Joe, cercati un posto per morire!/Find a place to die (1968, G. Carnimeo) REVIEW


(scherpschutter) #1

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Dir: Giuliano Carnimeo (Hugo Fregonese). Cast: Jeffrey Hunter, Pascale Petit, Daniela Giordano, Piero Lulli, Gianni Pallavincino, Adolfo Lastretti, Reza Fazeli, Nello Pazzafini. Music: Gianni Ferrio

An American geologist and his wife have located an old goldmine in Mexico but are attacked by members of Chato’s gang. The scientist manages to kill the bandits by using dynamite, but this causes a landslide and he gets pinned under a wagon. His wife (Petit) undertakes a journey to a nearby hamlet where she meets an outcast Confederate officer (Hunter) who is now living south of the border, selling guns to bandits. He reluctantly complies with her appeal for help and composes his own gang of Mexicans. When they arrive the husband is murdered - after having been brutally tortured - and the gold stolen. Moreover, the men who had promised to help the woman aren’t much better than her husband’s murderers …

Joe, cercati un posto per morire! was entirely filmed in Italy, the exteriors done in the Manziani area, that was used more often for spaghettis, but hardly ever to represent Mexico. But cinematographer Riccardo Pallotini makes the best of it, calmly panning his camera over the green slopes and moss-grown rocks of the Lazio hills north-east of Rome. Although the script is an adaptation of the Henry Hathaway movie Garden of Evil (1954), the film has the baroque visuals of the Italian western, as well as an emphatic anti-clerical undertone, typical for a lot of Italian movies of the era (not only westerns, think only of Pasolini). On their way to the mine the group is joined by a pretended priest, who not only handles a six-shooter very well but also knows a lot about torture. We’re permanently confronted with ruins of religious buildings, creating an atmosphere of decay and despair, and giving the film a distinctive look among the spaghetti westerns.

Carnimeo is listed as director but he was supervised by Hugo Fregonese. The film is well-paced but rather short on excitement. A little more could have been done with the assortment of characters Hunter assembles for the mission, like a superstitious pimp/gunslinger (played by Iranian actor Reza Fazeli) who shoots vultures because they are messengers of death and a good-natured blockhead who can’t controll himself when Petit takes off her clothes. Chato’s gang is told to be so ferocious that even the bravest men start to shiver when they hear the name, but when Chato is killed and the murderer says he is taking over the gang, only one member raises his voice, all others accept their new boss without any problem! The action scenes are well-staged but the added-on ‘shootout’ is laughable. The best scene is set in an improvised saloon, built within the confines of church ruin. A prostitute, played by former miss Italy Daniela Giordano, plays the guitar and sings the title song, find a place to die, with Jeffrey Hunter humming some backing vocals, or groans. It’s a wonderful scene, sweaty, sultry and sexy, and the rest of the film looks cold in comparison. Carnimeo would later direct several Sartana movies and it’s clear he felt more at ease in a more relaxed context. Joe, cercati un posto per morire! has non of gimmicks of the Sartana movies and is certainly not meant to be funny. With it’s predilection for torture it’s even a bit mean-spirited.

Jeffrey Hunter is best known among western fans for his part in The Searchers (1956), where he accompanied John Wayne in the search for a young girl kidnapped by Indians. Once considered to be one of the most promising actors in the business, his career soon went downhill. He already had serious drinking problems while making this film, but Giordano told in an interview that he never drank on the set. He died the next year of the consequences of a skull fracture, caused by a bad fall after a having suffered a stroke. Both Petit, as the widow, and Giodano, as the singer/prostitute, have surprisingly active roles in the movie. The former may even flash a bare breast. Gianni Ferrio’s score is very fine and fits the melancholic mood of the movie perfectly. As a singer Daniela Giordano was doubled by Jula de Parma.

Reviewed DVD: VCI Entertainment. The film is presented in 1,85:1, which seems to be the correct aspect ratio. Unfortunately it’s a rather poor release; there’s an awful lot of grain, colours have faded and the image is very dark. Sound quality isn’t bad though, with clear dialogue and only minor background noise.


(Phil H) #2

Good review Scherp. Captures the film very well. And some nice background info, courtesy of Signor Giusti I presume?


(scherpschutter) #3

Yes, he’s making things a lot easier
A wonderful book, and Tom is quoted in nearly every review! (Hope he reads Italian)
I’m checking the older reviews at the moment, maybe I’ll add a word here and there before I ask you to load them up


(lordradish) #4

Great review, scherp. I didn’t know all that about Hunter. I figured he was just in spaghettis because he looks a bit like Eastwood with better skin.


