"Once Upon a Time in the Wild, Wild West" (1973/Degli Espinosa)


(korano) #1

According to Weisser (yes, Weisser), this is THE WORST spaghetti Western ever made. So I believe that deserves a position in the forum. What do yuo guys think of it?

[url=http://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/C%27era_una_volta_questo_pazzo_pazzo_west]-


(Yodlaf Peterson) #2

I’ve not seen this film but to be honest i take what Weisser says with a pinch of salt.


(korano) #3

[quote=“Yodlaf Peterson, post:2, topic:1291”]I’ve not seen this film but to be honest i take what Weisser says with a pinch of salt.[/quote]Well, he does make some ridiculous claims but he must have some info to have placed this one in the top ten worst spaghetis of all time. Plus, in his book, he makes comments that only someone who has seen the film (or a very good liar) could make.


(Silver Wolf) #4

Weisser’s a very good liar alright. No new info here. ::slight_smile:

That said, this film IS one of the worst. Completely shot in Gordon Mitchell’s ultra-lousy western town (that’s why he’s in it…) and awful slaptick from beginning to end. I lost all interest in 5 minutes. French dvd is the only release I know - no italian tape release or anything. How very sad.


(YourPallbearer) #5

Mitchell had his own western town?


(ENNIOO) #6

He sure did.


(Bill san Antonio) #7

[quote=“YourPallbearer, post:5, topic:1291”]Mitchell had his own western town?[/quote]Yes, apparently he invested his money to western town at the moment when westerns were not that popular anymore. Also, he didn’t have too much money so the town was very small and nobody wanted to shoot films there.


(ENNIOO) #8

Viewed a short documentary recently (Japanese SPO disc I think) and Mitchell mentioned his town, and said he himself used a mechanical digger to make the town bigger.


(Nzoog Wahrlfhehen) #9

Once Upon a Time in the Wild, Wild West (1973)

Co-written, produced and directed by Francesco Degli Espinosa

Well, I’ve seen it, the kind of film many have heard of (not favourably, that’s for sure) but few have actually viewed. The filmography of its director seems to boil down to this number and to that Holy Grail among giallo watchers, Giochi erotici di una famiglia per bene. Anyway, let’s get down to Once Upon a Time in the Wild, Wild West. Many take this emphatically vulgar and ill-assorted comedy to be the worst of all Spaghetti Westerns – I’m not out to challenge this view but what about the work of Juan Xiol? Well, let’s say that good it ain’t, although it’s quite characteristic among Italian westerns of its time: imitating the Trinity films, shot outside Rome, using Gordon Mitchell’s Cave Studios, using Mitchell himself and employing Fidani regulars in the cast.

The “story” (more on that later) is this: slobbish Joe (Benito Pacifico) and creepy Rico (one “Vincent Scott”, who looks like Robert Englund eating a lemon) are brothers who live together in a ramshackle hut with their crude, dirty parents – trailer types without a trailer. The brothers themselves are not too clean either and, furthermore, not given to much work, whiling away much of their time with brutal fisticuffs (staged Hong Kong-style). Their shrewish mother, tired of seeing this, yells them away to Stranger Town, where they are to join their successful saloon-owner brother(Gordon Mitchell) in the hope that they make good. And then…well, not much happens really. Sometimes the movie stops for fantasy sequences, musical numbers, free-for-all punch-ups, messy eating set pieces, some comedy at the expense of physical or mental disability, comic sex scenes; but no actual plot as such emerges, it’s really just things that happen. Some semi-plots do turn up and one expects them to develop, but they don’t. Two pretty saloon girls unaccountably fall for the central pair; there’s some short-lived business about one saloon girl’s black stepsister…We’re expecting the premise to be firmly established but after Gordon Mitchell loses all of his money in a game of cards, we suddenly realise that this was meant to be the climax, as what follows is clearly the last scene: the brothers have returned to square one and are once again fighting it out. The scene is exactly the same as that of the first fight, but the ending is slightly different.

The verbatim replay of an early scene obviously underscores the “back to the beginning” point, but this registers as simply a cheap and lazy excuse for saving on shooting time. A treatment and a script are credited, but, while a treatment may indeed have been written, the script has all the marks of being concocted on set and during the dubbing stage. It all feels as if the makers were simply making a story as they went along until they could barely reach the feature length mark: that is, 78 minutes. Equally patchy is the photography, generally competent, even good, but lapsing into graininess here and there, as if those scenes were the last to undergo lab work as the deadline approached. Also, although Degli Espinosa’s film is 100% Italian, I was irresistibly reminded of two Spanish models: the Calatrava Brothers comedies on the one hand, and the low-grade Ancient Rome sex farces of Jaime J. Puig (“Jacob Most”) on the other. Like Puig, Degli Espinosa will resort to intercutting scenes (the card game, Rico smooching with the black girl) on realizing that they’re too boring on their own. Pressed to look for virtues, I’ll confess my weakness for the look and locations of the Roman western and for Mitchell’s western town; and I did like the colour-coding of the characters. For the rest, this is best viewed the way you view the elephant man, not the David Lynch movie but the man. At least you can tell your friends: “I have seen this movie!”


(Bill san Antonio) #10

Has this ever been released in english? Or Is there fan subbed version or anything?


(ENNIOO) #11

Well if a fansub version does not exist, I am sure one will come along in the future.


(Dillinger) #12

Unfortunately I haven’t seen this flick. And according to the great Christian Kessler it is the worst SW ever made. But it also seems to be very entertaining. Therefore it also is one of the most entertaining reviews in Kessler’s book. It is one of the few flicks that seems to be completely shot in the Cave Studios.

I defifitely want to see the film, unfortunately there seems to be liitle chance to get hold of a copy… can anyone help out?


(korano) #13

Jesus! Leave it to me to screw up the spelling of the thread!


(Dillinger) #14

No problem korano! At least you got your driver’s license!


(Phil H) #15

And the date :wink:
Are you able to change it or will it have to survive as a monument to your legendary typing? ;D


(Dillinger) #16

SWDB forum in 40 years:

“…and do you remember that korano dude? Man, did he have a typing!”


(Major Clyde) #17

“Yeah, he was the one who gave “The White, the Yellow and the Black” five stars 40 years ago!”


(korano) #18

;D No I fixed it.

And WYB, a decision I will soon regret I think (no I don’t think its a 5 star movie) :smiley:


(Dillinger) #19

Maybe it is, if the maximum is 100 stars!


(Phil H) #20

Excellent. Now about that date…