Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé movie review
flag Mare Smythii - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 5 - 03/24/97

The Tussler

Original title: C'era una Volta una Grande Contesa
A.K.A. The Big Scuffle
A.K.A. Full Moon, Empty Gun
Italy, Spain, USA, 1975(?), remastered and completed in 1992

Directed by Theo Buhara
Written by Theo Buhara/Miguel Antonio Ballesteros
Produced by Rory "Big Daddy" Scaglione, Grande Inc.
Director of photography: Angelo Francesco Lavagnino, ACI
Music by Motorpsycho
Tech.: 70mm Supertotalscope
Starring: Roberto Calhourn, Jorge Massari, Gheorges, Lea Aranda,
Conrado Camardiel, Ornella Palmara, Raoul Fernandez,
Alfio Timberlani, Carlos Caltaviannio, + others.

Theo Buhara's most conventional and intense intrepretation of the Western-genre. Throughout some long and tension-filled shots with the final duel as a climax, the classic motive of revenge is mediated with elegance in the manner of perfection. The film has also got the well-deserved characterization "the final western".

The story takes place where anyone just about anytime could get shot down for a handful of tobacco. The prelude is rather violent and intense: A mysterious fatman shoots and kills two unsuspecting farmers. He's an ex-lieutenant who has deserted from the army, on his hunt for a hidden treasure in some cave in the mountains, to which he's got a map. But the map isn't complete, and he needs to find the missing part before some others do. He also knows that the map is cursed, and is to be fateful for anyone that gets their fingers on it. There is also a gang of outlaws on the track, with a lust for blood. And for gold, of course.

All of it takes place in, and around, the city of Demona, where the cattle-baron - Des Moines - rules with horror and violence. In the opening scenes we also get presented to the protagonist of the story - Bob - when he luckily got saved by his horse - Blissard - from being trampled to death in a longhorn-stampede in the Dust Valley just outside Demona. Bob is also a mystery. He's sort of a part-time hero who quite often happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. And, coming to Demona makes no exception. A saloon is getting levelled with the ground. There are fights and shoot-outs and persecutions and treachery.

Even tough it's a powerful western, Buhara has made attempts to twist the story by smuggling in surprising motives and persons to tickle our curiosity and raise the tension. And it's highly successful!

But what happened to Mr.Buhara after this film? Nobody seems to know. He simply disappeared after spending years and years of his life completing The Tussler. Sort of as a last will of his. So, make sure that you get to see this extraordinary piece of motion picture adventure. It's a millstone in the world of cinema!


Wow! The story is so REAL, and yet surreal. A sub-masterpiece!
(Mervyn Roberts, Shootout Magazine)

It's incredible, the way Buhara fulfills the things Leone, and even Ford and Hawks, only barely touched.
(J.Peter Walsh, N.Y. Film & Video Action)

Definitely the most overlooked director in decades. Overwhelming!
(Joshua L. McKettering, director, producer, W.F.C.)

A violent beauty. Could this splendid tale avoid to soon become a classic? I doubt it!
(Vittorio B. Lucci, The Western Academy Comittee)

Links:
Unofficial Buhara page (This page seems to be pretty unstable!)

The Tussler and other very interesting titles are available on PAL video from:
 
DeForce
R. Schaarstraat 44
2033 TZ Haarlem
The Netherlands

Copyright © 1997 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

If you wish to print this review, we have a printer friendly version.

VinylKnut's Loft

We also have 86 other articles/reviews of artists from Mare Smythii in our archive:

© 2011 Luna Kafé