Thunder Over El Paso / I senza Dio (Roberto Bianchi Montero, 1972)

                                 MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Let’s start with Weisser’s first line - “Antonio Sabato is Minnesota, a dressed-in-black, man of few words bounty hunter …”
… and let’s dismiss Weisser now.

In fact it is Chris Avram that opens up the shooting in this - and he is the afore-mentioned Minnesota. And it looks like it’s gonna be a goody - over 6 minutes in and not a word has been spoken and already he’s shot somebody in the back to show what a heartless bastard of a bounty hunter he is and cashed him in with a pill-popping sheriff.
7 minutes in and we’ve got a gang of Mexican banditos led by a crusty ol’ dog with a pocket watch for a best friend, robbing a bank. Still looking highly promising, you have to agree?
The story mainly revolves around Minnesota striking up a deal - with a desperado called El Santo, who IS played by Sabato (in a ‘Mark Damon-ly open-shirted-bare-chested’ performance) - and the two of them go after crusty ol’ Corbancho and his gang, in the hope of finding his hidden cache of $400,000, not realising (as I did) that if he actually had this gold then he wouldn’t be risking life and limb holding up small-fry banks.
Of course there’s double dealing a-plenty and all is not as it seems.
Meanwhile Minnesota and El Santo get a sort of ‘chummy/save-ya-life/double-cross-ya’ relationship that hinges on El Santo not yet being worth the $10,000 that Minnesota deems a minimum to work for. (In fact, confusingly, Minnesota deals with a lot less of a bounty at times throughout the film). This story also revolves around us realising that El Santo was framed for a bank-job, but we also find out he is a ‘son-of-a-bitch’ and that he also has a nasty torturous ‘hold a candle to ya feet’ aspect to his personality that contrasts with an inner do-goodiness.
Without giving too much away, this is O.K. stuff - better than the comedy shit that oozed out of the genre at about this time but falling short of the grittier stuff that epitomised the neo-nihalism of the twilights.
It does possibly try to be too much of a hybrid maybe, a bit on the ‘churned-out’ side, and does not seem to be allowed to develop its own ‘character’ (I’m thinking of the earlier El Puro here, where a potentially mediocre western ‘finds’ something special from the characters being allowed to find their own ‘path’).
This could/should have been a much better film. There is a spark of potential that glistens occasionally from individual performances - this is a film that relies on relationships - and these don’t really gel satisfactorily for most of the time.
There is, however, a bit of the nastiness that you’d expect from the genre - and this includes a teenage boy being hung from a bell-rope - the banditos betting on when he loses his footing and the bell will ring. And there’s more ‘homage’ besides this. There’s a barber’s chair scenario; the afore-mentioned pocket-watch (couldn’t bring on a red-hazed flashback, could it? … Oh yes it could …); and a counting of the bounty as the bodies are piled in the wagon … and (bang) … here’s another. It’s not a rip-off though - it is meant to be a homage - (it couldn’t be anything else). Despite good individual performances from the leads (and Erika Blanc and Pilar Velasquez in it), and it having a smidge of charm and style of it’s own, it ultimately doesn’t sparkle enough to put it in the same league as some of the other lesser-knowns that turn out as diamonds. High hopes at the start were somewhat let down - but having said that - it still kept me there til the end and I (pretty much) enjoyed the ride.
Worth a look.
The copy I watched was a dvd-r (video copy) - widescreen/English language/Dutch subs./A bit soft and washed-out, but emminently watchable all things considered.

[N.B. - This database, and imdb, has this down as its filming location as Almeria (…must go one day ;)), but the credits, despite saying a ‘Luis Film, Rome’ and ‘Dauro Film, Madrid’ only mentions in regard to location - ‘Filmed at Elios Studios, Rome’ - and makes no mention of Almeria.]

do credits ever mention Almeria? after all shooting is usually in the landscapes around almeria… just wondering

In Italian books I found a few nice details:

First a quote from Erika Blanc, who says that Pilar Velasquez really was a stunning beauty. She, Erika, was rather popular in Spain and had thought that during their nights out, Spanish man would have much attention for her, but they had only eyes for Pilar. She talks about Antonio Sabato as a very nice man, who had eyes for all ladies.
By the way, Erika talks about nights out in Madrid, so maybe the Spanish scenes were shot near Colmenar Viejo, in the Madrid area (?)

