A country divided, President Díaz is the hardline ruler of Mexico, and while the revolutionary leader Santillana has promised his followers that change will come the years have rolled on and all that has happened is that bandits raid villages and those who would leave to seek a better life are unwelcome at the northern border with Texas; returning to his hometown, Manuel “Cuchillo” Sanchez had not intended to become embroiled in such matters, but fate has other plans.
Planning to reunite with his neglected fiancé Dolores, a woman of passion but also fiery temper, a purloined gift for his beloved sees Cuchillo swiftly arrested and placed in a cell with poet with a pardon Ramirez, due to be released the following day but eager for Cuchillo to arrange a pre-emptive escape to evade those who are waiting for him, hoping to learn the hidden location of three million dollars’ worth of gold intended to fund the postponed revolution.
The opening titles setting the colourful optimism of the freedom promised by the open plains where horses run wild against the bloody truth of the times, Run, Man, Run (Corri uomo corri) is a politically aware western action comedy directed by Sergio Sollima originally released in 1968, running to two hours in its uncut version but trimmed to eighty five minutes for international distribution, both versions given a 4K restoration for Eureka’s Master of Cinema two disc edition.
Starring Don’t Torture a Duckling’s Thomas Milian as Cuchillo, meaning “knife” in reference to his habit of carrying numerous concealed examples of his weapon of choice, it was a reprise of a role he had played for Sollima two years before in The Big Gundown (La resa dei conti, more correctly The Settling of Scores), here paired with Donal O’Brien as former sheriff turned bounty hunter Nathaniel Cassidy, Chelo Alonso as the indefatigable Dolores and Linda Veras as Penny Bannington, equally unlikely as a Sergeant of the Salvation Army and an ally.
Cuchillo barely one step ahead of bandits, French mercenaries and sharp-shooter Cassidy, that allegiances are unclear is perhaps because they are also fluid, loyalty being to the payoff rather than anything so noble as a cause, Run, Man, Run a boisterous widescreen epic shot in the varied scenery of Spain with rugged Almería standing in for Nuevo León and Texas as Cuchillo and his pursuers make their way across scorched desert plains, scrubland and snowy mountains to Burton City, a grandiose name for a frontier shantytown notable for little more than a blacksmith and printing press.
At times scattershot but certainly hitting as many targets as it misses, Run, Man, Run maintains a consistent pace to the final showdown which would exhaust all but the hardiest steeds, never taking itself too seriously despite the weight it carries, and Eureka’s new edition benefits from the helpful additional support of a discussion by Stephen Thrower, commentaries by Barry Forshaw and Kim Newman (uncut version) and Howard Hughes and Richard Knew (theatrical version) and an alternate opening credit sequence.