Johnny Yuma (Romolo Guerrieri, 1966)


(Phil H) #1

I have just watched this film for the first time and was struck by a couple of things.

Firstly, how little I have seen it discussed or mentioned yet I think it is a good movie and an interesting example of the genre. Secondly, how much it had a feeling of being a crime thriller as much as a western.

I can’t fully put my finger on why but I just had a sense that the characters and plot seemed to share some crime thriller qualities. That is not to say it isn’t clearly a western because it is, with all the trappings you expect. Maybe it was the double crossing femme fatale character played by Rosalba Neri. Maybe it was the fact that Lawrence Dobkin looked a little out of place in the Almerian desert and seemed like he would be more at home in a Rome apartment building.

Anyone else seen this one and have any opinions? I’d be interested to hear.

http://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Johnny_Yuma


(ENNIOO) #2

[quote=“Phil H, post:1, topic:610”]I have just watched this film for the first time and was struck by a couple of things.

Firstly, how little I have seen it discussed or mentioned yet I think it is a good movie and an interesting example of the genre. Secondly, how much it had a feeling of being a crime thriller as much as a western.

I can’t fully put my finger on why but I just had a sense that the characters and plot seemed to share some crime thriller qualities. That is not to say it isn’t clearly a western because it is, with all the trappings you expect. Maybe it was the double crossing femme fatale character played by Rosalba Neri. Maybe it was the fact that Lawrence Dobkin looked a little out of place in the Almerian desert and seemed like he would be more at home in a Rome apartment building.

Anyone else seen this one and have any opinions? I’d be interested to hear.[/quote]

Not a bad little film, and one of Mark Damon’s best westerns.

Nice music and I like the violence in this one, and the end style shoot out just seem’s to go on and on.


(Phil H) #3

You’re right about the end shoot out. Pedro’s gang must have about 20 men in it. I lose count of how many are getting knocked off.


(Søren) #4

Johnny Yuma don’t go
Johnny Yuma stay here
what do you think you’ll find
beyond the mountains

A fantastic title song and my favourite Mark Damon spaghetti western. In my Top 20.


(JONAH HEX) #5

I also enjoyed this one,the bullet in the canteen death was a nice touch


(Silver) #6

I’ve only ever heard the theme song (which is great) but have been wondering about getting the film. After reading this thread, i think it will be in my next bunch of purchases. I noticed that Wild East have released it with another film (Between God, The Devil and a Winchester). Is the other film any good? ???


(Søren) #7

Between God, The Devil and a Winchester seemed like a very loooong movie to me. A lot of walking and too little action. The worst spaghetti western I’ve seen with Richard Harrison (perhaps apart from Reverend Colt). The movie also has noticeable poorer picture quality but in the correct aspect ratio.


(Bill san Antonio) #8

Not top20 stuff for me but above average and worth seeing more than once. I especially love the theme song! Probably Mark Damon’s best sw.


(Chris_Casey) #9

Another Top 20 Favorite of mine!
This was actually the first Spaghetti Western I ever saw. In the early 1970’s…I saw this film projected onto the outer wall of my school’s bus garage. When I saw it, I was completely knocked out!
Shortly after seeing this one, I saw the first US television broadcast of Leone’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST…and well…I have never been the same since!!


(scherpschutter) #10

[quote=“Phil H, post:1, topic:610”]I have just watched this film for the first time and was struck by a couple of things.

Firstly, how little I have seen it discussed or mentioned yet I think it is a good movie and an interesting example of the genre. Secondly, how much it had a feeling of being a crime thriller as much as a western. [/quote]

I had never seen this one before, hardly ever heard of it. Like the same director’s DIECIMILA DOLLARI PER UN MASSACRO, it’s an above average SW. Guerrieri is not in a league with Corbucci or Sollima (let alone Leone), more in one with the likes of Petroni, Castellari or Carnimeo. DIECIMILA … was an excellent SW, but marred a little by a protracted finale, set during a sand storm. JOHNNY YUMA has a protracted finale too, but at least it takes places in broad daylight.

