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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

The Great Silence

   ‘The Great Silence’ is a 1968 revisionist Spaghetti Western film directed and co-written by Sergio Corbucci. The plot takes place in Utah prior to the Great Blizzard of 1899, pitting a mute gunslinger fighting in the defence of a group of outlaws and a vengeful young widow against a group of ruthless bounty killers led by “Loco” and a corrupt banker and justice of the peace.
   The mute gunslinger goes by the name of ‘Silence,’ who works on a principle whereby he provokes his enemies into drawing their weapons first so he can kill them in self-defence with his Mauser C96. At one time Silence leaves for the town saloon, and attempts to provoke Loco into drawing. Instead, Loco savagely beats him before Silence fights back. Angered, Loco attempts to shoot him, but he is stopped by Sheriff Burnett, who arrests him for attempted murder and prepares to take him to a prison in Tonopah. Meanwhile, a woman called Pauline becomes romantically and sexually involved with Silence while tending his wounds. There is a final duel between Silence and Loco outside the Saloon. Silence stands outside the saloon, a killer shoots his left hand, greatly impairing his speed and marksmanship. Loco then stands in the doorway, ready to face the weakened Silence. As Silence begins reaching for his Mauser, Loco reaches for his Colt Single Action Army, but as Silence draws, another wounding shot is fired. Loco fires at Silence's head, killing him. Such is a brief synopsis of the film.
   There are a number of parallels between ‘The Great Silence’ and ‘Living In Harmony.’ The mute gunslinger for one, perhaps the fact that the Kid and Silence are both shot dead in the street outside a Saloon my well be coincidental. Both the episode and the film have a corrupt Judge, a girl who becomes romantically involved with the hero, Cathy in the one case, and Pauline in the other. And finally the Kid tries to provoke those who stand in his way into a gunfight, as Silence tries to provoke his enemies into drawing their weapons in the film to make it look like self defence.
   I have recently been given a copy of ‘The Big Silence,’ and am looking forward to watching it at a later date.

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