Vengeance for Vengeance / Vendetta per vendetta (Mario Colucci, 1968)

(Reverend Danite) #1

I have referred to this film as Vengeance for Vengeance - that is the title on my print (taken from a ‘Home Video Affair’ video). It’s widescreenish, (you know I don’t understand this numbery-stuff), but looks a little compressed … very good print/ pretty good sound/ Greek subs.) I realise that others have referred to this as Revenge for Revenge.

I knew there was a reason that I wanted to revisit this, I remembered it as being very good and … by Jove - it is.
(Jove (Jupiter), however, is probably the wrong God to evoke here with his association with laughter.) Despite our protagonist getting a chance for some chuckling towards the end, there isn’t much cause for anybody to have much to laugh about. This is yet another unhealthy slice of dark, moody and violent spaghetti-pie.

We begin the film with our anti-hero Chaliko (John Hamilton), all squinty-eyed and rugged, rolling his own and smoking it to whistles and the sound of a dog barking. Hamilton makes for as good a carbon-copy-Clint as you want. There’s enough of the original, but there’s his own ‘charm’ as well that comes through. He’s certainly more gritty that Tony Anthony doing The Stranger…, for instance. We recognise the territory now and we know that we’re in for a goodie…
Well of course there are no ‘goodies’ - only those great spaghetti characters painted in shades of black and grey, with a dusty coating of gold (literally). Chaliko’s nemesis-to-be is introduced and it’s an evil Major - this time magnificently and broodily played by John Ireland. Their first stand-off is great, and goes along these lines …
(Major) “What’s your name?”
(Chaliko) “Chaliko”
(Major) “What kind of name is that?”
(Chaliko) "It’s mine."
The dialogue is sparse throughout the film (which is good as the reasonably obtrusive Greek subtitles are the only annoying thing about this print). There is tension created in the gaps, and we are also treated to Leone-esque close-ups which are also used to good effect and help to build the mood. Other great characters in this include a sadistic reverend (oh my!! - who uses a spur as a torture weapon at one point), a magnificent leather and lace narcissistic gunslinger and a cool Mexican (Pico) amongst the Major’s gang. Pico is the only character, (maybe against the convention) who shows any sense of loyalty and is not mainly motivated by the gold that has everybody else double-dealing for.
Our protagonist does seem to be honour-bound, when revenge is called for on behalf of Loredana Nusciak’s character - but even then, these two were both after the gold (and a bit of rumpy along the way).
The conventions are there - there’s a sort of flashback - but, it’s more of a recent reminiscence by the Major to replay to us the violent whipping of Clara (Loredana) by one of the Major’s gang. We find out that the Major is actually Clara’s husband and married her to find out the information that would lead to her father’s gold, but he’s pretty pissed off as well, that she’s been dishing out her other charms to Chaliko. (Lucky bastard!) The ‘flashback’ is played against the party atmosphere at the Major’s hacienda and her brutal whipping (hasn’t she learnt from Django?) is contrasted with a gypsy dance and flamenco music. It is more for enhancing the menacing mood in this, than it is for storytelling - as it is in many other films - FAFDM being the most obvious.
There are more good lines here - The barkeeper and his beautiful daughter infiltrate the party under the guise of bringing tequila (along with their own agenda), and she goes off to ‘look around’. Having established that the Major takes 30% of the bars revenue as ‘protection’ - the barkeeper says “I’d better go and find Sandy.” The Major replies "Yeah, why don’t ya? - Before somebody takes 30% of her."
Despite a couple of inconsistencies - for a man they think is their only link to the gold, it seems stupidly innapropriate to ambush him and fire at will into the shack where they think he’s hiding … and despite a couple of cliched fillers - a protracted fist fight in a river, for instance … this remains a very good movie. The obligatory barroom fist fight is suitably short and gritty (and does not include our main man at all).
Weisser gets much of his review wrong (surprised?) - he has the women mixed up and the ending altogether different (don’t read it if you don’t want to know) - unless there is another version out there that matches his?
He is right however, with his first line … "An amazingly nasty, bitter film …"
I was hoping this might be another El Puro, but I don’t think it will set the forum as alight as that beauty did … but it’s up there. Top 25 I reckon. I know a lot of forumites like their spaghettis in this kind of dark and sparse mold.
So, highly recommended - I’ll keep the ‘burner’ on standby. :wink:

[Edit: Two lovely lacy-collared shirts and Loredana’s smashing blouse (a whipping don’t do a lot for the silk, and that blood ain’t gonna come out easy) got ruined in the making of this. A high price to pay I know, but I have to say - IT WAS WORTH IT!!]

