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His house has been taken over by ruffians and his wife Penelope and son Telemachus believe he is dead. Penelope is about to remarry and organises an archery competition to decide who will be the lucky brigand. Odysseus still dressed as a beggar enters and wins. In the showdown, Odysseus, with the aid of the goddess and a small band of allies including his son and the herdsman massacre the suitors, who are largely unarmed, leaving the hero reunited with his wife for the fade-out.
There are some obvious inconsistencies, but The Return of Ringo is nothing less than a transposition of the events of The Odyssey from Ancient Greece to a Mexican border-town. He discovers that following a gold strike, two villainous Mexican brothers Esteban and Paco Fuentes have killed his father, Senator John S.
Brown, and taken over his house. Ringo, with help from an alcoholic sheriff, a florist named Morning Glory who shelters Ringo , Jeremiah Pitt a tavernkeeper and a mysterious Apache medicine man, sets about recovering what is rightfully his. However, Tessari often blends them together to create new characters. On the threshold of the portal, Odysseus is transformed by the goddess from a beggar into his majestic self. In translation, Ringo appears framed in the doorway of a church in his cavalry uniform, his appearance made all the more awesome by the swirling dust that surrounds him.
Italian western audiences would be disappointed, not to say surprised, if the final reel consisted of good-guy Gemma massacring a bunch of unarmed opponents. Tessari re-called most of the leading players from Pistol, with Paco Sanz and Jose Manuel Martin the only notable absentees.
Sancho was subbed as the main villain by Jorge Martin as the evil Paco and Antonio Casas portrayed a washed-up sheriff with a drinking problem and a tremor. In his westerns, Tessari often named protagonists after the actors who played them. In Pistol, Fernando Sancho played bandit Sancho. By making the hero of Return a vengeful Italian western hero, rather than a Hollywood gunman like Angel Face, much of the levity of Pistol is lost.
Return is a much darker film and the characters are more tragic. Immediately after completing A Pistol for Ringo, Tessari wrote and shot this semi- sequel in Spain during the summer of , this time co-writing with Fernando Di Leo. The same town set from Pistol was deployed and a close look at the church tower reveals a wooden cut-out bell.
To the audience, he is the blond captain introduced at the beginning of the film. He is well disguised and looks so ordinary that no one recognises him, though he seems somehow familiar — a true everyman, or perhaps a nobody. Even the title, The Return of Ringo, has two meanings: The Return of Ringo to the screen following his adventures in Pistol and also to his hometown.
Return is an in-name- only sequel to Pistol. Antonio Casas gives a career-best portrayal as Sheriff Carson. Each section begins with the hero revisiting his hometown, firstly as a beggar, then as a corpse in a ruse engineered by Paco and finally as a soldier. As Ringo is reacquainted with his old friends, it is only the Fuentes brothers who are unaware of the avenger in their midst.
The wedding sequence, like the funeral, is full of contradictions. Hally wears a black mourning gown and veil, not one of the townsfolk is present to see the happy occasion, the tolling bell sounds like a death-knell and the church is full of coffins.
This leaves him like Angel Face in Pistol unarmed through the middle section of the film. Just before the final confrontation, Ringo returns to the fortune-teller to retrieve his gun. In the most bizarre image in the film, Rosita watches from a rocking chair on a veranda, while Ringo guns down a bunch of Fuentes men sent by her to rescue Esteban. Rosita stares straight ahead, avoiding eye contact with Ringo.
By concentrating on the hero throughout, the film highlights the talents of Gemma. His performance in Return, as two different characters, draws together the American and Italian aspects of the film. The dashing young cavalry captain leaves the stage until the finale, when he reappears in his uniform and wedding ring. Ringo dyes his hair brown, grows a beard and disguises himself as a poncho- clad Indio a mountain-dwelling Indian , as Tessari parodies the equivalent scenes in A Fistful of Dollars, when the stranger hits town.
As Ringo rides into Mimbres, the only sounds are the howling wind blowing straw and dust , creaking signs and a rocking chair. Many details of Fistful are alluded to in this episode. Tessari also uses natural sounds and long periods of silence, but it is the opening sequence that is most startling — a nod to the classics of John Ford.
Beginning with a static shot of an empty desert met by clear, blue sky, it slowly becomes apparent that a rider is emerging in the distance from the heat-haze. As the rider Ringo approaches, Tessari cuts to a close-up of Gemma in full cavalry uniform and Quick-draw McGraw hat stopping to drain his canteen.
But the villainous Fuentes brothers are unmistakably Italian. Jorge Martin, as graceful, bourgeois Paco Don Francisco, in the Italian dialogue is subtly menacing, sustaining the edgy tension with Ringo. Fernando Sancho, as hefty, swaggering Esteban, repeats his bandit role from Pistol. The brothers wear matching Mexican suits one in medium, one in extra-large and Esteban wears a red rose in his buttonhole — echoing Tessari, who always directed with a carnation in his lapel.
Paco is the more intimidating of the duo. Earlier, during a feast at the Brown mansion Villa Brown , Ringo manages to slip away from the party. It is the only place in Mimbres where nothing has changed. Maurizio Attanasio wrote the words, Morricone the music and Maurizio Graf again garbled the lyrics: I have looked in the faces of my old friends.
