Dynamite Joe / Joe l’implacabile (Antonio Margheriti, 1967)


(Squonkamatic) #1

At long last I found a chance to get to see this incredibly obscure effort by Margheriti, which I believe was his first western after delving into the Spy Movie territory. And in fact it is very much in the tradition of a James Bond type spoof, with Rik Van Nutter (who played CIA agent Felix Lieter in the 007 film THUNDERBALL) hamming it up wonderfully as the silver haired explosives expert Dynamite Joe Ford called in by the feds to protect a gold shipment from a scurrilous band of comancheros. Barta Barri has a ball – as usual – as Joe’s comic relief sidekick, and fellow frequent Spanish horror personality Ricardo Palacios (best known for his appearances in Paul Naschy’s gothic horrors) steals the show in the third act as an unkempt slob of a gang boss brought in to eliminate Joe at the behest of the crooked bankers & politicians who are in fact behind the gold heists. Regular Margheriti eye candy actress Halina Zalewska (LONG HAIR OF DEATH, WAR BETWEEN THE PLANETS) gets to wear a blond wig as Joe’s love interest … well, one of them at any rate: for a gray haired man he sure gets around. And Carlo Savina composed a boisterous musical score with ample opportunity for the dancing girls at the saloon to strut their stuff & show off their knickers.

And in contrast to Margheriti’s other westerns from the 60s – VENGEANCE and GOD SAID TO CAINE most notably – the movie is refreshingly light hearted without reverting into the gonzo style of Euro comedy that never really does much for me, at any rate. The film was also made with younger audiences in mind: There is no overt violence and Joe’s coolness of character plays as much of a role in getting him out of various jams as his more explosive tendencies. There is even an extended sequence where he and Ms. Zalewska are trapped in a mine where he has to concoct an escape method which is actually quite ingenious, climaxing in yet another big Margheriti flood as an underground river is set loose to sweep the bad guy’s ranch into oblivion, ala sequences from such films as YOR, KILLER FISH and WILD WILD PLANET.

One aspect of the film that I also enjoyed is that it is a nice representation of the formative years of spaghetti, circa 1965 - 1968, with an emphasis on visual design & color that is at once gloriously absurd and yet easy on the eyes. The whole movie resembles a graphic novel or cartoon, a sentiment highlighted by the movie’s funniest moment where Joe inadvertently blows up a government building because the servants weren’t told to handle his luggage more carefully. I was actually just commenting on how BAD MAN’S RIVER fails as a comedy because the laughs are forced & pre-determined, whereas with DYNAMITE JOE Margheriti was happy to let the absurdity of the whole situation result in some unexpected belly laughs that just sort of develop on their own.

If there was a complaint that I had about the movie it’s that it goes on for about ten to fifteen minutes too long – the story isn’t really complex enough to warrant the last few plot twists, which come across as contrivances drummed up to pad out the runtime. That in itself got me thinking about the episodic nature of the movie; it feels very much like it could have been a television project that got a bit out of hand and was condensed down to a theatrical event instead, with a couple of odd segues here and there that feel sort of like a commercial break (or end of an episode) would have been the original intention. Or perhaps the movie ran even longer in it’s original Italian version. The Greek subtitled LBX print I saw ran about 93 minutes, incorrectly framed to about 1:66:1 where the film is credited as a 2:35:1 Techniscope shoot. It was still a pleasure to see it but after about 85 minutes I was sort of wondering where it was all going to go.

All in all though it’s a very enjoyable film, certainly more fun than the brooding VENGEANCE and a bit more hip than TAKE A HARD RIDE, and a hella lot more funny than THE STRANGER & THE GUNFIGHTER. Rik Van Nutter had previously worked with Margheriti on his pioneering ASSIGNMENT: OUTER SPACE (or SPACE MEN) and was a great choice for Dynamite Joe, even though we hear about Joe’s legendary use of explosives more than we see it. But he had a great presence with his lanky frame sprawled over his carriage and posed in his impeccable suits, which never become dusty or tattered even after having to crawl out of an collapsed mine shaft. Like James Bond he always manages to stay one step ahead of his antagonists even when roped up & condemned to death, and again there is something to be said for his silver haired appearance, which to me was probably the most interesting aspect of the film – Margheriti deliberately gives us an action hero who isn’t a twenty five year old hotshot but a seasoned, experienced specialist who apparently stages his explosions with advanced knowledge of what the usually younger antagonists might have in mind. There is something to be said for experience, and just because you’re going completely gray that doesn’t mean you can’t still make the ladies swoon.

