Oggi a mé ... domani a té (1968, Tonino Cervi) REVIEW


(scherpschutter) #1

Often presented as a “Spencer-without-Hill” comedy, the film must have created a lot of frustration among fans of the Trinity movies. Oggi a mé … domani a té / Today it’s me … tomorrow it’s you, producer Cervi’s only spaghetti western as a director, was made a few years before Enzo Barboni turned the genre upside down and is a typical revenge western, bloody and violent, in the Leone tradition, with a few winks at Hollywood as well. It uses the Leone technique to illustrate the central conflict by means of a flashback (filmed in black and white), while the avenger Bill Kiowa (Brett Halsey) assembles a small army of specialists in true Hollywood tradition (The Magnificent Seven, The Dirty Dozen) before marching up against his arch enemy Elfego (Kurosawa actor Nakaday) who has surrounded himself with Comancheros, half-breeds of Comanche and Mexican descent.

We understand very soon who is the avenger and who is the villain in the picture, but the explanation of what exactly causes Kiowa to seek revenge on Elfego is postponed, like in Fistful of Dollars. The first half hour, in which Kiowa assembles his gang, is rather dreary but once we’ve found out what crime Kiowa was framed for by Elfego, the film takes its real start. Once again Elfego tries to frame Kiowa for a crime but this time the latter is saved by his gang members. The two gangs finally meet in a forest, in a protracted finale that is by far the best part of the picture. Before Kiowa and Elfego meat each other face to face, Elfego’s men, stalked by Kiowa and his associates, are killed one by one, in rather gruesome fashion. It was one of those spaghetti western that met with censorship; in most versions - among them the one reviewed here - one scene that was cut during the flashback is still missing. You’ll notice the cut easily and will understand why it was made.

Apart from the members of the two gangs the film is remarkably underpopulated and the sets look almost laughably poor, but the film manages to hide its low budget rather well. It was beautifully shot in the Lazio hills around Rome, and really looks awesome with those autumnal colours. The slow thirty minutes put aside, the script - co-written by horror specialist Dario Argento - is excellent; Angelo F. Lavagnino’s score isn’t exactly memorable, but it’s very serviceable, combining typical Italian and American influences. The supporting cast is first rate, with Berger outstanding as a homosexual, card-playing gunslinger. I wasn’t impressed by Hallsey (here playing as Montgomerey Ford) but Nakaday lends a certain melancholic aspect to his downright perverted and sadistic character : a rare and interesting combination. But there’s a problem concerning this character: is he supposed to be Japanese or Mexican? His name is usually written as ‘Elfego’, which doesn’t mean anything in Spanish as far as I know. If it’s read as ‘El Fuego’ it would mean ‘The Fire’, but this villain does not burn his victims to death, but uses a sword instead. This sword is however not a samurai sword like some critics have maintained, but a machete. Maybe the man is a half-breed too, like his men and probably even his opponent: the name Bill Kiowa seems to indicate a mixed descent too.

This brings me to my last remark: Oggi a mé … domani a té is good revenge western, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was more in it. The story as well as the characterisations offer the opportunity to say something about things like racial hatred, betrayed friendship and the thin line between justice and lawlessness in a post-war society, instead Cervi goes for a straightforward revenge movie. But I won’t be too critical about his effort: if you like your spaghs gritty, violent and with a sense of style, this is a film for you.

Reviewed DVD: Dutch Film Works (DFW) - The film is presented in 1,85:1, which seems to be the correct aspect ratio. Video quality isn’t very great; print damage is reduced to some lines and scratches, but the print is very grainy, something even a bit smudgy, and colours are on the brink of over-saturation. The English DD 2.0 audio is okay. It’s not a must have, but it’s very cheap (I bought it for about 5 €) and if you don’t own a widescreen version with English audio, it certainly is a good bargain.

Note: Dario Argento is mentioned as co-director in the Database, but in all other places I only found Cervi listed as director.


(Paco Roman) #2

Nice review, but maybe they named him elfuego, just because it sounds cool! :slight_smile:


(Stanton) #3

A thread for this SW already exists.

http://www.spaghetti-western.net/forum/index.php/topic,188.0.html

A principle question, Scherp:
Is it more useful to proceed in the already existing thread, or make instead a new one (with link) for your reviews?