(Phil H) #2

A teasing summary Rev. Sounds like a good find on your part.
Ireland is always good value I think, whether in a Spaghetti or U.S western. And Nusciak as well. Can’t be bad.

I noticed we have precious little about this film on the database. Has anyone else seen this one?

(Reverend Danite) #3

The database has got the females names a bit confused. (Weisser gets the characters reversed, not just wrong) - the barkeepers daughter, played by Connie Caracciolo, is called Sandy - Loredana plays Clara (not Sandy) Bower - the Major’s wife.

I noticed Brother violentprofessional has ‘rated’ this as an undervalued film, so he’s seen it and thinks it a ‘goodie’ too … otherwise there’s ‘precious little’ throughout the forum. If a search is done for any of its names, then not a lot comes up.
As with EP, I’m happy to get a few copies out to deputies and regular contributers to ‘spread the word’ on this. They can then pass it on or trade as they see fit.
This is actually a highly selfish act on my behalf - 'cos I wanna know what others make of this.

(scherpschutter) #4

Licet Iovi, non licet Bovi !
(What is allowed to Jupiter, it’s therefore not allowed to Weisser)

So he got the women mixed up?
It had to happen once …
Poor Loredana

I had never even heard of this one
A sadistic reverend who uses spurs to torture people … we must be in Italy
British revs don’t do such things, I presume

Going to watch the Cup Final
(Hope the ref is not a sadist)

(Stanton) #5

hmm, seems to be one more for the want list.

(Chris_Casey) #6

You are right, Brother Reverend!
This is a good one—and violentprofessional is correct about it being undervalued.
Enjoyable stuff!

(Tigrero) #7

I enjoyed this film. Very gritty and dark. John Hamilton’s character (Chaliko) was a cool dude and John Ireland is always a good watch. There were a few times that I felt things could have been done better without too much effort but all in all a good solid SW…well worth a watch.

(Phil H) #8

Just watched this one this morning and I must say I enjoyed it too.
Low on dialogue and high on atmosphere is always a good combination in this genre and here it more than makes up for some of the inconsistancies mentioned above. In fact I think the Rev’s review above sums up this movie pretty bloody well. I’m not sure I would rate it in my top 25 but apart from that I’m singing from the same hymn sheet as his reverence.

Well worth checking out and muchas gracias padre for making it possible for me to do so.

By the way, I have updated the film’s site to correct the errors on the cast list and linked it to this discussion thread.

(Reverend Danite) #9

I had a recent count of my top 25 and had to stop at 50! :smiley:

(Sebastian) #10

i think you need to learn how to count, reverend :wink:

(Reverend Danite) #11

Hey I only got as many films in my top 25 as Miles Deem has bullets in a six-gun! :wink:

(Bluntwolf) #12

Really good one Rev. !!! :smiley:

(Reverend Danite) #13

Cheers. ;D
Cider … oops wrong thread.

(scherpschutter) #14

Found this one in the mailbox today
Having caught a nasty cold, I watched it immediately, with glass of warm milk and surrounded by tissues and hankies

Good nasty stuff, made without much of a script, I’d say, just a few ideas and one or two outlines
Guy rides into town
Sleeps with woman
Woman is wife of tyrant
Woman whipped
Guy whipped
Woman dead
Guy escapes etc etc
No, not reallly etc etc, the ending is a surprise with … well, find out for yourself

But who the hell was this John Hamilton, who plays the guy?
Marco Giusti’s answer in Il Dizionario del Western all’Italiana was quite a surprise:
He is an Italian, real name Gianni Medici, who had done some imitiation 007 movies (they made tquite a few in Italy) but who had a great introduction in the spaghetti western business, because shortly before he had married:
Loredana Nusciak !
This puts one particular scene in another light: when the guy (he’s called Shaniko or something like that, I understood Shalako the first time!) enters a store, the storekeeper asks him ‘What’s yours?’ He looks to the left, and guess who’s there:
Lucky fellow
But as said, she’s whipped and killed and he’s whipped too, all by the evil John Ireland, who gives a very fine performance here as a man dreaming of his own empire (a reference to Mussulini’s empire in the North)
There are more familiar references: when medici is whipped it’s difficult not to think of Jesus Christ and Loredana’s whipping is of course a instant replay of her first scenes in Django (although the rather protracted scene also reminded me of a scene in Massacre Time, in which Nero was whipped)
Anyway, whips, bullets, fists and a lot, lot of wry laughs during the final moments
Thank you very much, reverend!

