Saturday, February 28, 2009

Adventurous Youth

Adventurous Youth – English title

A 1928 British production [Godal International Films (London)]
Producer: Edward Godal
Director: Edward Godal
Cinematography: [black & white]
Running time: 4868 feet

The Englishman - Derrick de Marney
Mary Ferguson - Renée Clama (Irene Clama)
Don Esteban - Dino Galvani (Dino Galvanoni)
The Vamp - Sybil Wise
Mr. Ferguson - Loftus Tottenham
Father O’Flannigan - Julius Kantorez
with: Harry Bagge, Harry Peterson, Lionel d’Aragon

During the 1910 Mexican Revolution a young British miner (de Marney) gives himself and his claim up to the revolutionaries in order to save the local village and church from being pillaged and destroyed. Because of this heroic act he wins the love of Mary Ferguson (Clama). This British film was released in the U.S. by Warner Brothers, who added a musical score and sound effects to this silent film. This was also Renée Clama’s first screen appearance.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Essential European Western Library

Spaghetti Westerns: Cowboys and Europeans from Karl May to Sergio Leone
By Christopher Frayling
I.B. Taurus (London)
320 pages

‘Spaghetti Westerns’ is a major critical exploration of the European western. Sir Christopher Frayling approaches the Westerns produced at Cinecitta Studios in Rome from a variety of perspectives, placing them in the Italian, social, political, industrial and cinematic contexts from which they evolved. Over 400 westerns were produced during the 1960s peak period and Frayling deals with the most interesting and well-known examples, giving special attention to the films of Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood.

Long on scholarly analysis yet covering many of the major characters, directors and actors of the genre this book, although very dry, is a must have for your library. For one thing a British professor, now knighted can only give us justification to any of those who criticize us for enjoying this genre of films. Christopher Frayling was the inspiration and the reason I really became interested on a historical level to continue researching and developing my interest in not just Leone and his films but the entire genre. Yes Frayling made mistakes in the original book and corrected many in this reprint. We have to give him credit for accepting our criticisms and addressing them. I have been fortunate to have met Chris a number of times over the last decade and visit with him and talk about these films and their makers. He’s always come across as sincere and humorous about the genre. Thankfully we have someone like him and his book to counter the Thomas Weisser abomination.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Adventures of Three Redskins in Paris

Les Aventures de trios peaux-rouges à Paris – French title
The Adventures of Three Redskins in Paris – English translated title

A 1911 French production [Gaumont Film (Paris)]
Director: Jean Durand
Cinematography: [black & white]
Running time: 179 meters

Joë Hamman (Jean Hamman), Gaston Modot

Another early western featuring Joë Hamman and directed by Jean Durand. Although the film is mentioned in several film books there is nothing regarding the story or screenplay. I’m guessing this film is about three Indians from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and there experiences in 1911 Paris.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Spaghetti Collectables

Who’s going to turn over and get an extra 40 winks when they see Sartana walking towards them from the face of this 10” wall clock. Looking as if he’s had the hardest day in his life I think most of us would jump out of bed and head for the shower as soon as our sleepy eyes gazed upon his. Selling on E-bay for $15.99 you sleepyheads better get one today.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy 75th Birthday Frank Braña

Born Francisco Braña Perez on February 24, 1934 in Pola de Allende, Asturias, Spain, Francisco first became a stuntman and then an actor. He was one of the mainstays in the Italian/Spanish co-productions of the 1960s and 1970s. Appearing under such pseudonyms as Frank Blank, Frank Branya, Francisco Braña, and Paco Braña he became one of the most recognized faces in the Spaghetti western genre. Appearing in Leone’s “Dollar Trilogy”, we soon recognized his graying hair and dark eyebrows which were unmistakable when we saw him in later films. Braña and Aldo Sambrell share the same agent, Aldo’s wife, so they appeared together regularly during the heyday of the Spaghetti Westerns. Braña has appeared in over 200 films and over 50 westerns. Still active today he recently received an award for Best Actor by the University of Navarre for his performance in “El viejo y el mar” (The Old Man and the Sea). An interview with this great character actor can be found in issue #73 of Westerns…All’Italiana. Happy 75th birthday Frank Braña.

Remembering Marisa Mell

Marisa Mell was born Marlies Theres Moitzi in Graz, Austria on February 24, 1939. She became a cult figure of 1960s Italian B-Movies. Then in 1963 she was involved in an automobile accident which left her unconscious. She almost lost her right eye and part of her lip. She spent two years undergoing plastic surgery and recovered with no visible damage to her beautiful face. She was offered a 7-year Hollywood contract but turned it down because she thought it was too controlling. She appeared along with Pernell Roberts in the musical “Mata Hari” but the production by David Merrick was full of technical problems and never made it to Broadway. Probably best known for her role in the 1968 film “Danger Diabolik”, Ms. Mell is remember by us for her roles in three European Westerns “The Last Ride to Santa Cruz” (1964), “Where the Bullets Fly” and “The Ballad of Ben and Charlie” both (1972). Marisa Mell died of throat cancer on May 16, 1992 in Vienna, Austria at the age of 53. We remember the gorgeous actress today on what would have been her 70th birthday.

