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The Hellbenders

4.0 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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(Mar 13, 2007)
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$54.75 $24.84

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Editorial Reviews

FROM THE DIRECTOR OF DJANGO, THE GREAT SILENCE AND COMPAÑEROS Screen legend Joseph Cotten (THE THIRD MAN, SHADOW OF A DOUBT) stars as the fanatical patriarch of a family of ex-Confederate killers who massacre an army convoy to finance an invasion of the North. But before they can re-ignite the Civil War, they’ll have to smuggle a coffin crammed with stolen cash across a frontier enflamed by lust, violence and extreme vengeance. Norma Bengell (PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES), Aldo Sambrell (A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS) and Al Mulloch (THE GOOD,THE BAD AND THE UGLY) co-star in this now fully restored western shocker – also known as THE CRUEL ONES – directed by the renowned Sergio Corbucci and featuring a classic score by Ennio Morricone. Features: Widescreen Presentation enhanced for 16x9 TVs,Theatrical Trailer,Sergio Corbucci Bio

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Joseph Cotton
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: March 13, 2007
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000LPS470
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,714 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By T O'Brien on April 8, 2007
The Hellbenders is another very good spaghetti western from the other Sergio, Corbucci, that has finally hit DVD. In the months following the Civil War, a Confederate colonel, Jonas, and his three sons, the Hellbenders, massacre a Union convoy carrying over a million dollars that is to be burned. Jonas and his sons hide the money in a coffin and along with a woman pretending to be Jonas' daughter, try to drive the coach carrying the coffin to their home on the Rio Hondo River, all in hopes of reviving the Confederacy and starting the Civil War all over again. But along the way, the Hellbenders must go up against Union soldiers, posses, bandits, Indians, and even themselves as they try to secretly transport the money. And not one to disappoint, Corbucci gives an excellent twist ending. This is not your typical spaghetti western, but it still has those spaghetti touches. The movie features a trumpet-heavy score from Ennio Morricone that fits the film perfectly. Overall, its short on action, but so many scenes are dripping with tension you won't even notice. Take advantage of finally getting a DVD release of The Hellbenders and give this movie a try!

With a few exceptions, The Hellbenders does not feature any familiar faces you might have seen in other spaghetti westerns. Joseph Cotten stars as Jonas, the Confederate colonel who is trying single-handedly to restart the Civil War. Jonas is as driven as they come and will stop at nothing to get the money to safety. Julian Mateos gives an excellent performance as Ben, one of Jonas' sons who was born of a different mother than his brothers. Along the way, Ben begins to question if what they're doing is right and just how far Jonas will go.
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Fantastic news that this is now appearing in a restored version. One of the spaghetti greats and perhaps one of the best non Sergio Leone westerns. Fabulous moody score from Morricone, a terrific plot with a twist and tragedy on a par with Greek arena stuff. Symbolism and allegory raise this above the norm, OK it's slow - but it's a spaghetti gem and the ending still brings shivers to the spine.
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Joseph Cotten, along with his three sons and a female accomplice, wipe out an army convoy, steal their money and stuff it into a coffin. They plan on travelling across the country to get back home and use the cash to restart the civil war and hopefully have the South win this time. Sounds easy enough, right? Nope! Making it across the country under the guise of transporting a dead soldier for burial turns out to be no easy task, as it seems everything is destined to screw up their plans. They overcome many of these obstacles for the most part however until their newly hired "widow" starts making things more difficult. This is another satisfying western from Sergio Corbucci who gave us the great spaghetti westerns Django, Companeros, and The Great Silence. And lets not forget he made Superfuzz too!! This one is different from his other westerns in the sense that there is no lone gunslinging outlaw, but rather a determined family of murderers. This is a very entertaining western with good music, good performances(by Cotten especially) and an ending worthy of a Tales From The Crypt episode. Awesome stuff.
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This film isn't really like Corbucci's ( Companeros, Django, The Great Silence )wilder westerns but it's definitely a fun good time that's worth a look. Good story, beautifully shot, great performances, great direction, and great score. This story practically gives you everything you want . In his westerns you get alot of moments that you wouldn't really expect. Some tragic moments or some incredibly almost impossible uplifting moments. It's a cool film. If you like spaghetti westerns, please check this out.
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A lot of the plot devices are a little too convenient and dialogue often comes off kind of and stagey and over-enunciated, but if you can see past that, The Hellbenders takes a few less than likable characters on some occasionally unexpected turns and may be enjoyable for its 1967 spaghetti western vibe. By the end of the movie I felt it had fairly captured something unique in Western poetic pathos. Thus a 4 instead of 3-star rating. I deliberated, beleive me.

This movie is one step up from B western movie fare, but only a step - still, fans of the era might find it worthwhile.

Set just after the civil war, a murderous ex-confederate general and his sons assault and steal a large sum of money from the cavalry in order to re-start the Southern war effort against the Yanks.
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Released in 1967 and directed by Sergio Corbucci, “Hellbenders” (Italian title: “The Cruel Ones”) stars Joseph Cotton as Colonel Jonas, an unrepentant Confederate who led a regiment called The Hellbenders during the Civil War. Lee surrendered and the war’s over, but not for Jonas and his three sons. They ruthlessly rob a Union convoy in the Southwest carrying $1 million. The money is placed in a coffin and disguised as the dead husband of Jonas’ "daughter" (María Martín), really just a booze-guzzling femme fatale he hired to play a widow in case they’re stopped. The group not only has to evade the Union Army, but also a posse, Mexican bandits, vengeful Natives, and even each other if they are to get back East with the money to re-start the Civil War. Julian Mateos plays the Colonel's outcast son, Ben, while Gino Pernice plays the maniacal son, Jeff. Norma Bengell is on hand as Claire, a second female the cruel group hires.

The ratings for this film are all over the place. Some viewers say it’s trash whereas others grant it a surprisingly high grade; and I can see why on both counts. Let’s look at the positives and negatives respectively.

While some complain about Joseph Cotton’s supposedly wooden performance, his deadpan expressions superbly capture his character’s single-minded vision. Jonas’ family is nigh insane because they refuse to admit that the Civil War has been lost. His ultimate harebrained purpose is to finance a renewed Civil War. Everything else is secondary, including life itself. Hauling their loot around in a coffin is a symbol for the hopelessness of their cause. You’ll hear Jonas talk about God & Scripture now and then, but it’s all outward adornment, even while I’m sure he’s sincere.
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