All in all an enjoyable film, remarkable for it’s legacy in Margheriti’s portfolio than for any specific memorable scenes. He even goes so far as to stage the opening confrontation/teaser sequence as a direct homage/ripoff of the Leone Man With No Name films, dressing Joe in the inevitably Eastwood evoking poncho and hat with the little cigarillo smokes. But after that he sets off into new territory, blending overt comedy with some good natured heroics. The final scene even has Joe riding off into the sunset with his partner after ditching the girls, suggesting that the boyish sense of adventure that runs deep to the core of westerns was more important than a romantic happy ending. It’s still happy, but Joe is just as delighted to be back on the trail in search of new adventures, new pretty girls and new opportunities to make suckers out of the bad guys.

6/10, and very much deserving of a DVD restoration simply because Margheriti was the guy who made it.


(Bill san Antonio) #2

Thanks for the review!

Here’s the database link:
http://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Joe_l’implacabile

Haven’t seen this one yet. This is released by Televista on dvd, right?


(ENNIOO) #3

Not to sure, but thought the Televista one was for the film Dynamite Jim…


(Bill san Antonio) #4

[quote=“ENNIOO, post:3, topic:1103”]Not to sure, but thought the Televista one was for the film Dynamite Jim…[/quote]ah, correct! Dynamite Jim[/url], [url=http://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Joe_l%27implacabile]Dynamite Joehttp://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Dinamite_Jim
easy to confuse these two.


(Stanton) #5

Got hold of a copy of the german video release, also only 1,66:1 with a 91 min runtime.

The elegantly dressed hero, who always has a last trick in store and solves everything by dynamiting away all his foes and problems, is clearly a forerunner of the Sartana/Sabata type of SW heroes which became very popular not before 68.

The uneven film is sufficiently described by Squonkamatic’s above post.

Should be added to the film’s data base entry.


(Squonkamatic) #6

;D Thankee! and do feel free to use it!

I hadn’t thought of Joe as a precursor to Sartana & Sabata so that’s a great call. Dean Reed in HIS LIFE IS MINE has a lot of the same qualities.


(alk0) #7

I thought it was just ok. Should have been better if some of the unfunny comical scenes [soldiers dressing up like women, reading of Joe’s message shown in fast motion, the joke at the very end etc.] had been left out. I thought at times it felt like those lighthearted Roger Moore bond entries, that were about to come few years later. The score was forgettable. 6/10


(alk0) #8

Forgot to mention that for some unknown reason i found the line “Vámonos grandfather!” in this one funny so i made it my “Personal Text” :stuck_out_tongue:


(scherpschutter) #9

Are you sure it wasn’t ‘Vamanos a matar grandfather’ ?


(alk0) #10

Yes, i’m qute sure. Is there some kind of mistake in this quote?


(scherpschutter) #11

No, it’s ok, I tried to make a joke
I should leave that that those who are qualified for the job


(Søren) #12

Ah. scherpshutter is making a joke, alk0 … Let’s go kill grandfather … LOL !


(alk0) #13

That’s a kind of joke that might have been really used in SW, not to mention that there’s another grandfather in this movie that kills some people :wink: I guess i need some more coffee, i’m kinda not too bright this morning :stuck_out_tongue:


(ENNIOO) #14

Harmless enough entertainment which has a fair amount of action in, but nothing sadistic or excessive. Dynamite Joe (Rick Van Nutter) is a bit of a ladies man, and do not know whether this is the correct way to describe but has some kind of innocent quality about him.


(Bill san Antonio) #15

Got to agree with what others said. light hearted fun clearly inspired by agent films. My rating: 5/10


(ION BRITTON) #16

Just watched this one, not much to add, very lighthearted with an at least embarrassing score. Most of the interiors looked like as if the movie was set in France of 18th century detracting thus a lot of the ‘wild west’ atmosphere. I did enjoy a few of the dynamite ‘tricks’ though. 5/10 seems fair to me.


(Starblack) #17

I keep meaning to watch this again as it’s been at least 10 years since I watched it, but my impressions echo those above. A flimsy, disappointing effort from Margheriti, with trickery perhaps better suited to a Parolini movie.


(Phil H) #18

After sitting through the train wreck which was Whisky and Ghosts this seemed positively refreshing but in reality it is no more than harmless. Seemed of an era a bit earlier than 1967 in style but held a pretty good line between light hearted and outright comedy. Thought Nutter looked uncannily like Clint Eastwood at times. And not just in the opening scene where he is poncho clad and obviously aiming at such an appearance.

On the whole a reasonable effort and delivers a good opportunity for Margheriti to indulge his penchant for model based special effects which I always enjoy. I watched a fandub taken from (I think) a Spanish DVD. Picture quality was OK but noticed a couple of occasions where it had a clumsy jump cut where something was clearly chopped out. Not sure if this is how the origanl DVD is or if it was a result of the fandubbers work.


(ENNIOO) #19

Noticed those jumps in the fandub aswell. Think the Greek VHS has a longer running time as I recall.


(pedro james) #20

THOUGHT DYNAMITE JOE WAS DYNAMITE JIM ARE THEY THE SAME FILM