(Stanton) #5

A few more statements about this film could be find here:

http://www.spaghetti-western.net/forum/index.php/topic,269.0.html

Includes a small dose of McCloudish.

The Garden of Evil similarities were also discussed elsewhere, but don’t know where.

I think it’s wrong to describe Find a Place to Die as an adaptation of the Hathaway film.
The only similarity is that in both films a woman searches and gets a few men to help her husband, who is buried alive near/in a goldmine. Otherwise the characters and the plot development are too different to call it a remake.


(scherpschutter) #6

[quote=“stanton, post:5, topic:1010”]A few more statements about this film could be find here:

http://www.spaghetti-western.net/forum/index.php/topic,269.0.html

Includes a small dose of McCloudish.

The Garden of Evil similarities were also discussed elsewhere, but don’t know where.

I think it’s wrong to describe Find a Place to Die as an adaptation of the Hathaway film.
The only similarity is that in both films a woman searches and gets a few men to help her husband, who is buried alive near/in a goldmine. Otherwise the characters and the plot development are too different to call it a remake.[/quote]

Adaptation : I was looking for the right word. First I wrote that the film was a ‘(sort of) remake’, I changed that in ‘a thinly disguised remake’ (that what it’s called in the Italian DIZIONARIO) and finally I opted for ‘adaptation’.

If you have a better term, I’m of course willing to change my text, no problem.

I think it was Chris who said something about the similarities between the two movies, but I don’t remeber in which thread or what context.


(Chris_Casey) #7

Nice review, scherp!

One thing I noticed that should be fixed…

You have Andrea Giordana as the prostitute! Wrong gender, amigo! :slight_smile:
Andrea Giordana (aka Chip Corman) is the guy that played the lead in EL DESPERADO and JOHNNY HAMLET.
Daniela Giordano is the actresses (and former Miss Italy) that has the prostitute’s role in FIND A PLACE TO DIE.

Interesting information about Hugo Fregonese. I had never heard that he was involved in the making of this film, before.
What was the source of this information?

I think “adaptation” is the perfect word to describe the relationship between this film and GARDEN OF EVIL. It is definitely not a remake…adaptations usually aren’t. An adaptation usually means that something is done, be it a film or book, that is a variation on the same basic concept of another work. I might have called it a remake in a previous posting (I believe I said “somewhat of a remake”)…but, that would be poor word choice on my part.


(Stanton) #8

I don’t see a great difference between adaptation and remake. But maybe I translate adaptation not correct.

I would say, both films work with the same basic idea. Other similarities are only vague imo.


(Stanton) #9

But the information about Fregonese’s involvement is indeed interesting.

Might explain why this Spag is an oddity in Carnimeo’s otherwise coherent SW output.

(If coherent is a word that makes sense in the context of Carnimeo’s work ;))


(Silvanito) #10

We have this word “adaption” in Swedish too, and the exact meaning in this sense is to remake a story in another form.

For example take a book and make a film of that story, that’s an adaption.

But maybe it’s not quite the same in English?


(ENNIOO) #11

[quote=“Lindberg, post:10, topic:1010”]We have this word “adaption” in Swedish too, and the exact meaning in this sense is to remake a story in another form.

For example take a book and make a film of that story, that’s an adaption.

But maybe it’s not quite the same in English?[/quote]

I would agree here Lindberg and I am English.


(Chris_Casey) #12

Well…apparently I am stupid and cannot explain myself well.

I think that if a film has the basic premise of another film it is safe to say it has been adapted from that work in some way. A pure remake indicates to me that all the major events of the film are the same—even if somewhat reworked.
A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS is considered a remake of YOJIMBO.
YOJIMBO was adapted from Dashiell Hammett’s RED HARVEST.

The basic premise of FIND A PLACE TO DIE is the same as GARDEN OF EVIL. How the plot unfolds is quite different; so, what word would you want to use to describe something like that?

Enlighten me, please!


(scherpschutter) #13

[quote=“Chris_Casey, post:7, topic:1010”]Nice review, scherp!

One thing I noticed that should be fixed…

You have Andrea Giordana as the prostitute! Wrong gender, amigo! :slight_smile:
Andrea Giordana (aka Chip Corman) is the guy that played the lead in EL DESPERADO and JOHNNY HAMLET.
Daniela Giordano is the actresses (and former Miss Italy) that has the prostitute’s role in FIND A PLACE TO DIE.
[/quote]

My God, you’re right!


