La Vita, a volte, molto dura, vero Provvidenza? (1972)

a.k.a Life Is Tough, Eh Providence?

Tomas Milian stars in this incredibly daft but not very clever Ennio Morricone scored Spaghetti Western. RHV Italian R0 disc.


The Film

The bounty hunter Providence (Tomas Milian) rides into town and hands over his detainee to the local sheriff who pays up the $5000 bounty. However Hurricane Smith soon finds himself sprung from jail and recaptured by Providence who ties him up, to go on to the next state that has a bounty on his head. However, Providence soon finds himself in trouble when, first Hurricane Smith ties him up, and then tries to claim a reward for him! Proving himself to be who he is, Providence walks free, but Smith soon escapes too and steals his money - Providence sets out to get it back but soon runs into a gang of drunken ex-Confederate soldiers...
By the 1970s the Spaghetti Western boom had largely disintergrated into comic farces and parodies, and right there in the middle is this simply bizarre film. Plot wise, after the rather inspired opening (the Bounty Hunter repeatedly collecting the rewards for his criminal) the film doesn't go anywhere new, instead moving into a rather episodic series of adventures and fights that does seem to drag in places and is quite repetitive. Fortunately the comic tone remains throughout with none of the awkward attempts to make any serious points that befall many comic films - the international nature of the Spaghetti Westerns often meant that humour had to be kept very visual (word gags never translate too well) and Life is Tough does rely on the audience enjoying a long run of slapstick jokes but they are generally entertaining and never too purile.

Director
Giulio Petroni does a decent job here, although cannot do much to lift the film above its slapstick roots - fortunately the varous stunt props look very good, and even a couple of dodgy optical effects are excusable. Ennio Morricone provides a good, often religious sounding score with various famous classical music snippits.

Tomas Milian is top cast here, this amazingly versitile actor played every sort of character in the old west and as the Charlie Chaplain looking, German sounding and fast moving Providence, he looks superb, as though he were born to play the role! American actor Greg Palmer is best remebered for his occasional television work from Doctor Who to Star Trek, and as a frequent background player in John Wayne Westerns - he gives a very Bud Spencer like performance here and seems to be enjoying himself. The Jess Franco regular Paul Muller makes a brief appearance as a sleazy land owner towards the end of the film.

Amusing at first, and with a few clever ideas, Life is Tough soon becomes a rather endless string of slapstick gags that only just retain enough originality to keep a viewer watching for the full runtime. Fortunately the film is well made and features some superb acting from Tomas Milian. Not generally recommended, but fans of the purely comic Spaghetti Westerns, and Tomas Milian, might find something to enjoy here.

In brief:

Anyone famous in it? Tomas Milian - the Cuban born actor who came to fame in the genre's early days with The Bounty Killer (1966)
Directed by anyone interesting? Giulio Petroni - the Roman born director, best known for the impressive Death Rides a Horse (1968).
Any violence? Various fistfights.
Any sex? None.
Who is it for?
Fans of Tomas Milian or the slapstick Spaghetti Westerns might find something to enjoy here.
Good Soundtrack?Ennio Morricone provides a nicely written theme, and there is a mix of classical music throughout.


The DVD

Visuals Original Aspect Ratio  - 2.35:1 anamorphic wide-screen. Colour.
The image is good - light grain and only slight speckling with some good colours and definition.
Audio English and Italian mono tracks.
The English track is generally good, although there is a persistance hum in the background that is not on the Italian.
Subtitles None
Extras The disc includes:
  • Interview with the director about this film. In Italian only with no subs. 15 minutes.
  • Still photo and poster gallery, presented as a video file with soundtrack backing.
  • Original Italian trailer.
  • The disc box includes an insert containing a complete cast listing for the film. (in Italian).
Availability Availabe in on its own, or in the Pistole Non Discutono boxset.
Region Region 0 (worldwide) - PAL
Other regions? Not available elsewhere.
Cuts? The film is believed to be fully uncut. Titles and credits are in Italian.

Summary

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All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 14th April 2007.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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