5/11/10

Quick Draw: Find a Place to Die (1968)

Heya, folks. In an effort to review some films that I want to watch but might not deserve/ need the full treatment, I’m introducing a new category on the Lair, Quick Draw. These pocket reviews will pop up here and there when I have time between feature films. I hope you enjoy them and check out some of the films I talk about in brief. In honor of the title of this segment, I thought I should start with a Western so I chose 1968’s Joe... cercati un posto per morire! or as it is known in English Find a Place to Die.

The plot is pretty simplistic. A geologist and his wife Lisa (Pascale Petit) strike it rich at a gold mine, but they are attacked by bandits who want to steal their bounty. The geologist fends them off with dynamite but causes a rockslide that pins him under some rubble. He sends Lisa off to the nearest town to find help where she encounters the washed up military man Joe Collins (Jeffery Hunter). With the promise of a thousand dollars, Lisa convinces him to come to her husband’s aid. Joe assembles a group including a gun runner, a suspiciously dangerous priest, and a big bruiser to come along. Time is working against them as well as the deadly bandit Chato (Mario Dardanelli) who would love to get his hands on the gold as the group takes off through the desert to save the trapped man.

Find a Place to Die has a bevy of interesting characters, but as they are trapped in a mundane story, there is little for them to do. From early on in the film, you can practically predict all the twists and turns that are to come, but the film does stay entertaining throughout thanks to the inspired performances. Star Jeffery Hunter was best known for co-starring with John Wayne in The Searchers and from being the first Captain of the Enterprise in Star Trek's pilot The Cage. He was very charismatic as Joe and made for a solid Western hero, but his career never really reached the heights it should have due to his addiction to alcohol. Only a year later Hunter would pass away due to a fall he took while recovering from a stroke.

Director Giulano Carimeo definitely was not doing his best work here (that would probably be his single entry into the giallo genre The Case of the Bloody Iris), but the film is solid enough to be entertaining. I wouldn’t go as far as to recommend it to anyone just getting into Spaghetti Westerns. Find a Place to Die is more of a film for the hardcore fan or completists, but those folks will find something to like here even though it surely doesn’t reach the heights of the genre’s classics. Plus what other movie would you find a gun toting priest, a hooker who sings the title song, and an unsettling close relationship between a big bruiser and his feminine acting pal? Like I said, Find a Place to Die has interesting characters, but it can’t summon up much for them to do.

Bugg Rating

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