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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Grand Duel - A Behind the Scenes Recollection

The following is from a series of posts from the Lee Van Cleef Web Board posted by Bob Clark in 2009.  The photos included are from a web album he posted to the board.

Bob's full album here-

In 1972 I was a young Lieutenant stationed in Italy and through a myriad of flukes got the chance to play a small part in "The Grand Duel" along with one of my NCOs. I played the Deputy Sheriff who tries (unsuccessfully ) to stare Lee down as he gets out of the stagecoach to walk into Gila Bend. My greatest line was "Let him go Bill, he's jsut another one of them vultures". What an experience. Lee was a true gentleman, and great to talk to. I remember, he preferred a certain pipe tobacco that was not easily found in Italy, but I was able to get him a good supply at the Post Exchange.


X Brands was Lee's double, and a wonderful guy. I remembered him from Yancy Derringer. Jess Haun played "Big Hoss", the Andy Devine type stagecoach driver. Jess was from the Indianapolis area and sent off to WWII, met and married a French lady, and did many films and TV, both in Europe and the States. I have great candids of Lee and I in filming and X,Jess and I between takes if there is any interest. It was truely a great experience and one that I treasure to this day.

It seems tio be the fullest version and contains scenes not in any of the otehrs I have seen. As an example, they filmed me laying down against a rock or something and said that would be shown during the credits. None of the other verisons I have seen have the full credits and leave that portion out.

My portion of the film was shot in Uliveto Terme, a little town outside Pisa, but I understand that much of the interior was done in Rome and the later scenes after the stage left Gila Bend were filmed outdoors near Rome, I think.

The scripts had several names and were available in multiple languages. One of the bounty hunteres was from what was then Yugoslavia and spoke Croation. A lot of Italian was spoken as you would imagine, and our scripts were in English. 

I did not see the film until the late 1970s, and have found several VHS tapes over the years, but now have the "Wild East" DVD, absolutely the best I've seen. Love the music.

While I do not have any contact info for Bob, a special thanks goes out to him for sharing his recollections to the LVC community!

1 comment:

  1. Do you remember what tobacco brand you bought for Lee? I have looked and would love to know what brand he used in his pipe.