El Puro / La taglia è tua … l’uomo l’ammazzo io (Edoardo Mulargia, 1969)

I’m not so sure your congregation is haunted by those kind of layabouts and good-for-nothings, Reverend. Actually it looks quite nice and pretty neat.
But what else can you expect from an utopian model village, created by a mill owner called …
Well, I already said something about this honourable man and his illustious name on the ‘Talk Whatever’ thread, but I’m afraid it got sandwiched between the protruding aspects of Bad Lieutenant’s girlfriend.

I wandered some 94 minutes through spaghetti land before Christmas takes over.

I do agree with Bad lieutenant that this is a SW for experienced viewers. Made relatively late, in 1969, when production already was on the decline, the film tries to cover new grounds for the genre. Like Trintignant in The Great Silence and Alex Cord in A minute to Pray, a Second to Die, El Puro is a tragic spaghetti hero. He overcomes most of his demons, but is not rewarded in the end. Most people used to the fast pace and high body count of the avarage spaghetti western, will reject it for its slow pace and probably also for its bleakness and uglyness. There is one scene, in which a woman is beaten up severely, that is quite nasty, even for a spaghetti western.

I must say that the film has it shortcomings. It suffers from a limited budget and a script that feels a little disjointed, especially during the first twenty minutes. According to an Italian site Woods (and not Mulagria) was mainly responsable for the bleak and unusual atmosphere, so I guess the movie originally had a more tongue-in-cheek approach to the theme of a once famous gunfighter turned alcoholic. Now it sometimes feels too odd to work as a drama, and too ugly for a comedy. But it certainly is an interesting contribution to the genre.

I found Woods completely convincing as El Puro; I noticed that he is very quick on the draw, what made the scenes in which he was actually using his gun fascinating: he can do the trick himself, there’s no need for a close up of somebody else’s hand to give the viewer the impression that it’s the main character, and not a double, who is shooting. On the other hand, the villain, played by a certain Ashborn Hamilton jr. seemed more a poor man’s Tigrero (Kinski in Silence) to me. To me the music felt closer to GBU than FFOD, mentioned here a few times. Am I that wrong or are there several soundtracks available? You never know. Those credits (butt ugly according to Bad Lieutenant) certainly aren’t the original ones (look at Sundance’s site: the credits clearly were shown against a live action background, not a celestial blue screen).

La taglia è tua … l’uomo l’ammazzo io ! (The Reward is yours … I’ll kill the man!) probably revers to the bearded Bounty Killer who leaves his collegues before they’re about to meet with Woods. He says something about the job getting too dangerous for him, but is clearly still determined to kill El Puro. I have never seen the Italian version, but I guess the sentence is spoken in the above mentioned scene.

Just viewed this one and was impressed.

Full of some nasty and low life characters, which makes for interesting viewing.

The beating of the woman sequence took some ‘balls’ to film, as quite prolonged.
But clearly shows the guy who is beating this woman up , does not give a shit about anything, which makes the scene for me.

The music is a good rip off of Morricone, which is not a surprise considering regular Morricone collaborator Alessandro Alessandroni scored the music.
However, I would have preferred a more depressing kind of soundtrack.

The film is low key and has many negative elements to which I really enjoy in a Spaghetti, and the character of El Puro who is on the bottle most of the time is great.

But like what has already been mentioned, I do appreciate that this film is perhaps not one that everyone will like.

Some similarities to OuTW:

El puro also seems to start in the middle of a scene. In the following 10 min you are also not really sure what this is all about and in which direction the film may go. And if you don’t know how Robert Woods looks like, you will need probably some more minutes before you realise which character the protagonist of El puro is.

There are also several scenes which are not really important for the narrative, but add to the atmosphere and the structure and the rhythm of the film.

In OuTW CC is in the center of the film and the men are circling around her. They are always talking to her (even Bronson) while she remains taciturn. E.g. she doesn’t say anything to Fonda, at least not with words.
In El puro all the women seem to have a soft spot for Woods, they always talk to him, while he is responding only occasionally or remains silent.

The more I think about this film the more it seems to me unbelievable that Mulargia could really have been the director of this outstanding SW.

[quote=“stanton, post:24, topic:795”]Some similarities to OuTW:

El puro also seems to start in the middle of a scene. In the following 10 min you are also not really sure what this is all about and in which direction the film may go. And if you don’t know how Robert Woods looks like, you will need probably some more minutes before you realise which character the protagonist of El puro is.

There are also several scenes which are not really important for the narrative, but add to the atmosphere and the structure and the rhythm of the film.

