This film stars peplum muscleman Kirk Morris as a Jeff – and very ‘Clinty’ he is – particularly regarding his hair and during the times he’s sporting stubble and a cheroot. But, despite these credentials, his only other appearance within the genre was in the SW musical Little Rita of the West, made in the previous year. Both …Rita and Saguaro also feature genre (and Fidani) favourite, and another former peplum muscleman and all round good egg, Gordon Mitchell. Always distinctive and individually stylish, Mitchell has never looked sharper or better than he does in Saguaro – and this film is worth seeing for that reason alone. Luckily, and possibly unlike some of the Fidanis, there are other good reasons as well. So now onto the synopsis/review ….
… which of course … MAY (will) CONTAIN SPOILERS and scenes of a shocking nature – including flagellation - and outright flippancy regarding sexism and opinions.
A bunch of fake Yankee cavalry boys ride into town, but all is not as it seems, and after a bungled attempt at a robbery at the bank, they ride off and change clothes, showing us that they are in fact a bunch of dangerous Mexican bandits complete with dodgy moustaches and the whoopings of ‘anderlay muchachos’ and soforth. Also showing us that they mean business as well as being mean hombres, they have beaten up and staked out the telegraph operator so as word will not get through about the attempted robbery.
It transpires that at some point in the film, we get to understand that the guy leading the Mexican gang and the bungled robbery is only the second-in-command, and there is a mysterious and enigmatic spectre-y character named Saguaro, and that it is he that is the top honcho - and he wants that money.
Ooooo! Where and who could this secret character be, we may wonder? (And also maybe you wonder, does this film have overtones of the much later top-rated thriller The Usual Suspects, whereby Keyser Soze is an enigmatic and all but invisible leader? And maybe we too need to look for a man with a fake limp? Surely not though we say - The Usual Suspects couldn’t have got its main character from a humble spaghetti western! Could it? ;))
Anyway, back to the on-screen story.
Our man Jeff, and his mate Enrique, come across said staked-out bloke and stop by for a bit of a chat to cheer him up. El Banditos aren’t to happy about this and a bit of bullet swapping goes on with only Jeff, from the good guys side, getting off to see another sunset. Delivering Enrique’s body to his village involves plenty of wailing from his Mexican senorita, who’s obviously pretty upset at the situation.
Still, life goes on says our Jeff and off he goes on his travels, but very soon after the Mexis turn up to perform a wonderfully nasty piece of gratuitous spaghetti violence. (As mentioned on the ‘Whip It…’ thread - one of the reasons I wanted to see this film was because of the poster which contained this sadistic image of beastliness - and because, as a man of the cloth and in common with most other clergy, I may have suppressed perverted flagellatory leanings … maybe ::).)
Anyway ‘wailing senorita’ is soon wailing again as her pretty blouse is literally whipped off her pretty body, exposing her the laviscious gaze of her tormentors. Feeling somewhat satisfied, but not completely satiated on nastiness, the boys go off to pop a shot at Jeff, who catching one in the shoulder, takes refuge in a small lake (and other than in the earlier Kill them all and Come Back Alone, I can think of no other SW that includes underwater filming) and a well done and an interesting diversion it is too.
Tired out from these exertions, Jeff has a kip and does a bit of sunbathing until a pretty li’l passing brunette, who goes by the name of Julie, takes him home to the folks and mends him.
Everybody gets to like Jeff now he’s had a shave and looks presentable, and in particular our Julie does. You can tell she’s definitely gone a bit moist over him. Well, not quite all are as happy over Jeff being so handsome and charming - there’s one big galoot ranch hand who been fancying a go on Julie himself. So, after a bit of an argument, and Julie telling galoot that he needs to basically go screw himself ‘cos it’s gonna be ‘Jeff an’ Julie forever’ from now on, he rightfully gets a bit pissed off and the big fellah tries to murder our Jeffery in a not so subtle attempt to win back Julie. Of course, dramatic fisticuffs ensue that take place in a bedroom, a wardrobe, and end up through the window into the corral. Galoot has obviously never seen Kirk Morris as Samson, and so he takes a bit of a beating (even tho’ our Jeff has just had a bullet removed) and is sent packing. Phew!
