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.