Spaghetti Westerns: The Good, the Bad and the Violent (Thomas Weisser)

Providing you speak german, presumably :slight_smile:

The real problem I have in regard to Weisser’s book is not the amount of inaccuracies in it, as these are easily disregarded if you know not to rely on it. It is its wide distribution and position as sole english language book of its kind. As a result it still gets used and relied on by people who don’t know of its flaws and, even worse, gets used by others when writing their own books.

For example, I noticed that it is listed in the bibliography of the italian Dizionario that has just been released. I hope this is as a result of the author’s being aware of the book, not because he used it as a reliable source of information!

I guess for me, this is one of the things which makes the work we do on this database so important.

Is best of course but the reference index lists each movie under it’s original Italian (or Spanish) title so this part of the book can be used by non-German speakers also. You miss out on the synopsis of course but it’s easy to find out who made or were in what and when. In short there’s a lot of useful indexes which don’t require any German-speaking/reading talents.

Well I read that, but what´s the intention of lieing ? Some films they invented ??? Strange… Is that true

I had dinner with Ulrich Bruckner here in California on Monday. He and his family flew back to Munich on Tuesday.
Ulrich would love to have his book translated and published in English but I don’t think any American company would tackle the job. Maybe a British book company? I use Ulrich’s book as a main resource because he covers everything including the music. He’s made some mistakes but they are minor compared to Weisser.

Tom Weisser simply seems to have been thinking that if he can get away with stuff like that, why not? Why bother?

I guess he was cynically aware of the lack of spaghetti western information (in America at least), and along with spreading real information he actually exploited the genre’s unknown status. Or at least used it as an excuse for not doing his homework (checking facts, naming sources, actually watching the movies, etc). Selling more Video Search of Miami tapes seems to have be the book’s hidden agenda. European horror films were hot underground items in pre-DVD times and Weisser never fails to mention the giallo / exploitation / horror credits of SW filmmakers, stuff that’s often out of place in a western book and appears to be there for the purpose of encouraging European horror fans into buying European westerns. This reaches absurd proportions when Weisser always singles out the “excellent” cinematography of exploitation director / DP Joe D’Amato that’s often totally workmanlike and dull, and it all feels like an attempt to get Italo-horror fans interested. I doubt if this was successful.

[quote=“Hud, post:8, topic:710”]Tom Weisser simply seems to have been thinking that if he can get away with stuff like that, why not? Why bother?

I guess he was cynically aware of the lack of spaghetti western information (in America at least), and along with spreading real information he actually exploited the genre’s unknown status. Or at least used it as an excuse for not doing his homework (checking facts, naming sources, actually watching the movies, etc). Selling more Video Search of Miami tapes seems to have be the book’s hidden agenda. European horror films were hot underground items in pre-DVD times and Weisser never fails to mention the giallo / exploitation / horror credits of SW filmmakers, stuff that’s often out of place in a western book and appears to be there for the purpose of encouraging European horror fans into buying European westerns. This reaches absurd proportions when Weisser always singles out the “excellent” cinematography of exploitation director / DP Joe D’Amato that’s often totally workmanlike and dull, and it all feels like an attempt to get Italo-horror fans interested. I doubt if this was successful.[/quote]
So… must go to the avoid list ?
What book do you recommend ? A complete one !

thanks

[quote=“Raph_Alv, post:9, topic:710”]So… must go to the avoid list ?
What book do you recommend ? A complete one ![/quote]
If do want a book in English I don’t think you have any choice but Weisser’s book BUT the as recommended elsewhere on the site Ulrich Bruckner’s book “Für ein paar Leichen mehr” is the book to get. Sure it is in German but has an excellent index including every spaghetti western released and ordered by it’s original Italian/Spanish title and with excellent info regarding cast / director / composer etc. and cd soundtrack info which you can use even if you don’t speak the language. The synopsis for each movie is in German of course. Includes a lot of other useful indexes too: Actors, Directors, Composers etc. listing what each contributed to. Recommended also for non-Germans.

Western all’ Italiana, Book 3 has a (supposed-to-be-)complete list of known spaghetti western sorted by a year of original release. No plot synopsis are given but other info is very reliable. Not to mention that the book reviews a huge number of little-seen cult SWs. Few films are missing (Amanecer en Puerta Oscura & Hanno ucciso un altro bandito at least) and some other claims seem strange (…E lo chiamarono Spirito Santo was made year before Carnimeo’s Spirito Santo film…??) but that’s almost nothing since otherwise it seems to be the most accurate SW book at the moment. Includes Italian, Spanish and English-language titles for almost all films, year of release, director, actors (both pseudonyms and real names are given), composer and other basic information. Paella & tortilla westerns have a small synopsis with some information why it’s in the book. This is the book I use.

About D’Amato’s cinematography… he was quite famous among Italian “B” films directors for working fast and still being able to make something out of nothing. Sure he wasn’t the best cinematographer working in Italy but given that the films he was working on during the 70s usually had a miserable budget to say at least his work was very impressive. Fidani’s best-looking films are those on which he worked with D’Amato, for example.

I would not enjoy reading the Weisser book with this level of incorrect info in.



I aim to have all 3 major reference books for comparison.
I have Thomas Weisser’s and despite some “errors” I tend to rely on it but
will be analysing carefully the other 2 great books discussed here.
I speak Italian so that will help with the Westerns all’Italiana . :slight_smile:

I wish a reference book could be printed to include the careers of such SWs
all time greats as PETER LEE LAWRENCE and RICHARD HARRISON.

