Adios Gringo (Giorgio Stegani, 1965)


(scherpschutter) #1

ADIOS GRINGO

Dir: Giorgio Stegani. Cast: Giuliano Gemma, Ida Galli (Evelyn Stewart), Pierre Cressoy (Peter Cross), Roberto Camardiel, Massimo Righi (Max Dean), Jesus Puente, Nello Pazzafini. Music: Benedetto Chiglia

The fourth Gemma western released in 1965, and the fourth box-office succes, Adios Gringo, was based on a novel by American writer of pulp fiction Henry Whittington. While several spaghetti westerns used elements from literary works by Homer (Una Pistola per Ringo), Shakespeare (Quella Sporca storia nel West/Johnny Hamlet) or Jules Verne (Per Pochi Dollari Ancora/Fort Yuma gold), apart from this film only a handful were genuine adaptions of literary fiction about the Far west, among them: Tonino Valerri’s I Giorni dell’Ira/Days of Anger was based upon a German novel by Ron Barker, Der Tod ritt Dienstags, El Precio de un Hombre/The Bounty Killer was based on a novel by Marvin H. Albert and the script for Fulci’s I Quattro dell’Apocalysse originated in two short stories by American Francis Brett Harte.

In the first moments of the movie, Gemma buys cattle from an acquantaince, but when he brings his livestock into town he is accused of being a thief by the real owner and is forced to kill the man in self defence. The town’s people try to hang him but he escapes, promising to return and prove his innocence. On the run he saves the life of a woman (Galli) who was raped after a stagecoach robbery and left behind, tied naked to four poles, to die from thirst and sun-glare. Although the actual rape is not shown and Galli’s naked body is hidden from view by Gemma’s stature when he approaches her, the sequence is quite nasty. Violence towards women seems to be a recurring theme in those early spaghettis, as some discussions on the forum have pointed out. But while in some other films the suggestion is made that women might like these things, here rape and torture are used to underline how bad the villains are, as if director Stegani wishes to undermine the pseudo-christian symbolism of the virgin/harlot mottto, used by some of his colleagues.

Adios Gringo was Stegani’s first western as a director, after having worked as assistent-director for Giorgio Ferroni’s Un Dollaro Bucato. No wonder for a film based on an American novel, Adios Gringo is rather traditional, even though the violence is a bit more graphic here than in Ferroni’s movie or Tessari’s Ringo movies. Gemma shows little of the cynical attitude the Italian western would be identified with, instead he is a very noble guy, who is forced by circumstances to use his fighting and shooting skills against the forces of evil. What might have appealed to Stegani (and Italian moviegoeers) in Whittington’s story, is the fact that one of the main villains is the son of the mightiest man in the region (Cressoy), who’ll do anything to protect the perverted young man. The pattern of the brave but simple country man taking on one or more corrupt dignitaries, is one of the most popular with the spaghetti western genre. What we have here, is a genre movie looking for his own style, with distinguishing Italian genre marks cautiosly shining through. While most actors still use pseudo-American names, Giuliano Gemma uses his birthname for the first time here, dropping the Americanized ‘Montgomery Wood’.

This is not one of the great spaghetti westerns, but it’s an interesting early genre entry and a pleasant pasttime. The part of the farmer who must clear his blackened name, fits Gemma like a glove and his main opponent Righi is excellent as the perverted son, a piece of vermin looking as trustworthy as a ferret who’s about to thrust his teeth in a rabbit’s neck. There’s a good Roberto Camardiel too, cast against type as a wise doctor istead of the usual comical sidekick. Benedetto Chiglia’s score is more than adequate, except for a particularly corny theme song.

Reviewed DVD: I watched the Italian Shendene DVD. Although not enhanced for widescreen TVs, the 2,35:1 image is very good. But there’s only Italian audio (and it sounds a bit hollow too) so the DVD won’t be of much use to those who don’t understand Gemma’s native tongue …


(Chris_Casey) #2

Nice review, amigo!

But, there are at least two more Italian Westerns that were based on Western novels from America, that I am aware of:

THE BOUNTY KILLER (THE UGLY ONES) with Richard Wyler and Tomas Milian is based on a Western novel called, THE BOUNTY KILLER, by Marvin H. Alpert. The movie follows the book rather closely, too.

THE MAN CALLED NOON is based on a book of the same name by Louis L’Amour.

Tom Betts might even be able to come up with a few more. But, I think with the above titles, and the ones you mentioned, we have pretty much covered them all.

Again, nice review!


(scherpschutter) #3

[quote=“Chris_Casey, post:2, topic:962”]Nice review, amigo!

But, there are at least two more Italian Westerns that were based on Western novels from America, that I am aware of:

THE BOUNTY KILLER (THE UGLY ONES) with Richard Wyler and Tomas Milian is based on a Western novel called, THE BOUNTY KILLER, by Marvin H. Alpert. The movie follows the book rather closely, too.