The script, co-written by Fernando di Leo (which explains a lot) clearly has some Gothic influences. Rosalba Neri is deliciously wicked and tantalizingly sexy as the widow who hires her former lover to kill her late husband’s heir, only to find herself cornered by both men. She has a hilarious scene in which she undresses for her over-sexed parrot. This is not the only tongue-in-cheek element: there are a lot of continuity lapses (for instance Damon alternately using his right and left hand to shoot, a scar dissapearing from one scene to another etc.) and a Trinity like barroom brawl completely out of sync with the rest of the movie. The violence is pretty strong (and bloody) for a film of the period. It won’t upset many people these days, but it might well have scandalized critics at the time. Maybe this is one of the SWs that gave the genre its bad name.

The film is a bit uneven and takes some time to get going, but once it does, it’s a humdinger of a gothic spaghetti western.


(Phil H) #11

You’re right Scherp, it does have a kind of Gothic feel to it. I liked it, but feel I need to see it again to decide how much. Maybe one for the weekend.


(Cian) #12

This “ambidexterity” among actors is quite common. Recently I noticed Anthony Steffen suffers from it a lot in Ringo, Face of Revenge. Even Russel Crowe was afflicted in Gladiator. It happens because some one in the editors lab loads the film stock into the machinery back to front. I did it myself a lot when I used to develop my own photos (back in the pre-digital days) It’s sometimes deliberate in photos for composition reasons, but in films it must be a careless mistake. In Ringo… it also meant that Steffan had somehow aquired a left handed Winchester rifle!


(scherpschutter) #13

Maybe, I guess you’re right about Ringo and Gladiator (would’ve been a good title for a '70s movie, preferably made by Tony Anthony) but I doubt this is the case here.

Damon and Dobkin exchange guns and holsters early on in the film (after the brawl in the saloon, when Dobkin has saved Damon’s hand) while they clearly use differents hands to shoot. The scene has a symbolic meaning: the supposed enemies become friends later on in the movie. Damon even uses Dobkin’s name when he goes into town. But Symbolic or not: it still is an odd scene and unless both men, or their characters, really are supposed to be ambidexter it doesn’t seem very logical to exchange guns and holsters. There is a scene later in the movie where only Damon’s right hand is visible, so the villains think he’s unarmed; but when they want to shoot him, he suddenly pulls his gun with his left hand.

I admit that I am a bit puzzled about the whole thing.


(Stanton) #14

I don’t care about logic or continuity in SWs. SWs are sort of fairytales for adults (at least most of them)where everything goes and everything is possible.

Johnny Yuma is a really enjoyable film, and I never noticed these errors.


(scherpschutter) #15

[quote=“stanton, post:14, topic:610”]I don’t care about logic or continuity in SWs. SWs are sort of fairytales for adults (at least most of them)where everything goes and everything is possible.

Johnny Yuma is a really enjoyable film, and I never noticed these errors.[/quote]

SWw always had an ambiguous relationship with reality, think only of most protagonists’ shooting abilities. But every genre, every single movie must have some kind of ‘inner logic’, call it a set of rules to play if you wish. Without any logic, without any rule a narrative art form is unimaginable. Even breaking the rules is confessing that there are such things as rules.

As far as SWs are concerned, it will be clear that another inner logic/set of rules is applicable to a) The DOLLAR trilogy b) The SARTANA/SABATA movies and c) The TRINITY movies
What surprised me about Johnny Yuma, was that it wasn’t consistent concerning its own inner logic: the completely silly barroom brawl would’ve been more appropriate in a c) movie while the bulk of the action definitely was an a) movie (with some influences of the b) type). Johnny Yuma is not the only SW with this kind of inconsistencies, but that doesn’t make them less distracting. At least to me.

