Saturday, January 20, 2018

R.I.P. Umberto Lenzi, Part II: 1964-68


6 August 1931 – 19 October 2017

"A mostly unsung titan has passed." The great Umberto Lenzi has left us! In a career that spanned over 30 years, the Italian director churned out fine quality as well as crappy Eurotrash in all genres: comedy, peplum, Eurospy, spaghetti westerns and macaroni combat, poliziotteschi, cannibal and giallo. A career review will begin shortly....

Umberto Lenzi — Part I: 1958–63



The Pirates of Malaysia
(1964, dir. Umberto Lenzi)

Italian title: I pirati della Malesia. The sequel to 1963's Sandokan, la tigre di Mompracem / Sandokan the Great (See Part I: 1958-63) once again starring — *sigh* — Steve Reeves. Based on the novel of the same name written by Italian author Emilio Salgari and first published in 1896.
Regarding the recent DVD release, 10K Bullets says, "This is an entertaining but somewhat old-fashioned adventure movie which is perfect to watch on a rainy Sunday afternoon. The film definitely looks great, has fantastic outdoor locations, some memorable action scenes and Steve 'Hercules' Reeves is a likeable leading man. I don't know how it compares to Lenzi's previous Sandokan feature [...], but I prefer it over his other jungle adventure Sandok, il Maciste della giungla (1964) with Sean Flynn."
At Amazon, they say "One of the best Steve Reeves movies we've ever seen! A ruthless British general tries to force a good king to resign his throne in favor of English rule. Sandokan and his comrades intervene. Some truly great action moments follow! In particular, watch for the scene where a gang of rebels is viciously attacked by a band of wild-eyed natives. Another tense moment has a prisoner about to be thrown into the jaws of an alligator."
The cover art above is of Steve Reeves as painted by the great George Quaintance (3 June 1902 – 8 Nov 1957). Quaintance, oddly enough, downplayed the bulge normally found in Reeves' beefcake photos.


Three Sergeants of Bengal
(1964, writ & dir "Humphrey Humbert" aka Umberto Lenzi)
Italian title: I tre sergenti del Bengala. The plot of what is surely an extremely pro-Colonialist movie, as given at OC World Review: "Sergeant John Foster (Nazzareno Zamperla, also found somewhere in Dellamorte Dellamore [1994]) is placed under arrest for fooling around with his colonel's daughter. At the same time, Sergeant Frankie Ross (Richard 'Nick' Harrison) is jailed for scamming his way out of a shotgun wedding with the help of an imposter chaplain, the notorious alcoholic Sergeant Burt Wallace (Ugo Sasso), who is also imprisoned. But the Three Sergeants of Bengal are given a chance for freedom if they go on a perilous mission to save Fort Madras from the evil bandit Siki Dharma (Aldo Sambrell)."
Cult actor Dakar (of Zombie [1979], Dr Butcher / Zombie Holocaust [1980], Papaya [1978 / trailer] and more) makes an early appearance. Aldo Sambrell is known for working with the great Jess Franco and other Spanish trashmasters, while Richard Harrison, seen above nude from some early beefcake, [duh] "was a very popular beefcake model in the late 1950s. He appeared in campy science fiction films like Kronos (1957 / trailer) before heading to Europe to act in the sword-and-sandal films that were hugely popular at the time. Later, he appeared in spaghetti westerns, before transitioning successfully into a variety of film genres all the way into the 1980s. (Text, like the photo, from Male Models Vintage Beefcake.)"
Roughly thirty minutes of
Three Sergeants of Bengal:
The Italian Film Review thinks the movie "could possibly be the most fun Italian combat feature ever made", and says, "Those Britons who are able to puff up their chests with pride at the thought of an age when half the globe was coloured pink would surely feel a stiffening in the upper lip at the sight of the Redcoats [...] interacting with stock footage animals and Mondo-style documentary footage of natives, some clearly wearing later twentieth-century dress, before going to battle with a load of extras in poorly applied blackface. [...] By no means always played straight, Three Sergeants of Bengal does keep it light and in execution feels, at times, more like Carry On Up The Khyber (1968 / trailer) than Zulu (1964 / trailer). A cunning ambush plan, with a complexity to rival the boardgame Mousetrap, is executed and a retreating enemy is massacred to the sounds of heroic music as featherweight barrels and sandbags get tossed around in the mayhem of battle. Jaw-dropping yet ultimately priceless."
 


