Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Italians Crazy For Westerns [archived newspaper article]


American Cashes In

Victoria Advocate

Victoria, Texas

By Bennett M. Bolton

May 14, 1967

    ROME (AP) Bill Sampson an American actor who sees a good thing in the current Italian craze for the movie Western is taking no chances while waiting for his horse to come in.

     Instead of letting lady luck do all the work, he has just finished a picture in Spain and has ideas of putting together a hayburner in Rome on his own – with Sampson as star, Sampson as director and Sampson as scriptwriter.

     The horse he hopes will come in is “The Diamond Horse.” It was to be his first picture but it’s never been shot.

     The 27-year-old actor explains it this way:

     “I was knocking around in Hollywood doing minor roles at various lots for about three years. I was told about a casting arranged at a hotel and I went around. I got the part.”

     That was for “The Diamond Horse,” an American-Italian-Spanish co-production. It was to be filmed in Spain. There were delays. Location was transferred to Rome and Yugoslavia. Along came more delays. The complications are such – Sampson himself isn’t sure what it’s all about. – that start of the picture still isn’t in sight.

     “But there I was in Spain, all ready to work and no picture to do,” said the tall (6 feet 4) blue-eyed native Floridian who fits in like cactus when he steps onto a western set.

     While he waited he was offered the starring role in a Spanish picture called “Los Malos y Los Bravos” - (The Bad and the Brave). The picture was finished in eight weeks last fall.

     Sampson came to Rome to wait some more for what was to be his first picture. But that horse was still not in sight.

     “Meanwhile I learned how big Italian Westerns are and I thought to give them a try. While I’m waiting I’m trying to put a picture together.”

     It has no name, except that Sampson envisions a celluloid character named Faradin whose foe is an outlaw with a white bull’s-eye painted on his black eye patch.

     Sampson went to Italian Western after Italian Western sitting in the audience and studying the way they’re assembled and the camera angles and techniques behind them.      

[submitted by Mike Hauss]

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