The Grand Duel is a bit of a forgotten gem and if you’re a fan of Lee Van Cleef or Westerns I’d pick it up ASAP.
Plot: Philipp Wermeer has been framed for the murder of a powerful figure known as The Patriarch. Wermeer escapes, but the three Saxon brothers, sons of The Patriarch, have arranged for a large bounty on Wermeer’s head. Clayton is a grizzled ex-sheriff stripped of his office in Jefferson after refusing to acknowledge Wermeer’s guilt. During a series of fire-fights, Clayton contrives to help Wermeer escape from attacks of bounty-hunters. Together, the two make their way to Jefferson, where they can confront the three powerful Saxon brothers, and reveal the surprising truth about who killed The Patriarch.
Review: I think you’ll struggle to ever find anyone cooler than Lee Van Cleef and The Grand Duel AKA The Big Showdown is him at his absolute coolest.
He never breaks a sweat or looks worried; he just drinks, smokes and shoots without ever seeming too concerned.
Although the film doesn’t have much in the way of characterization, it really isn’t needed. It’s a bit of an under-appreciated classic Spaghetti Western which has been a huge influence on one Quentin Tarantino who used the main theme tune in Kill Bill.
The film is incredibly well paced with plenty of action from start to finish; the stunts are surprisingly outlandish as well with Alberto Dentice running, umping, shooting and more to avoid capture. He also would have been a fitting member of the Bee Gees and I was waiting for him to start singing Staying Alive half way through the movie due to his his long hair and epic beard.
He had screen presence though and you were rooting for him all the way through.
The sets and clothing all look authentic and the atmosphere makes it feel like you are right back in the Wold West.
Some of the acting and dialogue aren’t the greatest but that was always part of the charm of the Spaghetti Westerns.
The bodycount in this movie must be up in the hundreds and the villains were pretty hateful as well.
Although the music is essentially that one theme, it’s a haunting tune and I never got tired of hearing it.
Overall, The Grand Duel is a bit of a forgotten gem and if you’re a fan of Lee Van Cleef or Westerns I’d pick it up ASAP.