Stark Reviews: A Man from the Boulevard des Capucines (1987)

A Man from the Boulevard des Capucines

Stark says: May I drop dead if that thing doesn't clear the head better than whiskey

I bet after I reviewed Lemonade Joe – the bizarre, brilliant Czech Soviet-era comedy musical western – you thought you were safe. “There cannot be another Soviet-era comedy musical western,” you may have said. “That would be absurd, and reviewing it would be willfully niche.”

But then I discovered A Man from the Boulevard des Capucines. What did you expect me to do? I pounced on it like a bobcat on a rump steak.

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Stark Reviews: A Fistful of Fingers (1995)

Fistful of Fingers

Stark says:

“What are you digging for?”

“Fuck knows!”

"Don’t you call me a Fuck Nose!” *Punch*

Somewhere in London, at the very back of a filing cabinet in my agent's office, there's novel that – if I can help it – will never see the light of day. Thinking about it makes me squirm with embarrassment. It's my debut and it's a mess; a big, insane mash-up of influences that were swimming around my nineteen-year old head and which scatter-gunned mercilessly onto the page.

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Stark Reviews: Lemonade Joe (1964)

Lemonade Joe

Stark says: “Wounds, shock, sore feet, Kolaloka will cure all!”

Ever since I staggered headfirst into a clip from Lemonade Joe on YouTube, I’ve been dying to review it. “Who the hell is that?” I thought, watching a man with a curly moustache prance through a musical routine, “what is this film? Why are those Jan Švankmajer-style wax heads spinning around? Wait, IS THIS A WESTERN?”

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Stark Reviews: Alice's Wild West Show (1924)

image from 66.media.tumblr.com

Stark says: “Gimme uh double one”

Yes, so granted you’re getting used to me reviewing some pretty odd Westerns, but I have to say this one’s particularly odd, even for me. In it a six-year old girl – who also happens to be Sheriff – smokes a cigar and cheerfully massacres a room full of strangers, later beating up a load of troublemakers with a stick. Sounds like something out of a peyote-crazed Acid Western, right?

Wrong. It’s a Disney film.

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Stark Reviews: Ride in the Whirlwind (1965)

Ride in the Whirlwind

Stark says: “Obliged.”

Monte Hellman’s Westerns are a strange breed. For one thing, it’s hard to talk about one without talking about the other. The Shooting and Ride in the Whirlwind were shot back to back, after the film’s financier reckoned that, if you’re making one film, why the hell not make two? And while both are considered to be prime examples of revisionist, acid Westerns, they’re also very different films. As a Western, The Shooting, written by Carole Eastman, is female-led, abstract, uncompromising and hallucinogenic. Ride in the Whirlwind, on the other hand, is defiantly realistic; more conventional and plot-driven. It was also written, produced and acted in by Jack Nicholson.

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Stark Reviews: Day of the Outlaw (1959)

Day of the Outlaw

Stark says: “You won't find much mercy anywhere in Wyoming.

Seen The Revenant, yet? No? Well, if you’re pushed for time but harbouring a hankering for a hardscrabble, snow-choked Western, then go for Day of the Outlaw instead. If nothing else, it’ll save you an hour and a half, which you can spend doing… other things. Like smoking meat or practising macramé.

I will admit, there’s less grunting than there is in The Revenant, and less bear. Directed by Hungarian-born Andre de Toth – of House of Wax fame – what’s on offer here is a psychological, powder-keg of a Western that feels less like a yee-haw-thankee-ma’am-cowboy-movie and more like a taut, 1930s noir thriller.

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Stark Reviews: Duck, You Sucker A.K.A. A Fistful of Dynamite (1971)

A-Fistful-of-Dynamite

Stark says: “If you shoot me, I’ll fall. And if I fall, they’ll have to alter all the maps.”

A Fistful of Dynamite… sounds almost like a Leone film doesn’t it? Yeah, well that’s because it is a Leone film: his least known and most overlooked Western, but a Leone film all the same. It also marks his exit from the Western genre with a deafening, nitroglycerine-fuelled bang.

We’ve covered a few Western subgenres – weird westerns, acid westerns, dinosaur westerns, surrealist animated Westerns – but get ready because here’s another one coming at you: a revisionist-epic-spaghetti-Zapata Western.

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Stark Reviews: West & Soda (1965)

West and Soda

Stark says: “If he’s dead, why is he still smoking?”

I first came across West & Soda a few months back, after taking a tumble into a dusty corner of the Internet. As soon as I saw the words “1960s Italian animated parody Western” I just knew I had to get me a copy of the DVD.

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