign, semi-letterboxed version.

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