The world of the spaghetti western generally gets divided into the films of Sergio Leone and a bunch of bad movies. But it’s a bit more complicated than this. There is a highly entertaining second tier of these films. Sergio Corbucci ruled this level and his 1970 film Compañeros is a prime example of his work. This is just a great combination of ridiculous and awesome. Tomas Milian plays El Vasco, a dumb revolutionary in thrall to the corrupt and evil leader Mongo. Franco Nero is The Swede, a bomb and weapons expert who Mongo is hiring, but who gets caught up in rescuing the nonviolent leader of a student movement, Professor Xantos. There would be plenty of awesome hijinks and superb explosions if this was the whole plot. But who should show up but the Swede’s archenemy, John Svedese, played gloriously by Jack Palance. This character is described on the back of the DVD as a “marijuana crazed sadist,” and that’s pretty much it. He smokes a shitton of weed, commits ridiculous levels of violence, and, oh yeah, his chief ally in his violence is his falcon. So yes, he’s also a falconer. Oh and the falcon had to eat through his arm to free him after a previous encounter with the Swede. Palance is pretty good at acting ridiculously stoned. Maybe he was.
The excellent Morricone soundtrack goes without saying.
Anyway, this is the peak of fun.
Whole thing seems to be streaming on YouTube.