(Italy - 1968)
Directed by Franco Giraldi. Written by Louis Garfinkle, Ugo Liberatore and Albert Band. Cast: Alex Cord, Arthur Kennedy, Robert Ryan, Nicoletta Machiavelli, Mario Brega, Enzo Fiermonte, Renato Romano, Franco Lantieri, Giampiero Albertini, Spartaco Conversi, Rosita Palomar, Ottaviano Dell'Acqua, Aldo Sambrell, Daniel Martin, Antonio Molino Rojo, Lorenzo Robledo. (R, 99 mins)
A minor spaghetti western that used to be a fixture on late-night TV back in the '70s and '80s, the memorably-titled A MINUTE TO PRAY, A SECOND TO DIE has yet to be seen in the US in its intended form, and that's still the case with Kino Lorber's new Blu-ray release. Shorn by 19 minutes for America, the film has an understandably choppy feel, especially early on, but the biggest change can now be seen in the Blu-ray's bonus features, which include a blurry but watchable snippet of the extended international ending from an overseas TV broadcast. It completely changes the movie and strongly suggests something much more substantive and cynical than the happy ending that the film's American fans have always seen. Produced with the input of Selmur Pictures, a short-lived feature film division of ABC, A MINUTE TO PRAY was possibly intended to go straight to network TV in the US, which would explain trimming the 118-minute European version down to just about 100 minutes, the perfect run time for a two-hour time slot with commercials.
STILETTO (1969); and the British mercenary actioner THE LAST GRENADE (1970), with Richard Attenborough and ZULU's Stanley Baker--that more or less ended his big-screen aspirations. He starred in the 1972 Italian horror film THE DEAD ARE ALIVE and was part of the ensemble of the 1974 bats-in-a-bomb shelter cult favorite CHOSEN SURVIVORS among a scattered few theatrical films, but he concentrated on guest spots on pretty much every TV show in the 1970s and 1980s, including obligatory stops on POLICE STORY, THE LOVE BOAT, FANTASY ISLAND, and MURDER, SHE WROTE before co-starring with Jan-Michael Vincent and Ernest Borgnine as eye-patched covert ops chief "Archangel" on AIRWOLF gave his career a bit of a small screen resurgence in the mid '80s. Now 85 and an occasional guest on the convention circuit, Cord seems to be retired from acting, with his last credit being the 2009 DTV Kevin Sorbo actioner FIRE FROM BELOW.