Remembering Riccardo Freda

Riccardo Freda was born on February 24, 1909 in Alexandria, Egypt to Italian parents. He was a famous Italian film director best remembered for his horror and thriller films. He attended school in Milan and at Centro Sperimantale. He supported himself as a sculpture and art critic before entering films in 1937. Freda directed his first film “Don Cesare di Bazan” in 1942. Freda then made a series of big-budget historical spectacles such as “Les Miserables” (1947) and “Theodora Slave Empress” (1954). He then turned to peplum films including “The Giants of Thessaly” (1960). Often using such aliases as Robert Hampton, George Lincoln and Willy Pareto he made a number of horror films such as “Caltiki the Immortal Monster” (1959) and “The Horrible Dr. Hitchcock” (1962). We remember him for his only Spaghetti western (1967) “La morte non conta i dollari” (aka Death at Owell Rock). Riccardo Freda’s last film was “Daughter of Dartagnan” in 1994. Freda died in Rome on December 20, 1999 at the age of 90. We remember Ricardo Freda today on what would have been his 100th birthday.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Toscano Cigars

Expertly and insightfully handmade in Italy, Toscano cigars are a tough cigar for tough people. This cigar has roots that trace all the way back to 1818 when it was first introduced in Lucca, which is in the Tuscany region of Italy. As time moved forward, Toscano cigars became famous in the 1960s thanks to Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood who lit these little rewards up in his $ films. Whether you are looking for Toscani, long slim cigars, or Toscanelli half the length and the ones Clint smoked, one thing is certain, you are making an impeccable choice. Whether you are interested in a smaller sized cigar or a larger cigar, Toscano cigars have everything you need in a quality smoking experience. I’ve smoked both and the longer Toscani’s are cheaper and you can always cut them in half. Smoke one with a shot of tequila, like I did one evening with Aldo Sambrell, and you’ll never forget the experience.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Great Silence at USC

AGOTHEQUE: Spaghetti and Westerns
The Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles presents
a one-night only, special return engagement of

Featuring a screening of Sergio Corbucci's "Spaghetti Western" masterpiece,
The Great Silence (1968)

6:00PM on Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles
1023 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90024

There will be a catered spaghetti dinner from Angelino's Café served from 6 - 7PM, followed by the film screening.


Please RSVP by February 23rd by calling 310.443.3250, ext. 114

Free parking located in the lot adjacent to the Institute.

For more information:

The Adventures of Pimple: The Indian Massacre

The Adventures of Pimple: The Indian Massacre – English title

A 1913 British production [Folly Films, Phoenix (London)]
Director: Fred Evans, Joe Evans
Screenplay: Joe Evans
Cinematography: [black & white]
Running time: 450’

Pimple/Flivver - Fred Evans

Between 1912 an 1918, Fred Evans and his elder brother Joe, produced several series of short comedies, the most popular being the long-running series featuring the character Pimple, played by Fred himself. Both brothers wrote and directed, and Joe played other parts as required. This same character was renamed Flivver in the U.S.A. The films were usually comedic take-offs of other hit films of the day. Most of these early silent films are now lost.

Remebering Josef Egger

Actor Josef Egger was born on February 22, 1889 in Donawitz, Austria-Hungary. He started his show business career as a comedian in the Austrian music halls and was known for doing tricks with his beard. Egger was active in films from1935 and even appeared on the operatic stage in 1945’s “Der Fledermaus”. He died in Gablitz, Austria on August 22, 1966. Although he had already died by the time “Fistful of Dollars” was released in the U.S.A. he still made a lasting impressions in both “ A Fistful of Dollars” (1964) as Piripero the coffin maker, and “For a Few Dollars More” (1965) as the old prophet. We remember Josef Egger on what would have been his 120th birthday.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

RIP Franz Marischka

Austrian born producer, director, screenwriter and actor Franz Marischka died of cancer on February 18th at the Schwabing Hospital in Munich, Germany. Born Franz Otto Felix Marischka in Ulterach, Austria-Hungary on July 2, 1918 his father was opera star Hubert Marischka and his mother, who died shortly after his birth, was the daughter of Victor León. His uncle Ernst Marischka was a director and his godfather was composer Franz Lehár, his older brother was producer director Viktor Marischka and his younger half-bother George would also become a noted film director, so he was born into an entertainment family. He attended the Max-Reinhardt-Seminar in Vienna before he emigrated to England in 1939. He became a British citizen and started his acting career. In 1946, after the end of World War II, he returned to Vienna and continued his acting career but was not very successful. In the early 1950s he turned to screenwriting and directing. He wrote over a hundred screenplays and directed over thirty feature films and TV shows. During this period he sometimes used the pseudonym Francois Petit. He married his first wife Viktoria in 1958 and they had a son Hubert born in 1959. They soon divorced and he married his second wife Alexandra Drewes in 1968 and they divorced in 1976. He wrote an autobiography “Immer nur lächeln“ (Always Smiling) which was released in 2001. Franz Marischka was a co-writer on the screenplay for the 1965 Euro-western “Das Vermaechtnis des Inka” (Legacy of the Incas)

Remembering Angelo Francesco Lavagnino

Italian composer Angelo Francesco Lavagnino was born on February 22, 1909 in Genoa, Italy. Although a classically-trained musician who performed in concert halls and opera houses throughout Italy he turned to teaching and writing music. In the early 1950’s he was encouraged to turn his skills to composing film scores and his talents were showcased in a number of highly visible international productions. Included in these films were Orson Welles “Othello”, “Chimes at Midnight” and Eugene Lorie’s “Gorgo” and Henry Hathaway’s “Legend of the Lost”. Because of this exposure he became one of Italy’s best known composers. Little known trivia, he was Leone’s first choice to write the music for “Fistful of Dollars”. Thankfully Sergio chose a lesser known and cheaper composer named Ennio Morricone. Despite this Lavagnino composed over two dozen scores for European westerns during his career. His scores are original and more classical in style and do not fit the standard fair we are used to in the genre. Angelo won the Nostro d’Argento award for Best Score twice for “Continente perduto” (1954) and “Vertigine bianca” (1956). Lavagnino died at the age of 78 on August 21, 1987 in Gavi, Italy. We remember Angelo Francesco Lavagnino today on what would have been his 100th birthday.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Advntures of Deadwood Dick

