Ringo and His Golden Pistol / Johnny Oro (Sergio Corbucci, 1966)


(scherpschutter) #1

A review of this film has been added to the database :

http://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Johnny_Oro_Review

Hopefully everything works


(YourPallbearer) #2

After directing the rather tame Minnesota Clay, Sergio Corbucci’s next western project was a, surprisingly, violent entry to the italian western genre. Johnny Oro stars Mark Damon as the over-confident, smart mouthed, bounty hunting anti-hero of the film’s title. Oro shares a striking resemblance to Richard Boone’s Palladin character from the American TV show “Have gun will Travel”.

Johnny Oro, famous bounty hunter who carries a golden pistol and spurs, guns down notorious outlaw Sancho Perez for some reward money. Juanito Perez, Sancho’s seemingly innocent little brother, wants to avenge his sibling’s death and hires an entire tribe of cut throat Apaches to track down Oro and kill him. Unfortunatly for Oro, after a little mishap with some explosives, he has been incarcerated by the Sheriff of the border town of Coldstone. So now the Sheriff and a few townsfolks must defend the jailhouse (holding Oro) against the rampaging red skins.

This is certainly an enjoyable film. Miles ahead of Corbucci’s first western effort Minnesota Clay (significant for preceding Leone’s “Fistful of Dollars” by a few months). The Corbucci touch is not quite there yet but we see more than just a few hints of it here. For one, the violence. Women and children are brutally murdered on-screen, corpses are used as shields against bullets and outlaws are blown to bits. This is unusual for a spaghetti western made so early in the game. You can expect this kind of stuff after the release of the monumental Django (Corbucci’s next picture) but it’s difficult to find such outlandish violence before it. The light heartedness of the picture makes the violence even more unsettling, much like in Pistol for Ringo and the MacGregor films.

Damon plays Johnny as a cocky smart ass whose quick on the draw and only interest is gold. This is similar to his character in Johnny Yuma (his attitude not his motives), a spaghetti western that was made the same year. He does fine in this film. Though I think his hero characters are too light. He plays a much better villian (see Kill and Pray).

I have a few gripes. The segment between Oro getting captured and the Apaches finally arriving to kill him can get a bit draggy in places. Also there is a saloon whore (Oro’s main squeeze) that has a singing segment. Saloon whores in westerns breaking into song is always a minus for me. It’s pointless and it slows down the film.

Before the film’s release, the title of Johnny Oro was changed to “Ringo and his golden Pistol” to capitilize on the major success of the two “Ringo” movies (both directed by Duccio Tessari and both starring Giuliano Gemma). In the english dub Oro’s character is referred to as “Johnny Ringo”. To make matters even more confusing the italian language theme song retains the character’s original name during production (Johnny Oro) but this is not so in the english language theme song.

The music, composed by Carlo Savina, is very nice. The theme song harks back to a Gene Autry type cowboy tune while the instrumental tracks are full of bells and whistles.

Recommended for newbies and hard-core fans alike.


(chuck connors brother) #3

The last 20 minutes of this is up there with the best action scenes i’ve ever seen in a Spaghetti Western… another one mgm really need to release.


(Stanton) #4

I thought the last 20 min were the nadir of the film.

Endless unimaginative shots of masses of mexis and injuns running without any ideas against the prison. Boring, boring, boring.
This was a typical action sequence for the early Spags, which only tries to imitate american models, with the only difference that they tried to outdo their examples by making it much, much longer.
Too long.
When an action scene goes on for too long it begins to lose it’s effect.

For me it was the 1st sequence which was splendid, in idea and execution, which anticipates the things to come in Corbucci’s work.


(scherpschutter) #5

The scene in front of the church is vintage Corbucci:

http://www.spaghettiwestern.altervista.org/johnny_oro.htm

The rest of the movie is average at best

You notice that Corbucci wasn’t particularly interested in this project, the film often feels uninspired


(Stanton) #6

But violent it was.

One interesting note with a spoiler warning:

The likeable saloon singer is what americans would call the love interest of the hero. Her sudden death comes as a surprise, but her killing hasn’t any impact on the ongoing story, like e.g. the hero wanting revenge for her death or at least making him angry. She simply isnt’t mentioned any more.

