The Unholy Four

Watch The Unholy Four

  • TV14
  • 1970
  • 1 hr 30 min
  • 6.0  (477)

The Unholy Four, also known as "Ciakmull - L'uomo della vendetta," is a spaghetti western film released in 1970, directed by Enzo Barboni who is more popularly known for directing spaghetti western comedies under the pseudonym E.B. Clucher. This action-packed Italian film of the wild west was partially shot in Elios Film Studios in Rome and offers a tale of amnesia, revenge, and personal discovery set against the backdrop of the lawless frontier.

The story revolves around a man, played by Leonard Mann, who suffers from amnesia after a traumatic event. With no recollection of his past life and identity, he is nonetheless skilled with weaponry and combat—indicative of a potentially dark and violent past. The film kicks off with him emerging from a mental asylum, unsure of how he got there and where he should be headed. During his escape assisted by three other patients, played by actors including the legendary Woody Strode and Peter Martell, he adopts the name Chuck Mool, which is a misinterpretation of the Italian title "Ciakmull," and sets out to unlock the mysteries of his past.

Chuck's journey for self-discovery takes him back to the town he presumably came from, where he encounters a variety of figures from his past, including a former flame and his supposed father. The four escapees all have different pasts and motives, with Woody Strode's character, Woody, adding a formidable presence as a loyal and strong associate. He is portrayed as a man whose physical prowess is matched only by his loyalty to his newfound friends. Peter Martell’s character, on the other hand, provides a suave foil to Mool’s taciturn and serious persona. Together, they form the "unholy" quartet referenced in the title, navigating the frequently treacherous and morally ambiguous landscape of the wild west.

The essence of "The Unholy Four" is the search for identity. Mann’s character struggles to piece together his fragmented memories, even as he faces skepticism and hostility from those who claim to recognize him. As fragments of memory return in convoluted flashes, the protagonist's skills and instincts propel him toward a confrontation with his past and revenge against those who have wronged him. The thematic focus on memory and its elusive nature adds a psychological twist to the western genre, which typically prioritizes action and straightforward narratives.

Enzo Barboni collaborates with cinematographer Aldo Giordani to create visually striking sequences. The film is punctuated by dusty landscapes, tight close-ups, and beautifully framed shootouts that are characteristic of the spaghetti western genre, made popular by the likes of Sergio Leone. The grim spectacle of the western setting is rendered with a sense of grandeur and desolation, serving as the perfect backdrop for the unfolding drama.

The unpredictability of the protagonist's lost memories adds a layer of suspense to the film, as audiences are left to puzzle out the truth behind Mool's amnesia alongside him. His unreliable memory creates a shifting web of alliances and enemies, keeping viewers on their toes and deeply engaged in the plot. As more details emerge, a tale of betrayal and greed unfolds, driving the narrative to a high-stakes climax.

A signature feature of spaghetti westerns is their musical score, and "The Unholy Four" is no exception. The score, composed by Riz Ortolani, blends classic western motifs with experimental sounds to set the tone for each scene, enhancing the film's emotional depth and the tension of its more action-driven moments. The music complements the intense and dramatic story, gluing together the visual and narrative elements into an enthralling experience.

While "The Unholy Four" did not achieve the same legendary status as some other spaghetti westerns, Leonard Mann’s measured performance as Chuck Mool, along with the star presence of Woody Strode and the charismatic Peter Martell, offer viewers a robust tale of vengeance and redemption. It is a fine example of its genre, capturing the imagination with a unique blend of action, mystery, and psychological drama, wrapped in the dusty, sunbaked scenery of the American Southwest.

Moreover, the film is a tale of camaraderie among the central characters. Despite their rough edges and morally ambiguous intents, the quartet forms a bond, showing that even in the backdrop of violence and treachery, the human desire for connection and loyalty persists. This theme endears the characters to the audience, allowing them to root for the protagonists against the corruption and injustice that permeate the world they navigate.

All things considered, The Unholy Four stands as a noteworthy contribution to the spaghetti western canon, defined by its engaging plot, atmospheric visuals, and a memorable turn by a diverse ensemble cast. It's a western that offers not just thrilling shootouts and horseback chases but also a profound exploration of what it means to search for one's identity in a world that's quick to assign roles and pasts that might not always be true.

The Unholy Four is a 1970 action movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 30 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.0.

Where to Watch The Unholy Four
The Unholy Four is available to watch free on Plex, Tubi TV and Vudu Free. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Amazon and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Unholy Four for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 30 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.0  (477)