Tails You Lose / Heads or Tails / Testa o croce (Piero Pierotti, 1969)


(magnus) #1

http://www.spaghetti-western.net/index.php/Testa_o_croce
Didn´t find a topic for this one, so here´s an old short review i pinned down on the Lovelockandload forum some months ago…

This is a little gem of a western. After a riot caused by outraged women of the small town Plata city, a prostitute, Shanda, is just saved from lynching, falsly accused of the murder of the bankmanager. She is escorted to the trail in another town by the deputysheriffs who on the road meet a shady looking character and takes turn in raping the poor girl and leave her for dead in the desert, making up a story of her trying to escape. Just like in the Gemma-film ADIOS GRINGO an outlaw with decent heart saves her from death and takes her with him to recover. This partcular gunslinger is the infamous Black Talisman (wearylooking John Ericsson), wanted in most every state and town and forced to hide out in an dusty ruin with a couple of indians. Shanda is traumatized by her excperience but after some time he gets the story from her, falls in love and swears revenge. Now it´s back to Plata city to uncover the set-up behind the murder, the bankmanagers masochistic wife soon is a suspect.

This is one of the sleaziest westerns i´ve seen, women are raped, lyched, whipped and burned alive, a bound man is tortured with a knife, there´s a perverse rich woman who the hero uses for information and set-up. One of these rare westerns were we acctually gets to see female nipples! (BLINDMAN comes to mind as another one…) Also it has Edwige Fenech in a small, but memorable, role as knifewielding whore with murder in mind. The ending is fatalistic in a fitting way, no happpily ever after for the outlaw. Highly recommended film!
Swedish video-cover;


(Bad Lieutenant) #2

This sounds like one to get. Thanks for the info!


(Phil H) #3

Sounds like one for the Rev’s christmas wish list :smiley:


(Reverend Danite) #4

Certainly is - this is one of the ones I was asking about on this thread …
http://www.spaghetti-western.net/forum/index.php/topic,1366.0.html
;D :stuck_out_tongue:


(Phil H) #5

This is a strange one. At the start I thought it was going to go all comedy on me. There’s a raucous saloon scene and then the outraged townswomen go on a bit of a rampage but it doesn’t seem to have a serious edge. But then, next thing you know, some poor floozy is stripped to the waist and given a flogging while the banker’s wife comes over hot and flushed by the whole spectacle. From then on there’s a host of nastiness and the whole thing turns into quite a bit of fun.

However, John Ericsson doesn’t really convince in the lead role and despite the downbeat ending it left me feeling it was all a bit lightweight. The girls all look great though and overall it was well worth a watch. Can’t help but think it would have been a lot better with a better male cast and perhaps a more accomplished director. I suspect the budget, or lack thereof, had something to do with that though.


(The Stranger) #6

Unusual, but interesting film.
Women play an important role. Otherwise, a rarity in the Spaghetti Western.
There are some beautiful scenes, especially in the ghost town. The end is very good.
In between, there are some passages that are rather disturbing.

But a completely different approach to a SW. However, I think John Ericson is totally miscast.

But I also agree with Phil: The film can not decide really. Basically there is a dark mood, and then there are very lightweight scenes. Very annoying.

I have seen the German VHS version. Strange synchronization. Could fit in a porno, in some scenes. :wink:


(JonathanCorbett) #7

John Ericson isn’t the typical SW “hero”, but I find his performance quite good.


(JonathanCorbett) #8

I agree, the comedy elements (a couple of jokes about the gravedigger soon after the start, the enraged women irrupting into the Crazy Horse [!], the saloon performance booed by Boccadirosa) are incongruous and conflict with the general tone of the film.

The names of the saloon keeper and the undertaker and the figure of Miss Phils seem a tribute to the famous and pungent ballad (originally released in May 1967) by the great singer-songwriter Fabrizio De André:

[size=8pt][i]E fu così che da un giorno all’altro Bocca di Rosa si tirò addosso
l’ira funesta delle cagnette a cui aveva sottratto l’osso

così una vecchia mai stata moglie, senza mai figli, senza più voglie
si prese la briga e di certo il gusto di dare a tutte il consiglio giusto[/i][/size]

Although the quality is maybe a little worse than the slightly cut TV version the Italian DVD is certainly satisfactory, but some copies have a defect around minute 38: the picture freezes and then jumps forward to minute 45.

