An enjoyably light-hearted Terence Hill Spaghetti Western from director Enzo Barboni. Optimum UK R2 DVD.
Into the 1970s, the serious Spaghetti Western had become oversaturated
and was starting to decline with writers struggling to come up with new
storyline ideas. However the Sabata and Trinity films
had proven remarkably popular and shown that comedy westerns could
still sell, so filmmaker were quick to cash in. Producer Alberto
Grimaldi had missed out on the Trinity films, but managed to secure
both the director and star of the productions and looked to make his
in the Old West, two members of a gang meet up and liberate their third
friend from a prison to tell him that their fourth member, 'The
Englishman', has passed away. Meanwhile the Englishman's son, Tom
(Terence Hill) is on a train and then a stage, bound for his father's
old house, ordered by his father to travel to the Old West and make a
man of himself. He meets up with the trio at the house and as a tribute
to his father, they take it upon themselves to make Tom into a real man
- he resists, abhoring violence, but when he catches the eye of the
local landowner's daughter and discovers that she is meant for the
rough and ruthless Morton, he realises that being a man might be the
only way to stay alive...
Barboni's script is the classic Old Western tale of an outsider
arriving and making enemies - for comic effect however he makes this
outsider a real outsider (a British Peer to be precise) and most of the
comedy revolves around his interaction with the typical Old Western
veteran trio he ends up living with. Although not particularly
original, these scenes have a certain enjoyable charm and certainly the
sight of Tom on his bike riding alongside the trio's horses is
genuinely funny. The rest of the comedy varies between the simply
lighthearted and the almost surreal (such as the punishment the trio
inflict on the prison guard) and some of the humour does seem a little
Characterisation is surprisingly strong and Barboni goes
to a lot of trouble at the start of the film to introduce us to the
trio before they even encounter Tom - while this does give the film a
strong backing, it can drag on a little and it is 15 minutes before Tom
even appears. Even after this, the pacing could have used a little
tightening up and there are several rather superfluous scenes - the
black dressed assasins are amusing but unnecessary, as is the scene
where Austin offers to buy Tom's land. However, there are a few parts
that could have used a bit more expansion - Tom is convinced of the
joys of law and order and it should come as a shock when he discovers
that his father was into stagecoach heists, but nothing is made of
this. Fortunately the good characterisation does mean that the climax
is genuinely tense, although the very end of the film does seem rather
rushed and its focus on the trio rather than Tom is a little
Genuine American scenes at the start (some
beautiful stock shots of the Rio Grande railroad) become Jugoslavian
locations. Not the most common Spaghetti Western location, but not
unknown, they provide a more fertile landscape than the typical
AlmerÝan deserts and look suitably authentic. Barboni does a solid job
behind the camera and works very well with Terence Hill, although he
generally lets the story take centre stage and there is no 'fancy
shooting' here. The De Angelis brothers provide a typically strong
soundtrack (although it is a relief that the title song 'Don't Lose
Control' doesn't crop up much in the film itself as it could become
Terence Hill was by now a solid veteran of the Old West, he looks every
bit the na´ve kid at the film's start, rather remniscent of his earlier
Toby character from Old Surehand
(1965), but scrubs down very well by the film's finalÚ. The trio
themselves are all American character actors and have some great
interaction - Harry Carey Jr. as bible preaching Holy Joe was an
American TV Western regular and had worked with Hill on ...continuavano a chiamarlo TrinitÓ (1971), little known Dominic Barto has appeared briefly in Lo chiamavano TrinitÓ
(1970) and a Sergio Garrone Western before playing 'Monkey' while
Gregory Walcott who plays Bull is best known now for his unfortunate
decision to take the lead role in Ed Wood's notorious Plan 9 From Outer Space
(1959) but was also a veteran of the American Western with this his
only Spaghetti appearance. The beautiful Yanti Somer returns from the
second Trinity film to again play the love interest, while genre
veteran Riccardo Pizzuti puts on a typically strong performance as
Barboni's script is not perfect, unsure whether to be an
all out comedy or just lighthearted, but with Terence Hill in the
lead role it is hard for the film to be anything but enjoyable. The
solid characterisation, beautiful locations and some very good
character actors give the film a solid backing. It comes certainly
recommended to any fans of Terence Hill and the comedy westerns
although newcomers might be best starting with the Trinity films.
Enzo Barboni (as E.B. Clucher) - after working as cinematographer on a variety of Spaghetti Westerns he wrote and directed Lo chiamavano TrinitÓ (1970) and worked on the best of the Hill/Spencer comedies.
Lots of fist-fighting, no blood.
Who is it for?
Certainly one to watch for existing fans of the Terence Hill films and comedy Spaghetti Westerns.
Original Aspect Ratio - 2.35:1. Anamorphically Enhanced. Colour The picture quality is strong with only mild grain and some light speckling.
English mono - sounds fine throughout, if a little quiet.
Region 2 (UK, Europe) - PAL
available with a similar, widescreen print from Suevia in Spain
(Spanish and English audio), Homevision in Netherlands (English audio,
Dutch subs) and AWE in Scandinavia (English and Spanish audio,
Norweigan, Danish, Finnish and Swedish subs). Expected from Koch Media in Germany later in 2008.
Believed to be fully uncut. Print is English language.
perfect, but Terence Hill is as always superb to watch and this is
certainly of interest to fans of the Terence Hill comedies.
A perfectly good DVD release and although it has no extras, nor do any of the other existing releases.