Temple of the White Elephant
(1964, writ & dir. Umberto Lenzi)
Italian title: Sandok, il Maciste della giungla. Another pro-Colonialist movie. Co-written with Fulvio Gicca Palli, who eventually also wrote the fun Italo Strangers on a Train (1951 / trailer) inspired "thriller" Designated Victim (1971 / trailer).
First 10 Minutes of
Temple of the White Elephant:
One of Lenzi's less-seen movies, it stars Sean Flynn. Who? Errol Flynn's son, Sean, an adventure-seeking heartthrob of a man whose end was tragic. As Wikipedia explains; "Sean Leslie Flynn (31 May 1941 – June 1971; declared legally dead in 1984) was an American actor and freelance photojournalist best known for his coverage of the Vietnam War. Flynn was the only child of Australian-American actor Errol Flynn and his first wife, French-American actress/singer Lili Damita (10 July 1904 – 21 March 1994) [photo below].
After studying briefly at Duke University, Sean Flynn embarked on an acting career. He retired by the mid-1960s to become a freelance photojournalist under contract to Time. In search of exceptional images, he traveled with special forces units and irregulars operating in remote areas. While on assignment in Cambodia in April 1970, Flynn and fellow photojournalist Dana Stone were captured by communist guerrillas. Neither man was seen or heard from again. In 1984, Flynn's mother had him declared dead in absentia."
Somewhere along the way before disappearing, Sean Flynn also tried his hand at singing and released a two-sided single.
Sean Flynn sings
Secret Love:
Sandok, il Maciste della giungla is so rarely seen, the only plot description we could find was a User Review from 2001 (!) at imdb from VideoImports (videoImports@aol.com): "In India, a group of religious fanatics, the Sikkim rebels, capture an English lieutenant and the daughter of the Viceroy. The Sikkim belong to the deadly sect of the White Elephant, and are very cunning and dangerous. Lieutenant Dick Ramsey (Sean Flynn), captain of the lancers, engineers a scheme to save the two captives. After having been degraded and locked up in order to trick the rebels, he escapes, and makes his way into the jungle to find the mysterious temple. Along the way he meets Sandok (Mimmo Palmara) and Prince Dahara, who both join Ramsey in unmasking the sect and saving the two captives. This film was made right after Lenzi's similar jungle film, Sandokan, I Tigre della Malesia, so it contains many similar locales and actors. [...] This is a really fantastic adventure, with lots of steamy jungle footage, exotic locales, and enough action to make it well worth the watch."
Sean Flynn sings
Stay In My Heart:


Messalina vs. the Son of Hercules
(1964 , dir Umberto Lenzi)
 

"Contains more loin than your average cow."