The Adventures of Deadwood Dick – English title

A 1915 British film series [Ideal (London)]
Producer: G.B. Samuelson
Director: Fred Paul, L.C. MacBean
Cinematography: [black & white]
Running time: 2,000’

Dick Harris - Fred Paul
girl - Joan Ferry

This early silent six-part film series featured the adventures of an Englishman Richard Harris, who journeys to the Wild West for adventure, and proves himself as tough as any true Westerner. The West is seen as a testing ground of macho toughness, and Englishmen, though they would always necessarily be outsiders, could either be seen to be as surprisingly tough as their American cousins when it came time to the crunch or completely different.

Titles included: “How Richard Harris Became Known as Deadwood Dick”, “Deadwood Dick’s Vengeance”, “Deadwood Dick and the Mormons”, “Deadwood Dick Spoils Brigham Young”, “Deadwood Dick’s Red Ally”, “Deadwood Dick’s Detective Pard”.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

RIP Oreste Lionello

ROME (AP) — Oreste Lionello, an entertainer and film dubber who was Italy's "voice" of Woody Allen, Jerry Lewis and other comic stars, died in a Rome hospital Thursday February 19, 2009 at the age of 81. Besides Allen and Lewis, other actors who were dubbed by Lionello included Peter Sellers, Marty Feldman and Charlie Chaplin in "The Great Dictator." Born on July 18, 1927 in Rhodes Greece, early in his entertainment career, Lionello worked in theater as a comic actor and in cabaret, where he was noted for his imitations of veteran Italian politician Giulio Andreotti. Lionello also worked successfully as an entertainer on Italian TV in the 1970s and 1980s. Lionella is the father of actresses Luca, Cristiana and Alessia Lionello. The city of Rome planned to hold a wake for Lionello in City Hall, starting Thursday night, with a funeral in the Basilica of Santa Maria d'Ara Coeli next to city hall on Saturday.

Oreste Lionello's European Westerns:
A Fistful of Dollars – 1964 [Italian voice of Juan de Dios character]
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – 1966 [Italian voice of Antonio Palombi]
The Sons of Zorro – 1968 [Italian voice of Carlo Taranto]
In the Name of the Father – 1969 (Mambo)

Spaghetti Collectables

Hat and hatband inspired by the greatest westerns ever!
This hat looks just like the one Clint Eastwood wore in the Spaghetti Westerns. It is a good quality 10 X beaver hat in dark brown with a bound edge that is shaped to look like the original. It is custom made especially for you with your name inside but we do charge extra for the bullet holes! The dark brown stamped leather hat band replica is included.
The use of beaver fur in fine hat making has a long and fascinating history.
To make this hat look original, throw it into a pen of horses and leave for a minimum of 2 days. Then take a pistol and target practice until you hit it once, then dust off and wear!!
Price for replica hat and hatband is $325.00
Hat band can be purchased separately for $60.00


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Adventures of a Cowboy in Paris

Les aventures d’un cow-boy à Paris – French title
The Adventures of a Cowboy in Paris – English title

A 1910 French production [Lux (Paris)]
Director: Jean Durand
Cinematography: [black & white]
Running time:

Story: Unknown.

Joë Hamman (Jean Hamman), Gaston Modot, Berthe Dagmar (Albertine-Marie Dagmar)

Another early Joë Hamman western short, most likely about an American cowboy and his adventures in Paris.

Remembering Jack Palance

Jack Palance was born Volodymyr Ivanovich Palahnyuk Jr. on February 18, 1919 in Lattimer Mines, Pennsylvania. The son of Ukrainian immigrants he worked as a miner, following in his father’s footsteps, before becoming a boxer and escaping the brutal work. He fought under the name Jack Brazzo and won 15 straight bouts, 12 by knockout. He lost a close decision to heavyweight contender Joe Baksi and abandoned the profession. With the outbreak of World War II he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps. During a training mission he had to bail out of a burning B-24. Surgeons reconstructed his disfigured face which left him with his distinctive gaunt, leathery appearance. He was discharged from the Army in 1944 and then attended Stanford University graduating in 1947. During his studies he became an actor was an understudy to Marlon Brando in “A Streetcar Named Desire” and making his Broadway debut in 1947. He turned to films in 1950 and received an Oscar nomination in only his third film “Sudden Fear”. He garnered another nomination the following year for his performance as Jack Wilson in “Shane”. He would continue his film career and finally appeared in a Spaghetti Western in 1968’s “The Mercenary”. He would continue to make appearances in this genre for the next 15 years in such films as “Companeros”, “Chato’s Land”, “It Can Be Done Amigo”, “God’s Gun” and “Welcome to Blood City”. He would finally garner a ‘Best Supporting Actor’ Academy Award for his portrayal of Curly Washburn in the 1991 film “City Slickers”. In one of the great moments in Academy history Jack showed his virility by dropping to the floor and doing one-hand push-ups. Jack was the father of three children Holly, Brooke and Cody from his marriage to actress Virginia Baker. In later life he became a painter, poet and author. Just before the end of his life (2006) he auctioned off his lifetime collection of art and memorabilia at his Pennsylvania farm. He died on November 10, 2006 at his Montecito, California home. We remember Jack Palance today on what would have been his 90th birthday.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Outlaw Pete

Working on a Dream’ Bruce Springsteen (Columbia)
Looks like 2009 could be a great year for the ‘Boss’.

