“Red Sun” (1971)
With the emergence of the Spaghetti Western, the appearance of ethnically incongruent casts became more commonplace, especially in light of the Italian film industry’s habit of shooting films MOS. The capability of producers for international casts assembled to expand the range of a popular genre production’s global range of marketability (and in doing so, built on the blueprint initiated by the already emergent Italian horror and peplum films) was advanced by the ease with which any linguistical incongruity of a performance soundtrack was immediately correctable with the substitution of a port-dubbing track of any national origin. (That the films, generally situated in the American West, were nonetheless populated by extras seemingly comprised of colorfully grizzled natives from the hills surrounding Almeria, Spain is one of the irreverent idiosyncrasies of the genre when their every utterance emerges with a distinctively flat Midwestern accent.) However, the extension of multinational castings often resulted in odd pairings for which there seemed to be little rational explanation save for the extension of international box-office magnetism. The great Japanese actor Tatsuya Nakadai featured formidably as the primary antagonist in 1968’s “Oggi a me… domani a te!” though his presence was clearly meant for its enhancement of regional box-office potential than in any meaningful cultural representation in the context of the film.
In Terence Young’s “Red Sun” East again meets the old West with the able participation of a goodly representation of half of the NATO nations and the usual compliment of Almerian local color. Though unlike many multinational European westerns, in this film there has been some level of effort, labored as it may be, to naturally integrate the international seasoning of the casting.
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I went to the cinema to see this out of admiration for Toshiro Mifune. It was bad! I can just imagine Mr. A. Kurosawa with his hands over his eyes…
Best wishes, Sergio Leone.