I am rather new here, and had a curious thought. How many of you SW Fans like that the idea of having your favorite SW Actor use gimmick weaponry? And is that something you would recommend to writers in the Western Fiction genre, to have the main character use a gimmick weapon? Thank you for allowing me to post.
Firstly: Welcome to the SWDB, amigo! Thank-you for posting! Stick around for awhile, it’s a friendly bunch here.
Right, gimmick weaponry - I’m fine with it, but I think it really depends on the tone of the movie. Clockwork tin men and rocket launcher/church organ Transformers are great fun in a Sartana pic but I’d have been a bit miffed if, say, Jean-Luis Trintignant or Clint Eastwood had rocked up with either of those devices in The Great Silence or The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
Sometimes those kind of firearms are cool! I loved all the one in the Sabata flicks.
Van Cleef’s Winchester 66 with the screw on extended barrel so it shoots farther, and the Harmonica type clip in the 66. It seamed to actually function. Then there was William Berger’s banjo with the 66 in side. That was way cool. And don’t forget Sabata’s four shot
derringer with the extra two barrels in the bottom of the grip. Of course who can forger Django’s machine gun in the coffin! Not a gimimick weapon per say but surely a gimmick. Depending on the mood of the movie I think they fit right in. Sometimes fantasy weapons are a good thing. Not every western has to be historically correct.
Apologies for the necropost, but this came up in my list of “suggested topics” when I was reading a much more current one.
Firstly and most important, did you ever get anywhere with your writing?
Secondly, man oh man this is one of those crucial components that makes a Spaghetti a Spaghetti. And yeah as alluded to it doesn’t have to always be an alien anachronistic Sartana James Bond affair (though that helps).
While every spag may not have a kooky fantastical weapon, one sure bet is that a traditional western never does.
Mortimer’s “exotic” weaponry is not only heavily focused on in many scenes of For a Few Dollars More, at times it’s a plot device. The Gatling is featured in countless spags as the holy grail super weapon driving the story. Sniper-Riflesque firearms are often written in for their turn-of-the century magical powers. A Mauser a few years early? Sure throw it in there. All fair game for the spag. Heck, this is a trope so integrated in spags that it even brings non-spags into spag territory for me (The Master Gunfighter comes to mind).
Whenever I watch old hong kong action cinema, with how heavily a story or character focuses on insane often impossible weaponry like flying guillotines, bendable swords, pony tail knives, flame-throwing sai… and even a guy that shoots metal skulls with munching mandibles from his shoulders, I immediately think of how likewise genre defining the whacked out, or at least “special”, weaponry is to the Spaghetti Western.
And if you don’t have a super weapon, but wanna keep it spag, then just make sure you have a gunfighter with borderline supernatural powers when it comes to using conventional arms (aka every spag). Wanna go next level? Switch out a six-shooter for a knife on your shoulder. Look out now.
The trick is to walk the line, tip over too far and you’re in a steampunk weird west universe. Sartana/Sabata works so well because while the devices are over the top, they are not the norm and not common in the stories setting.
Count me out. May be OK in the more lighthearted genre entries, but they are not my favorite SWs. I guess you’re not so happy with it? Historical correctnes is fine with me. But some artistic freedom is also fine with me. And I don’t know if there is a SW made which is entirely historic correct weapon-wise?
I agree. Both Silence’s Mauser pistol and Blondie’s Colt peacmaker are by the way “historically correct", (even if metallic cartridges were not used with the army colt till after the civil war).
As pointed out by #Rutledal on another thread, a mitralleuse, probably Montigny.
Probably weighing more than 300 kg and didn’t come with a belt. But the film wouldn’t be the same with Django dragging a wagon around. The more I think of it, the more I think maybe historical correctness would have been disastrous to SW.
Oh man that anachronistic goodness is part of the Spaghetti Westerns charm and essence, as opposed to say the Ford/Waynes getting everything more historically accurate, but so aesthetically wrong… IMHO.
And don’t forget the big one… belt loops on trousers weren’t in place until turn of the century… find a Spaghetti where a principal doesn’t have a regular belt under their gun belt. The SASS, and other aficionados, freak out about this, but screw them, multiple belts look so damn cool, and just feel right, I don’t care if it’s not accurate, that’s not why I’m watching. These are mythological characters in a folkloric tales with magick weapons and abilities. Bring on the strangeness… now where’s my polyhedral dice?
Anyway, back to cool hardware, the Mauser is still an insane weapon choice for a western, thrown in purely for gimmicky (and/or holy grail) effect. And while Fistful trades fantastical weapons for supernatural marksmanship we still get a lot of screen and dialog time dedicated to romanticizing Ramon’s rifle - and one could argue Fistful employs “magick armor” - keeping it right in that wonderfully weird Spaghetti vein. As mentioned, by the time we hit Few Dollars More the gimicky weapons are in full effect.Tuco’s erector set scene in the gunstore, in GBU, completely bananas, but oh so cool… and still “in the ballpark”. Excalibur? Mjölnir? Stormbringer? What’s not to love? The fact that Spaghetti’s dared to flirt with these concepts, regularly, is a big chunk of what makes them “sub genre”.
How the vast majority of Spaghetti Westerns blend fantasy with the western (however subtle, or not) and still manage to not fully jump genre is just brilliant.
If you are not suspending disbelief when watching a Spaghetti, in the same way you do for say a one-arm swordsman jumping backwards into a tree, or a bowler hat that can cut through stone, then you’re probably parked at the wrong drive-in.
Here’s a weird thing, but somewhat on topic. I love how in a lot of the spags there is someone else who carries a main characters weapon… Fistful and Django come to mind but there are dozens. Like when a little weaselly character hands the villain his rifle before he shoots someone… this is so Arthurian right? A squire genuflecting and handing their master a legendary weapon. Ever notice that? Love it.
A lot of those props are really neat, as Cheyenne pointed out, the Sabata derringer takes the cake. It’s well designed, looks like it could work in real life, and just oozes cool.
Some of the other weapons, such as Hallelujah’s Singer sewing machine gun, are just so ridiculous that you can’t help but laugh. How about the automatic lever action rifle in Spirto Santo? The thing looks like a prehistoric street sweeper. And that’s why I love the genre so much, the strange weapons are what makes the character unique and imposing, knowing that they have the upper hand with some overpowered and amazing weaponry.
I think my favorite were the Sartana gadgets, the silenced derringer and piano cannon in Light The Fuse, Sartana Is Coming, and of course Sartana’s pistol from the first two movies. The Stranger movies also had some fantastic shotguns, the four barreled shotgun in The Stranger Returns is just awesome.
I’d love to know more about the prop designers and how they made the weapons, I should look back through the credits of the movies and see if I can dig up some information on them.
The use of those weapons is so iconic to the genre that I think it would be blasphemy to leave them out. That’s my opinion though. By the way when will we be seeing your book?