He’s already won a Golden Globe for “The Wrestler” and appeared as the entertainment star of the 2009 Super Bowl halftime show. Bruce Springsteen appears to be at the top of his game. A new CD “Working on a Dream,” his third E Street Band disc in the new millennium (and fifth disc overall), Springsteen sounds unstoppable.

For Spaghetti western fans check out the sweeping, eight-minute, western epic, “Outlaw Pete”. Springsteen tells the tale of a legendary bandit who “at 6 months old he’d done 3 months in jail/He robbed a bank in his diapers/and little bare baby feet.” Galloping on the trail to the constantly building accompaniment of chugging cellos, surging keyboards, majestic strings, chiming guitars, crashing drums and harmonica wails, Springsteen weaves together a sprawling, spaghetti western of a tale complete with a taboo romance with a Navajo girl, a deadly shootout with a bounty hunter and an example of western justice, figuratively and literally, at its coldest. Thanks Raymie, for turning me on to this exceptional performance.

You Tube link:

Monday, February 16, 2009

RIP Gerry Crampton

Actor and stuntman Gerry Crampton who appeared in six James Bond films, died in England on January 24 at the age of 78. Born Robert Gerald Crampton in Fulham, London, England on April 28, 1930, he was the son of a coach driver. His father was an amateur boxer and taught him and his brothers the sport. Gerry became a swimmer and taught himself to dive. He left school at 14 to become a butcher’s boy and then took a job at Ealing Studios as a sound assistant on David Lean’s “Great Expectations” in 1946. He then became interested in body building and eventually was crowned Britain’s Mr. Body Beautiful in 1956. He met Bob Simmons, the stunt coordinator for the James Bond films, who took him under his wing and taught him riding, fencing and fighting. He was seen in “Tarzan Goes to India” with Jock Mahoney in 1962 and returned to India 48 more times in his career working on countless Indian as well as British films. He eventually became a stunt coordinator on such films as “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981), “Gandhi” (1982), and “Jewel in the Crown” (1984). He was one of the very first British stuntmen ever to receive membership in the Hollywood Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame. Crampton appeared in and was stunt coordinator on two European Westerns “The Desperados!” (1969) and “Man in the Wilderness” (1971).

The Adventures of Buffalo Bill

Les aventures de Buffalo Bill – French title
The Adventures of Buffalo Bill – English title

A 1909 French production [Safety Bioscope Co. (Paris)]
Director: Joë Hamman (Jean Hamman)
Screenplay: William F. Cody (William Frederick Cody)
Cinematography: [black & white]
Running time: 10 minutes

Story: 5 part film series.

Buffalo Bill - Joë Hamman (Jean Hamman)

Joë Hamman, a Frenchman, had gone to the United States when he was 17 and lived on an Indian Reservation. Hamman joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and returned with the show to France. Joe decided to remain in his homeland and made a series of westerns filmed in the Camargue region. Using the cattle and horse ranches of his friend Folco de Baroncelli, he invited the American Indians from Buffalo Bill’s show to partake in several of his films, one of which was the five part film series of “The Adventures of Buffalo Bill”.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Spaghetti Collectables

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Minimates Box Set
Bring your favorite Wild West gunslingers to life with this Minimates Box Set based on the 1966 Spaghetti Western! Presenting the Good Blondie, the Bad Angel Eyes, and the Ugly Tuco as they search for buried gold, it also includes Showdown Blondie from the epic final standoff. Sculpted and designed by Art Asylum, each 2-inch tall Minimate features 14 points of articulation and sculpted accessories. Manufactured by Diamond Select Toys, there are also “A Fistful of Dollars” and “For a Few Dollars More” sets. Released in November 2008.

Diamond Select link:

Happy 95th Birthday Kevin McCarthy

Born on February 15, 1914 in Seattle, Washington, Kevin McCarthy is an American stage and film actor. Best known for his appearances in Sci-Fi and Horror films such as “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, “The Howling” and “Twilight Zone: The Movie” he also appeared on stage for over 20 years in his one man show “Give ‘Em Hell Harry” as President Harry Truman. He’s been on stage since 1938 and is still acting. Kevin McCarthy made only one European Western as Drake in 1968’s “Ace High” but it was a memorable role and we honor him today on his 95th birthday.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Adventures of Arizona Bill

Les aventures d’Arizona Bill – French title
The Adventures of Arizona Bill – English title

A 1909-1914 French production [Eclipse Film (Paris)]
Director: Jean Durand, Joë Hamman
Cinematography: [black & white]
Running time:

Story: The adventures of cowboy star Joë Hamman as ‘Arizona Bill’.
Titles: “Arizona Bill” (1909), “L’enfant du chercheur d’or” (1909), “Arizona Bill: l’attaque d’un train” (1909), “A travers la plaine” (1910), “L’amour du ranch” (1910),  “La piste argentee” (1911) “Le chevauchee infernale” (1911), L’ile de l’epouvante” (1911), “L’oiseau de proie” (1911) “Aux mains des brigands” (1912), “Coeur ardent” (1912), "210 Contre 213” (1913), “Les diable rouges” (1913), “La ville souterraine” (1913).

