Su le mani, cadavere! Sei in arresto (1971)

a.k.a. - Sando Kid spricht das letzte Halleluja (GER), Raise Your Hands, Dead Man, You're Under Arrest (USA)

Peter Lee Lawrence takes the lead role in Leon Klimovsky's well made Spaghetti Western. German R2 DVD from the Halleluja Boxset.

The Film

After a devistating battle in the American Civil War; Grayton, a Union Officer kills the unarmed Confederate survivors and bursts into a farmhouse where the wounded are being treated. Handing the gun to a young medic, he orders him to kill a wounded soldier, but Grayton flees when he is shot in the hand by one of the wounded men. Later the young medic, known as the Sando Kid (Peter Lee Lawrence) is trained up by this wounded man and joins the Army Rangers, patrolling the lawless countryside. Becoming one of the best men in the force, he is sent to his hometown of Springfield to deal with a group of bandits, lead by Grayson, who are terrorising local people into selling their land so he can sell it to the railroad...

Spaghetti Westerns in the 1970s were dominated by gimmicks (see Kung Fu Westerns) or slapstick comedy, but Raise Your Hands Dead Man is a completely straight up and very familiar Western story, remniscent of the classic American films. The first quarter of the story provides almost a montage of Sando's development from a shy medic, to a deadly Ranger - very quickly paced, it could have been played out a lot longer but does help to give a background to the character, and differentiates him from the typical Italian Western hero who rides in from nowhere - making him a Ranger and a pure hero, not the typical anti-hero Bounty Killer, only helps to confirm this American Western atmosphere. Although the opening scenes set a very grim tone to the film, it generally stays quite light with occasional comedy moments - a few narrative jumps do confuse the plot slightly, but it generally works well and the pacing is good, with frequent action scenes, leading to an inevitable but well mounted climax.

Director Leon Klimovsky, best known for his Spanish horror films, is often rated as little more than a hack, but his work on Raise Your Hands Dead Man is quite distinctive - almost the entire film is shot with hand-held cameras, giving the action scenes a real sense of drama, and there is some very effective editing throughout. Frequent genre composer Alessandro Alessandroni provides an effective soundtrack.

The baby faced and tragically short-lived Peter Lee Lawrence takes the lead role here, and is perfect casting, needing to develop from boy into man. Frequent genre star Aldo Sambrell plays Grayton very well, with the attractive German actress, and frequent Spanish horror star Helga Liné as his partner. Look out for another Paul Naschy co-star, Aurora del Alba (Vengeance of the Zombies (1973)) as Leonor's mother, and Franco Agostini (The Case of the Bloody Iris (1972)) as Brother Bamba. The otherwise unknown Espartaco Santoni and the beautiful Maria Zanandrea play very well Dollar and Leonor, and it is a pity they were not in much else.

Well written, directed and acted, Raise Your Hands Dead Man is a surprisingly good film, from a time when the Spaghetti Westerns were becoming stale and desperate. There are no real surprises in store, and nothing that has not been done before in European or American Westerns, but it all comes together well. Recommended to genre fans, but not the best introduction for newcomers.

In brief:

Anyone famous in it? Peter Lee Lawrence - the young actor who starred in another post-Civil War SW, I Giorni della Violenza (1967)
Directed by anyone interesting? Leon Klimovsky - an Argentinian born director, best known for his Spanish Horror films, including Werewolf Shadow (1971) but who also shot a variety of Spaghetti Westerns, including Some Dollars for Django (1966).
Any gore/violence? Lots of gunfights and fist fighting, some blood and bruises
Any sex? A short sex scene, but no nudity.
Who is it for?
Spaghetti Western fans should enjoy this well made title.


Visuals Original Aspect Ratio - 1.78:1. Anamorphically Enhanced. Colour
The picture quality is strong with no print damage and only minimal grain.
Note: the 1.78:1 ratio seems to be correct, there are no signs of cropping.
Audio Original German and Italian mono tracks, both sound strong (the Italian dubbing and foley effects are noticably better)
Note: The German track is missing in a few scenes that play in Italian.
Subtitles German (translates the Italian).
German 2 (for the missing scenes in the German track).
English (translates the Italian).
Extras The disc features:
  • Lengthy original Italian theatrical trailer. Spoiler filled. (4 min)
  • A short manually scrolling poster, lobby card and stills gallery
AvailabilityDVD Title: Sando Kid spricht das letzte Halleluja
This disc is only available as part of the Halleluja Italo-Western Box.
Region Region 2 - PAL
Other regions? Also available on a Spanish disc with no English options.
Cuts? Believed to be fully uncut. Print used is Italian language.



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All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 15th July 2007.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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