I watched this again last night after reading Stanton’s enthusiastic post.
The first time I saw it (several years ago) I watched a really poor full-screen version. I did not care for it.
This time my estimation of it jumped considerably (Wild East version, 93 mins.). My favorite of Colizzi’s westerns is God Forgives. In that one I loved Hill’s deadpan dark humor and Frank Wolff’s twisted and villainous character. God Forgives is in my top ten.
We all have our differing reasons for being drawn to Italian westerns and two of my reasons, weird freaky scenes and recurring character actors, occur in this one in abundance. Thus, I guess, my newfound appreciation for Boot Hill lies there.
But, like Parolini’s acrobatic oriented films, “circus” westerns can be polarizing among fans. For me to appreciate this film I had to get over my deep and abiding antipathy for clowns. Although there are many (to me unfortunate) slapstick moments, there are lots of understated, deadpan humor moments as well. At one point, the commissioner’s assistant, Pitt, is comparing documents and signatures. He holds up two documents side by side and and says “The signature corresponds to Mr. Boone.” But the viewer can see that the “signature” in both cases is simply an “x”.
One of the odd things about this one is that with so large and deep a cast there are no significant females. Typical of Colizzi, I guess. The only women in this one are the circus gals, little more than a scurrying line of skirts.
But the cast IS deep.
Aside from Hill, Spencer, Strode, Stander, Buono, and Eastman there are tons of great Spaghetti actors:
Luciano Rossi gets shoved, face-first through a pane of glass by…
an uncredited Wade Preston (who later meets an explosive end).
Two MacGregor brother alumni, Alberto Dell’Acqua & Nazzareno Zamperla appear as trapeze artists.
Tito Garcia takes on three biting, kicking midgets (and, of course, loses).
The menacing Romano Puppo, as one of Fisher’s henchmen, murders a circus performer not by shooting him but, instead, by shooting the trapeze rope, causing him to fall. Extra cruel.
Don Sturkie, heavily bearded Brother Tobias in They Call Me Trinity, appears as one of the miners.
One of my favorite moments is when the county commissioner’s helper (who has been bribed with gold) literally pulls out his nuggets and fondles them in front of god and everybody.
In a scene reminiscent of OUATITW, the trapeze artists (while performing) recite, Harmonica-like, the names of miners killed by Buono’s men.
The final apocalyptic fight unfortunately devolves into slapstick, with a crash into a chicken coop (complete with flying feathers) and a raucous barroom brawl scored with annoying circus music.
But, on second viewing of this one, I obviously found much to like.