But nobody looks at me as my old friend. You must remember who I am. If you see a man with downcast eyes and ragged clothes. The liar who told my sweetheart that I was dead. To take my place you shall pay for this base lie. The tune is in a mournful minor key, with the soothing Alessandroni Singers, a strummed guitar and a tired, march-like drum rhythm. The piece has a world-weary feel, an atmosphere of assignation that matches the story.
At other times, Morricone uses a series of menacing compositions with sustained piano notes, syncopated strings, bells and drums. The Return of Ringo was released successfully in Italy in December The latter saw Ringo Harrison returned from the Civil War to find his wife dead and his son raised by Apaches. Return was released internationally in by Golden Era, but was much less successful than its predecessor on the UK and US markets, even though other Gemma westerns, like Day of Anger , were big hits there.
In the English version, Pajarito is named Morning Glory, after a species of trailing vine, whose flowers open in early morning but close with the midday sun. An example was the comedy western Alive or Preferably Dead — shamelessly retitled Sundance and the Kid for certain gullible markets.
The film was as violent Gemma is kneecapped and shot in both hands as it was inept at one point, a shot of a stork stands in for a vulture. In Maurizio Lucidi directed a very tough remake of Return called My Name is Pecos, with Robert Woods as the Mexican hero, returning after a long absence to his hometown of Houston. The Texican represents the ideals of three decades of western movies. From the forties there is a singing cowboy; from the fifties there is five-foot-seven-inch Audie Murphy standing on boxes during his dialogue scenes, and from the sixties there are the Spanish locations and cast, and brutal violence.
For a Few Dollars More establishes this triangle, with its simple plot. Two bounty-hunters, a poncho-clad drifter named Manco and ex- Confederate Colonel Douglas Mortimer, team up to track down an escaped murderer named El Indio.
The gang hides out in the Mexican village of Agua Caliente, but in an explosive shootout the bounty-hunters wipe out the bandits and the colonel kills Indio. Fistful is an exotic adventure film, set in a nowhere town. For a Few, unfettered by the plot confines of Yojimbo, is a revision of the s frontier, as Leone addresses the mechanisation and brutality of the post-Civil War west. With the accent on grubby heroes, sudden violence and desolate settings, Vincenzoni incorporated historical place names.
In For a Few Leone also draws the distinction between the gringo and Mexican heritage. In the Mexican villages, Leone was back in Fistful territory. Agua Caliente is as poor and underdeveloped as San Miguel — if not poorer, with no bootlegging or gunrunning. Following a car crash in , Van Cleef lost his left kneecap and was told he would never ride a horse again; within six months he was back in the saddle.
Coincidentally, Van Cleef was earning a living as a freelance artist. Initially, Van Cleef thought that Leone only wanted him for a couple of scenes and was amazed to discover that he was to be the co-star. Previous episodes had cast him as a juvenile sidekick; Eastwood was now 34, a little old for such antics. But audience figures were falling and Rawhide was axed in December The previous spring, Eastwood returned to Italy. Eastwood maintains that his squinting demeanour was simply that his eyes were susceptible to the strong Spanish sunlight.
With Gian Maria Volonte recast as the villain, El Indio an even more extreme baddie than Ramon Rojo , his gang had to be an equally wild bunch. Luigi Pistilli appeared as the sceptical Groggy, who realises that Indio is trying to get them all killed. Kinski appeared in many German films as far back as , playing an assortment of Nazi officers, murderers and psychopaths. The year was key for him. This led to a flood of offers Kinski claimed up to thirty a week , of which he chose the highest paid, regardless of quality.
Whilst filming For a Few he hired an Almerian beach shack and entertained the local gypsies, whom he felt were his soul mates. For a Few Dollars More was shot in 12 weeks. Most of the interiors were filmed at Cinecitta Studios in Rome. The El Paso saloon interior was on set at Tabernas, with desert and mountain exteriors shot in the locality. His sidearm is a Buntline Special with a inch barrel and a detachable shoulder stock, which slows his draw — so much so that we never see the colonel use it in a quick-draw duel.
Eastwood could draw, cock and fire in 0. Of the two gringos, Colonel Mortimer is the specialist and is a precursor of Sabata, another ex-Confederate gunman with an assortment of ballistic surprises. Although he still wears his poncho and cobra-handled Colt. If a religious subtext was intended by Leone this makes For a Few as bizarre as El Topo, as a monk and a preacher hunt the Prophet and his disciples through a wasteland. Providing Eastwood with a name proved problem- atic for the English-language release.
On the road to Santa Cruz, Manco reveals the gauntlet and consequently his identity to the three bandits before killing them. After the El Paso bank robbery Manco hurriedly removes the gauntlet, and when El Indio captures him he tells the stranger to put it back on — there is no point in hiding it any more. Mary is an unwanted distraction from the chase. But promotional stills depict Eastwood and Mary in bed together in the hotel room, so maybe Leone did originally intend a relationship between the two.
Nevertheless, there is more warmth to the stranger than in the previous film, due to the dry humour injected by Vincenzoni and Donati. Vincenzoni unlike Leone could speak English, so he had a better understanding of what would work with Eastwood and Van Cleef.
The script was more sparing than Fistful, with both actors altering their dialogue as they went along. Here, Josef Egger from Fistful looks suitably mad, wearing a yellow woolly hat and tatty poncho. Locations, actors and translations are also used for in-jokes. For a Few features a long, plot-free introduction to the three main characters.