THE MAN CALLED NOON is based on a book of the same name by Louis L’Amour.

Tom Betts might even be able to come up with a few more. But, I think with the above titles, and the ones you mentioned, we have pretty much covered them all.

Again, nice review![/quote]

You’re absolutely right, Chris

I got my info from Italian sources, and they usually don’t accept (or list) films that are predominantly Spanish
Of course, I don’t want to be that rigid.
I knew the NOON/L’Amour connection (I’ve been writing on it a few days ago here on the forum), just didn’t think about it, but this BOUNTY KILLER/Alpert thing was new to me - we’re all here to learn.

Let’s see what Tom (or others) will have to say


(Bad Lieutenant) #4
  • Uncas, el fin de una raza (James Fenimore Cooper)
  • Kid Rodelo (Louis L’Amour)
  • Zanna Bianca movies and some other eurowesterns (Jack London)

But of course it all depends on the definition of ‘spaghetti western’.


(Chris_Casey) #5

[quote=“Bad Lieutenant, post:4, topic:962”]- Uncas, el fin de una raza (James Fenimore Cooper)

  • Kid Rodelo (Louis L’Amour)
  • Zanna Bianca movies and some other eurowesterns (Jack London)[/quote]

Excellent, BL! I had forgotten all about KID RODELO…and the WHITE FANG films.

Just wanted to add a correction to the information I posted above. The author of THE BOUNTY KILLER is Marvin H. Albert (not Alpert).


(Romaine Fielding) #6

Shalako by Louis L’Amour


(scherpschutter) #7

That’s it !

But I guess I’ll have to change my text, whether films like Shalako and Zanna Bianca are spaghetti or not

Keep coming up those titles!


(Chris_Casey) #8

Absolutely true, amigo!
And I have to admit that my personal definition is fickle beyond belief. I have a hard time thinking of SHALAKO as a Spaghetti Western…but, I don’t have a problem with thinking of THE MAN CALLED NOON, MAN CALLED SLEDGE, 100 RIFLES, or CANNON FOR CORDOBA as Spaghettis!
But, that is just how my feeble mind works, at times, I guess. :slight_smile:


(Silvanito) #9


(Bad Lieutenant) #10

[quote=“Chris_Casey, post:8, topic:962”]Absolutely true, amigo!
And I have to admit that my personal definition is fickle beyond belief. I have a hard time thinking of SHALAKO as a Spaghetti Western…but, I don’t have a problem with thinking of THE MAN CALLED NOON, MAN CALLED SLEDGE, 100 RIFLES, or CANNON FOR CORDOBA as Spaghettis!
But, that is just how my feeble mind works, at times, I guess. :)[/quote]
My mind works feeble as well, hehe. I think the proverb ‘spaghetti’ is supposed to refer to the Italian element, but then 100% pure Spanish productions wouldn’t count, whereas an Italian co-produced film like Winnetou would. And I agree with you on 100 Rifles, an American production shot in Almeria. It ironically feels more like a spaghetti western, than some spaghetti westerns that try to emulate the American feel. Oh, well…


(Romaine Fielding) #11

I agree on 100 Rifles. Jose Manuel Martin gets strug up at the start! It has the “feel”.


(Reverend Danite) #12

Not much chance for the South African ‘3 bullets for a long gun’ and ‘They call me Lucky’ then.
I’ve just watched ‘Wanted’ with Gemma, and although I really enjoyed it, those SA films (which do get a bit of a slating from time to time have more of the ‘spaghetti-ethos’= feel … in my book - whatever that means!?

(Edit: hic :stuck_out_tongue: ;D)


(scherpschutter) #13

Thanks everybody for reacting and coming up with titles of films based on novels
I’m checking details etc. and the work will keep me busy for the next 24 hours, I suppose
I’ll have to change something in the text, or maybe add a note; I don’t know yet what i’ll do

It’s of course hard to define the term ‘Spaghetti western’ or ‘Western all’Italiana’, but the definition, or demarcation, I had in mind, is the one made in Italy, by most experts on the subject. Even though there is no official consensus of opinion, to be called a ‘spaghetti’ or ‘all’Italiana’, a western must be:

  • a predominantly Italian production
  • have an Italian director

So films like 100 Rifles and Shalako are dropped since they’re no Italian productons
The Winnetou films are dropped since they’re predominantly German productions
A man called Noon is often dropped (the director isn’t an Italian), sometimes accepted (it’s an Italian production and some experts are more lenient towards the ‘director-demand’)
Films like 4 Dolares de Vengeanza (written by two Italians), Requiem per el Gringo, El precio de un Hombre/The Bounty hunter and some others are dropped because they are predominantly Spanish productions and the director is Spanish
Sledge is usually accepted, even though the director, Vic Morrow, and nearly the entire cast is American; it is an Italian production and the Italians say the film was co-directed by an Italian, Giorgio Gentili (according to them he even did the lion’s share of the work)

Don’t get me wrong: they’re not my demarcations, I’m only describing the Italian situation, and the specific Italian sensibilities
I can live with them, although I have no difficulties either in accepting films like El Precio de un Hombre or Requiem per el Gringo as spaghetti westerns. They have the ‘feel’, whatever that means.