Italian title: L'ultimo gladiatore. Another movie with Richard Harrison, still beefcake at the age of 29 — that's him packing the jeans below, looking like a living George Quaintance painting. Of the two scriptwriters of Messalina vs. the Son of Hercules, Albert Valentin was a Belgium-born filmmaker whose career as a director pretty much ended by the end of the 1940s, but two of the movies he made under the occupying Nazi forces, La vie de plaisir (1944) and Marie-Martine (1943), might have become classics were they not tainted by the scent of collaboration.
The German website Zelluloid has a plot description: "41 BC. The cruel emperor Caligula (Charles Borromel of The Blade Master aka Ator 2 [1984 / German trailer] and Joe D'Amato's Absurd [1981 / trailer] and The Emperor Caligula: The Untold Story [1982 / trailer]), ruler of the Roman Empire, is waging a pointless war against Britain. When the British warrior of Glaucus (Richard Harrison) catches his eye, Caligula takes him as a prisoner to Rome, where he lets him appear in gladiator fights. Messalina (Lisa Gastoni), wife of Claudius, watches in horror as the insane Caligula makes his horse a Senator and passes ever-more insane laws. With the help of Glaucus, she plans to overthrow Caligula."
Along for the ride is Glaucus' likewise enslaved girlfriend Ena (Marilù Tolo, seen above in bed, of Django Kill... If You Live, Shoot! [1967])…
Trailer to
Django Kill... If You Live, Shoot!
Over at imdb, back in 2011 melvelvit-1 from the suburbs of NYC commented: "Historical events such as Caligula making his horse a senator and Messalina's orgies figure into the story and the beefcake heroics of a chastely-clad Richard Harrison take a back seat whenever Caligula & Co. are on screen, especially Messalina. Beautiful auburn-haired Lisa Gastoni was appropriately imperious and didn't disappoint as the sadistic wife of Emperor Claudius who delights in whipping Glaucus' girlfriend and complains when she can't see the lovers roast because of all the smoke in the drastically scaled down Coliseum arena. […]"
 
Credit sequence to
Messalina vs. the Son of Hercules:


Temple of a Thousand Lights
(1965, dir. Umberto Lenzi)

Italian title: La montagna di luce. Lenzi in Malaysia again, and though the movie is based on an Emilio Salgari book, it is neither a Sandokan movie nor does it have Steve Reeves: instead, Richard Harrison (showing his tan line further below) is there for the ride playing the lead character "Allan Foster". (For some strange reason, the "Tony Randal" of the book, La montagna di luce (1902), got changed to "Allan Foster".) The flick is also notable for some pretty embaressing "brown-face".
Though Sandokan does not appear anywhere in the movie, Temple of a Thousand Lights has appeared at times marketed as a Sandokan movie.

Scene from 
Temple of a Thousand Lights:
Mya DVD seems to be the only person who's seen the film to be inspired to write about it: "La montagna di luce […] has a hero whose moral compass is dictated by circumstances and self-interest, though his fear factor is almost zero. Richard Harrison plays Alan Foster, a care-free gambler/traveler/thief/scoundrel who loses all his money in a game with the powerful Rajah Sindar (Daniele Vargas of Caltiki, the Immortal Monster [1959 / trailer], Cemetery Without Crosses [1969 / trailer] and The Arena [1974 / trailer below]). Owing the Rajah more money than he can ever hope to acquire, he must pay back the debt or face certain death. The Rajah informs him of one possibility of payment: acquiring the heavily protected 'Mountain of Light', a fabulous diamond that holds significant religious value, as well as unheard of monetary worth. The debt will be dismissed if Foster gets the diamond for the Rajah. Foster escapes from the Rajah's palace, where he was imprisoned and, seduced by the wealth the jewel represents, proceeds on a journey to try to steal the diamond for himself. Along the way he meets up with Sitama, a faking fakir, played by dance choreographer and actor Wilbert Bradley. […] 
"The two team up to acquire this coveted jewel that can bring incredible riches to its owner and guarantee a life of pleasure and indolence. […] There is a love interest that evolves later in the film [with Lilamani (Luciana Gilli)], and this is the film's weakest element, as it's one of those affairs that only is real in cinema: enduring love based on a few moments of meeting. […]"
Trailer to
The Arena (1974),
starring Pam Grier:

 

008: Operation Exterminate
(1965, writ "Humphrey Humbert" & dir. Umberto Lenzi)

Italian title: A 008 operazione sterminio. Lenzi finally leaves the jungle, not to mention ancient Greece or Italy. No more peplums for him — time for Eurospy films! (And if he can't have 007, then he'll have 008!)

