'Fort Yuma Gold' & 'Damned Hot Day of Fire' BD: Double Feature of Tarantino's Favorite Spaghetti Westerns
The Mill Creek Entertainment March 12, 2019 in brilliant living color and sound Blu-ray release of the spaghetti-western double-feature "Fort Yuma Gold" and "Damned Hot Day of Fire" allows entering the psyche of master of artistic mayhem Quentin Tarantino. The back-cover notes for this set include that "The Spaghetti Western Database" identifies these films as the favorite ones of Tarantino in this genre.
The intriguing concepts of each film alone makes one understand the affinity of Tarantino. The amusing blend of Italian and American culture is a bonus.
Few can argue that "Yuma" (a.k.a. "For a Few Extra Dollars") is the better of the two films based on story, production, and performances.
Montgomery Wood (nee Giuliano Gemma) stars as actual rebel with a cause Lt. Gary Hammond. This good ole boy is a post-war prisoner at a Calvary fort when we meet him. He is a southern gentleman in the face of intense Yankee aggression until one of his "hosts" pushes things too far.
The plot thickens on the fort commander making Hammond an offer that he cannot refuse. A primary aspect of that solicitation is that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
In simpler terms, the officer who is not much of a gentleman recruits Hammond to join a group that is going to the titular fort to warn of an impending two-prong attack.
Rebel Major (rather than Colonel) Sanders is plotting to rob Yuma of a $1M Army payroll. The horse that Hammond has in the race is that a group of his confederates (pun intended) is on their way to attack Yuma without realizing that they are a sacrificial decoy for Sanders. The Japanese soldiers who continue to fight WWII after a cessation of those hostilities are the modern equivalent of the southern soldiers.
Hammond and his keepers then hit the dusty trail on the way to Yuma. Their adventures include encounters with aptly named dance hall performer Connie Breastfull.
A bunch of brawling and romancing leads to the inevitable showdown that illustrates how the west was won,
The highly entertaining Civil War era "Fire" (nee "Gatling Gun") plays out like an episode of the '60s western action-comedy version of "Batman" '66 "The Wild Wild West."
The evil Tarpas is in illegal possession of both inventor Gatling and the gun that bears his name. The plot of Tarpas is to sell the weapon to the south and the man to the north. Tarpas shows additional neutrality by demanding an equal ransom from both sides.
Our hero this time is Pinkerton man Chris Tanner, whom his boss arranges to go undercover to avoid beating his prey to the firing squad. Tanner encountering the Italian speaking brothers of the man whom Tanner is impersonating provides wonderful unintentional humor.
Like "Yuma" this leads to a classic western ending.
The appeal of the MCE release extends well beyond facilitating a double feature of these classics. The remastering and the Blu-ray enhancement allows seeing these tales trying to depict the open spaces of the old west in a manner that is far superior to when they appeared on the silver screen,