Already the two bounty-hunters are after the same prey. Only when Indio has escaped does any semblance of a plot materialise, with the appearance of the reward posters and the beginning of the manhunt. The first two sequences of For a Few, featuring the colonel and the stranger, mirror one other. But the bounty-hunters are positively compassionate when compared to bandit El Indio. From the beginning he is a merciless psychopath — murdering his cellmate in cold blood and ordering his men to slaughter the guards during the jailbreak killing spree.
We later learn that he is also a child-killer, a rapist and a drug user in the original scenario he was called Tombstone. Indio is also extremely cunning, but it is odd that he senses nothing amiss when Manco appears on the scene. Initially numbering 14 plus Sancho Perez, fresh out of jail, makes 15 , the bounty-hunters methodically cut down the odds. Manco shoots three on the way to Santa Cruz.
As the remnants of the gang are wiped out, Indio squashes a beetle scampering across the tabletop and then watches the insect writhe, intercut with the deaths of his men. When they are all dead, Indio flicks the beetle from the table. He was right; Agua Caliente has become a morgue.
The two main themes are the relationship between the bounty-hunters and the vendetta between the colonel and Indio. The first time outside the Taberna in Agua Caliente he means it sarcastically, the second more sincerely. Mortimer has just killed Indio and earned them a lot of money.
Mortimer even breaks into the storeroom and recovers the money before Manco. Revenge is the powerful subtext to the story. It becomes apparent midway through the film and is only fully explained at the end. It is presumed that her murder is the reason that Indio is in prison at the beginning of the film.
Leone achieves the perfect balance between the flashbacks two in the original full-length print, one in the cut version , the revelations a single line from Mortimer referring to his sister and the act of revenge with the second flashback coming directly before the final shootout. The vendetta is symbolised throughout the film by the two identical musical pocket watches carried by Indio and Mortimer.
Far from being haunted, Leone suggests that Indio enjoys these reminiscences. When Manco arrives in Agua Caliente, three locals walk towards him, as though a show- down is about to take place. The bright colours, never-ending Almeria sunshine and clear, blue skies contrasted effectively with the barren desert, rocky hills and dusty townships. Before the final street fight in Agua Caliente, while the stranger and Mortimer wait outside the taberna, the shots are matched up like in the duels.
Exactly the same shots are repeated with Van Cleef. They idly load their weapons, Eastwood sitting on a chair, Van Cleef leaning casually against the wall, and the effect is similar to the long opening sequence of Once Upon a Time in the West — the monotony of waiting for the action to begin. Van Cleef even lets out a bored sigh. In this simple sequence it is clear that both men are after the bandit, but that their motives are very different. A distant rider in a desert landscape is felled by an unseen marksman.
We hear the assassin lighting a smoke and idly humming and whistling actually voiced by Leone , so we presume that the off-screen gunman is Eastwood. The title sequence is imaginatively done, with smoke from the unseen cigar or pipe forming the names of the production staff and later the credits become moving targets on a wire in particular, the elusive credit to Ennio Morricone , which are obliterated by the gunman. The second verse adds an echoing drum, a flute, brushed snare and a church bell.
Throughout the early part of the film, this theme accompanies Eastwood. The same sound effect is also used in the scene where Mortimer kills Callaway — it seems killing is a drug too. The main theme associated with Indio is the watch carillon. In the final duel, the chimes become his death-knell.
While the colonel looks down at his pistol on the ground and Indio itches to draw, quiet strings long, sad and mournful accompany the face-off. Indio looks at the picture of the girl in the watch lid, then at Mortimer and sees a similarity, finally telling Indio who Mortimer is. When a louder watch interrupts the fading chimes and Manco makes his presence known, the gundown music marks the start of a fairer fight.
In the finale, the guitar is followed by a trumpet solo played by N. Manco looks at the picture in the watch and notes a family resemblance. His sister avenged, Mortimer is content and rides into the sunset. Some films poked fun at the title.
The offbeat Duel in the Eclipse featured Lang Jeffries as an Eastwood-style gunslinger dressed in a leopardskin poncho. One bit of footage left lying on the cutting-room floor by Leone appeared in My Name is Pecos , which bizarrely closes on the opening shot of For a Few. But most successful was Karl Hirenbach. The cutting of the final flashback is very odd, considering how crucial it is to the story. Production stills and trailers provide evidence that further scenes were shot, but not included in any released versions.
On two occasions Indio caresses and listens to the firing mechanism of his pistol, the same pistol the girl used in the suicide, making the baptism even stranger. To the publicists the films were interchangeable: the United Artists poster for Fistful featured Indio and Mortimer from the final duel in For a Few.
Unsurprisingly, critics were unimpressed. Noticeably, of all the portraits in the Annual, Eastwood is the only hero not clean- shaven and smiling. He was perfect for this new genre and was cast in some of the best Italian westerns of the sixties. Like Eastwood, who reused the same gunbelt throughout his western career, Van Cleef kept two prop ideas from For a Few: the pipe in preference to a cigar , giving his characters a sense of meditative paternal wisdom, and his unusual cross-belly draw holster.
Van Cleef was originally billed twelfth on the cast list. For a Few Dollars More, with The Big Gundown and Death Rides a Horse, represents the best of the mainstream Italian westerns in the period —67, before too much parody, politics or repetition filtered into the formula. Corbucci, like Leone and Tessari, was working in popular Italian cinema for over a decade before he became involved in westerns in the early sixties.
Corbucci made two other westerns before Django: the erratic Minnesota Clay and the mediocre Johnny Oro — made before Django but released after- wards. From Fistful Corbucci took the premise of two gangs vying for control of a town. From The Proud Ones he reused the plot of a lawman cleaning up a town even though he is going blind.