According to the Wild Eye: "This was the first in a series of four spy films Umberto Lenzi made for producer Fortunato Misiano. […] Lenzi became an accomplished director of giallos, war movies and crime films, but his spy movies are generally considered to be a rather motley bunch, hamstrung by their lack of budget and original ideas. Partially, this is also because until recently they've only been available in dreadful, 4th or 5th generation dupes which look as though they've been painted over with tarmac. In recent years, however, aficionados have taken the trouble to re-dub or subtitle them, and although 008 Operation Exterminate is by no means a good film it's not as terrible as is sometimes said."

Kult Eye Bleeder has the plot: "American secret agent 008 (Ingrid Schoeller, above) and agent 006 from British secret intelligence services (Alberto Lupo of Night of Violence [1965 / scene] and Sodom 2000 aka Action (1980 / scene]) start to work together to locate anti-radar device. Their investigations start from Cairo, Egypt and later takes them to Switzerland. […]"

Italian Film Review is of the opinion that "The plot is wafer thin. This should not really matter too much as the story […] is little more than a frame on which to hang a series of confrontations with enemy agents set against delightful scenery and involving pistols, gadgets and karate chops. […] The film […] features a female Bond figure of a lead. 008, armed with a tear gas dispensing lipstick, is played by Ingrid Schoeller and she has a male sidekick. This gender role reversal in itself sets the film apart from so many entries to the genre but the original point of reference and obvious influence is underscored as the camera homes in on a copy of Live and Let Die by Ian Fleming. […] Mod fashion, breathtaking Egyptian and Alpine vistas, and a villain (Sal Borgese of Death Carries a Cane [1973 / trailer] and Green Inferno [1980 / trailer]) who fires daggers from a prosthetic hand are just some of the delights in store. A couple of frankly crackers head-scratching twist and turns in the final minutes subvert the predictable linear narrative and add further interest to this superior Eurospy outing." 
First four minutes of
008: Operation Exterminate:
 

Super Seven Calling Cairo
(1965, writ. & dir. Umberto Lenzi)
Italian title: Superseven chiama Cairo. The plot, as paraphrased from the German website Zelluloid: "A difficult case for Martin Stevens, aka Agent Super Seven (Roger Browne of The Lone Road [1916 / trailer] and, most famously, Argoman the Fantastic Superman [1967 / trailer]), whose missions around the world are top secret and highly explosive. This time as well. Radioactive material has disappeared from a Liverpool laboratory. Who's behind it? Someone unknown managed to hide the stolen goods in a camera — which is on its way to Cairo! Agent Super Seven is on his own. With a lot of people on his heels: the Russian intelligence service also wants to get a hold of the camera. Their methods are not exactly fair, which is why Mr. Stevens should be rather careful when hot women make beautiful eyes at him — because, who knows who's paying them to do so?"
The Eurobabes of the movie include Fabienne Dali (of the great Kill Baby, Kill [1966 / trailer], seen belowbut not from this film here) and the great and Rosalba Neri (of, among many noteworthy films, Lady Frankenstein [1971] and José Ramón Larraz's  La muerte incierta [1973]).
Monster Hunter, which says "Director Umberto Lenzi […] manages to deliver a mostly dull picture punctuated by outbursts of almost laughable moments", points out the truth: "Superseven is the guy who gets the assignments that James Bond would reject as not flashy enough. Thwarting supervillains bent on world domination and equipped with monstrous secret bases is one thing, but recovering the zoom lens from a primitive video camera is something best left to a junior varsity squadder like Superseven."
German credit sequence:

 

The Spy Who Loved Flowers
(1966, writ & dir. "Herbert Humphry" aka Umberto Lenzi)