Julie is duly impressed and gives Jeff a snog :-*.
Now, enter Gordon Mitchell as the gunslinger Clayton! W 8) W and wow again! What an entrance!!
Black clad and unnaturally bleach-blonde, and sporting batman’s cloak, he’s never looked better or more dandy 8) 8) 8) 8) 8) (That’s top cool marks - and the first time ever awarded).
He is introduced to us by tricking and disarming 2 attempting ambushers, and then we’re in for a fabulous bit of overacting which involves some unnecessary shouting and calling them “Bastards!!” and then finishing it all off by blowing them up with a stick of dynamite. Gordon’s doing what he does best here – and it doesn’t get better than this!
Meanwhile, the handsome and clean-shaven Jeff, has gotta do what a man’s gotta do, and so he has to depart from his darlin’ Julie. After a quick snog :-* and the realisation that his destiny is all tied up with a pocket watch (wouldn’t you know it) - ‘scept it turns out to be no watch but a photo locket (containing 2 photies), it would seem.
So Jeff does his ‘what a man’s gotta do’ bit, and goes to another town, to another saloon …. and pretty soon to another woman! (You bastard Jeff!! - what about Julie? :’()
Clayton 8) turns up as well, to make it all very interesting, and does a lot of shouting yet again – this time it’s aimed at the woman who’s caught our Jeff’s eye - the attractive redhead saloon girl Kathy (played by actress Kim Arden, in the only film of her career?). Having got that out of his system he goes off for a bit of a snog :-* on the blonde, and doesn’t blow either of them up with dynamite.
It’s all building up nicely for a stand off maybe, which via a game of cards twixt card-shark Clayton 8) and our dapper lookin’ Jeff (who has realised he’s gotta up his game stylistically-speakin’, now that Clayton’s on the scene), happens. The stakes have soon escalated - over a single poker hand - to epic proportions and then some argument starts over an ace - of course. Now, I have to question, why a bottle here to be held between our protagonists? And then I remember, and realise I am of course in spaghettiland – and it just looks good and stylish. I shouldn’t ask why would anybody be stupid enough to hold a bottle between two gunmen mid duel. Spaghettiland, or at least this town of it, is full of idiots. Instead of keeping a safe distance away, men and women gather around and behind, oblivious to the reality of a stray bullet. Anyway, said bottle and one of our boys, eventually take a bullet – but obviously I wouldn’t spoil it and tell you who ….
So, it all gets very exciting for Jeff now. This excitement includes in no particular order - a barroom brawl (hoorah!); dancing can-can girls (hoorah-hoorah!!); snogging the redhead :-* (who along with the bespectacled, limping, walking-sticked mild-mannered doctor (oooh –er!!!), have taken a turn at nursing him (after said brawl); giving her his gold photo frame for some reason or other; getting a new black leather waistcoat, hat and a fetching black silk scarf 8) - which is befitting in his new status as sheriff! Redheaded Kathy goes one better, and buys a complete black leather catsuit 8) 8) 8) :-* to celebrate – blimey, and everybody gets a bit hot under the collar! Giddy with success, and possibly on the smell of new leather, Jeff sticks up notices around town saying summat along the lines of ‘It is forbidden to be Mexican’ or maybe it’s ‘no guns to be worn in the street’, but a couple of Mexicans who are undoubtedly Saguaro’s men, and who’s hobby it is terrorizing the local inhabitants take offence at this, but because they’ve not passed muster with Jeff’s notice (whatever it said), end up in the clink.
Julie (remember her?), turns up ‘cos she’s heard about the black catsuit, and tries to get Jeff to leave. Jeff tells her to get a better cowboy hat then, ‘cos the one she’s got looks like one of those one’s that kids get for Christmas. Taking offence at this she hits him around the head with a bit of ‘2 by 4’ that’s lying about .Now, it’s Jeff that’s lying about, and when he eventually comes around, Saguaro’s gang have released their mates from jail and terrorized the town some more, to show thery’re not scared of Jeff and his new black-leather look.