Corbucci hired Mitchell to have an authentic American star for the publicity. The film was a moderate success and Corbucci even distributed the film with his own name on it. He was the first Italian western director brave enough to do so. It seems producers were none too keen to let Corbucci loose on a film set by himself, reigning him in with co-directors.
A coffin-dragging drifter called Django returns from the Civil War and is caught in a private war between two factions in a bloody border ghost-town; this time north of the Mexican border. The Mexican gang are a group of fugitive renegades, led by sadistic General Hugo Rodriguez, who are lying low during the Mexican revolution. Django takes on both gangs, with a machine-gun he keeps hidden in his coffin.
Django initially sides with the Mexicans, but eventually double-crosses them. The Mexicans capture him and crush his hands, leaving Django incapacitated for the final confrontation with Jackson in the Tombstone cemetery. There are no such economics in Django. Although neither side appears to trade anything except lead , there is blood-lust and hatred.
The Klansmen are southern fanatics, fighting a prejudicial war against the Mexican peasants. The Mexican bandit gang are sketchily drawn idealists, while the local peons are simply moving targets for Jackson. When the Mexicans get the chance to kill the Klan priest, Brother Jonathan, they first humiliate him by severing his ear and making him eat it, in retribution for Jackson casually shooting the peons as though they were game.
With the pot already boiling, into this mayhem walks Django, who is like no other previous western hero. He was only 18 when he was involved in an accident that almost ended his life. The story goes as bizarre as anything Corbucci ever concocted that on the night of 2 November he returned to his caravan, which was full of celluloid flowers that his pregnant wife had made to sell the next day at the local cemetery.
Django lit a candle and accidentally ignited the celluloid. He escaped, but badly burned the left side of his body and disfigured his fretting hand. After an month convalescence he emerged a better guitarist. Nero turned out to be ideal for Django, with his slow, deliberate mannerisms and smouldering looks — whether casting his eye over the heroine, or staring down a villain. The town is the Elios set outside Rome, but look out for an incongruous, high wire fence at one end of the street.
Corbucci and Carlo Simi took the street outside the Grafton Store in Shane and based the set around it. The mud was in contrast to the surrounding arid landscape. The countryside sequences were shot in Spain, north of Madrid near Colmenar Viejo the watchtower and corral sequences and La Pedriza at Manzanares El Real, used for the chase sequences around Mexican Fort Cheriba and the scene in which the Mexicans return to Mexico and are ambushed by the Federales.
The fort was near the Santillana reservoir, which is clearly visible in the distance. The remaining scenes were lensed on the coast of Italy, in the wild west of Lazio: the graveyard, the rope bridge and the mud-flats actually a stretch of beach and an inlet at Tor Caldara, near Anzio. In keeping with the desolate setting, Carlo Simi opted for a winter look for the costumes. The fingerless gloves and scarf make him look like an undertaker.
To this strange outfit Corbucci added a belt-feed machine-gun and a coffin, making Django the most distinctive-looking spaghetti-western hero of them all. The action sequences were edited for maximum impact, with shots of the machine-gun pouring lead intercut with its bloody effects. The prostitutes, with their bright dresses and feather boas in reds, yellows and blues and the Klansmen, wearing blood-red masks, scarves and hoods, contrast vividly with their drab and decrepit surroundings.
Like Yojimbo, the first shot of Django is the hero walking away from the camera, but here the rain is pouring and the location is rather less exotic — a desolate mud-flat in Italy. Like all Italian western heroes, Django is a loner. Django is a troubled antihero.
We learn that he fought in the Civil War indicating that once he had some ideals , but background information is sparse in the English-language print. But it seems Django took a while to get home. During the final confrontation in the cemetery, Django rests his Colt Peacemaker on a wooden cross bearing the name Mercedes Zaro. Beneath her name are the dates —69, which sets Django at least four years after the end of the Civil War.
That said, he was walking. In an innovation for western heroes, Django is never seen riding a horse. Customers are so scarce that they only make money when one of the gangs visits the brothel, and with the conflict raging their patrons are getting fewer. Nathaniel offers the reverse of the undertaker in Fistful. He wants Django to get killed quickly, reasoning that then he would lose less custom. Brother Jonathan, the local priest, is a spineless runt with an Abe Lincoln beard.
Jackson and Jonathan clearly get on like a cross on fire. The death of Jonathan is a classic moment in Italian western film-making, with the gore laid on thick. The assistant director on Django was Ruggero Deodato, who obviously watched and learned how to stage a bloodbath, as he later made the widely banned and truly repulsive Cannibal Holocaust Corbucci also includes exploitative moments in Django.
There is much black humour in Django. He uses sweeping tracking shots, odd camera angles and his trademark rapid zooms. He even films one dialogue scene through a swinging lamp and takes a hand-held camera into the middle of a fistfight. The two confrontations between Django and the Klan were shot on similar locations. The street of the town is on a slope, with a large corral gate at the far end, while the graveyard is similarly sited on an incline, with the gate positioned in the distance.
At the graveyard climax, the only sounds are the whistling wind and the banshee- howl of a coyote, as Django removes the trigger guard from his Colt with his teeth and desperately tries to balance the gun on a cross. The tension mounts as first five Klansmen arrive at the gate, followed by Jackson.