Italian title: Le spie amano i fiori. The sequel to Super Seven Calling Cairo. As Monster Hunter puts it, "Director Umberto Lenzi gets another chance to use a historical location (the Acropolis) to show us that Martin's codename should have been Stupidseven. […] For obvious reasons, this was the final Superseven adventure. For reasons much less obvious, Lenzi and Roger Browne would team up again the next year for another Eurospy effort, Last Man to Kill."
Fan-made trailer to
The Spy Who Loved Flowers:
Aveleyman has the plot: "Superseven goes around assassinating folks who stole some vaguely defined MacGuffin. [A dildo-like device called 'The Gamma Electroscometron'.] He might meet his match running against the bad guy (Fernando Cebrián of House of 1000 Dolls [1967 / trailer]) of the title, though. Not bad, but a bit dour and listless. The dubbing is also more of a hindrance than usual (all Brits don't sound like Ronald Colman). Way too much travelogue footage and zoom throttling […]."
 
The Bad Girl of the movie, Mei Ling, is played by Yoko Tani (2 Aug 1928 – 19 April 1999), seen below looking sexy as a stereotype for a French postcard; she's also found in First Spaceship on Venus (1960 / trailer) and Invasion (1966 / trailer). The lead female, Emma Danieli (14 Oct 1936 – 21 June 1998), had an even more limited career but is nevertheless found in a much better movie than this one, The Last Man on Earth (1964).
Superseven being incompetent:
 

Last Man to Kill
(1966. Writ & dir Umberto Lenzi)

Italian title: Un milione di dollari per sette assassini. Lenzi's fourth and last (semi)Eurospy movie, once again with Roger Browne, but not as Superseven aka Stupidseven. We call the movie "(semi)Eurospy" because although the flick has all the trappings of a Europay movie, Browne's character is actually a master thief.
Co-scriptwriter Gianfranco Clerici went on to work on many Eurotrash classics and favs, including Lucio Fulci's Don't Torture a Duckling (1972 / trailer), Murder Rock: Dancing Death (1984 / trailer) and The New York Ripper (1982 / trailer), Ruggero Deodato's Last Cannibal World (1977 / trailer), a film originally intended for Lenzi), Phantom of Death (1988 / trailer), The House on the Edge of the Park (1980 / trailer, with David Hess) and Cannibal Holocaust (1980 / trailer), and other fine stuff like Nazi Love Camp 27 (1977 / fan-made trailer) — one and all better movies than this one.
To paraphrase the German website Die-besten-horrorfilme, the plot should be as follows: "The wily but charming crook Michael King (Roger Browne) has made his way to Africa, where he executes one spectacular coup after another. Due to skillful disguises, no one can identify him — but he always leaves behind his calling card, a King playing card. A wealthy businessman offers him $10,000 to locate his missing adoptive son. But King finds only his body. Now, he is given a far more lucrative offer: he should kill the murderers. The hunt is on. King tells his victims in advance that their days are numbered, and panic breaks out in the group. But King finds himself caught in a web full of intrigue and..."
Credit sequence:


Kriminal
(1966, writ & dir Umberto Lenzi)

