Welcome to theBad.net Lee Van Cleef Blog! Here you will find information, photos, videos, and some of my opinions of the badman himself.

Many thanks to the wonderful fans of theBad.net for their contributions and continued enthusiasm!

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Poughkeepsie Journal - Lee Van Cleef Was an Iconic presence

Larry Robinson, Special to Poughkeepsie Journal
Published Oct. 17, 2018

Veteran villain Lee Van Cleef was reportedly preparing to retire when he got a call from director Sergio Leone, offering him a plum role in "For a Few Dollars More," the second of Leone's trio of Man with No Name Westerns, starring Clint Eastwood.

The movies were international blockbusters, and while Eastwood made a triumphant return to Hollywood, Van Cleef stayed in Europe, becoming the most readily  recognizable Americano in the Spaghetti Western genre, along with Charles Bronson ("Il Brutto"!) and Jack Palance.

Many of the films Van Cleef made were low budget throwaways, like the truly terrible "The Grand Duel," with a plot that couldn't be unraveled by Agatha Christie. He did make a few good ones, like "The Big Gundown," with Walter Barnes, and the 1967 "Death Rides a Horse," an intense revenge oater directed in a no-nonsense manner by Giulio Petroni. He was no Leone, but he did have an eye for parched landscape and staging of gun duels.

I first saw Van Cleef as one of the Miller gang in "High Noon." In 1957 he got knifed by Kirk Douglas in "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" and was later manhandled by the Duke himself, in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance." Van Cleef also made gangster movies, like Phil Karlson's excellent "Kansas City Confidential."

It's said that Van Cleef gave three directives to all his directors, even John Ford: He would not menace a child, kill an animal or murder a woman, no matter how evil his character. Except for his rough treatment of a dance hall hostess in Leone's "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," he pretty much stuck fast to his code of bad guy conduct.

In "Death Rides a Horse," Van Cleef is Ryan, an aging outlaw released from a brutal desert prison. He was left for posse bait by his very own gang, and now wants to say an unfriendly hello to those who betrayed him, and then escaped.

The film begins with a shocking massacre in a small ranch house, which Petroni lit only by flashes of gunfire and lightning, during a ferocious storm. The gang wants a payroll, though Ryan never draws his gun and, instead, runs outside to mind the horses.

A sole survivor of the slaughter is Bill (a laconic John Phillip Law) who grows into an expert with weaponry and a quick-draw whiz. Bill wants the same outlaws Ryan seeks, but also wants Ryan, as he can recognize him by a tattoo, and believes him one of the murderers. It's a stewpot of nitro, and director Petroni knows when and where to set it off.

While the rousing climax is a steal from "The Magnificent Seven," it's a terrific large-scale action sequence, with Ryan and Bill acting as very wary allies. I won't spoil the ending, but it's hardly a surprise. Petroni wisely confronts the clichés in the genre without blinking.

Van Cleef always played "his age" so Ryan is a pipe-sucking father figure, dispensing gunfighter advice to the reckless Bill. With anything Van Cleef did there was always a "tension" created by his past villainous roles. We wonder — is he a "good/bad guy" or a "bad guy"? Van Cleef, by 1969, was an iconic presence, for sure!

I first saw "Death Rides a Horse" in a perfect setting: a fully packed Times Square "grindhouse" with a loud and quite happy male audience. Petroni knew he wasn't making a classic, but his movie is trim, taut and enjoyable.

Too bad Leone and Van Cleef never worked together again; with or without the Man with No Name.


Saturday, June 20, 2020

"Days of Wrath" VHS Cover Artwork

Before streaming, blu-ray, and DVD, most LVC films were only available on home video cassette tapes, usually VHS (but also Betamax).  Many of us discovered these films for the first time in these formats (usually cropped and edited).

Often times due to rights issues, these films were given new titles (some similar to the original, some not).  A future series of blog posts will dive into a gallery of these releases by film, but first a look at some original artwork from 1987.

Here is a look at the Imperial Entertainment Days of Wrath VHS cover and it's creation by Corey Wolfe

VHS Cover

 Final Art



Full Sleeve

Saturday, June 13, 2020

The Master - "Juggernaut" Episode Photos

Courtesy of the Getty Images, below are some photos from the episode 7 of the LVC 1984 NBC series; The Master.  Spot the infamous LVC stunt double!

Click to enlarge!

Saturday, June 6, 2020

RIP: Dan Van Husen

Three time LVC co-star Dan Van Husen passed away in May at age 75.  Dan co-starred in El Condor, Captain Apache, and Bad Man's River.

Dan van Husen was born in Gummersbach. He was first discovered by Italian producers while working as a club disc jockey in Spain and began working increasingly seriously as an actor in the late 60's. He has appeared in twenty Italo Westerns in six or seven years and before branching out to diverse roles and genres. In the years 1968-1974 he participated in more than 24 Italo Westerns, amongst others directed by Sergio Corbucci, Sergio Martino, Enzo G. Castellari etc. In 1977 Dan was also involved in the play Courage at the Schauspielhaus Bochum, Germany, directed by Jérôme Savary. 
Van Husen is credited for numerous further film appearances such as Fellini Casanova, by Federico Fellini, in Salon Kitty by Tinto Brass and Nosferatu the Vampyre directed by Werner Herzog, amongst others. 
Dan has also worked in German TV series such as The Old Fox, Derrick, Alarm für Cobra 11 - Die Autobahnpolizei and many more. He has often been cast as a rogue as in the television disaster film Tsunami or in the '80s cult film Ritchy Guitar of Michael Laux, and in the film Cold and Dark directed by Andrew Goth. 
In 2001 he worked on Band of Brothers, a Steven Spielberg production, Perfect Strangers (BBC TV series) directed by Stephen Poliakoff and in Enemy at the Gates directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, as well as Hart's War directed by Gregory Hoblit in 2002. 
In 2006, he acted in the German television film Karol Woityla directed by Gero von Boehm and in 2007 in Gellert, a motion picture film under the direction of Ayassi with Ken Duken and the German TV crime series SOKO Wismar. 
In February/March 2008 he worked on Oorlogswinter (Winter in Wartime) a Dutch movie based on the hit novel by the same name, written by Jan Terlouw and directed (and written) by Martin Koolhoven. In June and July 2010 worked in southern California in the American Western film Scarlet Worm, the role of the antagonist Heinrich Kley, directed by Michael Fredianelli. 
In 2011, he worked in the American film production Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, directed by Jo Kastner, and got invited to the Spaghetti Western Film Festival in Los Angeles on 19 March of that year. He attended the Almería Western Film Festival from 8 to 11 September 2011, and received a lifetime achievement award in the western film genre. He then got invited to the Lund International Fantastic Film Festival in Sweden, from 15 to 24 September 2011. He attended the Cinefest 2011, VIII. Internationales Festival des deutschen Film-Erbes Hamburg from 12 to 20 November 2011.