Deadlock (1970)

Deadlock (1970)

Known mostly for the soundtrack by legendary German band Can, Deadlock is a sunbaked Spaghetti Schnitzel Western just waiting to be rediscovered. Alejandro Jodorowsky is reportedly a fan, and directors from Wim Wenders to Quentin Tarantino to Jonathan Glazer have used the movie for source material.

Filmed at an abandoned mine in the Negev Desert, the movie opens with a sunburned guy stumbling out of the desert with a gun and a metal case containing the proceeds from a bank robbery and a 45 – record, not pistol. The rest of the movie mostly concerns the double crossings of the three main characters – the sunburned guy known only as The Kid, his partner Mr. Sunshine, and the mine resident Mr. Dump – as they fight over the metal suitcase.

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The plot is standard issue Western fare, but the atmosphere is what makes the movie work. The Negev stands in nicely for the American West, the abandoned mine and the scarcity of people lend a minimalistic tone to the proceedings. The soundtrack features Can at their best, and includes variations on the theme music that don’t appear on their 1970 album Soundtracks.

Can went on to be a favorite hipster cult band, the actors went on to appear in films by legends Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Volker Schlöndorff, and Wim Wenders, while director Roland Klick went on to .. not very much. He only directed a handful of films after this, and IMDB says he may be working in America under a pseudonym.

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But he made at least one film worth seeing on a Saturday afternoon when it’s raining and you don’t have anything better to do. There’s a DVD available, with bonus interviews and suchlike, but the cheapest amongst us will just want to watch the whole thing on YouTube for free. You’re welcome.