Leaving Eurospies behind him, Lenzi turned to the Italian Fumetti neri  for his next movie. Unable to get the rights to either Diabolik or Satanik — Mario Bava filmed Danger Diabolik in 1968 (trailer), the same year that Piero Vivarelli filmed Satanik (trailer) — Lenzi turned to Kriminal, an anti-hero created by writer "Max Bunker" (i.e., Luciano Secchi) and artist "Magnus" (i.e., Robert Raviola).
Opening credits:
In the comics, Kriminal's real name was Anthony Logan, and he first turned to crime to avenge the death of his father. Dressed in a black and yellow jumpsuit with a skeleton motif and wearing a skull mask, he began his career as a coldblooded sadistic killer that would kill as quickly as spit, but over time he became a sort of semi-hero. Despite being married (to the ex-fiancée of his arch-enemy Inspector Milton), Kriminal seduces and screws (and usually kills) one babe after the other. Lenzi went for a much lighter tone in his version of the character, making him much less a psychopathic sex killer.
The Tell-Tale Mind says, "In this particular caper, Kriminal ("Glenn Saxon" aka Roel Bos) is out to steal some diamonds, but to do so, he must con his way through a number of people before reaching his end goal and all the while evading the police and a determined Scotland Yard inspector as played by Andrea Bosic (of Formula for Murder [1985 / trailer] and Manhattan Baby [1982]). The film is packed with beautiful women, almost all of whom Kriminal must seduce in order to get the goods and what is more than a little funny about it all is that the women are just as corrupt as he is. Helga Liné (of Horror Express [1972 / trailer], Nightmare Castle [1965 / full movie], Jose Ramón Larraz's Estigma [1980] and much, much more) plays twin sisters who have stolen the diamonds from someone else and it is she that Kriminal must conquer if he is to get the diamonds he covets. While the movie begins as a more comedic effort, Kriminal trying to avoid the Inspector wherever he goes and playing with people as he would a game of chess, it soon turns into a bit of a suspenseful thriller […]. That being said, it could have been a little more exciting as those moments when Kriminal was not doing something related to his crimes were, for lack of a better word, slightly boring. […]"
Married life:



Desert Commandos
(1967, writ & dir. Umberto Lenzi)

Italian title: Attentato ai tre grandi. Lenzi enters the genre of macaroni combat with a WWII movie in which five German soldiers are the heroes (!). Added unusual aspect: former American beefcake model Ken Clark (4 June 1927 – 1 June 2009), of Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959) and 12 to the Moon (1960 / trailer), plays the film's racist Nazi fanatic Captain Fritz Schoeller, while the German Horst Frank (28 May 1929 – 25 May 1999), of  The Head (1959 / full movie) and  The Dead Are Alive / The Etruscan Kills Again (1972 / trailer), plays the less-fanatical half-American, Jew-friendly Nazi Lt. Roland Wolf.
The photo below is of a slim, naked and hairy Ken Clark, from a time when men did not shave their chests... among everything else. Contrary to what many believe, he was not an "eternal bachelor": when the notably bulging man (get a gander of that shapely outline in Attack of the Giant Leeches!) moved on to swinging Italy for the wild life of a single movie star, he left behind a wife and five kids.
Mondo Esoterica has the plot: "Parachuted behind enemy lines in Tunisia, [5 German soldiers] are disguised as British Commandos and are to make their way across the desert to Casablanca where the Big Three (Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt) are going to be meeting and there they are going to kill the leaders of these countries. [...] The mission seems to be going to plan, but the Americans seem all too aware of the group's plans and progress... "
Most people don't seem to find the movie all the good — too many plot holes — but over at imdb, Sgt Slaughter from St. Davids, Pennsylvania, USA, says, "Italian director Umberto Lenzi [...] begins his career in the war genre with a slam-bang suspense piece which proves to be, undoubtedly, one of the best war movies to come out of Italy in the 1960s. The story is fresh and original, and presented with unique twists from beginning to end. [...] Lenzi's film is a true example of character-driven drama at its best. Ken Clark is Captain Schoeller, leader of the unit, and he's never less than totally convincing as a die-hard advocate of Hitler and Nazism. Horst Frank plays Lt. Wolf with gusto and conviction. [...] Despite their dissension, both are dedicated soldiers who have a job to get done, and grudgingly work together to accomplish the mission. Lenzi never strays far from this central conflict of ideals, always keeping his message clearly in focus." (Message?)
Full Movie:

 

Il figlio di Aquila Nera
(1968, dir. "James Reed", aka Guido Malatesta)