The more I think about this film the more it seems to me unbelievable that Mulargia could really have been the director of this outstanding SW.[/quote]
May I support these points, and elaborate further? WARNING - Possible SPOILER ALERT - though!!
I watched this film again last night, and re-checking a couple of things this morning got sucked back in. It is a remarkable film. It doesn’t behave in any obvious sw ways with cliches of ‘protagonist captured and tortured’ (he has his own demons for that); 'with our man outsmarting or outwitting the enemy; - it is simply the tale of a gang out to get a man, and it follows a pretty linear path. There are few characters and all are important. If anything this is a film that pares itself down, strips itself of all but a simple story (there’s stained patches around where pictures used to be hung on walls - if we need a metaphor for this starkness), and puts as much character definition as it can in its allotted minutes. There is however, some very dark humour that occurs, which is in contrast to the evil nature of some of the characters in the gang. We meet, and are (partially) introduced to the characters on a stagecoach, after a (The Sweeny-style) beginning … a few minutes of pertinent action that comes pre-titles, as Stanton has pointed out.
Besides Gypsy, the psychopathically-cold gang leader , we have a gang comprised of a child-molester, a misogynistically violent homosexual (“a degenerate”- as Gypsy calls him) [this is late 60s (or possibly 1970) Italian film-making here - please don’t give me any ‘millennium-hindsight-right-on-homophobic-political-correctness-bollocks’ here unless you’ve seen the film… please! - it works!!]; a thick (oh dear, ‘intelligence-challenged’) pretty-boy gunslinger; and a pipe-smoking bespectacled gent. And they hang out in a wreck of a church, complete with organ music (sound familiar?). All these characters are set against a pissed-up old soak of an ex-crim who’s still got a price on his head. The gang want the money and Gypsy wants the glory. How fuckin-good is that???
I wondered who, other than Woods could play the El Puro character, and there is nobody better. I could just about see Steffen in the part, but (and I like Steffen), he is not always totally believable as anything other than an actor playing a part. Woods is magnificent and … Stanton, I wonder how much he has ‘directed’ and influenced this film, and taken the reigns from Mulagaria. [Weisser is particularly useless regarding any insights, and the couple of sentences he has gets it wrong ‘plot-wise’ - I havn’t seen what Glittering Images have to say.]
This film does, intentionally (probably), or not, reverse some of the obvious stereotypes. The Irishman aint thick (in fact he’s pretty damn smart - he’s called ‘specs’ or ‘Professor’ at various points); the love-interest Rosie is the bread-winner and unlike i.e. in ‘The Christmas Kid’ is not reliant on the man to financially set herself up somewhere-else. the Mexican peon is actually ‘the business-brains’ and plays an ‘honourable’ and non-cowardly role. Some spaghettis, and many ‘American’ westerns are quick to play the easy line on this sort of stereotypes.
EL PURO is a truely unique entry into the genre. True it’s slow and it’s bleak, but it … (cliche-alert) …dares to be different. And that ending pre-dates a vastly more famous one by 2 years - and how much do the critics rave about that!?
I can understand why people won’t like it, and I can understand why it may not have been popular in its day. But a few years ago, last night (and this morning) this film stands, for this cynical viewer, as a
masterpiece (for whoever made it).
As in the film - my vote for EL PURO - is a big fat psychopathic smacker on the lips of a degenerate! Genius.

I’m with you all the way on this one Rev. Just watched it for the first time and it is genuinely memorable and innovative while still delivering all the conventions I expect from this genre.
Without doubt the best thing I’ve ever seen Robert Woods in. This film has some truly memorable scenes which will stay with me for a long time. And that snog! I didn’t see that coming!
Also, in regard to Alessandroni’s GBU rip score, it most certainly is very derivative but I think it still stands on its own. I’m still whistling it.
Great film.

It’s a fact that in Italy contemporary critics are surprised by the movie, and the facts that it’s directed by Mulagria (also spelled as Mulargia), who is considered to be a clumsy director by them. So it is suggested that Woods more or less took over from him. I read this on an italian site (I’ll try to retrace it).

I don’t know much about Woods, maybe he had some specific and unusual ideas on violence (unusual for a sw actor). I remember having read that the film was called ‘the only buddhist spaghetti western’. El Puro is afraid to die, but has to kill in order to survive, so obviously killing is a thing he abhors (not very usual for a sw character either).

It’s also a nice reworking of the idea played out in The Gunfighter (1950, Henry King) where Gregory Peck is similarly cast as a gunslinger trying to escape his past but dogged by newcomers trying to make a name by killing him. Of Course Greg isn’t a chronic alcoholic, his girl doesn’t get beaten to death and his persecutors don’t don’t wind up snogging each other but there’s a similar starting point at least.

:smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :’( (i’ve just laughed so much, the tears are running down my legs!)

Always glad to bring some festive cheer to the congregation Rev :slight_smile:

[quote=“Phil H, post:26, topic:795”]Also, in regard to Alessandroni’s GBU rip score, it most certainly is very derivative but I think it still stands on its own. I’m still whistling it.
Great film.[/quote]

Hmm … Scherp also mentioned GBU, but I would say NO. Fistful of Dollars without any doubt! The whistling thing is much more prominent in Leone’s first.

Are you guys sure? Which scenes in GBU are you reminded of?

Bruckner says also that El puro is one of Mulargia’s best thanks to a reasonable (vernünftig) screenplay and a beautiful score.

But maybe without seeing it because his short plot summary is obviously not of this film:
“A bounty hunter promises to bring a criminal alive to jail, but has to kill him in the end.”

And I’m sure I 've read a similar summary elsewhere, probably somewhere in the net.

What was Weisser guessing about the plot?

And to ‘My Name is Nobody’ maybe?
In the scene that pays homage to the Manco/Mortimer hat shooting from FaFDM, in MNiN - you wonder if more ‘homage’ is paid …

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…and you’d think I’d be mad … 'scept guess who pops up in both scenes? Mario Brega! As with Woods and Mulargia (I’ll try and spell his name correctly this time) it makes you wonder how much input actors have in these (co)instances?

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A funny and obscure detail: Woods goes for unknown reasons barefoot to the final duel.

As you can see in the pic 2 posts above.

he can’t afford shoes, maybe? :wink:

Ha, ha, or he mislaid them, because he was drunk again.

He was a buddhist for God’s sake! Let’s have some friggin’ respect for other peoples Goddamn religions here!

[quote=“Reverend Danite, post:33, topic:795”]And to ‘My Name is Nobody’ maybe?
In the scene that pays homage to the Manco/Mortimer hat shooting from FaFDM, in MNiN - you wonder if more ‘homage’ is paid …[/quote]

Any homage here would have to be the other way around surely? El Puro predates Nobody by a couple of years.

That’s what I meant. It was 'similarity to … MNiN
and ‘homage’ to EP. I just didnt make it clear.
MNiN pays the homage.