Tessari's Ringo-films


(Silvanito) #1

Duccio Tessari’s two films Pistol for Ringo and Return of Ringo were made almost back to back in 1965 with the same cast.
They were made after Fistful but share very little with Leone’s style, instead they were deliberately modelled after earlier Hollywood westerns.

I have only seen the second film and I didn’t like it very much. Not my type of western at all. It was some years ago and I no longer have a copy of the film. What do you guys think of these films?

Morricone scored both films and his music is the best part of them I think. It’s not Dollars type music but excellent nontheless! I especially like the title theme to the second film :slight_smile:


(Yodlaf Peterson) #2

i enjoy both the films, the first one is better as a film but the 2nd one has better action sequences.

When i went to Almeria last year i went to some of the locations, i have tried to post the pictures but they are too big and i can’t work out how to scale them down so i can put them on, can anyone help!


(Bill san Antonio) #3

I liked them both, the second one is maybe little better in my opinion. Both are top20 stuff for me. I have always liked Gemma’s westerns and these two are my favorites among them.

It’s just little stupid that they’re both called Ringo-films because the main characters are very different in Pistol… and Return. The Return of Ringo is not really a sequel in my opinion. But then again, Tessari wasn’t the only one who took the advantage of the popularity of the first Ringo film.


(volonte) #4

[quote=“Yodlaf Peterson, post:2, topic:477”]i enjoy both the films, the first one is better as a film but the 2nd one has better action sequences.

When i went to Almeria last year i went to some of the locations, i have tried to post the pictures but they are too big and i can’t work out how to scale them down so i can put them on, can anyone help![/quote]

I though these were shot mostly in Castilla and Aragón. Well the second one is shot at Fraga near Lleida on the Catalunya border.

I like the second one better. One of my favourites. Basically it is the story of Odysseia in western milieu.


(Yodlaf Peterson) #5

i went to Almeria and close by is a place called San Jose where the windmill is on top of the hill, if you look down the hill you can also see the ranch, i have pictures of myself there, ive tried to post them but it keeps saying they are too large and not being very good with a pc i don’t know how to reduce them.

also a few miles away is the well and the square where Giuliano Gemma played hopscotch with the kids.


(Col. Douglas Mortimer) #6

I’m wondering if Gemma’s character from Ringo 2 is actually the father of Gemma’s character from Ringo 1, since Gemma’s character from Ringo 1 said that his father fought in the civil war, and in Ringo 2 Gemma’s character comes back from the civil war. I’ve only seen Return of Ringo so I don’t know, just thought maybe theres a possibility of Ringo 2 being a prequel of Ringo 1.


(scherpschutter) #7

They’re two seperate movies, the second one (Return) was re-titled to cash in on the first films’s (Pistol) succes.
The original name of the character in RETURN is Montgomery Brown, as stated in the beginning of the movie.
The first one was immensely succesful and was very important for the Italian film industry; instead of an American B-actor, an Italian played the main character. Gemma, a former stunt-man (this is visible in most of his films), thus paved the way for Nero, Hill, Spencer, Garko etc. Gemma (nicknames ‘Bello Giuliano’ and ‘Faccio d’Angelo’ = ‘Angel Face’) was particularly popular among the ladies, therefore most of his films are less violent than the usual spaghetti stuff. Usually he is not an avenger but a man framed for a crime he did not commit (Adios Gringo, I Lunghi giorni della Vendetta, Wanted), or a rascal who, in the end, proves that he has a heart of gold (Arizona Colt, Fort Yuma Gold). RETURN is a revenge movie, but not an ordinary one (I’ll explain this another time)
He is now in his seventies, is still good looking, and started a second artistic career as a sculptor.


(alk0) #8

Both great movies i think. I consider the second one better [but only a little bit].


(Søren) #9

Il ritorno di Ringo is definitely the better movie, one of Gemma’s best along with California as I believe I’ve mentioned before on this board. Defnitely top 20 material. Una pistola per Ringo didn’t say me very much when I watched it but going to rewatch it along with its successor soon.


(ENNIOO) #10

Return of Ringo I agree is the better of the two, and is a darker film than the first one.


(Stanton) #11

It’s very obvious that the Ringo name was added for commercial reasons after the success of A Pistol for Ringo via dubbing. He is always called Montgomery Brown, only 3 times throughout the whole film it is mentionend that he is also called Ringo, sort of a childhood nickname I guess.
So the title The Return of Ringo is a extremely clever missleading of the audience without lying.

Both Ringos are of course different characters in also differently made films.

And both were very successful, #2 and #3 in Italy in 65 (behind FaFDM).


(Chris_Casey) #12

I love both of Tessari’s Ringo films, but I love THE RETURN OF RINGO the most!
I think it is a brilliant reworking of Homer’s ODYSSEY.

Believe it or not, they DID NOT add the Ringo name for commercial reasons.
These films were shot, literally, back-to-back without any break in between. They were financed as a package in late 1964 due to Tessari’s being linked to the super successful FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (much the way Giraldi secured financing for his MACGREGOR films…but, those productions were split up by several months).

So, the films were shot back-to-back and edited the same way. They were completed at about the same time (within a few weeks of each other, actually). And Tessari debated for quite some time which one would be released first.
At the time of their production…both films contained RINGO in their working titles.
The concept of the second film was a Western version of the tale of THE RETURN OF ULYSSES—hence the “RETURN OF…” title. It was never conceived as a follow-up to Tessari’s other movie. How could they have added the Ringo name for commercial reasons when these films were shot back-to-back under the working titles of UNA PISTOLA PER RINGO and IL RITORNO DI RINGO, respectively?

