Monday, June 29, 2015

Movie Review: The Last Gun

The Last Gun (Jim il primo) a.k.a Killer's Canyon a.k.a Lonely Gunslinger a.k.a Django, the Last Gun
Rasfilm, Sagebrush Productions, Italy, 1964.
The Last Gun title
This movie can be found in Ten Thousand Ways to Die The Spaghetti Western Collection 12 Movie Pack by Mill Creek Entertainment.

Jim Hart (Cameron Mitchell) is a left-handed gunslinger who swears to leave violence behind. Outlaw gang gets a new boss, Jess Lindahl (Livio Lorenzon). The gang hires a guitarist named Guitar (Carl Möhner) who is also left-handed gunman. Guitar knows Jim Hart and is looking for him. The gang goes to Sanderson to behave badly. Banker Morgan (Luigi Batzella) and dance girl Cherie (actor unknown) wants to hire Jess to hijack a shipment of gold. Guitar casts his eyes on barmaid Dolores (Célina Cély). Her barkeeper mom Rosalia (Anna Lina Alberti) does not approve Guitar.
Livio Lorenzon
Jess Lindahl
Carl Möhner
Luigi Batzella
Banker Morgan and Cherie
Janet (Kitty Carver) is getting married with store keeper Bill (who is really Jim Hart) but she is harassed by Jess' goon Jack. Her father (Calisto Calisti) defends her. Sheriff (Giulio Maculani) tries to hire men to escort the gold shipment but not even Bill dares to help. Janet scolds him for being such a coward. When Janet is assaulted by Jack, Jim puts on a mask and shoots the offender. The goons suspect that Jim Hart is the masked man.
Anna Lina Alberti and Célina Cély
Rosalia and Dolores
Kitty Carver and Cameron Mitchell
Janet and Bill
Ugo Fangareggi
Some of Jess' goons. Bowtie (Ugo Fangareggi)  in the middle
Janet goes riding but Jess attacks her. Again masked man saves her. Sheriff's wife Millie (Fanny Clair) and daughter Terry (actor unknown) are going to grandparents in a wagon. Jess' goon Texas (actor unknown) assault a woman, Bill tries to help but he is beaten. To keep his men on leash, Jess kills Texas. Guitar talks to Bill, and offers to work for him if he needs a gunman.
Giulio Maculani
Masked avenger!
Meanwhile rogue members of Jess' gang try to rob the wagon and assault the women. Masked man strikes again. When the gold wagon is arriving, Jess and his men leave. But someone robs the wagon first, and Guitar is suspected. However someone has delivered the gold to sheriff's office. Jess isn't happy.

The movie is nicely presented in wide screen format. The movie is a bit more "American-style" Spaghetti western. The residents of the town are given quite a lot of screen time, there's Sheriff and his family, barkeeper's family, little boy Tommy (Dony Baster) with his daddy (actor unknown) who gets into trouble when drunk and an obligatory old man Noah (actor unknown). The town girls are pretty and the villains just can't keep their hands off them. Luckily masked avenger is always around to save them.
Dony Baster
The story is a variation of Zorro / any masked hero plot line. Cameron Mitchell is quite wooden in this one, Carl Möhner is a more interesting character. The pacing is quite slow. This is not very good  western movie, but still watchable.

Rating: Average

Starring: Cameron Mitchell, Carl Möhner, Célina Cély, Kitty Carver, Livio Lorenzon, Mariangela Giordano (as Mary Gordon), Luke Aaron, Anna Lina Alberti (as Lina Albert), Dony Baster, Luigi Batzella (as Paul Solvay), Calisto Calisti, Fanny Clair, Ugo Fangareggi (as Ugo Mudd), Giulio Maculani (as Harris Cooper), Rosy March, Giuseppe Mattei (as John Mathius), Vic Nojaski, Diego Pozzetto, Cinzia Rancher, Attilio Severini
Director: Sergio Bergonzelli 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Movie Review: Seven Guns for Timothy

Seven Guns for Timothy (7 magnifiche pistole) a.k.a Seven Magnificent Guns a.k.a Johnny Black 
Balcázar Producciones Cinematográficas, C.I.A. Cinematografica, N.B.S. Cinematografica, Italy, Spain, 1966. 
Seven Guns for Timothy title
This movie can be found in Ten Thousand Ways to Die The Spaghetti Western Collection 12 Movie Pack by Mill Creek Entertainment. 