The Italian title translates into "The Son of the Black Eagle". Umberto Lenzi is credited for the story to this Italian movie that doesn't seem to have ever had an English-language release. "Dick Palmer" is the anglicized name of Italo muscleman Mimmo Palmara, which he usually adopted for his spaghetti westerns. The delectable Edwige Fenech (of They're Coming to Get You [1972 / trailer], The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh [1971 / trailer], Five Dolls for an August Moon [1970 / trailer], Phantom of Death [1980 / trailer] and much more) is there as well... the photo of her below is not from the movie.
The plot, freely translated from the German website Zelluloid: "The Cossacks are involved in a battle led by Alessio Andrejewis (Dick Palmer), son of the famous 'Black Eagle', who is famous for having repelled the revolt led by General Volkansky (Franco Ressel of Blood and Black Lace [1964 / trailer] and Seven Dead in the Cat's Eye [1973]) against the Cossacks. During a heavy counter-attack against the palace of the Governor, three of the Black Eagle's men are captured and sentenced to death. During an attempt to gain their freedom, Alessio is also captured — but Captain Romanoff's niece (Edwige Fenech, seen below, not from the movie) helps them escape. Volkansky takes up the pursuit, it comes to fighting and Volkansky is killed in a duel. Now, the Black Eagle demands that the Tsar to give the Cossacks freedom and independence...."
Somewhere out there, in some German-speaking country, the movie was released with a great Barbara Cartland-style poster art.
The only other description of the movie we could find, from 11 March 2001 and by VideoImports (videoImports@aol.com), is at the imdb. It calls the movie an "action-packed costume adventure from Italy" and offers a slightly different take on the plot: "After Czar Alexander II names the vicious General Volkonsky as governor of the Caucasus, the Cossacks decide to plan a revolt. Alessio Andrejevic, a young nobleman, adopts his father's alias, 'the Black Eagle', and begins to free villagers from the terror and tyranny of Imperial Russia. This film boasts some wonderful cinematography by Augusto Tiezzi, as well as favorable roles for Mimmo Palmara, Loris Gizzi, and Andrea Aureli (the latter of whom actually gets to play a good guy for a change). This film also has a remarkable music score (by Angelo Francesco Lavagnino), and contains one of the best battle scenes I've ever witnessed! The fact that Umberto Lenzi wrote the original storyline for this film is icing on the cake. This film is simply too good to be true."
The movie,
in Italian:

 

Pistol for a Hundred Coffins
(1968, dir. Umberto Lenzi)
The Italian title: Una pistola per cento bare. Aka A Gun for One Hundred Graves and Vengeance. Lenzi does his first of only two spaghetti westerns, this one written by Marco Leto and Vittorio Salerno and based on a story by Eduardo Manzanos Brochero. Manzanos Brochero later worked on the scripts of Night of the Devils (1972 / gory scene) and innumerable spaghetti westerns; Vittorio Salerno went on to direct The Savage Three (1975 / 15 minutes), featuring the hunky bad actor Joe Dallesandro, and No, the Case Is Happily Resolved (1973 / soundtrack).
Mondo Esoterica, which says "Una Pistola per Cento Bare is a decent, but rather generic Spaghetti Western, with pedestrian direction, some average performances and a script that misses a lot of interesting potential but does at least build to a good ending," has the plot: "When the Civil War breaks out, Jim Slade (Peter Lee Lawrence) refuses to fight, citing his Jehovah's Witness faith and he is duly sentenced to two and a half years of hard labour. After the war he is released and returns home where he finds his family have been murdered and their farm looted. Decrying his pacifism, Jim sets out to track down the four men responsible, killing three of them easily — but the fourth, Corbett (Piero Lulli), is leading a ruthless gang in an assault on a small town bank and Jim finds himself drawn into the middle of the fight to defend the town, although he is hampered by the escape of a gang of axe-murdering lunatics locked up in the town asylum. […] The story […] is pretty typical Spaghetti Western stuff, the addition of the crowd of jailed axe-wielding lunatics is the only thing that really makes the film stand out, but it does seem like those scenes were simply added for that reason and […] play no real part in the plot. […] Pacing is pretty slow but fortunately the build up to the climax is strong with some clever twists and turns and the ending is very fitting."
Trailer to
A Gun for One Hundred Graves:
Though forgotten today, the German actor Peter Lee Lawrence (born Karl Hyrenbach on February 21, 1944) was a popular and busy leading man of the spaghetti western genre. His un-credited debut was only a year previously, in 1965, as the brother-in-law of Lee Van Cleef in For a Few Dollars More (trailer), but his name was already a draw by A Gun for One Hundred Graves. But six years later, on 20 August 1974, he died from one of the most aggressive cancers known to man, glioblastoma (a form of brain cancer). He was only 30 years old. And now he's forgotten and unknown.
The other headliner, John Ireland, once directed the granddaddy of the current unstoppable franchise of the same name, The Fast and the Furious (1955 / teaser), and is known for many an A and B film — the latter (including I Saw What You Did [1965 / trailer], The House of Seven Corpses [1974 / trailer] and Welcome to Arrow Beach [1974 / trailer]) being for what we remember him best.
According to forgotten actress Joanne Dru (31 Jan 1922 – 10 Sept 1996), Ireland's "staunch Republican" wife from 1949 to 57, Ireland was hung like a horse: "I got John, and he ruined me for all other men. […] John, I'm sure, had more than Monty [Clift], Marlon [Brando] and Jimmy [Dean] put together. (Brando Unzipped, by Darwin Porter.)" That's John "Long Dong" Ireland above from some western, possibly Go for Broke (1968), obviously — as in many of his movies — not wearing underwear.


