Several problems plague this overlong, tedious flick. For one, it takes an ideal premise and draws it out interminably as to make it excruciating. Also, your protagonists are a motley, poorly-rendered bunch for the most part.
The story is a basic rework of TREASURE ISLAND. Transpose a literary classic to a new genre, I get it. Should be fun, right? A boy whose family runs a boarding house discovers a treasure map hidden by a traveling bounty hunter. The boy, along with his own old uncle, a dapper caballero, and a wandering preacher, set out across the mountains to find the gold. They must fight off a gang of roving bandits as well as their own paranoia and suspicions of each other. The story seems to take forever to get started, and once the crew gets started on their trek to find the treasure, nothing really happens for the next hour til the inevitable showdown.
An action/adventure film like this that centers around a little boy is going to rise and fall on the performance of the boy, and here, young Humberto Sempere as Tony is sniveling, wide-eyed, unlikeable. Plus, he is voiced in a shrill, broad manner by an obviously adult female actor. That alone kills the vibe of the flick from the get-go. Similarly, the boy’s uncle is given a “goofy” characterization which is truly grating. Among the other leads is the blank-faced American Richard Harrison as Pat the Preacher, who has very limited, Chuck Norris-esque range, and who doesn’t even show up until 30 minutes into the show. The best of the cast is the super-classy, mucho macho Gilbert Roland. Imagine the Dos Equis Guy with a pencil-thin John Waters-style mustache and a gaudy vest, that’s him! Roland is dignified and sympathetic in all his parts, and to this one he brings subtle shadings to a shady gunslinger that is at heart a decent man.
Aside from Roland’s performance, the other part of the film I enjoyed is the initial setup featuring bounty killer Folco Lulli coming into town, scoping out his next mark, killing an informant and an outlaw along the way. Lulli’s character, however is killed off pretty quickly, setting the scene for annoying Tony to find the map and begin the main thrust of the pic’s story.
Maybe the original Italian cut of this film favors the actors better than the English dub, but even if that’s so, you’d still have to deal with the tedious pacing and lack of action. For the English dub anyway, I call it a generous 5/10 stars.
Also known as GOD WAS IN THE WEST, TOO, AT ONE TIME. (Doesn’t really roll off the tongue, does it?)