the small town of Arlington, John and George McIntire are returning
home after 15 years of schooling in Boston, on the safe East Coast. The
boys are unfamiliar with the small-town ways, and are real hotheads,
soon running into trouble when they attack a man who is claiming
protection money from their father. Fortunately they have a guardian
angel in the shape of the mysterious Stranger (Gianni Garko) - but when fellow Bounty Killer Duke (William Berger) rides into town, with orders to kill the boys, a conflict starts to brew...
1971 the Spaghetti Western had
passed its peak, but it remained popular with audiences, and genre
titles would be shot for another six years - by this time however, a
lot of the titles had resorted to gimmicks to retain their appeal, from
Kung-Fu (My Name is Shanghai Joe (1972)) to slapstick (the Trinity films) and pure surreality (Blindman (1971)). Fortunately They Call him Cemetery, although from the writer of My Name is Trinity (1971) , avoids most of this and is a relatively straight forward, although quite humourous Western.
script is generally strong, with an interesting mix of a traditional
Western storyline - the boys defending their father and his ranch from
the gang who claim protection money - and a typical Spaghetti Western
theme - the duelling Bounty Killers. All of the usual sequences are in
there, from the boys learning how to be expert gunslingers, to the big
barroom brawl and plenty of big gunfights - unfortunately, a lot of the
film lacks a narrative drive and becomes quite episodic, but it picks
up towards the suitably climactic conclusion (although the ending is a
little drawn out). The humour is surprisingly clever for a Spaghetti
Western, and more than just the usual slapstick.
Director Giuliano Carnimeo (as usual credited as
Anthony Ascott) best known for the Sartana
films, gives another strong directoral turn here, working as usual with
cinematographer Stelvio Massi who often takes advantage of the
long and short focus abilities of the scope lens. The soundtrack, from
composer Bruno Nicolai, has a good main theme and supports the
film well throughout.
Garko takes the lead role here, by now a genre veteran he looks the
part completely, with some good gunslinging skills on show. He is
joined by William Berger who seems to be playing a very similar
part to his 'Banjo' character in Sabata
(1969). The two McIntire brothers are played by the otherwise
unknown John Fordyce, and English born Chris Chittel (who is now
best known as Eric Pollard on the British TV soap Emmerdale) who both give good and convincing performances. The rest of the cast is filled with a variety of familiar faces.
Avoiding the descent into parody and slapstick, They Call him Cemetery is
an entertaining if rather unremarkable Spaghetti Western, boasting
strong direction and another good turn from Gianni Garko. Genre fans
should enjoy this, but newcomers will find a lot better titles out
there to watch first. Partly recommended.
Giuliano Carnimeo - better known as Anthony Ascott who directed a number of Spaghetti Westerns, including Buon funerale, amigos!... paga Sartana (1970) and the popular giallo entry The Case of the Bloody Iris (1972)
Lots of Western violence, nothing bloody.
Who is it for?
Spaghetti Western fans should enjoy this solid genre entry, but nothing special for newcomers.
A good score from Bruno Nicholai
Original Aspect Ratio - 2.35:1. Anamorphically Enhanced. Colour The
picture quality is decent with noticable grain and some print damage (a
few scenes also look quite soft), but generally strong and more than
Original German and Italian mono tracks, both sound strong but there are occasional moments of lower quality.
German (for the Italian track). English (translates the Italian) - good, with only a couple of minor spelling errors.
The disc features:
Ein Halleluja für Anthony Ascott
- an interview documentary with Anthony Ascott, George Hilton and
Gianni Garko, talking about their work in the genre, including this
film as well as the Sartana films. Very interesting. 25 minutes. Mostly
in Italian, with English and German optional subtitles.
Lengthy original Italian theatrical trailer. Spoiler filled.
A manually scrolling poster, lobby card and stills gallery.