A Pistol for Ringo / Una pistola per Ringo (Duccio Tessari, 1965)


(scherpschutter) #1

Two people approach each other in the main street of a western town. We all know this can only mean trouble, but instead of bullets, Christmas greetings are exchanged. But it won’t be a peaceful Christmas for the town’s people. A notorious gunslinger called Ringo kills four man out of self defence - but is still arrested by the sheriff - and a Mexican gang of bandits take a wealthy family’s ranch as a hide-out after a failed attempt to flee from a bank robbery. The sheriff has the ranch surrounded but is reluctant to act since the family members have been taken hostage and his fiancée is among them. The only person capable to deal with the situation is Ringo, so he’s freed from jail and asked to infiltrate the gang …

Una pistola per Ringo and its loose sequel Il Ritorno di Ringo were made by the same director, with the same leading actor and supporting cast. It was an immediate succes, especially in Italy and France, and made a star out of Italian born actor and former stuntman Giuliano Gemma, who would become one of the busiest actors in the business during the next few years. For an early spaghetti, it’s remakably non-violent, even though the body count is high and some scenes (Sancho executing Mexican peons) might have looked quite extreme in those days. Most directors who followed Leone’s tracks tried to outdo his films in violence, but Tessari chose a more light-hearted approach. Most critics have even maintained that his style is more American than Italian. And yes, the story about the lone gunman coming to the aid of an aristocratic family taken hostage by a gang of ruthless bandits could have served very well for a Hollywood western, and with his clear smile, shiny white teeth and angelic face Gemma doesn’t look like the typical spaghetti western hero, still both his behaviour and moral code are more in line with No Name than with the standard Hollywood hero. When Ringo is asked for which side his father fought during the Civil War, he answers that he used to change sides every time the odds were changing (it’s hard to imagine John Wayne would give a similar answer), and when he arrives at the ranch he immediately starts to negotiate with the Mexicans in true No name style about his share of the loot …
Ringo is, so to speak, a ‘light version’ of Eastwood’s No Name (although their literary origins are different); he’s even presented as a No Name type of spaghetti western character: he is a passer-by who interferes in a conflict situation, not an avenger focussed on, or even consumed by hate like Django or Harmonica. He’s lethal and manipulative, but unlike NO Name he’s more of a rascal than a mean bastard. While No name’s character takes root in the nihilistic roman noir tradition (not Yojimbo, but a character called the Continental Op, created by Dashiell hammet, served as his model), Gemma’s Ringo character seems to originate more in the tradition of the picaresque novel.

Tessari tells his story very effectively, with acute dialogue (you’ll learn what made equally born men different) and interesting plot twists. The film even has an endearing and tragic love affair between a female member of the gang (the gorgeous Nieves Navarro) and the older aristocratic ranch owner. Only the ending is a bit silly: Gemma uses a clock to deviate his bullet in order to hit Sancho, who would otherwise be out of reach. The film’s lush photography is breathtaking: both indoor and outdoor scenes are shot inventively, while excellent use has been made of the widescreen. It’s one of those spaghettis that will be ruined when shown in Pan&Scan. Morricone’s score is, needless to say, exquisite, although the lyrics of the title song, sung by Maurizio Graf ( … and the woman who’s waiting for his return) seem more appropriate for Il ritorno di Ringo. The film might look a bit too casual to those who love their spaghettis gritty and violent, but it proves that a more light-hearted style was present within the genre from the beginning. The film is flawed, some comical touches are slly, but it was one of the most succesful early spaghetti westerns and a must view for every fan of the genre.

Reviewed DVD: French Seven7Sept.
Running time: 1:33,29 / 2,35:1 Anamorphic / PAL / Region 2 / DD 2.0 Mono French / No subtitles.
This is a stunning DVD. Picture quality is excellent: colours are warm, the image is sharp and crystal clear and there’s hardly any print damage. Moreover there are interesting extras, such as an interview with Gemma’s daughter. But … it’s not English friendly …
For everybody who speaks (some) French this is a must have, but it certainly is a movie that deserves a decent first rate English friendly release.


(Phil H) #2

I second that. My pan and scan version doesn’t do this film justice at all. And it always amazes me how some of these really important spaghettis somehow never get a proper english language release while other, lesser titles are easily available.
Nice review as usual though Scherps. Keep 'em coming.


(Silvanito) #3


(scherpschutter) #4

@ Lindberg

Those posters of you are amazing

Can I use them in the future for my reviews?

I’ve already spoken to a friend of mine who knows a lot more than I do about computers about a training session, so that in the future I can design the lay-out of my own reviews


(scherpschutter) #5

@ Phil

Thought it was a good idea to stick a little with those early spaghettis
I could do ADIOS GRINGO during the next few days; I have the Italian DVD
Being made by Stegani, assistent-director for UN DOLARO BUCATO, it’s an interesting companion piece to that film.

