Fort Yuma Gold / Per pochi dollari ancora (Giorgio Ferroni, 1966)


(scherpschutter) #1

Dir: Giorgio Ferroni. Cast: Giuliano Gemma, Sophie Daumier, Dan Vadis, Angel del Pozo, Jacques Sernas, Nello Pazzafini, José Calvo
Music: Ennio Morricone, Gianni Ferrio

Like its predecessor Un Dollaro Bucato and Tessari’s Il Ritorno di Ringo, Per pochi dollari ancora is set in the aftermath of the Civil War. But this time around Gemma is not an avenger but a saviour. With an unbiased depiction of Union and Confederate soldiers it is a rather unusual spaghetti western. With its elaborated script - based on Jules Verne’s Michel Strogoff - and fashionable look (the costume designer really did a fine job here) it is also one of the more sophisticated.

The Civil War is over but one company of seemingly die-hard Southerners threaten to attack Fort Yuma. Due to the strong defence of the fort, this would inevitably lead to a massacre. A Confederate POW is sent to the fort with a despatch; he is escorted by two Unionists, a rude but basically good-natured sergeant (Pazzafini) and a well-mannered but slimy officer (Del Pozo). When they are attacked Gemma is severely wounded, but he’s nursed back to life and with the help of a veteran of the war against Santa Anna and a beautiful saloon-girl called Connie Breastfull (!) he manages to fulfil his mission.

Many Italian directors have used the aftermath of the Civil War as the setting for a spaghetti western. Having fought on ‘the losing side’ during WW II, Italian moviegoers found it easier to identify wirh Southerners. For people on the Italian South - were spaghetti westerns initially were more popular than in the North - there was an additional element of identification. Like the Confederates they strongly felt that they were forced into a unification they never desired (the Risorgimento, the historical movement towards the unification of Italy in 1870 originated in the North and was unfavourable to the rural South; the first capital of the united country was Turin). For this reason Northerners are often depicted as harsh and repressive in spaghetti westerns. But director Ferroni uses the Civil War background for a less politicised, more romantic action film.

As usual Gemma’s character is less cynical than the average spaghetti western anti-hero: he is not after personal gain but devotes himself to the general interest and gets the girl in the end. No less than seven writers contributed to a labyrinth script that manages to hide the story’s contrived turns rather well. The first half - which contains one of the most elaborated saloon brawls in history - is rather light-hearted (and sometimes even a bit silly), but once the suicidal attack on the fort becomes imminent, the film takes a more serious turn, with Gemma finally confronting the three main villains in a deserted mine.

Gemma has hardly ever been better and there’s chemistry between him and French actress and comédienne Daumier, but the villains are near stereotypes. Especially muscle man Dan Vadis, a veteran of many a peplum movie, seems out of place here. Gemma’s close friend Pazzafini, who usually was invited for one or more fistfights with him, has a more sympathetic (but still rather short) part here; this made their famous skermishes impossible, so instead they unite in a very funny scene in which they save a place in the stagecoach for the lovely Daumier. The score is credited to Ennio Morricone and Gianni Ferrio, but apparently some existing material of the maestro was used to justify his name on the credits (Note that by this time Morricone’s name was supposed to attract moviegoers, just like the use of the term ‘dollaro’ in the title). Anyway, it’s a lovely score, the use of the harmonica even anticipating Morricone’s (and even Leone’s!) use of the instrument in C’era una Volta il West. Although bursting with action, the film is not particularly violent, making it almost perfect family viewing. Still it is labelled VM 14 in Italy (unsuitable for persons under the age of 14), apparently because of one protracted torture scene in which Gemma is nearly blinded.

Reviewed DVD: Wild East. This region free DVD is good but fails to be outstanding. Despite a high bit-rate of some 6.8 Mb/s the transfer is a little soft and lacks contrast during the darker scenes. I also spotted some minor ghosting, but there’s no reason to call for the ghostbusters. The DD 2.0 English audio is very strong but has some indistinct background noise - as if your ears are tingling - but dialogue is comprehensible throughout.


(Phil H) #2

Nice review as always Scherp.


(ENNIOO) #3

Good to hear the ghosts are not prominent :D.