The music for Django was composed by Luis Enriquez Bacalov, an Argentinian who worked in Italian cinema throughout the sixties. He then formed his own orchestra and moved into film- scoring. Matthew Django, now your love has gone away. Released in April , Django was a phenomenon in Italy and turned Nero into a big box-office attraction.
The film was also popular in Spain and especially so in Germany. The original Italian-language script is more poetic and informative we find out that Django was in prison for desertion and the religious references are more overt. The Italian version also had a longer credits sequence with more production staff listed , while the English version adds several pseudonyms. The uncut print runs at 87 minutes and was severely criticised in Italy for its extreme violence. Despite its European popularity, Django was unreleased in the UK because of its violence and the US it failed to find a distributor , though Nero says that Jack Nicholson tried to acquire the rights in The English-language version of Django makes up in violence what it lacks in synchronised lip movement.
In his subsequent westerns for Corbucci, Nero used his own voice in the English-language prints, which is just as well judging from the out-of-character, matter-of-fact accent foisted on him here. Nero worked with Corbucci in on A Professional Gun his best western performance , but only played Django again in the inferior Django Strikes Again Like Hercules before him, Django soon had a series of films devoted to his various adventures, though many of the films only used the name to cajole audiences into the cinemas.
Twenty-one unrelated movies were rechristened for German release, three for France and eleven for the English-speaking market. She tries to make him give up bounty-hunting but he refuses. Eventually Cortez kills Michelou in a stage hold-up, triggering a confrontation with Django.
Here Django Steffen is a spectral avenger — a soldier back not only from the war, but also from the dead — who takes revenge on three northern officers who betrayed his unit in battle. Nero was supposed to star as part of a three-film deal with BRC , but although he made the next film in the series, Texas Adios , the producers brought in Terence Hill for the third film. It featured Hill as Django and retained the gravedigger clothes, the coffin and the machine-gun from the original.
While Django is escorting a shipment of cash, he is ambushed and badly wounded; his wife is killed and Barry is responsible. Five years later, Barry is continuing the robberies, covering Dying for the Cause: the Klansmen arrive to face Django in the muddy Elios Studios western set for Django Django now dressed in his trademark Union jacket, coat and scarf has fully recovered and goes looking for revenge. That night, in the muddy street, Django torches the saloon, annihilates the gang and burns Lucas to death in the inferno.
Then Barry keeps a date with Django at a deserted hillside cemetery. And you are dead. This is your grave, mister…dig. Standing absolutely no chance, Barry and the gang are soon reduced to a heap of corpses. The surreal musical spaghetti western Rita of the West included a witty satire of Django.
If it had been retitled Django and his Golden Pistol it would have probably made more money. With Django, Corbucci forged a western landscape so violent, garish and spectacular that it would take some equalling as pure visceral entertainment. But the director was honing his style, and the years —68 would see Corbucci become a major force in the development of action cinema.
The style, irreverence and grit that he brought to the western would be widely imitated. As imitated as Leone, in fact, though far less acknowledged. He began as a militant film critic, then became a documentary film-maker and was a collaborator on neo-realist films, writing Germany, Year Zero and Bitter Rice Given the chance to direct, he chose to make films concerning the Resistance or clandestine espionage, including Achtung! Lizzani made two westerns in the mid-sixties and The Hills Run Red was the first and best of them.
As they head for the Mexican border a Union patrol intercepts them. Brewster and Seagall agree to draw cards to decide who will escape — Seagall wins and gets away with the haul, while Brewster is thrown into prison at Fort Wilson. Hills is convoluted, with subplots, double-crosses and twists. Saloon-owner Brian Horner is aided by Brewster in a bid to defeat his nemesis Ken Milton, who wants to run Horner out of town.
Lizzani took fifties revenge westerns as a starting point. Lizzani cast year-old Dan Duryea, a perennial heavy, as heroic Winny Getz. Duryea was a key figure in Hollywood westerns. Duryea also had guest-spots on various TV shows, including Rawhide. Duryea played Brother William, a villainous zealot masquerading as the town priest. Born in Brooklyn of Puerto Rican ancestry, Silva had an unmistakable angular face, with cold, oriental eyes.
Thomas Hunter, as Jerry Brewster, completed the central trio of protagonists, making The Hills Run Red one of the few sixties spaghetti westerns with genuine American-born actors battling it out. Other actors included Geoffrey Copleston and Paolo Magalotti, both of whom had been involved in spaghetti westerns since the early days. When we first see unshaven Seagall in his new incarnation as Milton, riding along in a buggy, he is almost unrecognisable, with his smart suit and Douglas Fairbanks moustache.
Part of the opening chase, the riding scenes and the canyon ambush were shot in Spain at La Pedriza and Colmenar. Silva is dressed entirely in black leather, with a broad-brimmed black sombrero. Like several spaghettis, Hills begins at the end of the American Civil War.
Following an unseen payroll robbery, Lizzani gets straight into the action with the pre-title sequence — a chase through the countryside near the Mexican border. Brewster and Seagall are two Texans on the run with a fortune in stolen cash.
By the end of the titles he appears to be going slightly mad, as he dazedly revolves on the spot in his tiny, darkened cell. Sun bother you? Ex-comrades Seagall and Brewster behave in similar ways throughout the film. But Brewster manages to douse the lights, plunging the room into darkness, and kill Seagall in a shadowy gunfight. The Hills Run Red is a more extreme revenge movie than most, mainly due to manic performances from Hunter and Silva. It is difficult to imagine a more excessive and twisted pair of adversaries.