Arizona Bill - Joë Hamman (Jean Hamman)
Vesta – Mrs. Hamman
with; Berthe Dagmar (Albertine-Marie Dagmar), Gaston Modot, Owen Moore

This film series found real success in the United States. Filmed in the Camargue region of France it featured beautiful scenery and a series of great stunts involving horses and trains. It was one of the first times a rider was filmed climbing aboard a train while transferring from a galloping horse. Also fights on the roof of the train were carried out while the train was moving.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Essential European Western Library

“Italian Western: The Opera of Violence”
By Laurence Staig and Tony Williams
Publisher Lorimer Publishing, London, England, 1975

This was the first book on Spaghetti Westerns I ever owned and what helped turned me on to researching, finding and collecting this genre of films. This is written by fans of the genre and who make it a very enjoyable read. They don’t analyze the films like Sir Christopher Frayling does, but look at them as an adventurous journey through a genre of films I had only heard about and seen very few. One of the best things about the book was half of it is devoted to the musical composers and scores to these remarkable films. I have corresponded with both authors over the years. Laurence is still located in England and Tony teaches at Southern Illinois University. Although out of print it can still be found at Amazon used, eBay and other internet sources. If you don’t have a copy of this in your library you should have.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Adventures in the Wild West

De jongen uit het wilde westen – Dutch title
Avontuur in het wilde westen - Dutch title
Adventures in the Wild West – English title

A 1963 Dutch production [Rex Film (Amsterdam)]
Producer: Henk van der Linden
Director: Henk van der Linden
Screenplay: Henk van der Linden
Cinematography: Henk van der Linden [black & white]
Music: Henk van der Linden
Running time: 60 minutes

Jimmy - Cor van der Linden
Hilde - Jos van der Linden
Sam - No Bours
Pedro - Frits van Wenkop
outlaw leader - Dirk Capel
Indian - Jef Meens
Black - Jos Pyls
with; Henk van der Linden

12-year-old Jimmy and John, a ranch hand, are in search of cattle that have strayed from their ranch. During the search they arrive at the cabin of Sam and his daughter Jane. Sam is a prospector, and while at the cabin outlaws arrive and try to obtain from him the location of his hidden gold cache. The children escape and return to the ranch for help. While pursuing the outlaws the children are captured and taken to a sacred Indian cave where they are finally rescued by Sam and John

This is one of a series of children’s films produced and directed by Henk van der Linden (1925- ) for Rex Films, over a 40 year career. His children were often used as actors in these films and many are available on video and DVD.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Spaghetti Collectables

“The Dollar Books” or “The Man With No Name Books” was a series of paperbacks based on the Clint Eastwood “Man With No Name” character. Although the names of the villains change from book to book it’s easy to visualize Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach in their roles.

Published by Universal-Award Books a division of Universal Publishing, New York City, NY in 1973. The series consisted of the following titles:
AX0917 “A Dollar to Die For” by Brian Fox
AX0918 “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly” by Joe Millard
AX0919 “For a Few Dollars More” by Joe Millard
AS1113 “Blood for a Dirty Dollar” by Joe Millard
AN1194 “A Coffin Full of Dollars” by Joe Millard
AN1254 “The Devil’s Dollar Sign” by Joe Millard
AN1180 “The Million Dollar Bloodhunt” by Joe Millard

There is also a rare 1972 British addition to the series published by Star, a paperback division of W.H. Allen & Co. Ltd., London, England.
“A Fistful of Dollars” by Frank Chandler

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Remembering Jerry Goldsmith

Born Jerrald King “Jerry” Goldsmith on February 10, 1929, in Los Angeles, California, Goldsmith was an American film composer, who was nominated for 18 Academy Awards, winning only once for “The Omen” (1976). He also won 4 Emmy Awards. Although he worked in a wide variety of film and television shows he is mostly remembered for his Action, Western and Sci-Fi Horror film scores. Goldsmith had affection for the city of London and conducted many of his scores with British orchestras. Jerry is probably the American composer who most closely captured the feel of the Spaghetti Western. His scores in this genre were 1969s “100 Rifles” and 1975’s “Take a Hard Ride”. Jerry died on July 21, 2004. We remember him today on what would have been his 80th birthday.

Monday, February 9, 2009

New Eugenio Martin book

A new book on director Eugenio Martín has been released. The authors are Carlos Aguilar, who has written many books on the Spanish participants of the Spaghetti Western genre. Collaborating with Carlos on the book is Anita Haas, who has previously written a book on Eli Wallach. An homage to Martín and his films was recently held from January 24 – February 1 at the “Retro Back” International Classical Film Festival in Granada, Spain. Martin directed such Spaghetti Westerns as “The Ugly Ones” (1966), “Duel in the Eclipse” (1967), “Pancho Villa” (1971) and “Bad Man’s River” (1972).

Sunday, February 8, 2009

RIP Jim Goodrich

GOODRICH -- James R. "Jim" Goodrich, 81, of Albuquerque, died February 7, 2009 after a three-year battle with cancer. A retired librarian, Jim was an aficionado of Jazz, Cinema, Art, Pulp Fiction, Mysteries, and Comics; and an active supporter of numerous progressive causes and candidates. His intelligence, dry sense of humor, and patronage of numerous local restaurants, bookstores, and other establishments earned him many friends and admirers in the area. Jim was born in Toledo, Ohio, on September 12, 1927, the son of the late J.R. and Florence Goodrich. He earned a Bachelor's degree from the University of Toledo and a Master's of Library Science from Rutgers University. In 1990 he retired after more than 20 years as a librarian at the State University of New York at New Paltz and moved to Albuquerque. Jim is survived by his daughter, Jill Goodrich, and her husband, Kevin O'Connell, of Silver Spring, Maryland; his son Victor Goodrich of Philadelphia; his sister and brother-in-law, Lois and Edward Betts, of Northridge, California; his nephews, Tom Betts and Terry Betts, of California; and his niece, Ellen Betts, of Arizona. He was predeceased by his son Scott in 1974. Burial will take place at a date to be determined in New Paltz, New York. Donations in Jim's name may be made to Presbyterian Healthcare Services (Albuquerque) Hospice division, the American Cancer Society, Planned Parenthood, or any environmental or wildlife charity.