When my friend, Enzo Castellari, asked about these films Tessari said told him they were never intended as a “series” of films about the same character. But, that he always liked the name of Ringo and just wanted to use it as a salute to the character John Wayne played in Ford’s STAGECOACH as well as the mysterious, historical figure Johnny Ringo he had read about in some books that (supposedly) Sergio Leone gave to him about the real, Old West. Tessari also said that he added the Montgomery Brown name to help the audience make a distinction between the two films…so that they wouldn’t think of them as part of a series.
Sounds crazy and confusing, right? But, that is the truth.

Maybe Tom Betts can chime in here and help me remember the name of the writer and where it appeared, but I distinctly recall there was an old interview with some Spanish stuntmen that used to work for Balcazar Productions (one of the companies involved in producing both films) where they discussed all of the above, as well.


(scherpschutter) #13

You give me a lot of work, amigo. First I felt obliged to watch FFDM once again (I’ll talk about it later) and now this!
Yes, you’re right: the films were made back-to-back and there was some confusion about which one would be released first. Still, PISTOL was released May 12 1965, RETURN december 8 1965 (although, according to www. filmscoop.it, there were avant premières during september 1965). It’s quite possible that right from the start the titles both included the name Ringo - in the Italian film industry it was not unusual to suggest a link between separate films by means of a name. But RETURN certainly was presented as as a sequel; it premiered with the slogan: <<Attenzione alle false pistole … questo è il solo, il vero, l’autentico Ringo Faccia d’Angelo>> (Pay attention to false pistols … this is the only, the real, the authentic Angel face).
So a connection was suggested between the two film while story-wise there was none. And of course, the slogan was aimed of the series of films that actually were re-titled to cash in on Tessari’s movie (La grande notte di Ringo, Ringo, la volta della vendetta etc.) Especially in France and Germany re-titling films was kind of a sport.


(Stanton) #14

Howard Hughes wrote in his book Once upon a Time in the Italian West:

“Immediately after completing A Pistol for Ringo, Tessari wrote and shot this semi-sequel in Spain during the summer of 1965 …”


(Chris_Casey) #15

[quote=“stanton, post:14, topic:477”]Howard Hughes wrote in his book Once upon a Time in the Italian West:

“Immediately after completing A Pistol for Ringo, Tessari wrote and shot this semi-sequel in Spain during the summer of 1965 …”[/quote]

Yes, I have read Hughes’ book. But, I have also spoken to Castellari who was a friend of Tessari’s and there are other sources that say otherwise.
I don’t care if you believe me or not, amigo. I will believe people who were actually around at the time the films were being made over people that weren’t (usually).

No offence meant, by the way!


(scherpschutter) #16

[quote=“Chris_Casey, post:15, topic:477”]Yes, I have read Hughes’ book. But, I have also spoken to Castellari who was a friend of Tessari’s and there are other sources that say otherwise.
I don’t care if you believe me or not, amigo. I will believe people who were actually around at the time the films were being made over people that weren’t (usually).

No offence meant, by the way![/quote]

First of all, I think you’re right on this one, like I already mentioned. But two decades ago, I was in a college group researching the human brain, especially in relation to the memory. I have learned that the people’s memory is a) defective and b) very selective (people remember what they WANT to remember even if it NEVER HAPPENED). So be very, very cautious with eye witness reports.


(Stanton) #17

So interesting Hughes book is, there are several more errors in it. He also claims that A Pistol for Ringo was Gemma’s 3rd SW, but it was his first.

By the way, Frayling also says that both Ringos were made “almost simultaneously”.

And it always seemed likely to me before I read Hughes book, which changed my mind.
Now I’m changing back. It’s the better story anyway.


(Phil H) #18

In my opinion they are both good spaghettis (with that cast how could they not be?) but Return is definitely the better all round film. Apart from Gemma’s ghastly blonde wig it is excellent from gunslinging start to Romantic finish and has one of my favourite all time themes from Morricone. I enjoy it more every time I see it.


(Hud) #19

I’m fond of both but change my preferences regularly. I find RETURN more soulful and atmospheric, while PISTOL is more coherent and exciting, with sharper sense of time and place (not surprising for a hostage situation story) and even the romantic subplots worked well, no small feat.

For me the first half of RETURN is probably Tessari’s best work as director, at least within the genre (I’ve yet to see his third Gemma western) with a beautifully crafted feeling of loneliness and lost identity. More sentimental than your usual SWs but still very Italian, close to some other early works like MINNESOTA CLAY (and maybe Mario Bava’s two viking movies). The fine things don’t end there and there are wonderful supporting characters, but the “third act” seemed somehow compromised. This being a spaghetti western, I was hoping for a big “if you want blood you got it” vendetta showdown like the one in Homer’s epic that inspired the film. What I got was more like a Disney finale, with swashbuckler stunts and one of the mean Fuentes brothers neatly vanishing in a small flowerpot explosion… Come on Duccio & Giuliano, you just don’t put Fernando Sancho down like that, after giving us this intense journey you shouldn’t get so damn cute! Still it’s a beautiful film and the music is among Morricone’s best.


(Stanton) #20

Yes the 2 great (and much too long) shoot-outs at the end of Return are a bit disappointing, and they are maring the overall quality of this film.
But that’s a problem of most SWs: they don’t have an idea how to end a film properly.