Technically Nozze di Sangue is no western, but there are some aspects of interest in regard to the history of the Italian western. The film is part of three special films made during the war, the two others being La signora dell’Ovest, directed by Carlo Koch, and Il fanciullo del West, directed by Giorgio Ferroni, who would direct a trilogy with Giuliano Gemma in the sixties.
Westerns had always been very popular in Italy, but the due to the policy of Mussolini’s fascist government, no American westerns reached the Italian cinemas. That’s why Italian producers thought of making their own. The problem was that the western was considered to be the American genre par excellence, and therefore particularly despicable in the eyes of the fascists. To be accepted by the fascist censors, the Italian westerns had to be ‘disguised’, one way or another: Nozze di Sangue has a lot of ingredients of the Hollywood westerns of the period, but is dressed up as a melodrama set in a South-American country, the others two films are set in the Far West, but Koch’s movie breathes the air of 18th Century Europe, and Ferroni’s movie is a musical comedy, with a title referring to a Puccini opera. In other words: they were meant to be experienced as western movies by the Italian audiences, but disguised as non-westerns to mislead the fascist censors.
In his book Se sei vivo, spara! Storie di pistoleri, banditi and bounty killers nel western all’italiana (1942 – 1998) Gianfranco Casadio writes about Nozze di Sangue: “The first film (…) is Nozze di Sangue (1941) directed by Goffreddo Alessandrini, starring a sad and unsupportable Fosco Giacchetti and a naïve and pure Luisa Ferida, in a story set in a South American country about farmers, but with the true pioneer spirit of the westerns of the period, and with all the necessary ingredients such as pistols behind men’s belts, shootouts and fisticuffs.”
But if the film can be called a western, is of course a matter of personal taste
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