Runtime: 99 minutes

Cast: John Ericson (William Huston/‘Black Talisman’), Spela Rozin [as Sheyla Rosin] (Shanda Lee), Daniela Surina (Sybille Burton), Franco Lantieri (sheriff), Pasquale Basile (Bear the hunter), Isarco Ravaioli (deputy Hold), Franco Daddi (Red), Loris Gizzi (Boccadirosa), Maria Teresa Piaggio (Miss Phils), Edwige Fenech (Manuela), Ugo Pagliai (Roland Burton), Pinuccio Ardia (Miserere), Dada Gallotti (Lily), Renato Navarrini (doctor), Silvana Bacci (Minoa), Gilberto Galimberti (stranger with purplish red shirt), Antonietta Fiorito.

Song: “Arizona is Waiting” sung by Raoul

Producer: Vinod Pathak


(scherpschutter) #9

Very nice song. The style reminds me strongly of Georges Brassens

The song vaguely resembles this one:


(carlos) #10

[quote=“JonathanCorbett, post:8, topic:1225”]Spela Rozin [as Sheyla Rosin] (Shanda Lee)
Edwige Fenech (Manuela)
Dada Gallotti (Lily)
Silvana Bacci (Minoa)[/quote]

Nice female cast!! (not to slight the others) :slight_smile:

Again, thanks for the additions and corrections.


(I love you M.E. Kay) #11

Only available in Italian, right? Does the Italian DVD really has Italian subs? From my experience, Amazon.it often has faulty information when it comes to subtitles.

Some great songs posted here btw!


(JonathanCorbett) #12

Yes, the Italian subtitles are regularly present.


(I love you M.E. Kay) #13

Thanks, I might be tempted to buy it then. I may not speak Italian, but a little Google Translate, a few corrections, a bit of dictionary searching and if all else fails some visual context makes it rather easy to translate Italian subs into French ones.

Last time I bought one Surf Video DVD and despite Amazon proclaiming it had subs, it didn’t. Same problem for a Rai DVD.


(Bill san Antonio) #14

This was sort of a hidden gem. Not a great one (I didn’t like the first 30 minutes at all) but it’s a bit different. There’s more perverts than any other sw except Django Kill! Main villain is sadomasochistic and nymphomaniac widow who masturbates while watching a naked girl getting whipped. The whipped girl is Edwige Fenech so she has a good taste :D. Widow’s right hand man and lover is a big brute who drinks blood! The directing was better than in average sw and there’s good looking locations, beautiful girls, little bit of nudity and pessimistic ending.

Pleasant surprise. My rating: 7/10


(Reverend Danite) #15

I can’t believe that this was mentioned on the “Whip it, whip it good” thread nearly 4 years ago, and…
I still haven’t got a copy yet for the Rev’s profane library.

Anybody up for gifting/trading one this way?


(ENNIOO) #16

I will get one sent out to you sir, still at the same address ?


(Reverend Danite) #17

Still at the Priory Ennioo.
Thanks amigo :slight_smile: - I’m certain that I haven’t got anything in my archives that you don’t already own tho’.
(But I’ll work on that!)


(chameleon) #18

I actually saw this one not long ago, and i quite liked it. John Ericson is ok in this and (imo he could have done a couple more spags). It’s got a decent story, some action and of course beautifull women, especially SPELA ROZIN. I did not liked the ending, it could have been done better, imo. All n all not bad 6.5/10


(ENNIOO) #19

[quote=“Reverend Danite, post:17, topic:1225”]I ‘m certain that I haven’t got anything in my archives that you don’t already own tho’.
(But I’ll work on that!)[/quote]

Thats ok, will post tomorrow :slight_smile: .


(Reverend Danite) #20

Thanks to a very distinquished and honorable member of the forum, I was able to watch this recently. :slight_smile:
Thoroughly enjoyable - even the first bit that others not so hot on, was pretty OK…
but blimey!! What it led to…
This was certainly one of the most sexually implicit spaghettis I’ve seen. Nothing so bad by today’s (appalling) :stuck_out_tongue: standards of course, but a bit of a shocker all the same.
Very good - recommended. :o