Is this only desinterest (e.g. out of sloppyness), or a interesting twist on Hollywood cliches by getting her killed without any dramatic consequence?


(chuck connors brother) #7

[quote=“stanton, post:4, topic:1130”]I thought the last 20 min were the nadir of the film.

Endless unimaginative shots of masses of mexis and injuns running without any ideas against the prison. Boring, boring, boring.
This was a typical action sequence for the early Spags, which only tries to imitate american models, with the only difference that they tried to outdo their examples by making it much, much longer.
Too long.
When an action scene goes on for too long it begins to lose it’s effect.

For me it was the 1st sequence which was splendid, in idea and execution, which anticipates the things to come in Corbucci’s work.[/quote]

I thought it felt more modern than the early SW’s… the multiple explosions were impressive for 1966.
I love well directed long action scenes, thats why I like Kill Them All and Come Back Alone so much.


(Pacificador) #8

Catchy music and this one definitely had some sparks of brilliance but overall an average SW. Unfortunately a lot of “filler” in this one, gratuitous horse riding scenes that drag on, a long song by the saloon wench, et cetera.

I’ve been watching Corbucci’s movies from his latest stuff backwards to his earlier stuff. It’s interesting to see his movies “devolve” and go from brilliant to mediocre - but enough of his touch to know it’s still a Corbucci.


(ION BRITTON) #9

I must be in the minority on this one. It’s my 3rd favorite Corbucci film after TGS and Companeros. Although a bit lighthearted at some moments, it still manages to retain the spaghetti feel until the end. Mark Damon’s best performance imo and some cool dialogue parts as well. 9/10


(Pacificador) #10

I respect your opinion amigo but I personally can’t put it that high. I would agree that Mark Damon did a fine job though…but not enough for me to rate this flick higher.


(Angel Face) #11

I liked it quite a lot, too. Mostly because it had a lot of flash and some striking violence for the time. Several scenes struck me as grimly imaginative. The man getting the throwing axe into his head and the finale with all the explosions, and the Indians using the dead bodies as shields(!) was rather surprising to me. I guess I wasn’t expecting such a conclusion to be shot with so much vigor as this, and all the big explosions were an added bonus.


(cm215) #12

Ah, Corbucci… one of, if not the, favorite SW director of mine. I never did see Johnny Oro until tonight and I was sure let down (something that’s been happening a lot lately.) Johnny Oro has many boring and American-ish scenes, horse riding scene that go on for too long, and a terrible lead (Damon was much better as Johnny Yuma,) a stupid whistle to call the horse, and too many clean faces/streets/clothes.

On a positive note, the exterior locations are awesome. Also positive, it almost reminded me of Navajo Joe at times though, maybe it was because of the Indians (even though there aren’t many in NJ.) But it was probably just Corbucci look that creeps in at times times. It’s not terrible but it’s surely not great.


(Silence) #13

Is this movie good, bad or ugly? Well, it looks good.


(Stanton) #14

Good ? No
Bad? No
Ugly? In parts

Watch it


(Col. Douglas Mortimer) #15

As far as Mark Damon movies go, I prefer the other “Johnny”.

Johnny Yuma.


(Stanton) #16

Johnny Yuma is of course the better choice


(Stanton) #17

I have rewatched it a few days ago, and it hasn’t improved a bit.
I think now that Minnesota Clay is clearly the better of the 2 pre-Django Corbucci westerns.


(scherpschutter) #18

[quote=“Stanton, post:17, topic:1130”]I have rewatched it a few days ago, and it hasn’t improved a bit.
I think now that Minnesota Clay is clearly the better of the 2 pre-Django Corbucci westerns.[/quote]

I rewatched it too, with the Alex Cox review in mind

No, it hasn’t improved, quite on the contrary
Minnesota Clay definitely is the better movie of the two (I always thought this, by the way), but there are still some interesting aspects, especially in regard to Corbucci’s later movies

I’ll say something about this later (today or tomorrow)


(Stanton) #19

I thought you haven’t all said in your review?


(scherpschutter) #20

Not all