This changing guns/gunbelts and shooting with both hands by Damon is of course something else. I don’t think it was a mistake (as suggested by Cian) so it meant something, and I was wondering what Guerrieri and Di Leo were trying to communicate. I already stipulated the symbolic function of the scene(s) but still felt a bit puzzled. Maybe it also was a reference to Clint Eastwood in FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE in which his character does everything with the left hand, except shooting. The script of Johnny Yuma has some similarities with Leone’s film so a reference is quite possible.

But I’m not sure about it and it keeps puzzling me.


(Stanton) #16

Yes, there are several stylistic inconsistencies in JY. That’s why this is not a great, only a good and very enjoyable SW. The “funny” sidekick of Yuma is also something I don’t appreciate so much, or the old-fashioned title sequence.

But I think that Romolo Girolami was one of the more talented/stylish SW directors, and it’s a pity that he made only 3 of them. 10 000 Dollars for a Massacre is a similar interesting one and I haven’t managed it yet to get a copy of his first SW.

I would prefer him as a director to several of the better known ones. Petroni, Castellari (except for half of Keoma), Baldi (except for Blindman), even Valerii.
But like you said Scherp, surely no Leone.


(Bad Lieutenant) #17

I think Rosalba Neri steals the show in this one. She actually makes this one worthwile in my opinion. I’m not too politically correct myself, but the Mexican sidekick idea was executed in bigoted fashion to a point it got on my nerves. The holster swapping thing… well, it might as well been spit that they were swapping. Very homo erotic, a bit too much. Furthermore I didn’t like the title character. I think he is a real asshole, but not of the likeable kind as, let’s say, John the Bastard. But since he’s an asshole, what better actor than Mark Damon to portray him. Overall this is not a bad flick, mainly because Neri is great. The whole sub plot involving her was the most interesting (and most intelligent) thing about the movie. 3 stars.


(Stanton) #18

4 for me.


(Reverend Danite) #19

There’s a lot of interesting points and varied opinions raised here and its got my juices going. Even tho Arizona Colt Returns (Koch Media) arrived today, I reckon Johnny Yuma (Wild East double-bill) could be joining me for a night of beer and curry this very eve. If I’ve got anything to say afterwards then I’ll add my sixpeneth to the conversation. I shall certainly be watching out for the above mentioned points - cheers.


(Reverend Danite) #20

I havn’t decided yet - 3 or 4 stars? I watched this last night and pretty much agree with everything said above. I found theleft hand/right hand bit enjoyable and added something different to the story (in a completely different way to the ‘manco/freudian’ bit that I got told off for in a previous thread …with the ‘get a girl’ type-jibe (Manco)- so no problems with thinking too deeply here! Pheww! :wink: Mind you - the mirror within a mirror ‘reversed reversal’ bit could give rise to a Lacan-ist ‘alienation in the image corresponds with the ego’ reading … (only joking Scherp)
The barroom brawl was as pathetically unrealistic and more suited to MD’s later film Pistol Packin’ Preacher (1972) which is meant to be slapstick - (I might add here the preview for this was on the disc - I wouldn’t choose to own it!). And then this nonsense is contrasted with the pure evil of the killing, and revenge of "… and this is for Pepe."
When it’s at it’s nastiest this film shows some brilliant and innovative touches - but for me Mark Damon (Medallion Man Mark) is just a bit too cheesy and maybe seems more suited to the lighter roles he went on to do. I havn’t seen ‘Owell Rock’ yet tho’. There are touches when he does shine but he seems so self-conciously macho most of the time (and somebody should tell him red just isn’t his colour, sweetie :-*). There is a dubious relationship with his Mexican sidekick, as Bad Lieutenant says - I also wasn’t keen on this.
Having said all that - it’s made my mind up. Overall - an enjoyable and worthwhile (and early) s.w. - in the absence of a 3 and a bit, I round it down … 3 outa 5.
(Watched Between God, the Devil and a Winchester - between last night, some zzzzzs and this morning - and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a bit ‘walky’ but great fun. Why you had to take loads of people and supplies up a hill, when 3 could easily get down was a bit silly. But no story otherwise. Gilbert Roland was superb - as usual!