(Raph_Alv) #4

This dvd was canceled here

:-\


(korano) #5

At first I thought this moviewas just average. I recently have rethought about it and it seemed alright after all. At least the plot is different than other movies. I don’t usually find comedy westerns haha funny but the big saloon fight with golden was pretty funny.


(Dorado) #6

I just watched this one and imo its one of gemma’s best performancs.
Its one of his more serious roles and that suits him, he is still an anti-hero but its less outspoken than in most of his films.


(p.pereira) #7

I like almost every movie with Gemma. This is no exception.
The DVD that I own, its from “La colección sagrada del spaghetti western”, which unfortunately has a poor quality image. Nevertheless it was worth to aquire.


(autephex) #8

Will probably pick this Wild East DVD up soon… was wondering if any one knows of any particular reason its priced lower than their other releases?


(Pacificador) #9

Not sure…it was a decent release if memory serves… ?


(Frank Talby) #10

It is a decent release. I really enjoy this movie and Sherp’s review is spot on.


(autephex) #11

weird, maybe they just paid less for the film


(JonathanCorbett) #12

Simple but good, entertaining and well-structured SW.

Bit part for Lucio De Santis (uncredited) as a Union sergeant:


(AngelFace) #13

The first time I sat down to watch this I just couldn’t get into it, so, a couple of years later I tried again. Despite the slow and not particularly memorable start I really enjoyed it. This is a robust, action-packed western.

It has that curious early Gemma vibe where it is somewhat like an average American programmer in plot, half European in look and completely original in terms of the cast and the violence. Despite having a bit of corn the movie doesn’t waste too much time on cuteness and exposition. The gunfights and fights are well done, there is a “serious” bar brawl which is not too hard to take with some really athletic bits from Gemma. I didn’t realise how phyiscal he is until now, he really does look solid and throws a good punch aswell as being able to somersault etc. Personally, I find Gemma an appealing hero and this is a good vehicle for him.

The rest of the cast is good too. Sophie Daumier gets one pretty sexy scene. I like Dan Vadis as the villan he genuinely comes accross as a bit of a violent animal, particularly in his scenes with Daumier and when he goes after Gemma with the knife.

I think my favourite sequence is the serious of “accidents” that befall the bad guys. I don’t want to give too much away but I love how it is played straight with the cut to the victims’ grave. I think this is actually a classic SW sequence. And is that Stefanelli as the leader of that gang at thte hideout? The one in the brown waistcoat.

In general terms the movie has a good score, and good production values. It looks like a fairly expensive production in SW terms given all of the extras. The Wild East DVD is just ok, I would like to see a Koch quality DVD to really judge the cinematography.

Finally, this movie seems to have given a lot to Django. We have the crippling of the hero, Vadis’ death, Gemma’s final benediction and also a fort and some gold. It is hard to think that this movie did not influence Django.

Anyway, they don’t make these quality early Gemma movies like they used to!


(Stanton) #14

Well, it was released 6 months after Django …

… probably the other way round?


(AngelFace) #15

[quote=“Stanton, post:14, topic:976”]Well, it was released 6 months after Django …

… probably the other way round?[/quote]

Ah of course you are right, I checked the dates. I assumed it was a '65 film but it was actually made in '66, so, not remarkable at all then.


(Stanton) #16

Actually it looks and feels like a 65 Spagie


(JonathanCorbett) #17

From Database Review:

(…) the film is not particularly violent, making it almost perfect family viewing. Still it is labelled VM 14 in Italy (unsuitable for persons under the age of 14), apparently because of one protracted torture scene in which Gemma is nearly blinded.

Amazingly, what bothered the Committee the most in September 1966 was the sentence “Quando mettemmo il pepe nel culo del generale Santana”.

Once they cut it the rating became T (all ages admitted). :smile:



(The Man With a Name) #18

I enjoyed this one but not as much as One Silver Dollar. I still need to watch Wanted and Adios Gringo.


#19

I viewed this again the other night and of course found it to be great fun. I but I did realize that this is the only film I’ve seen with Sophie Daumier. Would be nice to see her in another spaghetti opposite Gemma or Terrence Hill.


(The Man With a Name) #20

Just watched this again and I thought it was even better than I remembered. A near perfect spaghetti western with all the right ingredients. I’ll give it an 8/10 at least.