My uncle was an avid European film fan and we had many conversations over the years on the subject. He was a constant supporter of me and WAI!. Often I would receive clippings that he would send me from Variety and other various newspapers and magazines about European westerns and the people involved in them. I know he would get a great kick out of seeing his obituary published in WAI! so here's to you Uncle Jim thanks for your years of encouragement and support. You will be missed.

Remembering Demofilo Fidani

On what would have been his 95th birthday we remember Demofilo Fidani, who was born on February 8, 1914 in Cagliari, Sardinia. I won’t even attempt to list the plethora of pseudonyms he used during his career as producer, director, screenwriter and actor but he will be best remembered for one… Miles Deem. He is often referred to as the Ed Wood of Spaghetti westerns. Deem used a company of leading actors such as Jeff Cameron, Hunt Powers, Gordon Mitchell, Klaus Kinski and of course his daughter Simone Blondell. Fidani was married to Maria Rosa Valenza Vitelli, screenwriter, costume designer and anything else he could credit her for to draw another paycheck. Whether you think of his films as good or bad Fidani has put together quite a cult following and is one of the better known directors of the genre. His films have an amateur look to them and often are loaded with riding scenes to fill up time. Fidani died on March 17, 1994 in Rome at the age of 80. Has anyone seen all of his Spaghetti westerns?


Adiós Sartana – English title

A 1974 Spanish, Italian, Venezuelan co-production [Cineccitá (Rome)]
Director: Mario Siciliano
Running time:


Sartana Jorge Rivero (Jorge Ribe)

Jorge Rivero states in a 2008 interview with Joseph Treviño that he made three Sartana films for Mario Siciliano in the mid 1970’s. I quote, “The powerful Roman studio offered Rivero the role of Sartana, one of many gunslinger characters, like Clint Eastwood's "Man With No Name." He starred in three Sartana films, and a producer told him, "I guarantee you that if you stay in Italy, you will never run out of work." As far as I know no record of these films exist. Does anyone know more?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Spaghetti Collectables

Another scarce gum card issued in the Netherlands and distributed in Sweden and Finland in the 1960's by Maple Leaf showing a picture of Spaghetti Western star Mark Damon from “Johnny Oro” (aka Ringo and His Golden Pistol). Mark has a recent biography out called “From Cowboy to Monster to Mogul” by Linda Shreyer, published by AuthorHouse, May 2008. Great book if you are interested in his life as a film producer. Great disappointment if you want to find out any information on his Spaghetti Western films and career.

Friday, February 6, 2009

RIP James Whitmore

Veteran stage, film and TV actor James Whitmore died in his Malibu, California home today, February 6, of lung cancer. He was 88. Whitmore’s son Steve said he was surrounded by his family when he passed away this afternoon. He had been diagnosed with the disease the week before Thanksgiving. Whitmore was a many-faceted character actor who also specialized in one-man shows about Harry Truman, Will Rogers, and Theodore Roosevelt. The Tony and Emmy winning actor who was also nominated for an Oscar was later a commercial spokesman on TV for Miracle-Gro plant food. Whitmore appeared in two Spaghetti Westerns 1968’s “Guns of the Magnificent Seven” and 1971’s “Chato’s Land”. He is survived by his sons Steve, James Jr., Dan, third wife Noreen and eight grandchildren.


I got a call from our Human Resources Dept. today with an early retirement package offer. After seeing what I would bring home after taxes and sacrificing to take early Social Security I turned it down and hope to finish out another 2-3 years of work. I always hoped to retire early but now that the time is drawing near it's a bit scary. What ever you decide is it. You don't get a second chance and unless you want to go look for another job to fill the void your stuck. Thankfully I saved my 401K plan in August of last year before the world crash so that's in good shape. I loved telling them I'm too young to retire yet. Hope everyone has a great weekend

Happy 80th Birthday Pierre Brice

Pierre Brice, born Pierre Louis Baron de Bris on February 6, 1929 in Brest, France.
Best known for his role as Winnetou, the Apache Chief and blood brother of Shatterhand in Karl May’s ‘Winnetou’ films. John Crummett has always wondered if Shatterhand, Surehand and Firehand were aware of each other. I guess only Winnetou knows for sure and he’s not talking. Happy 80th birthday Pierre!