Hunter was an underrated actor. Silva is even more unhinged, playing Mendez with all-stops-out. Mendez walks towards Brewster and draws his pistol, about to shoot. Brewster tells him to get it over with, but the villain lowers the hammer and laughs. But Getz recognises that Brewster is no longer an outlaw and appoints him Sheriff of Austin.
The closing images are full of optimism, with Brewster and Tim waving goodbye to Getz as Mary-Ann looks on. A child actor in a major role was usually the kiss of death to spaghettis, but Loris Loddi is one of the few exceptions. In their first dialogue together, their father-and- son bond is well delineated, even though Tim has no idea who the stranger is.
Brewster has a tattoo cut from his arm, but there are no close-ups or blood. The most shocking moment occurs when Getz arrives at the Mayflower Ranch with the patch of tattooed skin pressed in his handkerchief between two leaves — all part of a ruse to convince Seagall that Brewster is dead.
Lizzani comes into his own in a series of impressive set pieces, which gradually become more elaborate. Early action sequences are relatively small-scale affairs, never involving more than a few participants. With the attack on the horse herd, the film picks up pace. Lizzani later stages a mass shootout in the deserted streets of Austin, with Brewster and Getz alone against Los Garcianos. Preceding this con- frontation there is an eerie silence, as a driverless hearse appears and approaches the gang.
Once the dynamite starts flying the shootout could easily have become one of those static affairs from the climax of Hollywood westerns, with the entire cast shooting at each other forever from behind boxes and barrels. But here, the action is transformed into a gloriously comic-book confrontation, in which believability takes a back seat to the stunt work and choreography; many of the gang members were played by stuntmen Guglielmo Spolettini, Paolo Magalotti and Osiride Pevarello.
Hills also features a departure for Morricone: a ballad is used, not as a main theme, but as incidental music. With their song, Morricone and Lizzani seem to be striving for a combination of parody, homage and pathos. Hopelessly sentimental and not to say optimistic, the lyrics include: I know a girl with golden hair, waiting by the window, all alone.
I know my girl knows how I care. Hurry home to my love, back home to my darling girl. More imaginative are the musical sound effects Morricone uses for Mendez. In one scene Brewster lies beaten and Mendez puts a pistol to his head — filmed from a low angle, so that the gun barrel points directly at the camera in close-up. A high- pitched whine on the soundtrack convinces us that Mendez is about to shoot, but instead he lowers the hammer and bursts out laughing.
Like A Pistol for Ringo, the music also reinforces the cultural differences between the gentlefolk at the Mayflower Ranch and their rough Mexican employees. De Laurentiis released The Hills Run Red in Italy in September , to great success — it was one of the most popular westerns of the year. The film is slowly paced, poorly scripted and shoddily acted. One scene alone hints at what might have been. That makes it legal…instead of just fun. After a bank raid, Cooper is captured and sent to do hard labour in a prison camp situated in a swamp, where he catches malaria.
A minor entry for the most part, there are two reasons for seeing Hate for Hate. Also of note is the opening bank robbery. Moxon takes the staff hostage in the office, while Cooper cleans out the safe. When Cooper returns to the office, he finds all the staff dead. Here the pace, sentiment and humour of Hills was gone, to be replaced with political philosophising; Lizzani and collaborators no less than five of them ruminated at length on the church, racism and revolution.
Lou Castel appeared as the eponymous hero, the son of a Mexican bandit but raised by a priest who comes into conflict with a deranged southern officer Fergusson Mark Damon, straight out of Django. Luckily Pasolini managed to forget this episode in his career wandering around the desert wearing a poncho and go on to do some of his best work, behind the camera. The heroes are pitted against a toga-wearing villain named Julius Caesar who lives in an opulent palace, complete with slave-girls and a huge sunken bath and his army of black-clad Pistoleros.
It also features exotic dances performed by grass-skirted slave-girls, to Hawaiian-sounding pop songs. The Hills Run Red remains an entertaining and atypical addition to the Italian western canon. It is a classic example of how a talented director like Lizzani could absorb the wild west myth and produce a piece of genre cinema; Lizzani says that he made the film solely as a favour to De Laurentiis.
Hills includes three generations of western actors: Duryea had been active in the genre since the mid-forties, Silva since the fifties and Hunter was the latest addition in the sixties though his career was short-lived and patchy. I killed ten thousand guys, wore a Japanese slingshot and a fright wig. Reynolds has mellowed and now he wryly recalls his time in Italy and Spain shooting his first, and last, Italian western.
A gang of scalphunters led by the brutal half-breed Duncan earn a living killing Indians for the rewards on their scalps. When the bounties are stopped and Duncan discovers that a reward has been put on his head, the scalphunters go on the rampage, sacking the settlement of Peyote. With the help of a trio of dancehall girls and a servant girl called Estella, Joe whittles down the gang. Joe reveals that his wife was murdered and scalped by Duncan.
Corbucci said that Navajo Joe was an historically accurate political film about the mass slaughter of Native American Indians, but he addressed it in much the same way he addressed other issues in his westerns — through a hero who kills lots of people. Cousins of the Apaches, the Navajos were purged from their homeland in The scalp bounties were based on fact, but the firearms on display are historically inaccurate; the repeating Winchesters used by Joe and the scalphunters post-date the period by a number of years.
