Adiós, Sabata (1971)

a.k.a. - Indio Black, sai che ti dico: Sei un gran figlio di... (ITA)

Yul Brynner stars in this action packed but shallow plotted Spaghetti Western from director Gianfranco Parolini. USA R1 Sony/MGM DVD

The Film

Sequels were very popular in the world of the Spaghetti Western; more often than not the sequels were unofficial, writers or producers borrowing a popular character for their own picture. After the success of Sabata (1969), two unofficial sequels were shot in 1970 and this led producer Alberto Grimaldi to film his own 'official' sequel. Lee Van Cleef was apparently back in the USA shooting The Magnificent Seven Ride! (1972) so Grimaldi managed to obtain the services of Oscar winner Yul Brynner, who had ironically gained Western fame in the Magnificent Seven role that Van Cleef was now playing. To add further confusion, in some territories, Adiós, Sabata was released as Indio Black and the lead character renamed thus, but it is clear that the actors on the set are mouthing 'Sabata' as they speak to him.

Set in the 1867 Mexican Revolution, Sabata (Yul Brynner) is approached by a man who pays him to assassinate a Colonel Skimmel. On his way, Sabata is approached by another man named Ballentine, who offers to assist him. Sabata heads for the town where a remote Mexican outpost of the Austrian Empire is run by the patriotic Colonel Skimmel who is busily trying to repress a revolution. The revolutionary, Escudo (Ignazio Spalla) and his comrades are tasked with meeting Sabata and stealing a shipment of gold of Skimmel's to help cut off his forces. Meeting Sabata in a saloon, the group hijack the gold convoy and try to get it back to their territory, avoiding attacks from Austrian killers and frequent attempts by Ballentine to steal the cart for himself...

Like its predecessor, Adiós, Sabata is a fun film, but not one to be taken seriously. The Mexican settings, and the character of Balentine, bring to mind the smart, political Western Bullet for the General (1967), but similarities to that film are rather limited. Adiós, Sabata suffers from a rather confused plot. Sabata is initially offered money by a mysterious figure to kill Skimmel, but this is never mentioned again, similarly the opening at a monestary has no connection with the rest of the film. On arriving at Skimmel's village, Sabata is ambushed by three Austrians one of whom is thrown from a top story window, but re-emerges later without a scratch or comment. The frequent, high-risk attempts of the Austrians to recover the gold seem to be rather wasteful considering the later revelations and for a remotely located general, Skimmel seems to have no concerns about losing men. On which note, why Austrians?

The film is set in 1867 during the last year of the French backed three year reign in Mexico of the Habsburgian archduke Maximilian. Quite why the film is set during this rather little known period it is hard to say, possibly because Austrian army uniforms were cheap in 1971? Ultimately though, none of this matters, the film is a pure action/trash Western, and a complex plot would only get in the way. The presence of the Austrian army does give rise to some unique set-pieces. Pacing is decent throughout, although it does slow down towards the end before an exciting climax.

Director Gianfranco Parolini (credited as Frank Kramer) returns to the Sabata series with a great mix of moving (including hand-held) camera-work, although with less zoom shots than the first film; he captures the action well throughout - including some more crazy acrobatic stunts and more balcony dives than a Ferdinando Baldi film. Bruno Nicolai gives the film a good, but pretty standard soundtrack. The strange neo-gothic vibe of the first film is sadly missing here and the more traditional Mexican-like settings will be familiar to most genre fans.

Yul Brynner performs reasonably well in his only Spaghetti Western role despite being lumbered with some horrible one-liners; like Van Cleef in this first film, he remains calm and unphased throughout even when facing certain death which does help to disguise his quite wooden acting. American actor Dean Reed who plays Ballentine was no stranger to the genre, having appeared in Dio li crea... Io li ammazzo! (1967) and gives a generally fine performance, while the rest of the cast contains a number of familiar faces, including the genre regular Ignazio Spalla who appeared in all three official Sabata films.

Set during a curious period in Mexican history, this film gets plenty of unique set-pieces (where else can you see Yul Brynner take on the Austrian army?) and is well directed, but the plot has more holes than one of Sabata's victims. Recommended if you want a brainless action Western, but you can probably find better.

In Brief
Anyone famous in it? Yul Brynner - Western star, famous for Magnificent Seven (1960), and an Oscar winner in King and I (1956)
Directed by anyone interesting? Gianfranco Parolini - Director of the other Sabata Trilogy films, and the WW2 action film Five into Hell (1969)
Any gore or violence ? Some blood, plently of Western-style violence.
Any sex or nudity? None
Who is it for? Action film and Spaghetti Western fans should enjoy this. Check out Sabata (1969) first though.

Visuals Original Aspect Ratio - 2.35:1. Anamorphically Enhanced. Colour.
(Title sequence is presented cropped on all sides, possibly from another source to the rest of the film)
The picture quality is very good with only a minimal layer of grain and occasion print damage.
Audio Original English mono - Dolby Digital - sounds good although the opening title music seems a little muffled.
French dub track is also included.
Subtitles English and French.
Extras This disc includes:
  • Trailers: MGM Westerns reel plus full original cinema trailers for: Glory, Major Dundee and The Professionals and DVD trailers for Silverado and Good the Bad and the Ugly (total 12m 06s) [same as on the other Sabata discs]
Region Region 1 (USA, North America) - NTSC
Availability This available on its own or as part of the Sabata Trilogy collection.
Other regions? Japanese R2 (includes original trailer and has English audio), Italian release (with Italian audio only) and a UK release, same as the US disc, includes English, French, German and Spanish audio, plus a large number of subtitle languages (see DVD Rewind for details.
Cuts? Believed to be fully uncut. Print used is English language. The Italian version of the film has some scenes slightly re-ordered.



All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 8th February 2006.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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