In the first 5 minutes we got Squinty Ken being ever so squinty with his Federaly-moustachioed mean look, and we get the infamous wolf-loop - so all bodes well. This is a marvellously entertaining film, that rattles along with some great roles for (Big Hat) Steffen; Luisa Barratto as the smoulderingly sexy love interest (see what wearing the proper sized had does Mr. Steffen?); and Ken (as mentioned)… but this film really belongs to Sir Sancho. He gets to play all of his cliches in one film… he’s sadistic, cowardly and impulsively dim-witted, then insightful and moustache-twirlingly scheming, then again blubberingly sad and delusional, and finally veangeful and heroic - I don’t think I’ve ever seen him better in any of his many outings. 8) 8) 8)
There’s no point me going on about the story as Phil as written such a fine review that all should read, (and anyway it’s a bit complicated for me now) but here are some personal highlights…
Phil says… “No scorching iconic Almerian landscape to help set the mood here. Just an italian quarry and the backlots of Elios Studios and Cinecitta. This would normally jar but I found myself almost being fooled on occasion and the fact that the cheap locations went more or less unnoticed was a good indication for me that there was enough good stuff going on to keep me focused on the story.”
This leads me on to the cactii and succulents 8) (there will be a thread one day for these overlooked props) - you were “almost fooled” Phil because of their subtle presence in what would otherwise be just seen as a quarryish sandpit. There were knee-high succulents a-plenty in town that replanted around the quarry, and filmed from the right angle looked positively mexi-desert. And then, joy of joy, they’d borrowed two of the Fidani fave cliched papier-mache big boys and stuck them in as well. (These can be seen in photo-form appearing in my own - Fidani’s Dead Men Don’t make Shadows - review. And here they appear again, these counterfeit cacti, these sumptuous simulated succulents. They’ve hornswoggled us all yet again, seducing us into their wonderful world of mock mexi-ambience.
We,ve got the nasty remains of a mexi-massacre at that old burnt out fort, as seen in Requiescant - which is always a good 'un.
There’s dramatic trumpets as needed - again a welcome spaghetti-staple.
And besides Sir Fernando, special mention should go to chisel-cheeked Mercedes (Lizzie Barret) who is absolutely gorgeous in her creamy trousers in this. :-*
As Phil says - it is not “of the very highest order”, and I concur : but it is highly enjoyable, and worth watching for the three main leads and for a bit of cactus-watching I reckon.
Easily 4 spiny stars! Great fun!