In Apache Rising Jess Remsberg, a bitter army scout, tracks down the Indian-hating Graff called Willard Grange in the film to avenge the death of his Indian wife, Singing Sky, who has been scalped beside a river. In Romulus and Remus , Romulus explains his patriotic motivation for resisting the Lord of Albalonga.
The mountains, the rivers, the valleys…our land. His forefathers have lived in the west for generations, a place now populated by prejudiced townspeople and greedy scalphunters. He also looked passably Indian, as he was part Cherokee.
Eastwood introduced Reynolds to De Laurentiis, who needed an actor who could do his own stunts. Reynolds, in the middle of a divorce and just turned 30, accepted and arrived in Rome in April Reynolds was raring to go, but De Laurentiis ordered rewrite after rewrite. Reynolds had allowed himself three months before he was due back in the US to begin Hawk, a new TV series. As time wore on, Reynolds was in for another surprise.
Reynolds was also under the illusion that the entire cast spoke English, but of course no one did. I did more pauses than Brando ever did. Extraordinary prolific, Sambrell was a true product of the Italian western genre. A fine actor, he nearly always played a Mexican gunman, but he played the part very well and remained one of the stalwarts of the genre. He appeared through- out the fifties in Italian epics, where his career reached its nadir in The Lion of Thebes He played the pharaoh Ramissees, though his portrayal was ruined by some ludicrous costumes; in one sequence he looked like a cross between one of the Three Wise Men and a grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
Corbucci continued to cast actresses in prominent roles. A distinctive feature of the film was the excellent costumes, designed by Marcella De Marchis. The scalphunters are predominantly Mexican and wear a variety of ponchos, bandoleers and sombreros. The dancehall girls are dressed in gaudy outfits in green, red, gold and black, incorporating lots of sequins , while Indian maid Estella looks stunning in a simple blue sackcloth dress.
The best costume was reserved for the hero and Reynolds has never looked better — kitted out in feathers and leathers, and armed to the teeth. No one in the crew seemed to have a clue what real Indians looked like. Consulting a history book, the wardrobe department picked out a Columbus period Indian with feathers and a jockstrap. I looked like Natalie Wood. The ranch house and corral were near Colmenar. The desert, forest and grassland locations were shot at a variety of sites, ranging from Almeria and Colmenar to Torremocha, Castile and the railroad track near Guadix.
It also appeared in many other spaghettis; the locomotive was the standard prop train on location in Spain. Producer De Laurentiis reasoned that by having a hero who killed more people than Eastwood, then box-office takings would rise accordingly. The on-screen relationship between Joe and Estella is somewhat overshadowed by the relationship between Joe and his horse. This telepathy between horse and master was reiterated during the making of the film.
In the Italian-shot sequences, Destaphanado had a rather obvious stand-in with different markings. Many of the horses used in spaghetti westerns were less lucky. Three scalphunters chase a cart with the saloon girls on board. To foil their escape, one of the bandits uses a bolas to stop the horses in their tracks.
Exceptionally cruel in its execution, the stunt has little chance of being broadcast today, let alone performed. But in the sixties, before more stringent measures were taken with animal safety, virtually anything was permitted and many actors notably Klaus Kinski were injured when they were thrown from untrained horses. Towards the end of the location shoot a problem arose.
Reynolds learned that the commencement date for Hawk had been moved forward and he was needed back in the US by the end of June. On location at Tabernas, Corbucci filmed Reynolds lobbing dynamite, shooting from a rooftop and generally running amok.
These scenes would form the backbone of the big shootout in Esperanza. The film was then assembled jigsaw-fashion in post-production. The only giveaways are sudden changes of location. Cinematographer Enzo Barboni was replaced by Italian-born Silvano Ippoliti, who had photographed several muscleman epics, including Hercules, Samson and Ulysses — which featured Roman soldiers in poorly disguised Second World War German helmets.
Navajo has a colourful, pop-art sheen and the blue Spanish sky has never looked so beautiful. But the director still had a problem establishing the plot threads at the beginning of his films and bringing the stories to life. But gradually his photographic and editing style gels, so that by the climax, the final confrontation makes perfect sense.
When they first appear, mercilessly slaughtering Navajo Indians, it quickly becomes apparent that they are more than just marauding bandits. Beneath the titles the gang rides upriver through a forest, with bloody trophies hanging from their saddles and adorning poles brandished as standards.
When the confrontation comes, the cowardly townsfolk watch as the scalphunters capture and beat Joe. Only outsiders like Estella and the dancehall girls aid the Indian. This is apparent in the opening sequence. After shooting an Indian girl, Duncan wades across a creek and kneels by her body, drawing his knife.
In his first couple of scenes Reynolds is silent, his powerful screen presence and violent actions speaking louder than words. Joe is enigmatic and mysterious, she coy and inquisitive. He risks his life to stop the slaughter of his own people and surrenders to Duncan in Esperanza, rather than see Estella harmed. Lynne is a pillar of the community, who turns out to be a cheap crook. Like the characters in fifties psychological Hollywood westerns, Duncan gets the opportunity to explain his prejudices.
Duncan stands beside the pulpit clutching a prayer book, then guns the priest down in cold blood, continuing the cycle of the vendetta. Both the main characters are fuelled by vengeance. Duncan thinks Joe is a dogged bounty-hunter, eager for cash.
Estella is more persistently inquisitive. Estella wants Joe to survive as though she realises he will die in the ensuing showdown and asks why he hates Duncan so much. He does, however, get the opportunity to tell Duncan. In the final face-off in the Navajo cemetery, Duncan discovers why.
