A Stranger in Town / Un dollaro tra i denti (Luigi Vanzi, 1967)


(Half Soldier) #1

Database entryhttp://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Dollaro_tra_i_denti%2C_Un
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As always, I’ll share my write up of this week’s viewing with you all ::slight_smile:

“A Stranger in Town” is the first of Tony Anthony’s “Stranger” films - a character heavily borrowed from Eastwood/Leone’s “Man With No Name”. As I understand it, the aim of these films was to take the European vision of a western to a wider American audience. Which it successfully achieved.

The Stranger (Anthony) arrives in town to witness a brutal massacre of Mexican soldiers by a gang of bandits led by Aguila (Frank Wolff). Before the execution, Aguila assures the soldiers that he is “a fair man” - a regularly uttered pronouncement throughout the film. The death of so many men demonstrates otherwise.

The Stranger agrees to work with the bandits, who are now clad in the soldiers uniforms, to help steal gold from the US army. The plan is successful, but the Stranger is soon double-crossed once he arrives to collect his 50% share (despite Aguila being “a fair man”). After a beating, he escapes with the gold, and is pursued by the gang…

Whilst there are obvious similarities between this movie and the Dollars Trilogy - in particular a Fistful of Dollars - this is an enjoyable film in its own right. It lacks the class of Leone, and the cool of Eastwood, but Anthony and Director Luigi Vanzi never tried to mimic these aspects, concentrating instead on the action and violence. Indeed, Anthony’s Stranger never appears invincible, and remains likable throughout what is a very simplistic story.

The star of the show however is Frank Wolff - a man that does not know the meaning of a bad performance. Based largely on Volente’s Ramon, Aguila is equally as barbaric, but just a little more clumsy. And “a fair man!”. Of course!

There is very little dialogue in the whole movie, playing on the cliché of what we (or I imagine, more realistically, what the general American audience of that time) expect from a Spaghetti Western. Quite intentionally. The fact that there are few words puts great pressure on the quality of Benedetto Ghiglia’s score - which thankfully stands up to this task.

All in all, A Stranger in Town makes up for what it lacks in class and story with entertaining characters and good fight sequences. The beginning sequence where the Mexican soldiers are led into town by a group of singing monks - who soon cast off their robes and reveal themselves as Aguila and his gang - immediately persuades the viewer that this will be an enjoyable film. The final confrontation between the two main stars is equally as effective.

It is not (and doesn’t pretend to be) one of the greatest Spaghetti Westerns. In fact, Aguila would probably proclaim it as a “fair” film. And this time he wouldn’t be lying. Good fun, and recommended.

(If you’ve seen it, please feel free to vote for it at the poll at http://mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/spaghettiwesterns/reviews/astrangerintown.html )


(Cian) #2

A pretty “fair” review! The Stranger Returns is even better.


(Sebastian) #3

I only saw the trailer on shobary’s site. but it really looks quite stylish


(rojoprofundo) #4

you’re right, it’s better, but my favourite is “The Silent Stranger”.

Please, check my web: http://www.gratisweb.com/rojoprofundo/


(Silvanito) #5

Silent Stranger is the best one, the first one is awful, second one is “fair” :wink:


(Yodlaf Peterson) #6

I agree with Silvanito, I really like the second film.

Everybody seems to put down the bootleg Alpha Digital double bill but to be honest i don’t think they did a bad job.

For those who create, would you rather stick to a full screen tape.

i am more than happy till/if a legitimate release comes out :slight_smile:


(Yodlaf Peterson) #7

If you watch the first one and aren’t that gone on it don’t let it put you off watching the second film.

Mind, none of them are as good as BLINDMAN.


(Stanton) #8

Good review by Half Soldier.
It’s a simple,straightforward, but effective movie. The same could be said about The Stranger Returns, and of course Blindman, which shares many similarities with both, is a few steps ahead.
I think that Tony Anthony is not only an actor, but also one of the creative forces in all of them.


(Pacificador) #9

Just finished watching this flick. If you take it for what it is…an enjoyable spaghetti. I’d agree it doesn’t have the polish of many other films but it’s definitely not a waste of time either. Just a decent action film.

Probably the least amount of dialogue I’ve ever seen in a movie!


(Hud) #10

I agree with the review. This is a small and unpolished western that steals from the genre’s big guns (who weren’t exactly saints of originality) so openly that it is almost charming. And there is some ingenuity in its solutions, from Ghiglia’s memorable score to Tony Anthony’s eccentric anti-hero. The middle part is slow going and literally too dark (or maybe it’s just my VHS tape), but the final 10 minutes are fairly inspired and well executed action fun. I’d really like to own a legitimate quality dvd.


(alk0) #11

I guess i’m the biggest fan of this movie here, because it even landed in my top 20 ;D


(Cian) #12

It hovers just outside my Top 20, along with it’s sequel The Stranger Returns. I’d like to see a good quality release of it as the Alpha Digital copy seems to have been dipped in brown dye at some stage!


(alk0) #13

I think “The stranger returns” is on the similar level as the first movie [it’s also great], but i like the first one a little bit more. Can’t wait to see the third installment, i hope this NEW dvd will be at least decent.


(Pacificador) #14

I liked the music a lot…filled in for the sparse dialogue. Also recognized some of it from Red Dead Revolver. :slight_smile:

For me, not in my top 20 but I can already see that I’d have no problem watching this one again in the near future. Perhaps the next one I introduce to my brother…


(Col. Douglas Mortimer) #15

In my opinion A stranger in town is a pretty good movie. But the Stranger Returns is a classic. It rectified alot of the flaws that the first movie had.


(Cemetary) #16

<< El Segundo! Ay vatos, you get gold stagecoach and such a gun.
< Coo-coo >>


(Col. Douglas Mortimer) #17

Hmm?


(Frank Talby) #18

I quite liked this one. I have only watched it once but I need to revisit it again soon. Tony Anthony rocks and Frank Wolff is great as always.


(Squonkamatic) #19

Another one of my favorites!! I adore how dirt cheap this movie was made for. Tony Anthony is also a great anti-hero, shooting people in the back and running away. There’s a decent if unauthorized DVD that has both this and THE STRANGER RETURNS which many have pointed out is a much more satisfying film, though I prefer this one in the same way that I prefer the first EVIL DEAD movie over the ones with higher production values. Something about rooting for the underdog, and Tony Anthony’s “Stranger” is perhaps the ultimate Spaghetti Underdog hero. He’s more like a resourceful punk than a smooth Eastwood or Sartana type, and being a bit of a punk at heart I do mean that with all possible affection.

One question: is GET MEAN also intended to be a part of the “Stranger” series? I was reading up on Tony Anthony and saw mention of his playing a character called “Stranger” in it, and that it’s billed as a western …


(Stanton) #20

Yes, Get Mean was intended as sort of the 4th Stranger film.
Should also be the prelude to a series of films which transfers the Stranger character into different settings, times and genres, which (thankfully?) never had happened after the this one became a flop.