Cut Throats Nine | Varied Celluloid

Cut Throats Nine

Posted by Josh Samford On July - 30 - 2008

Plot Outline: Seven convicts (that’s right, there are only nine if you count the soldier and his daughter) in a chain gang are being transferred from one labor camp to another, but on the way they run into trouble when a gang who is expecting a shipment of gold halts their wagon. The gang ends up killing some of the officers and scaring the horses, sending the wagon fleeing into the wilderness. A sargeant inside the wagon with his daughter soon jump off and leave the wagon to careen over and dump the prisoners. Being the seemingly honorable man he is, the sergeant takes the convicts and begins the journey to their destination once again. Will he be able to deal with the wily and murderous criminals? You’ll have to find out yourself.

  

The Review: Talk about a surprise! When I sat down to Cut Throats Nine, I can’t say I knew what all to expect. The first thing you’ll ever hear about the film is that it’s the goriest western ever made, and although I find this claim to be dubious to say the least,
there’s no denying Nine is easily one of the greatest non-Leone spaghetti westerns ever made. That
is, if you can even call it a spaghetti western. The director is from Spain, and the imdb page
says it was originally in Spanish, but who knows. I recognize at least a couple of spaghetti western
regulars, so I would guess that the cast was a fairly Italian group. Regardless of the nationality,
for a Euro western in general, this is just an amazing piece of cinema. It takes aesthetics from so
many different subgenres and adds a storyline that veers so much and so often, that unpredictable
doesn’t even begin to describe how tricky the film is. To go into what exactly makes the film so
morally unpredictable would be a spoiler, just trust me when I say it leads about as far away from
formula as you can expect. There’s also amazing direction, bizarre but impressive editing and a cast of
some of the most vile criminals you’ll see. It makes me wonder why this film isn’t more popular. I
don’t expect it to reach the popularity of The Good The Bad and The Ugly, but c’mon, this is classic!


Violence, Violence, Violence, Gore, Gore, Gore. It’s all I pretty much heard about before watching, and
obviously it was the major selling point of the whole film for me. Normally if I would have sat through
a film that had been hyped to have so much violence I would have just scoffed and walked away angrily (as I did with Irreversible, disturbing my foot!), but with Cut Throats Nine it was the violence that got me in the seat, but it was everything else that kept me there. About the violence, don’t get me wrong, there is quite a bit of gore in the film. The violence would be more akin to Nightmare City than it would be The Wild Bunch. There are some intestines here and there, a few exploding gunshots to the head and such. Nothing that would warrant a reputaion as something ‘extreme’ in my eyes, but
regardles of gore or not, any spaghetti western fan should see this film. When I first read about the
film, I was expecting to have something along the lines of ‘chain gang goes on killing spree, get in
big shoot out and die’. That’s what you get when you don’t read carefully. The first half of Cut
Throats Nine actually seems more like a pioneer film than a western. A “Man in the Wilderness” kind of
vibe. Our characters are pushed to their breaking points out in the freezing cold, while the sherrif
pushes them on. The strange thing about the film is, even though the men slowly but surely die, the
audience never cares. The only character we’re shown any sympathy to is the sherrif’s daughter. The
sherrif himself seems alright at first, but then his alterior motives are presented and he becomes more
human and less heroic. The rest of the convicts, save one, are all scum. This is what they call ‘drama’
for those of you at home. One man and his daughter travelling across snowy mountains, can you guess what happens? Likely not with Cut Throats Nine.

The film really is unpredictable. There are no heroes in the film. The lead characters who do seem at
least honest are given about as much character development as the cruel and vicious convicts are. That, and the twisty (even though it feels like the writers didn’t want it to seem so) script make the film almost impossible to read while watching. It slips into formulaic territory here and there, but
what film doesn’t. Every film has it’s downfalls and I suppose Cut Throats Nine, for me, would be the
lack of a good score. The one that is presented is just bland, and I’ve heard it gets on many viewers
nerves. I just thought it was tacky and didn’t compliment the film at all. That’s really the only thing
about the film that I didn’t care for. Everything else is either impressive or just okay. The acting,
that was okay. It’s an Italian/Spanish western from the 70s dubbed into english, I try not expect
miracles. The directing, now that was impressive. Using some of the most bizarre techniques I’ve seen
in a while, I just couldn’t help but love what Marchant was going for here. There are moments where the film will just stop on a character’s face, leaving it there for moments and then cutting to a
flashback that gives a little color to the characters. It happens about four or so times in the film,
each time catching me off guard. The flashbacks tend to actually just seem like strange images, or just hints at bigger things. For a pulp western, it seemed as if Marchent wanted to throw as much depth into the picture as he could. There are even quite a few surreal moments, I wish I could go on about them but it would just be spoiler territory. Let me just say, even if you hated the film, I would hope that you at least appreciate the fine direction.

The film may be mean spirited, it may even seem hateful but as far as Euro westerns go, this ranks in
as one of the finest. Don’t get fooled into it because of the violence, go into it because you love the
genre and you’ll likely have a good go at it. I rate it a four and you may wonder why, I can’t quite
explain. It came close to getting a five, thus getting the Stubbing Award™, but it just didn’t
feel like a five. It’s definitely a four, but there’s no shame in that. See this film!

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