To forget about their woes, meanwhile, the townsfolk have, of course, put on a strip show at the saloon, (which everybody enjoys immensely – including the women-folk which bodes well for everybody later ;D).
BIG SPOILER ALERT!!
Well, they’re all there enjoying the show, excepting for Jeff and a few choice others. Realising now that he wants Julie, and the real sado-masochistic love of a woman with a big stick, Jeff tells Julie that he’ll have to get his locket back first – cos although he’s prepared to forgo his quest, it might be worth a few bob. Instead of just going and asking for it like any normal person, and obviously hoping to catch Kathy one last time, in or indeed out of her black leather gear, he climbs up to her bedroom window and peers in … where he sees her … plotting with the doc. - ‘scept guess who’s no longer bespectacled and limping??? Shock! So, was he Saguero all the time!!? And just to clinch it, the Mexis appear as well, despite Jeff’s notice to the contrary, and we discover something is planned to happen at Eagle Pass!
O.K. THE SPOILY-BIT’S OVER NOW!
So - a final snog :-* on the redhead then for good measure, and remembering to get his locket back, and our Jeff’s off to the brunettes place where she’s preparing herself for him by adorning herself in a delicious black basque with delicate white lace trimmings – (she’s starting to learn here, and may I say here to any women reading, who have got this far without punching their computer, please take note). However, she hasn’t learnt enough, and somewhat stupidly she answers the door to Jeff in a simple blouse and skirt. Not realising the pleasures underneath, Jeff makes some excuse to be elsewhere and is probably wishing he stayed with the redhead in the leather. Giving her a quick snog :-* as farewell, he goes off to Kendall City to take out his frustrations on Saguaro’s gang before a final assignation that’ll mean he’ll have a chance to meet once more with Kathy.
Arriving at dawn, to suitably moody trumpet and glockenspiel soundtrack, Jeff sees that some of Saguero’s gang are attempting to re-rob that bank again.
And here, there is a wonderful bit of homage/parody included. We see an unshaven Jeff spit out his cheroot and don a poncho Clint-stylee …. Then, looking the part, almost perfectly …. he tops it off with a sombrero, and tags onto the gang as a Mexican.
Anyway, it’s all set for the finale, with the money, for now at least, with Jeff – and who’s motives we’re not to sure about - as a couple of innocents have wound up dead in the bank raid that Jeff participated in.
A stagecoach chase and shootout, Saguaro running out of patience with his bungling second-in-command, and a final showdown between Saguaro and Jeff watched by ‘inbetweeny’ Kathy, who’s not sure where her loyalties lie (but who might at last get to understand the concept of stray bullets), finish the film off in predictable spaghetti-style – or does it?
I can say though, that Jeff ends up with no money and no woman – and I also know he says something incredibly profound at the end – but I’ve no idea what. And that’s because …
I watched this film in German, and I understand nothing of that language!
So – I have to put a proviso on this review/synopsis … my reading of it is gleaned from not understanding ANY of the actual dialogue, and therefore this all …
MAY BE COMPLETE BOLLOCKS!
However I do suggest you watch it for yourselves. It is a fun and stylish film - particularly regarding the outfits, and yet is a serious slice of spaghetti pie as well from the golden era - not being played for laughs - but with all the conventions and plotholes (maybe) we’d expect from the genre.
And no doubt it may not be as confusing to the native speakers out there, as it may have been to me. But, in the absence of an English dub (for now at least – Brother Silver Wolf (and he knows these things) believes there may be one out there, as it was released with the English title I’ll Die For Vengeance) could somebody kindly explain who the photos were of, what were those profound last words in the film, does this film indeed exist in English, and most importantly where can I get the choir-mistress one of them jumpsuits?
So overall - 3 out of 5 for the film and 5 out of 5 for the outfits.