Indio Black, sei che ti dico… sei un gran figlio di… - Italian title
Gran figlio di… - Italian title
Adios Sabata - Danish title
Indio Black – Spanish title
Adios Sabata – French title
Adios Sabata – German title
Sabata 2 – German title
Adios, Sabata – Finnish title
Adeus Sabata – Portuguese title
The Bounty Hunters – U.K. title
Indio Sabata – English title
The Bounty Killers – English title
Adios, Sabata - U.S.A. title

A 1970 Italian production [P.E.A. Cinematography (Rome)]
Producer: Alberto Grimaldi
Director: Frank Kramer (Gianfranco Parolini)
Story: Renato Izzo, Gianfranco Parolini
Screenplay: Gianfranco Parolini, Renato Izzo
Cinematography: Sandro Mancori [DeLuxe Color, Techniscope]
Music: Bruno Nicolai
Running time: 106 minutes

Indio Black/Sabata - Yul Brynner (Yuliy Bryner)
Ballantine - Dean Reed
Escudo - Pedro Sanchez (Ignazio Spalla)
Colonel Skimmel - Gérard Herter (Gerhard Herter)
Septiembre - Sal Borgese (Salvatore Borgese)
Ocaño - Franco Fantasia
Folgen - Gianni Rizzo (Giovanni Rizzo)
Manuel - Salvatore Billa
Juan de los Angeles - Massimo Carocci
Gitano - Joseph Persaud (Giuseppe Pollini)
Jesus - Omar Bonaro
José - Andrea Scotti
Juanito - Luciano Casamonica
barman - Vittorio Fanfoni
Hertz - Bruno Corazzari
1st Lieutenant Stejar - Vitti Caronia
Mexican - Franco Marletta
Mexican woman - Lina Franchi
Major Matternich - Antonio Gradoli
Graduato - Thomas Kerr (Giuseppe Castellano)
Geroll - Rick Boyd (Federico Boido)
Perdido - Johnny Nation (Giovanni Siragusa)
Adjutant Ocaño - Andrea Aureli
Chief Eagle Pass - Calisto Calisti
Cortejo - Thomas Rudy (Tomas Rudi)
Garcia - Furio Pellerani
Mexican revolutionary - Stefano Rizzo
saloon singer - Susan Scott (Nieves Navarro)
Austrian agent - Ken Wood (Giovanni Cianfriglia)
bounty hunter agency manager - Angel Alvarez
Murdock - Furio Meniconi
runt - José Galera Balazote
bearded village - Elio Angelucci
Murdock Brothers vs Sabata duel observers - José Canalejas, Fortunato Arena
with; Armando Bottin

Indio Black is out to find a treasure in gold which is in the hands of the Austrians who have taken over Mexico. His intent is to steal it for a band of Mexican Revolutionaries set against overthrowing the Austrian invaders. He has several allies, Escudo, Septeimbre and Gitano to help him and a swindler Ballantine, who is on the inside but who is out to get the gold for himself. A series of events leads to Indio Black’s stealing the gold from the evil Colonel Skimmel, played expertly by Gerard Herter. Reed will grate on your nerves after awhile but overall this film is rated top drawer.

Although called “Adios, Sabata” this isn’t really a Sabata film. It should stand on it’s own merits and can so very easily. Brynner is excellent as the main character ‘Indio Black’ and it’s too bad he didn’t make a series of these films like the Sabata and Sartana ones. Top of the line production values with great sets and costumes, a nice supporting cast and a fantastic score by Bruno Nicolai make for enjoyable viewing.

You Tube link:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

RIP Jean Martin

French actor Jean Martin died in Paris, France on February 2, 2009.

Martin was born in France on March 3, 1922. He served in the French Resistance during World War II and as a paratrooper in Indochina. He was active on both stage as in “Waiting for Godot” and "Endgame” and in films where he is probably best remembered as Colonel Mathieu in 1965's “The Battle of Algiers”. He would also go on to play a villain in 1973’s “Day of the Jackal”. He is probably best remembered by Spaghetti Western fans as Sullivan in “My Name is Nobody” and as Colonel Pembroke (pictured) in “The Genius”, both Terence Hill films. A staunch left wing activist he was blacklisted for awhile in the late 1950s for his criticism of the Algerian War.

Happy 70th Birthday Paul Smith

Paul Smith was born Anam Edel on February 5, 1939 in Everett, Massachusetts. He weighed 17 pounds at birth and was up to 200 pounds and six feet tall by the age of twelve. After high school he attended nearby Brandeis University in Boston and graduated with a B.A. in philosophy and psychology. Putting his size to use he worked as a bodyguard and bouncer before drifting into acting. Because of his size he was given parts as villains and ruffians. His first film was 1960’s “Exodus” filmed in Israel. He made several films there and then drifted to Italy where, because of his resemblance to Bud Spencer, he was quickly paired with Terence Hill look-alike Michael Coby and they made a series of films together capitalizing on the success of the Hill / Spencer team. In fact when Bud Spencer turned down the role of Bluto in the Robin Williams’ film “Popeye” Paul was offered and accepted the part. He would later appear in the 1994 film “Maverick”. In 2006 Paul and his wife Eve emigrated to Israel and they now live in the town Ra anana and where he has adopted the Hebrew name of Adam Eden. Happy 70th Birthday!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Essential European Western Library

Over time I hope to post many of the books essential in both researching and enjoying the European Western genre.

Up first:

Seul au monde dans le western italiaen
By Gian Lhassa in collaboration with Michel Lequeux
Publisher Grand Angle ASBL

3 volumes
Volume 1: Une poignee de themes 1983 (156 pages)
Volume 2: Des homes seuls – 1987 (238 pages)
Volume 3: Dictionaire du western italien – 1983 (192 pages)

Volume 3 which I is pictured, is the prize and the one you should try and get your hands on. The other books are also excellent but Volume 3 is the book which you can use for research purposes as it lists the film titles in Italian and also lists directors, screenwriters, actors and composers. The other 2 volumes get into retrospection of the films and the personnel.

Adiós Laredo

Von Laredo kam der Tod - German title
Adiós Laredo - English title

A 1968 West German production
Producer: Günter Dremmler
Director: Günter Dremmler
Running time:

Story: Horror western.