The movie opens with cut out animation that reminds a bit of Monty Python. Also the theme song is quite goofy.

Sancho Rodrigo Rodriguez (Fernando Sancho) wants to take over a gold mine and massacres the mine workers. Only foreman Sergeant Corky (Poldo Bendandi) is left alive. Mine owner Timothy Hollister Benson (Sean Flynn, Errol's son) wants to take care of the matter by using lawful means but Corky does not believe it will be enough. 
Fernando Sancho
Sancho Rodrigo Rodriguez
Poldo Bendandi
Timothy Hollister Benson
Sean Flynn
Corky helps his friends card shark Bert (Frank Oliveras) and Indian Grey Eagle (Rafael Albaicín) escape prison. Corky hires them for help. Next Corky recruits boxer Brett Colton (Spartaco Conversi) and beer lover Abel (Tito García). At the saloon skilled gunman Slim (Daniel Martín) duels three of Sancho's men. However Slim does not join the others yet. 
Rafael Albaicín
Grey Eagle
Daniel Martín
Frank Oliveras, Tito Garcia and Spartaco Conversi
Bert, Abel and Brett
Sheriff Coleman (Antonio Almorós) is corrupt and helps Sancho. Sancho has also a henchman named Pepi (Francisco Gabarre). Sancho's newest wife is Ramona (Silvana Bacci or Anita Todesco?) but he still wants another, Coralie (Ida Galli). But Coralie likes Timothy. Timothy is intellectual abstainist and does not want to fight. That changes when Sancho shoots his dog. The six heroes teach him how to be a whiskey drinking gunslinger. 
Antonio Almorós
Sheriff Coleman
Sancho's new wife Ramona
Francisco Gabarre
This is a little known and underrated film that has some interesting characteristics that may show that even these more obscure productions may have greater influence than it is commonly thought. 

The movie fluctuates between serious action scenes and slapstick comedy. The Spaghetti westerns of the 1960s. were commonly serious and grim. In adding comedy to the genre the movie kind of foreshadowed the humorous Spaghettis of the 1970s. This was made four years before "They Call Me Trinity." The mixture of comedy and violent action scenes is similar to Hong Kong martial arts movies of 1970-80s. 
Ida Galli
Sean Flynn
No more Mr. Nice Guy
The story itself is obviously influenced by "The Magnificent Seven," which in turn was remake of "Seven Samurai." However the story takes an interesting turn. The young and naive hero of the story must undergo a long training session where different masters teach him their skills. It would not be far off to say that some martial arts movies may have taken some influences here. If you replace the six seasoned gunfighters with
Shaolin masters and Timothy with Jackie Chan the result is not very far from for example "Shaolin Wooden Men."

There are also some other things that resonate with later Hong Kong- movies. Spaghetti Western gun sound effects also sound similar to the effects used in 1980s Hong Kong Gun fu movies. Bert lights his cigar with bribe money offered by Sancho, John Woo's "A Better Tomorrow" has a scene where Chow Yun-Fat lights a cigarette using a counterfeit bill. 
Money burns
Director Romolo Girolami is Enzo G. Castellari's and Ennio Girolami's uncle. Sean Flynn was Errol's son and became a photojournalist after his short acting career. He was killed by Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. 

Seven Guns for Timothy is not one of the best Spaghetti westerns, but an entertaining flick with an early comedic approach to the genre. 

Rating: Good 

Starring: Sean Flynn, Fernando Sancho, Ida Galli (as Evelyn Stewart), Daniel Martín, Frank Oliveras, Poldo Bendandi, Tito García, Spartaco Conversi, Rafael Albaicín, Antonio Almoró, Francisco Gabarre, Silvana Bacci, Ivan Basta, Alberico Donadeo, Osvaldo Genazzani, Maruska Rossetti, Anita Todesco, William Conroy, L. Gallo 
 Director: Romolo Guerrieri (Romolo Girolami)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Movie Review: Four Dollars of Revenge

Four Dollars of Revenge (Cuatro dólares de venganza) a.k.a Four Dollars for Vengeance 
Balcázar Producciones Cinematográficas, Compagnia Ambrosiana Cinematografica de Roma, Spain, Italy, 1966. 
Four Dollars of Revenge title
This movie can be found in Ten Thousand Ways to Die The Spaghetti Western Collection 12 Movie Pack by Mill Creek Entertainment.

