God help me! I’ve returned to spaghetti-land recently with the viewing of 3 randomly picked turkey flavoured spaghettis that could likely put less seasoned veterans completely off the genre. Garter Colt had only weird artiness and Nicholetta Machivelli to try to redeem (yet paradoxically enhance) its misogynist farcicalness.
The Dig Your Grave... Sabata… one had much less of the bird (in both turkey and cleavage terms), and in this (as I mentioned on its thread) it was to a greater part saved by our much-loved and highly-esteemed Sir Fernando Sancho, as the wisecracking foil to our main protagonist.
In Dallas our protagonist is Anthony Steffen in his final spaghetti outing in 1972 (or 1975 according to imdb - which may be its release date). Fernando plays the 'comedic' sidekick for Steffen. These stalwards of spaghetti-land had never played this sort of combination together before, in fact I can only think of 2 other films that they have both been in together, and in both Bosch's (again) 1972 film Too Much Gold for One Gringo, and in Cardone's 1966 grittier offering 7 Dollars on the Red Sancho plays a different sort of role. I was hoping for an entertaining film along the lines of TMGFOG - Bosch's other pairing of these two giants, but I was sorely disappointed. Getting a bigger part in this, and instead of improving it, Sancho is humiliated by the script - and even he cannot save this from the 1970s poisoned injection of ‘humour’ that permeates our latest foul offering.
Instead of his expected wisecracking, we instead get whingeing, as he is perpetually and literally the butt of the jokes…
This review WILL contain spoilers and Sir Fernando Sancho's hairy bare arse :o Read at your own peril!
It starts well enough. A parasol^ attired Steffen (Dallas) is trying to find Sancho, and does so where he resides, high up in a tree in a bamboo cage left over from Garringo – having been put in there by the local mexi-peasants for shagging one of their village women. But when Steffen blows the tree down with dynamite we may start to worry that this is not going to be one of those darker-tinged crepuscular westerns (well, we knew that). But, when Sancho becomes the recipient of a number of fat jokes from Steffen and the mexi-peasants, and pathetically whimpers in reply, then we can only empathetically whimper, and mourn the loss of the great man’s usual witty ripostes. :-[
Steffen saves Sancho’s (fat) arse from the peasants who want to cut him up, by tricking them out of their machetes and pouring them cups of nitro-glycerine and making them run away. Oh dear – I can see that nobody is going to get killed by any of this otherwise dangerous behaviour, (and Sartana1976 would be as unhappy as me about this poor state of affairs for sure).
Fed up with the fat-jokes, Sancho steals Steffen’s horse and rides off to the nearest town to try to find a better western, but instead his contract means he has to wind up in a jail with a dreadful dose of the shits - so we can again laugh/cringe at his poor (f)arse-fuelled situation. Following behind, (sorry) Steffen walks into town, stopping for a drink on route at the nearby river*. Buying a fishing rod from the local store, he is reminded by the shopkeeper that this is stupid ‘cos there isn’t a river(*?) anywhere around these parts (one would have to wonder on the intelligence of selling fishing rods then?). But Steffen’s a cheeky chappy and using it to lower dynamite into the jails crapper, blows a cheekier Sancho out of jail with his pants around his ankles whereupon he is lassoed and dragged to the phantom river to pollute it as he cools down and washes the shit from his hairy arsed close-up! (Well it was closer than I ever want to be again!!)
Unfortunately there isn't enough water to wash away the shit that is this film, as we head off now for another town – and more Sancho-arse-jokes.
Without, spoiling it further for you, (oh, go on then – I will).... the premise is that Steffen’s deceased father lost a ranch and a potential emerald mine, in a card game to a fellah who’s since died, and it was a part of the conditions of the contract Steffen holds that their heirs could replay for the ranch once their dads had departed from this mortal coil. Said fellah’s offspring turns out to be the drunken sheriff’s niece (Gillian Hills) who’s pretty easy on the eye and doesn’t know how to play poker (so - a better contract than Sancho had signed for sure).
Also after the mine are two rival gangs whom Steffen plays off against each other in true Leone style - ‘scept one is led by a bloke called Handbuster, who likes to shake hands with folk as an on-going gag, (of course) - and they’re pitted against another budget-gang of three (led by Robert Hundar) who gang go by the name of the Bright Brothers - but realising the Bee Gees would’ve been scarier in this; Hundar sports a Barry Gibb wig and beard in a hope that he won’t be recognised.
We are treated to fisticuff farcicalness in the legitimate form of a sideshow fight that has a shaven-headed bare-knuckle boxer Chinaman winning against a Turk in a troupe that includes a pugilist midget. But bribed to take on Steffen and Sancho, these athletes are soundly thrashed in a prolonged bout of illegitimate fist-battering that includes our Chinese champion tricked into holding an umbrella^ so he can be pummelled… (^There WILL be a thread about 'the importance of parasols and umbrellas in the subtext of the Spaghetti Western’ coming one day I assure you). Compared to all this protracted brain-busting nonsense, two men are later knocked cold by Steffen opening wardrobe doors on them in a bit more of this non-lethal tomfoolery! (Kill Them All and Come Back Alone this most certainly aint!)
Action follows action, but Sancho’s arse is being neglected amongst all this drama, so our boys have to go to jail and to be harassed about the emerald mine by Barry Gibb and his brothers. Steffen flashes a bit of broken green glass and forces it down Sancho’s throat, to allow him to be humiliated further with another shitty arse-joke as he is force-fed castor oil through a funnel whilst the sheriff is sent off for a “big stick, basin and hot water”. Taking yet another (wouldn’t you?) swig of whisky, he exclaims “This reminds me of my niece’s birth! It was something terrible!”
Steffen, in the midst of this shit-inducing behaviour, is helped to escape (oh, but could I?) through a badly-hidden trapdoor, in the floor of the jail cell, that nobody previously knew about, :-\ to be followed by the Bee Gees with the newly acquired contents of Sancho’s arse, to come out in a brothel - whereupon they are beaten with (hoorah!) umbrellas^.
Next seen, Sancho is tied by his fingertips, to a small tree, to a contraption that’ll shoot him in any of many ways, connected as it is to an arsenal of rifles, all pointing at various parts of his anatomy. As if shitting glass hadn’t been enough, he’s now tickled into shooting himself (yep, you got it) arse-wise, then a white dove lands on his head and take a shit as well (Ohh! Holy Ghost how could you do this to our poor debased Sancho?)
Then Len Lui’s pugilistic great-uncle and his friends turn up again to exact revenge on Handbuster and his boys, whilst Steffen escapes (again) to aid Sancho’s escape (yet again) in a jaw-droppingly apalling piece of farcical buffoonery – whereupon we all end up for a finale in the so called Emerald mine with some more dynamite and much, much more fisticuffs. It all goes full circle as Steffen runs all the baddies out of town with that old nitro-glycerine drink trick. Everybody left has a good laugh, except Sancho who’s secretly crying inside, and myself who’s blarting like a baby at how they could do this to the great man.
Even less star-worthy than Garter Colt in an empty cold far expanse of the universe that had everything sucked away by a black hole** that died and eat itself.
**[size=8pt](The scientific premise for this astro-bollocks may be slightly dubious, but you get the picture.)[/size]
In all that is holy and in God’s name - and in honour of the late and great Sir Fernando Sancho please destroy all copies of this travesty that you may come across and pray that it one day it may becomes as mystical of existence as Chrysathemum….. or at least whatever you do – please, please, DON’T watch it!
As a man of the cloth, I've been prepared to suffer this so you don't have to. Forgive me, Father.