Tuesday, December 24, 2019

50th Anniversary of “Night of the Serpent”

Yesterday December 24th marked the 50th anniversary of the Rome premier of “Night of the Serpent” directed by Giulio Petroni and starring Luke Askew, Luigi Pistilli, Chelo Alonso and Luciano Casamonica. This was Askews only Euro-western film.   

Don Venustiano, the mayor of a small Mexican village, with the innkeeper Ignacio, and a prostitute named Jesus Maria Dolores, have joined forces to get the little orphan Manuel, hoping to collect, the ten thousand dollars that his father left him for an inheritance. Lieutenant Hernandez, the local police chief, however, discovers their plan - which is to kill the child - and has asked for and received by threatening their lives, a part in the deal. Hernandez convinces the bandit Antonio Pancaldo to hire him in exchange for five hundred pesos; a hit man who once has performed the task should be hanged, not to arouse suspicion. The hit man is a gringo named Luke, who has been reduced to an abject drunk for killing his son during a stupid challenge. Arriving at the village, Luke, rejected by all, is befriended by Manuel, who lives with a woman, Mary, who has always cared for him. Gradually Luke takes a liking to Manuel and when he discovers that he is the person he’s been hired to kill, not only refuses to commit the crime, but assumes the protection of the child. Don Venustiano is found dead - hanged by the Hernandez - Dolores is found murdered. Luke manages to rescue Manuel from the hands of Ignacio and finally faces Lieutenant Hernandez, killing him.

La notte dei serpenti – Italian title
Ringo uccidi – Italian title
Gringo uccidi e’… la note dei serpenti – Italian title
Un tueur nommé Luke – French title
Nacht der Schlange – German title
I polis tis orgis – Greek title
La noche de los serpientes – Spanish title
Ringo Kill – English title
Nest of Vipers – English title
Night of the Serpent – English title

A 1969 Italian production [Ascot, Cineraid, Madison Cinematografica (Rome)]
Producer: Gianni Minervini
Director: Giulio Petroni
Story: Fulvia Gicca (Fulvia Palli)
Screenplay: Fulvia Gicca (Fulvia Palli), Enzo Gica Palli (Lorenzo Palli), Giulio Petroni
Cinematography: Mario Vulpiani, Silvio Fraschetti [Technicolor, Techniscope]
Music: Riz Ortolani (Riziero Ortolani)
Running time: 108 minutes

Luke – Luke Askew (Francis Askew)
Lieutenant Hernandez – Luigi Pistilli
Dolores – Chelo Alonzo (Alicia Garcia)
Manuel – Luciano Casamonica
Pancho – Benito Stefanelli
Ignacio – Giancarlo Badessi
Maria – Magda Konopka
Antonio Pancaldo – William Bogart (Guglielmo Spoletini)
Luciano – Franco Balducci
Ignazio’s wife – Monica Miguel
Sacristan – Franco Valobra
Barman – Alfonso Giganti
With: Liliana Pavlovic (Liliana Pavlo), Bruno Boschetti, Paola Natale, Clara Colosimo (Alessandro Panaro)

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