Joe wears a matching pendant of two interlocking circles. In a brutal scene, Joe pins Duncan down and thrashes him with a rifle butt and his fists. The final shocking moments are expertly edited. Joe looks for a suitable weapon to finish Duncan off. It is a visceral moment, at once exhilarating and saddening, as we realise that Joe is going to die. This is joined by another, then another as Morricone multi-tracks the voices, creating a cacophony which is suddenly stopped by a single booming drumbeat.
Then Spagnolo enters, her sinuous, almost blues, vocal improvising up and down the scale, while the choir continue their mantra with raw, indiscernible lyrics. One composition dominates when the scalphunters are on screen. It features a death-knell piano riff, sustained strings, drums, blasts of brass, high-pitched whistles, a discordant church organ and a glass-shattering holler from Spagnolo. The film was released in Italy in November and appeared on the drive-in circuit in the US in late Its one influence was on the Italian Magnificent Seven rip- offs.
The other members of the group were expendable, with their billing on the posters being a fair indication of their chances of survival. These groups often included an Indian character called Blade or Chato, who was skilled in throwing knives and tomahawks. Similarly, scalphunters rarely reappeared in the genre, one notable exception being The Fighting Fists of Shanghai Joe , a kung-fu spaghetti western.
Jack ends up being disembowelled by the knives he keeps in the lining of his jacket, and has his own scalp sent as a gift to his former employer. Deadly in his violence! Navajo revenge slashes, burns…ravages the screen! American and British critics were unimpressed with Navajo, though Reynolds did garner some good notices. But though the film grossed well in Europe, it bombed in the US and only made money on rerelease, once Reynolds was famous. After Navajo and his earlier appearance as Quint Asper the half-breed blacksmith in Gunsmoke , Reynolds found himself typecast as Indians.
Following Hawk, in which Reynolds played a contemporary Iroquois Indian detective — who, the actor claimed, put his ear to the ground to listen for stolen cars — Reynolds returned to Almeria in to make the pedestrian spaghetti-esque Rifles. It was also the first to add a political slant to the relationship between a gringo outsider and a Mexican bandit, during their adventures south of the border.
Authentic in its depiction of a band of guerrillas constantly on the move in an effort to stay ahead of government troops, the film aptly conveyed the powder-keg situation in Mexico in the early twentieth century. Moreover, it took a serious view of its causes, looking at how they affected the populace and possible solutions to the insurrection. It was apparent from those early films that Damiani deemed suitable subject-matter to be isolation, alienation, homosexuality and betrayal, and his first foray into Italian westerns continued to explore these themes.
A Bullet for the General tells the story of El Chuncho a Mexican gunrunner , Santo his half-brother, a fervent revolutionary and priest and gringo outlaw Bill Tate. Santo wants to carry out the sentence, but during the execution Tate shoots both Elias and Santo. But in the Cuidad Juarez railway station, Chuncho at last sees his country as something worth fighting for. More thought had gone into the scenario for Bullet than the average Italian western, and the man who did the thinking was Franco Solinas.
Solinas was an important figure in Italian political cinema. Extraordinary in its simplicity and using mainly non-actors, the film takes the viewer to the heart of a modern revolution. This is the sense of the story, because it tells of the pains and lacerations which the birth of the Algerian nation brought to all of its people. More so, however, it is about the birth of a hero. The three fragments that remain Que Viva Mexico! In a key sequence of Que Viva Mexico! The shot depicts the peon as Christ, and his two bare-chested compadres one either side recall the crucifixion.
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He is fat, completely bald and wears glasses. To mark the difference in status iconographically he smokes thick cigars. Anacleto frequently has to carry out missions in deserts or high mountains which ultimately turn out to have elevators. Another running gag of the series is that he is frequently chased by a group of sharks when he falls in the sea or even a river or puddle.
The main character is a completely stupid spy who always has bad luck. For example, after successfully transporting a nuclear bomb to HQ, there is a fly on it. When he touches the bomb in order to kill the fly, it explodes.
Also, he spends most of his missions time in the desert, often looking for someone. Then, when he returns, he realizes that his boss had ordered him to make a completely useless trip. Although his name is not revealed in the comic, he is in every issue giving commands to Anacleto, mostly with stupid purposes such as playing chess or drinking Gin. He is always angry. The comic strip was made into a Spanish live-action action-comedy film: Anacleto: agente secreto.
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The main character is a completely stupid spy who always has bad luck. For example, after successfully transporting a nuclear bomb to HQ, there is a fly on it. When he touches the bomb in order to kill the fly, it explodes. Also, he spends most of his missions time in the desert, often looking for someone.
Then, when he returns, he realizes that his boss had ordered him to make a completely useless trip. Although his name is not revealed in the comic, he is in every issue giving commands to Anacleto, mostly with stupid purposes such as playing chess or drinking Gin. He is always angry. The comic strip was made into a Spanish live-action action-comedy film: Anacleto: agente secreto. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
For the film, see Anacleto: agente secreto. Anacleto, agente secreto. Las hermanas Gilda La familia Cebolleta Anacleto, agente secreto Categories : comics debuts Humor comics Spanish comic strips Comics characters introduced in Fictional secret agents and spies Spanish comics characters Fictional Spanish people Spanish comics adapted into films James Bond parodies. Hidden categories: Comics infobox without image Title pop AC with 0 elements.
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