(Stanton) #14

These spanish westerns are definitive Spags. The others I would also exclude, except Sledge, a bordercase.


(Stanton) #15

I’m not surprised by the success of Gemma’s early SW efforts, but I’m surprised that the more simple One Silver Dollar and Adios Gringo were even more successful than both Ringo films, which looked at least like SWs, which had the Spaghetti touch.

But most surprising is that all 8 early SWs with Gemma made more money than Django in Itlay.
I always had assumed that with the arrival of Django, Nero, as a more modern type of hero/anti-hero, would have been the logical successor to Gemma’s more lightweight personage.
Maybe he was for an international audience.


(scherpschutter) #16

I have changed the text a little:

  • The categorical 'only two were genuine adaptations of literary fiction about the Far West’ has been changed into:
    'Only a handful were genuine adaptions of literary ficton about the Far West, among them:’

*El precio de un Hombre/The Bounty Killer (based on a novel by Marvin H. Albert) was added to the two already mentioned examples of such films

El Precio de un Hombre/The bounty killer is predominantly Spanish and the director is not Italian, still I have accepted it as a ‘Spaghetti western’. Criteria must be workable, but will never be water proof, so as far as border cases are concerned personal ideas or feelings must turn the scale (If itlooks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck)- in my opinion this film looks, walks and quacks like the genuine stuff, so it must be real.

I found out that this Marvin H. Albert was quite a prolific writer; not only westerns like The Law and Jake Wade and Guns of Diablo were based upon his work, but he also created Tony Rome, that Blue Eyed detective appearing in two films, Tony Rome and Lady in Cement. Chris seems to know his work, maybe he can tell us a little more about the guy.

As far as the relation Film/literary fiction is concerned: some of the films mentioned were (imo) either no spaghetti westerns or no genuine adaptions of literary fiction. Kid Rodelo is clearly a predominantly American production shot in Spain; as such it anticipates productions like El Condor and Shalako. To be a ‘genuine adaption’ at least the story line of the novel source must have been respected. I’m very familiar with the works of Jack London and can tell you that the Zanna Bianca movies only have some names and settings in common with the novels. Apart from that both White Fang and its predecessor Call of the Wild aren’t really literary fiction on the Old West; they’re more metaphysical studies about the human - and animal! - condition, and the way the two species see each other. Uncas, el fin de una raza could be consired as an adaptation; I haven’t seen it but J.F. Cooper’s storyline has been respected more or less, according to some descriptions of the movie. The question is of course, whether it can be regarded as a film on the Far West. Even when you accept more eastern locations as acceptable for a ‘western’ (why not?), it’s rather doubtful if the novel belongs to the literal genre of ‘western fiction’ : I think most people wouldn’t classify it as such, just like Capote’s In Cold Blood or Dostojevski’s Crime and Punishment usually are not classified as ‘crime fiction’, even though they’re novels about crimes …


(Chris_Casey) #17

Nicely done, amigo!

I don’t know too much about Marvin H. Albert, beyond the fact that he wrote for the old Pulp story magazines and moved on to the paperback market from there.
I have read a handful of his Western novels, but had no idea he created the character of Tony Rome!
I might do a little more research on this guy and see if I can find some more of his work.

Gracias, amigo!


(Reverend Danite) #18

Watched the NEW version of this. Lovely widescreen print but the English sound obviously taken from different sources and a bit tinny at times.
Preposterous story whereby some folk wanna string up an obviously innocent Gemma who’s forced to kill, and who therefore goes on the run. Then, when it seems that he’s obviously guilty, people start to believe he’s innocent. All this revolves around him rescueing Evelyn Stewart (who’s blonde again, Phil) - who’s been nastily raped and staked out. A cleanish, naive, Americanish western feel, but with a few nastier spaghetti elements included as well.
It was enjoyably washed down with a cider or two - but is still probably my least favorite Gemma western due to its overall lack of spaghettiism.


(ION BRITTON) #19

This one did absolutely nothing to me. Way too american for my likes.


(p.pereira) #20

Well, I understand that this Americanized movies keep away most of the spaghetti fans, but I kind of like this one.
Just ordered the Thai edition (Triple X Film). It will be my first buy from them, don’t know exactly how good are their releases, but the price seems fair.