Red Sun (1971)

Red Sun is a Eurowestern unlike any European Western production ever made. An Italian/Spanish co production with an eclectic cast featuring Charles Bronson (United States) Alian Delon (France),  Ursula Andress (Sweden) and Toshiro Mifune ( Japan)  and given the varied mix of actors and production  crew this is by definition a true Euro Western. I first saw this film on television many years ago (1980’s) that we recorded it on to VHS as my father is a life long Bronson fan and wanted the film in his burgeoning collection of Bronson movies. Several re-watches Later, Red Sun became one of my favourite Bronson and later Euro Western classic. By the early 90’s I had become an avid fan of the Spaghetti Western genre so Red Sun would appear in many of my top ten lists of Spaghetti Western films even though it was a Western that was uniquely singular and pretty original in it’s concept. By the time Red Sun had been released the Market was so saturated by the Italian Western that Red Sun managed to  find it’s audience and become a profitable film. director Terence Young had a eclectic track record of directorial projects firm the early James Bond films to make several more Bronson films, so in terms of quality direction, Young was more than up to the job. Maurice Jarre was drafted in to write the score and it too was a great mix of Japanese instruments and a laconic nod to the Spaghetti Westerns that had pre date Red Sun

Red Sun is a perfectly enjoyable, character-driven adventure. Bronson plays the bandit Link who, with snakey cohort Gauchė (Alain Delon), commandeers a train carrying the Japanese ambassador on his way to a meeting with the US President. Having stolen a sacred Samurai sword, Gauchė and his gang betray Link, who is soon captured and at the mercy of the Samurai warriors guarding the official party. Link agrees to unite with Kuroda Jubie (Toshiro Mifune) to retrieve the artifact and a cross-country trip ensues, in which Andress functions as a feisty hostage used to entice Delon and the finale sees the rag-tag band fend off an attack from Apache natives who are reduced to convenient devices to forward the narrative, but as a convenient story backstop it worked well.

The paring of Bronson and Mifune , both actors who had had very much great success in their own films, Mifune teaming with director Akira Kurosawa’s and Bronson finding hi s feet in Europe as a major star alongside directors like Sergio Leone. The on-screen machismo between the actors was always evident and they both seemed very comfortable on scene.. there seemed to be little rivalry between the two actors and they worked so well as a bickering team who would actually cover each other’s backs eleven though they have little in common with each other their mutual respect is evident. Bronson was not an actor of many moods so to have a more emotionally challenging actor face off against him in Mifune was a perfect counterpoint to Bronson’s stoic acting. Delon was anther actor who had starred with Bronson on several thrillers in Europe and again they had a very good macho Chemistry with Delon the more emotional of the two, though more of an iced charming coldness which was quintessential slice of French cool. Andress was the token female in the film and really only comes into her own with two scenes with Bronson but she plays a fiery female very well and as Delon’s love interest she adds to the film.

Red Sun is very much an example of all the right ingredients mixed in to make a very solidly produced Euro Western and as a movie with good star power, Rec Sun works on many levels. as an example of the sub-Spaghetti Western. as a derivative of the Spaghetti Western and it’s contemporaries,  Red Sun is a worthy addition to the genre. at a running time of one hours fifty two minutes, the story runs along very well and is paced evenly throughout, though long for the type of genre film making, Red Sun is ago of example of cross production values, very good casting and a mix of directorial and editing styles that make this film work very well.

In addition it has been very hard to find a correct aspect end ratio of this film on Home Video for many years, though the best print is on the numerous Blu Ray editions that have Ben released since 2015, so there is ample opportunity to watch this film as the director intended the viewer to see it. Check the film out when you can.

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