Director: Sergio Sollima
Screenplay: Pompeo De Angelis, Sergio Sollima
Starring: Tomas Milian, Donald O’Brien, Linda Veras, Marco Guglielmi, José Torres, Chelo Alonso, Luciano Rossi, Nello Pazzafini, Orso Maria Guerrini
Country: Italy, France
Running Time: 120 min (uncut) 85 min (theatrical)
Year: 1968
BBFC Certificate: 12

Sergio Sollima is enjoying somewhat of a quiet resurgence in popularity with a number of his films getting boutique Blu-ray releases over the past few years, after hiding in the shadows as an Italian director of note. Eureka kicked things off a while ago by releasing Face to Face on Blu-ray. They followed that up with Revolver last year and now they seem to view Sollima in higher regard as they’re releasing Run, Man, Run (a.k.a. Corri uomo corri) under their Masters of Cinema banner rather than Eureka Classics, like the other two.

The film is the third in a series of westerns directed by Sollima and starring Tomas Milian, following on from The Big Gundown and Face to Face. The Big Gundown is a serious-minded action-thriller, Face to Face is more political, brooding and also very serious. Run Man Run, on the other hand, is the lightest of the trio, bringing in more comedy than the other two, though the politics are there, under the occasionally broadly comic surface.

Despite its seeming accessibility, it didn’t receive a theatrical release in the UK or US (only The Big Gundown did, of the three Sollima/Milian westerns) and it was severely truncated when its English language version was released in a number of territories, as well as when it finally hit VHS in the UK in the early 80s. Eureka are providing viewers with both versions of the film in their limited edition 2-disc set.

Being a spaghetti western fan, I got hold of a copy of Run, Man, Run and my thoughts follow.

The film sees Milian reprise his role from The Big Gundown as Manuel ‘Cuchillo’ Sanchez, a scruffy, knife-welding thief (making Run, Man, Run a loose sequel to the earlier film). After aiding in the escape of the poet Ramirez (José Torres), Cuchillo is given the location for a stash of hidden gold intended to support the Mexican Revolution.

The trouble is, Ramirez’ stash of gold is legendary, so Cuchillo finds himself pursued by mercenaries, bandits, corrupt officials, an American gunslinger, a Salvation Army Sergeant and even his fiancé, all of whom want their hands on the gold. The cheeky scoundrel must have all his wits about him (and his trusty knives) if he is to survive and get the loot to its rightful owner.

As you might guess from my brief synopsis, thematically the film looks at the greed of man and how a revolution that seems to be for the people can be used as an excuse to get rich, whilst those in need of freedom are held back by the greedy. Sollima was a known leftist and his politics are clear here, though never rubbed in your face.

The aforementioned comic slant to the film helps prevent it from getting bogged down in political grandstanding and, whilst the comedy can be quite broad, it’s generally quite effective, with a lot of humour stemming from Cuchillo’s enjoyably shameless behaviour.

The Cuban Milian plays it big, in traditional Italian fashion, though doesn’t push it so over the top as to spoil the drama. He began his career as a ‘serious’ actor, training in New York’s Actor’s Studio. It was after this and The Big Gundown that he started playing with these more broad, comedic performances, playing a scruffy vagabond that doesn’t play by the rules but, in an offbeat way, fights for the people. He developed this further in a series of Eurocrime movies in the ‘70s.

Run, Man, Run also boasts some handsome cinematography, with Sollima and DOP Guglielmo Mancori making great use of their wide frame. A portion of the film also moves up to Camposecco, Camerata Nuova (standing in for Sierra Nevada) for a short while, which provides a snowy interlude to the otherwise typically dusty and dirty locations.

The score is rich and varied too. It’s credited to Bruno Nicolai, but Sollima has claimed that Ennio Morricone also worked on it. It certainly has a Morricone sound in places and Nicolai was a known collaborator with the illustrious composer, conducting a number of his most famous soundtracks.

Though hardly original, I found the story, which is loaded with characters, very engaging. The cut theatrical version loses a whopping 35 minutes. I didn’t get around to watching it, but with that much cut out I imagine the storytelling takes a big hit. Reportedly one or two characters are excised completely, which is a shame, as they all bring something to the equation.

Overall, with a well-balanced mix of comedy, action and drama, some interesting characters and an engaging story, Run, Man, Run is an all-together classy example of the spaghetti western genre in its heyday.

Film:

Run, Man, Run is out on 23rd January on Blu-Ray in the UK, released by Eureka as part of their Masters of Cinema series. The picture quality varies slightly throughout the film, with some shots/sequences a little softer and more washed out than others. This is possibly due to differing sources for the two cuts of the film. It nonetheless has quite a natural look and is pleasing enough, even if it’s not quite reference-quality material. You get both English and Italian options (I believe on both cuts, but I forgot to check the theatrical cut). I watched the uncut version with the Italian audio and it sounded decent for the most part, though there are a few slightly rough patches, likely due to the source material.

THE SPECIAL EDITION 2-DISC BLU-RAY INCLUDES

– Limited Edition slipcase featuring new artwork by Tony Stella
– Limited Edition reversible poster
– 1080p presentation on Blu-ray from a definitive 4K restoration of the original uncut version of the film, with additional colour grading completed exclusively for this release
– Optional English subtitles, newly translated for this release
– Restored English and Italian audio options (original mono presentations)
– Brand new audio commentary with writers Barry Forshaw and Kim Newman (Uncut Version)
– Brand new interview with film scholar Stephen Thrower
– Alternate opening credits
– Theatrical Trailer

DISC 2 LIMITED BONUS DISC
– Run, Man, Run – The Theatrical Cut (85 mins) – the original theatrical release version of the film, presented in 1080p from a 4K restoration with additional colour grading completed exclusively for this release (Limited Edition Exclusive)
– Brand new audio commentary with author Howard Hughes and filmmaker Richard Knew (Theatrical Version – Limited Edition Exclusive)
– Reversible sleeve
– A collector’s booklet featuring two new essays by Howard Hughes, covering both the film and the “Zapata Western” sub-genre.

The inclusion of both cuts is a big selling point, though I must admit I didn’t get around to watching the shorter theatrical cut.

Kim Newman and Barry Forshaw provide an enjoyable and informative commentary that digs deep into what makes the film tick, whilst providing plenty of background on the key players behind the production.

Howard Hughes and Richard Knew’s track, which plays over the shorter theatrical cut, similarly talks about the film’s qualities and the histories of those involved, as well as explaining what was taken out in this version.

In his interview, Stephen Thrower begins by discussing where the film stands against the other Sollima-Milian collaborations, then goes on to talk about the lead actor’s career. Then he closes out by talking about the film’s strengths. It’s a valuable addition to the set.

The booklet contains a pair of illuminating essays, one looking at Sollima’s trio of westerns made with Milian, giving plenty of background on Run, Man, Run, and the other running through the history of the Mexican Revolution as depicted in westerns.

So, Eureka provide a well-curated package for an enjoyable western. As such, it comes warmly recommended.

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Editor of films and videos as well as of this site. On top of his passion for film, he also has a great love for music and his family.

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