(Romaine Fielding) #15

[quote=“scherpschutter, post:14, topic:1053”]Found this one in the mailbox today

But who the hell was this John Hamilton, who plays the guy?
Marco Giusti’s answer in Il Dizionario del Western all’Italiana was quite a surprise:
He is an Italian, real name Gianni Medici, who had done some imitiation 007 movies (they made tquite a few in Italy) but who had a great introduction in the spaghetti western business, because shortly before he had married:
Loredana Nusciak !
This puts one particular scene in another light: when the guy (he’s called Shaniko or something like that, I understood Shalako the first time!) enters a store, the storekeeper asks him ‘What’s yours?’ He looks to the left, and guess who’s there:
Lucky fellow

Thank you very much, reverend![/quote]

Haha. I ALSO found this in my mailbox and watched it immediately!

Really interesting stuff about Loredana and “Gianni”!
I only wish that Loredana’s role had been bigger, or at least, her whippin’ longer.

Real low budget look, not a lot of extras. Kinda goofy ending. Pretty standard fare in some ways but with just enough spice to make it interesting and really enjoyable.

Having just recently viewed L’America A Roma, I was looking for films that had any of the relatively unknown actors/stuntmen interviewed in that film. In V4V one of these actors has a relatively prominent role. Mauro Mammatrizio plays a member of Ireland’s gang. He’s the “sadistic reverend” with the spur (as noted by our own reverend!). He even acts under his own name and also served as Master-of-Arms.

I seem to recall seeing another “torture by spur” scene recently. Was it perpetrated upon George Eastman in The Belle Starr Story?

Thanks a lot Rev for “spreading the word” !!! I am a buh-leever.

(Silver Wolf) #16

Well-characterized bunch of henchmen in this film - “sadistic reverend” was good but sharp-dressed “gentleman killer” was even better. I expected him to appear in a final duel against Chaliko but instead he disappeared from the film in a very surprising (although not very logical) way. Nice Django-styled muddy streets and I always like spaghettis in which protagonist faces few “professional guns” instead of dozens of easy-to-kill thugs. Strange offbeat ending, which will surely disappoint some… I personally liked it as it was so unexpected. Not very original script and obviously shot with quite low budget but good film anyway. John Ireland was good as usual but it was John Hamilton/Gianni Medici who really impressed me. Strange-looking guy… especially his eyes were very, very weird. Too bad this seems to be his only starring role in westerns.

About “compressed” picture already mentioned by our generous Reverend… for some reason my DVD player recognizes this version for being anamorphic widescreen while it’s not and indeed compresses picture so that it looks abnormally flat. Tip for everyone who has same problem: just turn on “forced 4:3 mode” from your DVD player (and also from TV if needed) and what you get is normal 4:3 fullscreen picture that looks exactly as it should (non-compressed).

(Stanton) #17

Me, the same.
After adjusting my DVD player it’s a 1,33:1 fullscreen aspect ratio. Not the 1st DVDr of VHS versions where this happens.
Same goes for the Wild East DVD If You Meet Sartana … which also needs to be adjusted to the correct 1,78:1.

Unfortunately there are some DVDs which are uncorrectly compressed from the sides, like the german Gentleman Joe … uccidi!, which I can’t adjust on my player.

(scherpschutter) #18

This gentleman killer reminded me of Robert Vaughn in the Magnificent Seven

(alk0) #19

Watched this one yesterday. I liked it even if the plot was rather weak and there were plot holes. It benefited from good musical score and cast. Entertaining so i say it’s 7/10 for me.

(Ming) #20

I liked this film a lot… In fact, I actually preferred it to ‘El Puro’ :o
Moody & gritty - it has quite a tense atmosphere, a strange ending & the soundtrack is also very good.
I wasn’t too keen on the performance of Gianni Medici/John Hamilton as Chaliko, but he was OK.

It would be good to see this get an official release.

Thanks to the holy man for the oppertunity to see this.