A chain mail-clad gunfighter contends with a pacifist sheriff, a seductive banker, a one-armed Mexican bandit, corrupt businessmen and hippies while trying to learn the secret of the money allegedly stolen by his lynched brother.
User Reviews: The French Elvis, Johnny Hallyday is excellent, physically well-cast and impressive as the recurring main character in hundreds of Italian westerns: the lanky, silent stranger with supernatural shooting skills, and for the most part, not particularly interested in having sex with any of the gorgeous girls that filled the Italian westerns.
"The Stranger" character is more interested in dollars or gold but it’s rarely explained in most films what his goal would be once he gets said dollars. The prototype was Clint Eastwood followed by Franco Nero, Terrence Hill, Anthony Steffen, George Hilton, Mark Damon, John Phillip Law, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Giuliano Gemma, Gianni Garko, Chuck Connors, Robert Woods, Charles Bronson, Tony Anthony and other actors. Abstract and surreal, the one-dimensional characters in Italian westerns have nothing in common with the more complex characters in American western films and, especially, TV shows that presented westerners faced with the problems and challenges of daily life. An example of this is the character Connors played in Castellari’s Kill Them All and Come Back Alone compared to the single dad Lucas McCain raising a son in The Rifleman, a violent show yet filled with great humanity.
Hallyday gives a measured performance, much cooler than the explosive Law was in Death Rides A Horse, lighting the ever-present cigarillo and protecting a beautiful girl from harassing proto-hippies who enjoy rolling in mud holes while dealing elsewhere with a beautiful lady crime boss. Gli Specialisti also includes Mexican banditos, white townspeople (in Nevada), and a closing massacre that wipes out the town. His casting is as unusual as Trintignant’s was in The Great Silence, an actor not associated with westerns like Hilton and Steffen were.
As realized in his The Great Silence, and Django, Corbucci had a great eye for scenic and unusual locations that elevated his films from the many Italian westerns that all shared the same geography. His locations are an important part of his westerns. Gli Specialisti never struck a major chord in audiences and Euro western fans but it’s well worth repeated viewings.