The Great Silence (Il grande silenzio, 1968) is the best film by Italian director Sergio Corbucci along with his famous Django.
The director shows us a lone bounty hunter, and mute, serving revenge left, right and centre as committed in life to “make money”, and soothe his suffering, his resentment, and his revenge thirst. The Wild West, where you can kill without problems for self-defense and revenge, where the only thing a sheriff can sometimes do is hinder. The most notable novelty Corbucci offered in this film was the change of the typical scenery in Spaghetti Western. Here there’s no dirt, dust, mud, tumbleweeds, or endless deserts, just snow, the Big Blizzard that United States suffered, especially in the southern, in 1899.
The Italian chose French actor Jean-Louis Trintignant for the silence bounty hunter role (the good), the only film in which they worked together. Among the last works of Trintignant, who is still active though increasingly with less intensity (he has 138 movies to his credit), it should be noted his latest work in the latest film by Michael Haneke (big fan of The Great Silence), Amour (2012).
The fact that the character is mute responds rather to a Corbucci’s joke, who’s took to the extreme that about West outlaws and legends never used to talk much. Besides, it is also said that Trintignant accepted the role provided that he did not have to learn any lines for the role. Another “joke” of the director would be the fact that the most sympathetic characters for the public, as Silence himself, do not come off “in good shape”, as everyone expects, what is appreciated in some way.
For the role of Loco (the bad), the Italian filmmaker had the secondary Klaus Kinski, who already had experience in Spaghetti Westerns, particularly in the second film of the trilogy “The Man With No Name” by Sergio Leone, Per qualche dollaro in più (For a Few Dollars More) in 1965, and in El Chuncho, quien sabe? (A Bullet for the General) by Damiano Damiani in 1966.
The score, of course, comes from the hand of “the man who never sleeps”, Ennio Morricone, although it’s not one of his most interesting and famous works fulfils perfectly its purpose.
As a curiosity, the scenes were recorded at night to conceal the fake snow, and in some scenes shaving foam was used to enhance it.
The Great Silence (Il grande silenzio), 1968, 105 min.