I watched Ramon the Mexican last night after a coupla scoops and pretty much enjoyed the experience.
A few notes…
I’d forgotten I’d gotten a better version than the particularly shitty ‘surf’ version that I’d given up on before and is painful to try and watch. Although the newer version shows a remarkable leap in quality, it is still pretty bad – a fuzzy vid-rip with a ‘wonky’ soundtrack - but nonetheless watch-able with a couple more brews to help meet the blurriness halfway.
The wonky music comes from the quill of Felice di Stefano and is suitably spaghetti-trumpety for the most part – and suitably absent for effect at other times - particularly so for a when the Mexicans are gathered around the dead brother of Ramon, which helps you notice those little quirky details in folks’ behaviour (and spag-ugly faces) more – maybe?
The filmy bits are well framed at times - the aforementioned bit - and the opening shots as Esmeralda is seen washing at the river (and practically falling out of her blouse), :o and who is seen by us through the spread legs of said brother - who arriving on the scene has the idea of spreading her legs as well. This is very naughty, not just because Esmeralda isn’t happy about this arrangement, but she is promised to another – Slim Baxter – who’s family are involved in an historical feud with the Mexicans (excepting Esme). And all this behaviour ain’t gonna be helping mend any bad blood between 'em at all I reckon.
Another bit, that pans down from clacking castanets to a pretty flamenco-gal beneath 'em who is dancing on a table surrounded by some mexi-mayhem adds to the fun, in what is for the most part a pretty grubby slice of revenge-y spaghetti-pie.
The only comedy in this isn’t overdone and is welcome as it traditionally comes in the form of a drunken ol’ scrote (oh joy!) just as we like 'em. He gets some good lines and, in reply to a question about why a “foolish priest” would want to come to town, says “He comes to marry those that wants it, and bury those that needs it, and baptise babies that neither want it or need it…” ;D
The film now revolves around the aforementioned tit-for-tat feud, and how Esmeralda tries to do the right thing, selflessly putting her own happiness and honour to one side, in an attempt to save the man she loves from the superior gunswirling antics of Ramon.
When she stares up, : and silently offers a prayer to a picture of the Madonna and child, I gotta tell ya a lump formed in the throat of this old reverend – which of course I quickly washed away with a slug of holy water.
There’s plenty of traditional (and a bit of somewhat quirky) spag-fare here to please for the most part - an in-the-pocket sheriff, pistol twirling and bottle shooting a-plenty, a near-dead protagonist being nursed back to health, Aldo Berti (looking as deranged as ever) teaching an unusual way to improve gun technique, and a climatic final shootout that doesn’t disappoint.
It’s a slow and slightly broody film, maybe along the lines of Bullet in the Forehead. But it’s not as good as that one – for if it has all the right main ingredients for the most part, it is still (as others have mentioned) lacking something. The garnish isn’t quite bitter enough, or indeed maybe sweet enough, at times. For bitter/sweet is the flavour we most like in our spaghetti-pie I reckon.
Ramon (Hundar) is a big muscle-y o.k. (but isn’t as mexi-madly animated as he was in ABITF) - Esmerelda is heavingly-busom-ly o.k. - and Berti and scrote are great in their supporting roles - but the other leads are all a bit uncharismatic.
I could sum it up by saying that the background folk have the best faces in this.
But, overall this did the job for this reverend on this occasion - but yet again is another film that’s crying out for a better print to help us more fully appreciate it.
Half marks rounded up to 3 for the scrote and Berti.
Worth a look for sure.