Go for Broke
(1968, dir. Umberto Lenzi)

Italian title: Tutto per tutto. Aka All Out. "A minor but entertaining movie with an excellent cast of spaghetti western regulars."
Lenzi's second and last spaghetti western, once again from the pen of Eduardo Manzanos Brochero and, returning for his second Lenzi spaghetti western in a row, John "Horse" Ireland (of Salon Kitty [1976 / trailer], Satan's Cheerleaders [1977 / trailer] and Guyana: Cult of the Damned [1979 / trailer]). Ireland headlines alongside Mark Damon, who entered the acting biz a few years before his first "big" success in The House of Usher (1960 / trailer) and pretty much left it after the two cut classics Hannah, Queen of the Vampires (1973 / trailer) and The Devil's Wedding Night (1973 / trailer); he's now a super-successful independent film producer.
The blog Not the Baseball Pitcher has the plot: "Owl and Johnny's first meeting doesn't get off to a good start. […] Their next meeting Owl (John "The Whopper" Ireland) spots Johnny (Mark Damon) being cheated in a card game and helps him get his revenge, clearing his name. In the shootout with the cheater, at the man's ranch, Johnny saves two Mexicans about to be killed. Paco Nunez (Eduardo Fajardo) and Jose Gomez (Armando Calvo) then offer Johnny a cut of a fortune if he and his gun throw in with them. The gold had been stolen by bandit Carrancha (Fernando Sancho) and his gang, then stolen by an Indian named Copper Face (José Torres) from him. […] Maria (Mónica Randall), Carrancha's girl friend pops up and offers to help them find the Indian. […] He stole the gold because Maria was his wife and had left him for Carrancha. […] And once the gold is found, well you know what greed can do […]."
Over at imdb, unbrokenmetal (from Hamburg, Germany) says "This western is a good example how to achieve a lot with very little. It's a simple story, straight violent fun, and the main characters know all the tricks of the trade. An entertaining hour and a half, nothing more, nothing less."
The eye-catching Monica Randall is also found in such fun stuff as El monte de las brujas / The Witches Mountain (1975 / full movie), My Dear Killer (1972 / trailer), Paul Naschy's Inquisition (1978 / fan trailer) and more.
Trailer to
Go for Broke:

 

More to Come….
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