(scherpschutter) #14

[quote=“Chris_Casey, post:7, topic:1010”]Interesting information about Hugo Fregonese. I had never heard that he was involved in the making of this film, before.
What was the source of this information?
[/quote]

The source is DIZIONARIO DEL WESTERN ALL’ITALIANO by Marco Giusti

Hugo Fregonese is also mentioned as co-producer and co-writer of both script and story (this is confirmed on IMdb, search under Joe, cercati un posto per morire!, click on ‘more’)

Giusti apparently has interviewed Carnimeo and Giordano, since he writes:
<< (Giuliano Carnimeo) rammenta che diressero realmente in due il film (…) Daniele Giordano (…) sostiene che il film, o almeno le sue scene, vennero dirette da fregonese, en non da Carnimeo >>
<< (Giuliano Carnimeo) remembers that they really directed the film together (…) Daniela Giordano (…) sustains that the movie, or at least her scenes, were directed by Fregonese, and not by Carnimeo >>

I found a nice interview with the lovely Daniela on the net; she briefly talks about this film and Jeffrey Hunter, and has some interesting info on FIVE MEN ARMY :


(Stanton) #15

[quote=“Chris_Casey, post:12, topic:1010”]Well…apparently I am stupid and cannot explain myself well.

I think that if a film has the basic premise of another film it is safe to say it has been adapted from that work in some way. A pure remake indicates to me that all the major events of the film are the same—even if somewhat reworked.
A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS is considered a remake of YOJIMBO.
YOJIMBO was adapted from Dashiell Hammett’s RED HARVEST.

The basic premise of FIND A PLACE TO DIE is the same as GARDEN OF EVIL. How the plot unfolds is quite different; so, what word would you want to use to describe something like that?

Enlighten me, please![/quote]

Well, it’s an adaptation of the basic idea, but not an adaptation of the film Garden of Evil.

Oh, and “adaptation” and “adaption”, are both words likely in the english language?


(ENNIOO) #16

Adaptation and adaption meaning from Oxford English Dictionary:

adaptation
(also adaption)

• noun 1 the action or process of adapting or being adapted. 2 a film or play adapted from a written work. 3 Biology a change by which an organism becomes better suited to its environment.


(Chris_Casey) #17

[quote=“scherpschutter, post:14, topic:1010”]The source is DIZIONARIO DEL WESTERN ALL’ITALIANO by Marco Giusti

Hugo Fregonese is also mentioned as co-producer and co-writer of both script and story (this is confirmed on IMdb, search under Joe, cercati un posto per morire!, click on ‘more’)

Giusti apparently has interviewed Carnimeo and Giordano, since he writes:
<< (Giuliano Carnimeo) rammenta che diressero realmente in due il film (…) Daniele Giordano (…) sostiene che il film, o almeno le sue scene, vennero dirette da fregonese, en non da Carnimeo >>
<< (Giuliano Carnimeo) remembers that they really directed the film together (…) Daniela Giordano (…) sustains that the movie, or at least her scenes, were directed by Fregonese, and not by Carnimeo >>

I found a nice interview with the lovely Daniela on the net; she briefly talks about this film and Jeffrey Hunter, and has some interesting info on FIVE MEN ARMY :

Excellent, amigo!
I did find the information at IMDB after looking a second time. I believe this is very telling stuff—because, as stanton mentioned, this film doesn’t feel like the usual Carnimeo film (but, then again, neither does THE MOMENT TO KILL).


(Chris_Casey) #18

[quote=“ENNIOO, post:16, topic:1010”]Adaptation and adaption meaning from Oxford English Dictionary:

adaptation
(also adaption)

• noun 1 the action or process of adapting or being adapted. 2 a film or play adapted from a written work. 3 Biology a change by which an organism becomes better suited to its environment.

Cheers, Ennioo!

I still don’t see anything wrong with using the word “adaptation” in regards to FIND A PLACE TO DIE having the same premise as GARDEN OF EVIL. But, at this point, it doesn’t really matter! :wink:

The films do share a basic premise…and that is the point.


(scherpschutter) #19

I saw THE MOMENT TO KILL a long, long time ago (in cinema!), but a DVDr is on it’s way to Turnhout, Belgium (all the way from Pori, Finland)

I’ll do a review ASAP !


(Stanton) #20

But The Moment to Kill has the typical narrative structure of all the other Carnimeo SWs with a whodunit and several double crosses. Not a surprise, the screenplay was (co)written by his usual collaborator Tito Carpi.

The only real difference is the absence of humour or comedy parts, it’s a much darker film.