If you speak italian you should try to get hold of Marco Giusti’s Dizionario Del Western All’Italiana. I find myself using it more and more.

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Thank you very much Phil H I will try to order that Italian Western Dictionary
as it is an essential reference work. Reference books are my passion.

I am extremely impressed by the wealth of knowledge, postings and high quality
of this SWs Forum.

It is an absolute treasure (and pleasure) to be part of it.

You are very welcome my friend.
And welcome to the Forum. Always good to have new members. :slight_smile:

True. But you need the other two volumes else the index isn’t worth very much. Many of the movies mearly states director and you have to look up the rest in of the previous volumes 1 or 2 which I of course don’t have :frowning: Plus Bruckner deals out more info regarding each movie than Western All’Italiana does.

If you speak italian you should try to get hold of Marco Giusti's Dizionario Del Western All'Italiana. I find myself using it more and more.
The indexes must be useful for non-Italian speaking people too!?

The books mentioned are surely the most comprehensive regarding a quick snap shot of the entire spaghetti western release list but one book I can recommend which have been the most fun to read is Christian Kessler’s Willkommen in der Hölle. This is one fun book. Christian reviews a bunch of known and lesser known spaghetti westerns in his own style. This aint dry reading :slight_smile: Recommended for the German-speaking/reading crowd !!

Does anyone here has a spare copy of the Kessler book for selling or trading?

Absolutely. No problem with that part whether you speak italian or not. Plus, although I struggle to understand most of the reviews and commentary I can make out bits of it thanks to my smattering of Spanish and I have found some very useful stuff in it.

[quote=“SARTANA DJANGO BALLADS, post:15, topic:710”][font=Verdana][font=Verdana][/font][/font]

Thank you very much Phil H I will try to order that Italian Western Dictionary
as it is an essential reference work. Reference books are my passion.

I am extremely impressed by the wealth of knowledge, postings and high quality
of this SWs Forum.

It is an absolute treasure (and pleasure) to be part of it.[/quote]
Welcome to the forum SARTANA DJANGO BALLADS, i hope you will enjoy your stay :slight_smile:

Many thanks Alk0

I am sure my stay will be informative and most enjoyable. ;D

This is by far the absolute best forum I have ever seen.

It does help that SWs are the main topic , as I have seen other inferior westerns forums
where the level of “knowledge” and “interest” was “lamentable” . So I left them. ;D

D’Amato (alias Aristide Massaccesi) must have been a good professional but Weisser goes out of his way in trying to make him a legend… Here are some samples from the book:

BASTARDO VAMOS E MATAR
"This was Gino Mangini’s only Euro Western, but he was strongly aided by the superb camera work of Aristide Massaccesi (Joe D’Amato) and the no-nonsense Sergio Garrone script. There has been unconfirmed speculation that Garrone clandestinely handled the directorial chores"

BEN AND CHARLIE
"Aristide (Joe D’Amato) Massaccessi’s cinematography is one of the film’s major strong points" (Actually here I fully agree -Hud)

BOUNTY HUNTER IN TRINITY
"As always, the excellent photography from Aristide (Joe D’Amato) Massaccesi makes this an enjoyable film"

DJANGO AND SARTANA ARE COMING
"Even though the plot is Swiss cheese, the film looks great, thanks to the superior camera work of Aristide Massaccesi who later became the controversial director, Joe D’Amato (Buried Alive, Trap Them and Kill Them, most of the Emmanuelle films with Laura Gemser, plus many more sleaze classics)"

FOR ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS PER DAY
"Especially noteworthy, Mario Pacheco is the director of photography, but future cult director Aristide Massaccesi (better known as Joe D’Amato) is the talented camera operator"

NO ROOM TO DIE
"And so, (normally competent) Franco Villa was tapped for the primary photography. As it turned out, Garrone, reportedly unhappy with his choice, hired the reputable Aristide Massaccesi (future Joe D’Amato) to act as “chief cameraman” with orders to secretly reshoot many scenes."

SHOWDOWN FOR A BADMAN
"most of the credit should go to the star-studded cast and the always masterful camera eye of Aristide Massaccesi (later to become cult director Joe D’Amato)"

STRANGER THAT KNEELS BESIDE THE SHADOW OF A CORPSE
"strange, rambling, dreamlike prowl, aided by the potent camera work of Aristide Massaccesi (who later became the controversial sleaze and horror director Joe D’Amato"

TWICE A JUDAS
"The best thing about this film is the atmospheric camera work by Aristide Massaccesi who (under the pseudonym Joe D’Amato) made countless exploitation movies (Emanuelle in America, The Grim Reaper, Trap Them and Kill Them, etc.)"

Is it just me or do we see one or two patterns emerging here? Weisser automatically (or obsessively) singles out D’Amato’s cinematographic excellence, but gives no examples of what makes him so good. What did he do with the camera to deserve such praise? Instead, Weisser repeatedly zooms into his later works as director, dropping controversial titles instead of focusing on FOR ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS PER DAY or whatever film he should be talking about. For Weisser, the spaghetti westerns seem to be like a “prequel” to the 70s exploitation - why didn’t he write a book about that field instead? My examples also reveal his habit of sharing “unconfirmed speculation” of uncredited directing and shooting work - stuff that he often seems to be simply making up. It’s a miracle that the “ghost directors” uncovered by Weisser always had a controversial reputation and a name in the underground video market. :slight_smile: