The Great Silence

1968 Spaghetti Western

Rating: 17/20

Plot: In blizzardy Utah in the late 1800s, bounty hunters run amok, bringing in loads of dead outlaws for financial gain. The titular mute doesn't like them very much and finds ways of getting them mad enough to draw their guns so that he can shoot them in self defense. One widow tries to get Silence to kill a bounty hunter named Loco who shot her husband.

The Great Silence is one of those westerns where the setting is almost more important than the characters. The hills these hills inhabit are drowned in snow, and watching these horses trudge through the mounds of white is impressive. The mute good guy played by Jean-Louis Trintignant is fine as a sort of Eastwood Man-With-No-Name-But-With-a-Nickname. Apparently he was a mute because the actor would only take the role if he didn't have any lines to learn. But he's a cool character with a cool gun. Klaus Kinski dominates as Loco, however, stealing each scene with his eyes. What a great villain! The dubbing in this isn't great although I wonder if Kinski actually did the dubbing for Loco. It sort of sounded like him. I did enjoy the exaggerated dubbed chewing sounds because there's nothing like hearing a guy slurp a chicken. My favorite scene that is not at the end of the movie: a tossed match into a glass of whiskey during a poker game. Nice tension. But the end of this movie? That's what pushes it a notch higher than its Italian Western peers. It's an ending that'll leave your jaw dropping. Great Morricone score, too, if you're into that sort of thing.


cory said...

Spagetti western? Morricone? It's now at the top of my queue.

Shane said...

And Kinski!

Excuse the dubbing; love the ending.

cory said...

Another movie based on real life events, but this one didn't work at all, for me (maybe not enough penis'). Everything seemed second rate, even for a spaghetti western. I was very disappointed in Morricone's dissonant, grating score. Kinski was OK, but a serious ham, and the silent man had almost no charisma. The action was uninvolving, didn't lead anywhere, and concluded with one of the most depressing, pointless endings I have ever seen (even considering the historical basis). Considering how it ended, why even have a hero, especially this hero? Most unforgivably, you gave this a higher grade than the infinitely superior "A Fistful of Dollars". I am curious if anyone outside of cast or crew family members has ever considered "The Great Silence" a better film. A 10 for the first spaghetti western I haven't liked.

Shane said...

Ham? Well, that nudges against blasphemy.
This one is on quite a few "best of" lists; other than that, don't know what to tell ya. Did think the ending was perfect for this particular hero. As for being better than "Dollars"? That's got that dickhead in it, so there you's also a remake of a far superior film.

And I did enjoy the score.