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The Hills Run Red: Italian Westerns, Leone, and Beyond

Thursday, January 10, 2013
7:00 p.m. Duck, You Sucker
Sergio Leone (Italy/Spain, 1971)

Score by Ennio Morricone!
Watch the trailer

(Giù la testa). Many of Leone's neo-Westerns take place in an unspecified borderland where unruly winds blow in from the south. For Duck, You Sucker, he moves his troops to the source of those winds, torrid Mexico, just in time for the undoing of Porfirio Diaz's dictatorship. Sputtering in Spanglish, Rod Steiger plays Juan, a bandito bent on burglarizing el banco. Then he meets Sean Mallory (James Coburn), mispronouncing his name as John, and their "destiny" is set: Juan and John, an unstoppable alliteration. Sean is a disillusioned revolutionary with explosive skills that include nitroglycerin. "You make the holes with the holy water," Juan suggests. Duck, You Sucker is Leone's strangest concoction—a mix of high camp, booming ordnance, and radical zeal. 

—Steve Seid

• Written by Leone, Sergio Donati, Luciano Vincenzoni, from a story by Leone, Donati. Photographed by Giuseppe Ruzzolini. With James Coburn, Rod Steiger, Romolo Valli, Jean-Michel Antoine. (158 mins, Color, 'Scope, 35mm, From Park Circus)