Database link:

http://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Oggi_a_me…_domani_a_te%21


(Chris_Casey) #4

Elfuego is…or was…a fairly common Mexican male name. There was a famous pistolero from the Wild West days named Elfuego Bacca. I would imagine, since most of the Italian directors that made Westerns read a lot of Wild West history books, they took the name from this historical individual.

I have two Mexican friends who have the name Elfuego.


(Silvanito) #5

[quote=“stanton, post:3, topic:956”]A principle question, Scherp:
Is it more useful to proceed in the already existing thread, or make instead a new one (with link) for your reviews?[/quote]

It’s ok for scherpschutter to start a new thread for his review I think?

But I guess it’s up to the Marshall to decide :smiley:


(scherpschutter) #6

Thanks Lindberg, both for the poster and your remark
You’re the best

But it was a good idea to bring these things up, Stanton
We should organize things a little, I guess

The main reason I post them here is, of course, that I’m very clumsy with the computer
I’ll study a few things in the future, but I’ll never be as good as some other people here
An additional advantage is that people can make remarks, correct things, the way Chris did concerning the name ‘Elfego/Elfuego’, and Stanton did some time ago, when he told me the year of release of Django shoots first’ was 1966, not 1967.
We’re a team here, or should be one, and my idea was to come to a sort of ‘final cut’ before we load these things up.
And when we have reached this final cut, these review threads could be removed
I know there may be complications when people start a serious discussion on this review thread about the movie, not the review, but my ideas are hardly ever perfect.

Let’s see what others think of it or how they want it to be done

Let’s not hurry things, or ask the Marshall to make a quick decision, he’s got enough work to do !


(Stanton) #7

I’m self not sure what’s better, I’ve mentioned it for discussion matters. It’s no problem to make a link.


(Silvanito) #8

[quote=“scherpschutter, post:6, topic:956”]The main reason I post them here is, of course, that I’m very clumsy with the computer…

We’re a team here, or should be one, and my idea was to come to a sort of ‘final cut’ before we load these things up.
And when we have reached this final cut, these review threads could be removed…[/quote]

Stanton had no objection to your posting the review in the forum, only that you could have put it in the already existing thread we had for this film

But it’s ok either way, and nothing has to be removed

And it’s definitely better to publish a review here first, so we can have a debate, instead of just “burying” it in the database :smiley:


(scherpschutter) #9

[quote=“Lindberg, post:8, topic:956”]Stanton had no objection to your posting the review in the forum, only that you could have put it in the already existing thread we had for this film

But it’s ok either way, and nothing has to be removed

And it’s definitely better to publish a review here first, so we can have a debate, instead of just “burying” it in the database :D[/quote]

I know what Stanton meant, but I wanted to make a joke and wrote something like:

“Are you looking for somebody else to pick on?”, but then I thought it wasn’t the right moment for it and removed it

Of course I should have changed the opening of the next sentence: “But it was a good idea …” into “Good idea Stanton to …”

I do think it’s a good idea to publish things here first
Mistakes are easily made and probably easier noticed here than when the review is “buried”;
I already found out that I made a mistake about the name Bill Kiowa; I wasn’t sure about myself when I reread the review and checked things last night: Halsey says that he is named ‘Kiowa’ because his wife was a Kiowa; so he clearly has no indian blood. I’ll correct that today or tomorrow.


(Bill san Antonio) #10

I agree, it’s better to use existing threads. I mean, it’s no big deal now but it could lead to situation where we have 3 or 4 threads for same film.


(scherpschutter) #11

Okay, I’ll do it that way in the future

A few coming up the next few days
I have to stay indoors because of an affection of the throat (nothing serious, it’s not even a real inflammation), while everybody else is making plans to go outside


(Stanton) #12

[quote=“Lindberg, post:8, topic:956”]Stanton had no objection to your posting the review in the forum, only that you could have put it in the already existing thread we had for this film

But it’s ok either way, and nothing has to be removed

And it’s definitely better to publish a review here first, so we can have a debate, instead of just “burying” it in the database :D[/quote]

That’s what I wanted to discuss.

And the reviews should definitely be in a forum thread.


(ION BRITTON) #13

It’s a nice and enjoyable SW, but maybe a bit TOO straightforward even for the sub-genre’s standards…The Django-like leader and the finale in the forest reminded me a bit of The Unholy Four, only this film has much better direction. With the addition of a couple of plot-twists and a little more character development this could’ve been a great one. It’s a 3/5 SW for me.