War hero Captain Roy Dexter (Robert Woods) is retiring from cavalry and campaigning to become  governor. Clifford Hamilton (Gérard Tichy) also wants to be a governor. Reporter Banyon (unknown actor, in some sources he is named Osvaldo Genazzani but he looks completely different) supports Roy. Roy and his friend Captain Barry Haller (Angelo Infanti) are wooing Mercedes (Dana Ghia). Mercedes selects Roy. Roy has an unpleasant drunk gambler cousin Dave Griffith (Antonio Molino Rojo) who is always begging more money. 
Robert Woods
Roy Dexter
Gérard Tichy
Angelo Infanti
Barry Haller
Roy is assigned to final mission to escort a shimpment of confiscated Confederate gold coins to Washington. Someone betrays the army and bandits kill everyone except Roy. Someone frames Roy for the robbery. In the trial Dave testifies against Roy and he is sentenced for life. In the rock quarry someone tries to murder Roy. Roy decides that pounding rocks is not safe anymore so he escapes and everyone believes that he fell off a cliff. 
Dana Ghia
Antonio Molino Rojo and Eleanora Bianchi
Dave & his wife (Eleanora Bianchi)
Roy saves a man's life and gains a loyal sidekick, Pedro (Tomás Torres). Pedro tells that Manuel de Losa (José Manuel Martín) was the leader of the bandits behind the robbery. Roy infiltrates the gang and starts to hunt down the guys who betrayed him. Also Colonel Jackson (Antonio Casas) suspects that Roy may be innocent. Roy's Mexican outfit and beard prove to be good disguises. 
Bandits attack
Tomás Torres
José Manuel Martín
Manuel de Losa
Bruno Corbucci (brother of Sergio and the writer of scripts for "Django" and many Terence Hill & Bud Spencer movies) co-wrote the story. This is like Spaghetti western version of "The Count of Monte Cristo", even Roy's love interest has the same name as in the original story. True to its roots there are also some sword fights. 

The cinematography looks nice but this copy suffers from bad pan & scan and blurring near the edges. The movie is quite good mystery type revenge western. There is a good suspenseful scene where Roy meets one of the traitors in a dark room, then lights a match and reveals his face. 
Rating: Good 

Starring: Robert Woods, Dana Ghia, Angelo Infanti, Antonio Casas, José Manuel Martín, Gérard Tichy, Tomás Torres, Giulio Maculani, Antonio Molino Rojo, Osvaldo Genazzani, Gardenia Polito, Lucio Rosato, Gianluigi Crescenzi, Gustavo Re, Sergio Doré, Carlos Ronda, Eleanora Bianchi, Robert Hoot, Francisco Nieto, Miguel De La Riva 
Director: Jaime Jesús Balcázar

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Movie Review: Now They Call Him Sacramento

Now They Call Him Sacramento (Spanish title: Hijos de pobres, pero deshonestos padres... Le llamaban Calamidad, Italian title: I bandoleros della dodicesima ora) a.k.a Desperado a.k.a Now They Call Him Amen 
Balcázar Producciones Cinematográficas, Variety Film Production, Spain, Italy, 1972. 
Now They Call Him Sacramento title
This movie can be found in Ten Thousand Ways to Die The Spaghetti Western Collection 12 Movie Pack by Mill Creek Entertainment.

Sacramento (Michael Forest) is an adventurer whose horse drinks milk and does not like saddles. Himself he drinks whiskey like no other, he humiliates some thugs in tavern. The thugs were about to rob a train but Sacramento foiled their plot. Big Jim (Fred Harrison) disguises himself as a preacher and humiliates another trio of train robbers. Then Sacramento, Jim and Jim's father Tequila (Luigi Bonos) rob the train themselves. 
Michael Forest
Fred Harrison
Big Jim
Luigi Bonos
The train robbery was the plan of banker Mr. Cray (Antonio Molino Rojo) to steal farmers money. If the farmers do not pay their debts, Mr. Cray will confiscate their lands. When Sacramento and Jim learn about the true owners of the money, Sacramento tries to help the farmers. Especially when the farmers look like Jenny McKinley (Malisa Longo). Tequila cons the other two and steals the loot. Then the bad guys steal the money.  
Malisa Longo
Jenny McKinley
Three bandits
Antonio Molino Rojo
Mr. Cray and Sheriff (Paolo Gozlino)
This is a Spanish-Italian knock-off of Terence Hill & Bud Spencer comedic westerns. There are some comedic shoot-outs but the heroes use more their fists. Michael Forest does an easy-going Trinity-type hero role. Fred Harrison imitates well Bud Spencer's trademark moves and mannerism. The villains are goofy and just come to ask more beating. One of the main three bandits looks like Charles Bronson. The music is 1970s style easy-going country with wah-wah guitars. The ending has a long fistfight where the heroes blow up most of the town. Not a great western classic but enjoyable for friends of slapstick humor and comic fistfights.

