Clint Eastwood stars in the iconic spaghetti western by Sergio Leone

‘A Fistful of Dollars’ on Amazon Prime

When Sergio Leone’s sunbaked A Fistful of Dollars (1964) rode into American theaters, caked in dust and sweat and stubble, critics dismissed it a cheap western, and a European knock-off at that. It was a blatant rip-off of Akira Kurosawa’s cynical samurai hit Yojimbo with American TV star Clint Eastwood, known to audiences as the impetuous […]

‘The Executioner’ – a satire of Spain under Franco on Criterion Channel

The Executioner (Spain, 1963), Luis García Berlanga’s black comedy about an apprentice undertaker who marries the daughter of a veteran prison executioner and reluctantly takes his father-in-law’s job so they do not lose their government apartment, is a social satire with a sly sense of humor. Nino Manfredi plays the undertaker, a frustrated young man […]

Maribel Verdú in Pablo Berger's 'Blancanieves' from Spain

‘Blancanieves’ on The Criterion Channel

Blancanieves (2009), an inventive retelling of Snow White as a silent-movie melodrama in the 1920s world of bullfighting royalty and flamenco style in Spain, stirs in grand melodrama, circus fantasy, and toreador hero worship with a mix of silent film conventions and contemporary storytelling. We’re talking the same sort of modern silent film as The […]

Carlos Gomez and Silke star in the film by Julio Medem

Blu-ray: ‘Tierra,’ ‘Vacas,’ ‘Red Squirrel’ – Three by Julio Medem on Olive

Vacas (Olive Films, Blu-ray, DVD) Red Squirrel (Olive Films, Blu-ray, DVD) Tierra (Olive Films, Blu-ray, DVD) The vivid and lush films of Spain’s Julio Medem are as much about his country’s distinctive landscapes and natural wonders as they are about the restless and obsessive characters that wander through his world. Lovers of the Arctic Circle […]

Jorge Grau directs this Spanish/Italian zombie film shot in England

‘Let Sleeping Corpses Lie’ on Amazon Prime

One of the best zombie shockers of the 1970s, Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974), also known as The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue and Don’t Open the Window, is a real international affair. Inspired by George Romero’s genre-shattering Night of the Living Dead, this Spanish/Italian co-production was shot in the English countryside by a Spanish […]