The First Almeria Western International Film Festival a week ago was held in Tabernas and served to honor the work of Saturno Cerra and a few other supporting actors who helped to strengthen the roots of the province’s western movies. Actors and the big stars appeared in numerous spaghetti westerns filmed in the deserts of Almeria. A natural setting for the return of Saturno Cerra forty years after his first trip. It was in 1965 when, newly arrived from Brazil to see his mother in Sebreñu, he was told what was happening in Almeria. "I traveled to get there and was hired to work on my first western," he recalled. That film was called "7 guns for the Mac Gregors".. His role was that of Johnny MacGregor, "a cowboy who was studying theology but who also knew how to draw his revolver."
That first script only had fifteen minutes of film time, but in the sequel, "Up the MacGregors" I worked from start to finish. This is work that he is most proud of, but he also appeared in major films such as "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly"and "Once upon a time the West". In the latter film he appeared alongside Henry Fonda, Claudia Cardinale and Charles Bronson. "I was in make-up every day with Claudia Cardinale, although she arrived in her limo and we were in the car of the production company," recalls the Cerra. Still, the role of which he has the best memory of is Johnny MacGregor, "with his blond hair, wide-brimmed Sombrero, gun and Bible in hand."
Saturno Cerra is considered a western addict because this was the genre that opened the doors of the cinema in Spain. He had previously worked on numerous films in Brazil, but his dream was to "wear pistols, put on my hat and ride on a horse." He did so in countless movies. Many were shown only in Spain, but others were sold by the Italians to foreign countries. "In fact, during the festival I met a Japanese guy who traveled to Almería specifically to participate in this event and brought a photograph that he showed me and asked me to autograph it. It was wonderful," he said. There, on the set of Fort Bravo also found a stuntman, "the grandson of Juan el Gitano (John the Gypsy)."
However, the reunion of those who would remember best was saved for his former castmates: Frank Braña fellow Spaniard, Antonio Pica Andalusian, Italian heartthrob Fabio Testi, Nicoletta Machiavelli also Italian, Craig Hill and Dan Van Husen, among others. Also attending were two directors with whom he had the chance to work, Eugenio Martin and Rafael Romero Marchent. All participated in a discussion forum and recorded several interviews for several documentaries. As a final touch, a plaque of remembrance was given to all of them. Saturno Cerra returned Sunday to his home filled with joy and his batteries recharged. A memory came to him of those long days of filming in the desert of Almeria working on up to three movies at one time. "I moved from one to another. I just stayed with the makeup, the rest I would change as needed," he said.
Saturno Cerra also took the opportunity to clarify a detail. It is true that he died in all of the films he spoke of, "but not as many as many claim". "They say I was shot in more films then I lived through," he added. That will take away the legend! Satuno does not lose any sleep over it at his home in Sebreñu and is satisfied with the work he has done. Now if you had to choose between the role of the good, the bad and the ugly, always stay with the latter "because a movie with a good bad guy is less bad and the more the better, because the villain is always remembered," he added.
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