It wouldn’t probably be a bad idea if you did IL RITORNO DI RINGO; your approach is slightly different, and with two films so closely related, it might be interesting for visitors of the forum/database to read both our views.


(ENNIOO) #6

And the thing about the Japanese disc which has english audio the widescreen ratio has been cropped, but I have just got a copy of the French disc which someone has put the english dub on :).


(Silvanito) #7

[quote=“scherpschutter, post:4, topic:938”]@ Lindberg

Those posters of you are amazing

Can I use them in the future for my reviews?[/quote]

Yes of course

And there are already many posters/ pictures in the SW database, you can easily link to those in your reviews when you know how it’s done

You can also send me a PM before you publish a review if you like, maybe I have a good picture that is not yet uploaded to the database


(Phil H) #8

[quote=“scherpschutter, post:5, topic:938”]@ Phil

Thought it was a good idea to stick a little with those early spaghettis
I could do ADIOS GRINGO during the next few days; I have the Italian DVD
Being made by Stegani, assistent-director for UN DOLARO BUCATO, it’s an interesting companion piece to that film.

It wouldn’t probably be a bad idea if you did IL RITORNO DI RINGO; your approach is slightly different, and with two films so closely related, it might be interesting for visitors of the forum/database to read both our views.[/quote]

I wrote a review of Return of Ringo some months back and it is already on the site. You can get to it through the Reviews page.
And I think it is good to have reviews from different people in different styles of the same films. It offers contrasting ideas and perspective. So please feel free to add your own. (As always I am happy to load them on for you) Your reviews are always well written and with a strong academic style which I enjoy.
The reviews page is looking much healthier now. It only had a handful of pages on it up until recently but now is filling up nicely.


(Silvanito) #9

And scherpschutter, it’s about time you got an avatar I think

I have a suggestion, Anthony Ghidra would suit you :slight_smile:

Ask your computer-knowing friend to copy this picture and use it as your avatar


(Phil H) #10

By the way, Thanks to Lode for prettying up my reviews with images and links. They look much better now. Well done.


(scherpschutter) #11

[quote=“Lindberg, post:9, topic:938”]And scherpschutter, it’s about time you got an avatar I think

I have a suggestion, Anthony Ghidra would suit you :slight_smile:

Ask your computer-knowing friend to copy this picture and use it as your avatar

[/quote]

Maybe I should do that …

Thanks Lindberg


(Sebastian) #12

can i borrow it? are you within the EU? i just wanna watch it, and then i’ll send it back to you


(ENNIOO) #13

The French disc with english audio is a ‘Fan’ version but I have never seen the film look so good as this before, but if you still require just PM me and I will send to you.


(Stanton) #14

But I think we will get a high class german DVD (possibly Koch Media) within a year of both Ringos.


(Bad Lieutenant) #15

The Thai release (Triple X Film) of this film is very affordable.


(Ming) #16

I was very disappointed with this one. An average SW with probably the worst Morricone score I’ve heard to date. It doesn’t even make it into my top 50.
Gemma plays his usual smart-arse character - way too smug & talkative.

This has really put me off seeing Return Of Ringo. In fact it’s put me off seeing any more Gemma spaghetti’s as he always seems to play similar characters - he does do some great stunts though.

BTW, isn’t the French DVD cut slightly?


(Yodlaf Peterson) #17

Even though i do like the first Ringo and don’t think it’s that bad i rate the sequel a lot higher, because you didn’t like it don’t let it put you off seeing Return of Ringo, i reckon you’ll miss out on a fun film. It’s really only a sequel in names sake anyway.

Totally different style film and a lot more brutal (some of it is like an 80’s action film), and Morricone’s score is good and the title song is one of (or maybe even my favourite) my favourite spaghetti songs.

I reckon you may well like it, if you don’t you don’t but it’s a lot different than the first film.


(Ming) #18

I have heard a lot of good things about Return Of Ringo.
I might give it a try if I see it at a reasonable price. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it for sale - which I suppose could be taken as a sign that it is a good film.


(davidf) #19

[quote=“Bad Lieutenant, post:15, topic:938”]The Thai release (Triple X Film) of this film is very affordable.[/quote]i have this dvd too and watched it last night. it might have just been my mood as i’m off on my holidays now and i see there are quite a few members that aren’t keen on this film. i found it an immensely enjoyable SW with a couple of brutal moments for it’s time with some good action and lashings of humour, some of which is all be it silly but overall in my opinon comes off quite nicely.the christmas setting is a novelty but really could have been set anytime. good fun.will have to see “return of ringo” at sometime. will be back in a week, all the best to everyone.


(Reverend Danite) #20

Have a great time amigo.
Before you go maybe you could tell us all your favourite type of music so Tigero can start a thread slagging it off - (a la prog-rock and Stanton). It’ll give you summat to look forward to upon your return … oh yeah, return … ROR is genius. I enjoyed PFR but the second film is in my Top5 - fantastic stuff!