Rating: Good

Starring: Michael Forest, Fernando Bilbao (as Fred Harrison), Malisa Longo, Paolo Gozlino, Luigi Bonos, Gaspar 'Indio' González, Manuel Muñiz (as Pajarito), Antonio Almorós, Antonio Molino Rojo, Fernando Rubio, Juan Fairen (as Johnny Fairen), Luigi Antonio Guerra, Juan Torres, Manuel Bronchud, Mario Del Vago, Irene D'Astrea, César Ojinaga, Fabio Garriba
Director: Alfonso Balcázar (as Al Bagran)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Movie Review: Miami Magma

Miami Magma a.k.a World on Fire a.k.a Swamp Volcano 
Active Entertainment, Bullet Films, Syfy, USA, 2011. 
Miami Magma title
Near Miami evil oil company drills too deep and hits a magma reservoir. The oil rig explodes. Oil company CEOs Jacob Capilla (Brad Dourif) and Ray Miller (Cleavant Derricks) try to cover up the accident, because they were drilling illegally. Vulcanologist Antoinette Vitrini (Rachel Hunter) plans a field trip to nearby swamp that she suspects to the location of an ancient super volcano. Hence the alternative name "Swamp Volcano!" Her sister Emily (Melissa Ordway) is a student who has a crush on Antoinette's research partner Brandon (Griff Furst). The results of the field trip are confusing. Also one unlucky student gets left behind and he is boiled in hot water, however no one seems to even notice that he disappeared. 
Rachel Hunter
Antoinette Vitrini
Melissa Ordway
Cleavant Derricks and Brad Dourif
Ray Miller and Jacob Capilla
Antoinette's old flame Dr. Brad Turner (J.D. Evermore) appears and has some news. Brad reveals that Holter oil company is drilling near lava tubes and they have also hacked into Antoinette's geological data. Then the volcano starts to erupt and hot steam breaks havoc at bikini contest. Meanwhile the oil company bosses twirl their moustaches and pump more oil. Antoinette wants answers and tries to hack oil company computers with a hacking device that is probably the worst hidden spying device in the history of cinema. Oil company sends hired killer Butch Sanderson (Miles Doleac) after her. 
Griff Furst
Brandon Rice
J.D. Evermore
Dr. Brad Turner
Lava starts to rise and the city is threatened. Antoinette's team tries to stop the volcano with National Guard. However evil Ray Miller still tries to cover up the whole mess.
Miami Magma!
The acting is decent but the story is usual catastrophe film stuff. However there are some twists in the story. Some disaster scenes could be cool if they weren't realized so half-heartedly. Also the fate of some disaster victims is left annoyingly open. For example what happened to the girl who tried to escape the steam tsunami by diving underwater. Did she survive or not? The science is silly with Syfy physics and unrealistic lava effects. The cinematography is decent with nice aerial views of Miami. As far as the Syfy-productions go this is quite average, not so bad it is good but not a good movie either. 

Rating: Bad (for a low budget TV-movie) 

Starring:  Anna Adair, Stacey Asaro, Cleavant Derricks, Joseph Diaz, Miles Doleac, Brad Dourif, J.D. Evermore, Griff Furst, Lauren Graham, Rachel Hunter, Mayra Leal, Lawrence LeJohn, Hector Machado ,Bryan Massey, Wallace Merck, Melissa Ordway, Crystal Rivers, Roger J. Timber, Angela Meredith
Furst, Owen Davis, Emily D. Haley, Nick Jones Jr., Vlado Mihailov, Melody Noel, Tony Severio, Atanas Srebrev 
Director: Todor Chapkanov

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