Ally Lamaj has extolled the virtues of this film to me for years. Apparently the only copy in existence is owned by Dremmler’s widow and who knows if she’s still alive. If it is ever found we can only hope it will pop up on Wild East’s schedule of releases. With this gringo’s luck it will be released by my friend Ulrich Bruckner in a German language version only with no sub-titles.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

New Spagetti Western CD

El Zorro by Gino Peguri is now available on GDM CD CLUB 7056, 29 tracks. 18 tracks are for El Zorr (aka Zorro the Fox).


01. El Zorro (Titoli) # 01
02. El Zorro # 02
03. El Zorro # 03
04. El Zorro # 04
05. El Zorro # 05
06. El Zorro # 06
07. El Zorro # 07
08. El Zorro # 08
09. El Zorro # 09
10. El Zorro # 10
11. El Zorro # 11
12. El Zorro # 12
13. El Zorro # 13
14. El Zorro # 14
15. El Zorro # 15
16. El Zorro # 16
17. El Zorro # 17
18. El Zorro (Finale) # 18

[Track listing courtesy of Søren]

Monday, February 2, 2009


Adiós gringo – Italian title
Adios gringo – Spanish title
Adiós gringo – French title
Gringo - Skyd fra hoften - Danish title
Zegnaj, Gringo – Polish title
Adeus Gringo - Portuguese title
Adios Gringo – English title

A 1965 Italian, Spanish, French co-production [Dorica Films/Explorer Film ‘58/Fono
Films (Rome), Trebol Films CC (Madrid), Les Films Corona (Paris)]
Producer: Bruno Turchetto
Director: George Finley (Giorgio Stegani)
Story: “Adios” by Harry Whittington
Screenplay: José Luis Jerez, Michele Villerot, George Finley (Giorgio Stegani), Remigo del Grosso
Cinematography: Francisco Sempere [Eastmancolor, DoryScope]
Music: Benedetto Ghiglia
Song: “Adiós Gringo” sung by Fred Bongusto
Running time: 100 minutes

Brett Landers - Giuliano Gemma
Lucy Tillson - Evelyn Stewart (Ida Galli)
Doctor Vern Barfield - Roberto Camardiel (Roberto Escudero)
Sheriff Tex Slaughter - Jesús Puente
Deputy Sid Fellon - Sterling Rengel
Avery Ranchester - Max Dean (Massimo Righi)
Clayton Ranchester - Peter Cross (Pierre Cressoy)
Stan Clevenger - Grant Laramy (Germano Longo)
Mike Murphy - Jean Martin (Gino Marturano)
Maude Clevenger - Monique Saint Clare
Gil Clawson/Jack Dawson - Ted Carter (Giovanni Pazzafini)
Ranchester cowboys - Francisco Braña (Francisco Perez), Osiride Peverello
with: Clyde Geryll (Claude Servyll), Frank Pascal (François Pascal), Ramón Pérez, Mimo Billi (Giacomo Billi), Antonio Iranzi (Antonio Escorihuela)

Brett Landers unknowingly buys a herd of stolen cattle from an old friend Gil Clawson. When he rides into town he is accused of theft by the rightful owner of the herd Clayton Ranchester. When he is almost lynched he shoots and kills Ranchester and runs for his life. He is now wanted by the law and must find the real cattle thief, Clawson, to prove his innocence. Coming across Lucy Tillson who has been raped and left in the desert to die he rescues her and takes her to Doc Barfield to recover. Brett can’t go to Sheriff Slaughter because he wants to collect the reward on his head. Brett is faced with protecting Lucy, finding the cattle thief and most of all staying alive. This was one of if not the first Spaghetti Western to use the falsely accused theme where the hero has to escape from the law and prove his innocence. It would be used countless times in the years ahead. Although an early entry into the genre and looking very American in style, “Adiós Gringo” has enough pasta touches to please even the strictest of Spaghetti purists.

Film sequence link:

Japanese 45 rpm single Seven Seas FONIT #HIT 1439
Courtesy of Yoshi

Sorry Raymie 6 more weeks of winter!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

New SW: Johnny Balines y la Pluma Sagrada

Johnny Balines y la pluma sagrada

Johnny Balines y la Pluma Sagrada – Spanish title

A 2008 Spanish production [Blau Eventos (Madrid)]
Director: Alberto Gutiérrez
Story: Mónica Pérez
Screenplay: Mónica Pérez
Cinematography: [color]
Music: Vickyleytones
Running time: 23 minutes

Johnny Balines - Felipe del Campo
Susy Pistolas - Cristina Benavides
sheriff - Jaime Guardiola
Indian chief - Miguel Gil
Placton brothers - Begoña Sánchez, Miguel Such, Enrique Alegria, Potro Ramiro, Mario Arenas, Juan Manuel Abellán
with; Enrique Alegría, Juan Gilaber, Mario Saiz Mauel Perez, Carmen González

Filmed in Spain and released October 18, 2008 and looking like it was made the week before. This amateur looking film features a Mexican bandit, a toothless sheriff with a star on his hat, a two gun cowgirl, a band of Indians and a bunch of brothers modeled after the Daltons. Need I say more? Only the music is tolerable. Hopefully this is not on the list of upcoming Wild East releases, but then again they did release "Matalo!" I've included a link to the Spannish trailer but it is only for you brave enough to withstand 90 seconds of torture.

Once Upon a Time in the West actor ID

With the recent passing of actor Don Galloway on January 8, 2009, another name was put to an actor’s face in Sergio Leone’s “Once Upon a Time in the West”. As seen on the right, Don played one of Frank’s gang members in the flashback sequence seen during the final duel between him and Harmonica.