Second a quote (found in the DIZIONARO) from a 1972 interview with Pilar Velazquez in the magazine ‘Tempo’:
<< I’m sick of playing a gipsy with castagnets. As you can see I’m not fat, I’m not timid and I’m not sentimental. I do not like bullfights and hate Andalusian folklore. On the contrary I am a very modern person: I take the pill, I am in favour of abortion and fight for women liberation >>
Quite a type, this Pilar

The Bruckner book mentions only Italy and Elios studios for this film.

For an expert it’s easy to distinguish between the spanish and italian locations.

[quote=“stanton, post:4, topic:1033”]The Bruckner book mentions only Italy and Elios studios for this film.

For an expert it’s easy to distinguish between the spanish and italian locations.[/quote]

Yes, but not always what part of Spain

I can imagine Corbucci on a train to Almeria, looking out the window and puling the break “hey, let’s shot something here, that rock looks nice” :wink:

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Review available:

[quote=“Bad Lieutenant, post:7, topic:1033”]Review available:[/quote]

Erika Blanc and Pilar Velasquez.
Worth watching for them alone I’d say.

Looking for an Italian Broadcast Version of this one, in great Quality!

If you want to know why nobody had eyes for me, have a look at :

There is something missing from this like you say. Cannot seem to get into the story or care about it. Whether it is because of the two leads. But I am not really the biggest fan of Antonio Sabàto so that may be why for me.

Nice review. In my opinion the landscape does look spanish, too.
I really enjoyed watching this one (German TV), nevertheless there are some lenghts. But I would say it’s absloutely above average.

Watched this one this afternoon and my thoughts pretty much echo those of rhe Rev. (see opening post)
A lot better than much that came out around this time but could have been improved nonetheless. I enjoyed it though and is one of Sabato’s better outings in my opinion. The girls look great in this too. Worth a viewing for them alone.

And, for the record, I would side with Scherp’s suggestion that this was shot around Madrid. Not Almeria and certainly not Italy. I’m not even sure it was Elios town. Far too many Spanish regulars in tiny roles here to have been shot in Italy. (Robledo, Israel et al) Great use of Israel’s eyes in this one by the way. ;D

I’m going to have to watch this one, again.
I have only seen it once before…probably about 7 years ago.
I recall enjoying it at the time; but, frankly, the events of the film have become a blur in my mind.

As I am snowed in here at the Casey Casa…I might as well add this flick to my viewing queue, today!

Apart from the fact that Elios is mentioned in the credit sequence, it was the water tank that told me it was Elios. It’s always used to write the name of the town on it. Here it says ‘Canyon City’, in The Specialists, which I rewatched a few days ago, it says ‘Blackstone, Nevada’. There are also a few buildings (notably a small church and a barn) that are, so to speak, very Elios.

I’m not too familiar with Spanish landscapes. I visited Madrid and surroundings only once, but I remember the landscape looked a little like the landscape in this movie. Would be interesting to hear what Julio Alberto has to say about it. Maybe the Portuguese know the landscape of the their fellow Iberians better than I do (it wasn’t Flanders, by the way)

Oh yes, I remember seeing the tank now.
But I’m still sure a lot of this film was shot in Spain. Not just the countryside stuff either.

I don’t have this one, but maybe Pereira have it, I’ll try to check it out. the Iberian landscape, Almeria apart, is pretty easy to spot one.

From Database Review
There’s some confusion as to where the film was shot. The credits mention only the Elios studios, but in an interview Erika Blanc refers to her nights out in Madrid with some members of the cast, which would suggest that the outdoor scenes were shot in central Spain. The western town, is that of the Elios studios (for the occasion called ‘Canyon City’), but some of the landscape doesn’t look Italian to me, so I guess Erika is right.

There are two western towns in this one and the majority of the scenes were shot in Golden City (Hoyo de Manzanares, Madrid), known for A Fistful of Dollars.

Never seen it. Tried to find it on YT, but didn’t. Found this though:

Seems it is edited by someone familiar to this site. Don’t know who survived. But when it comes to body count, it was a draw …

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I made that. :wink:.
And the others on that channel.

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