Shoot-‘Em-Ups in Italy
Subject of Documentary
By Jack Gaver
United Press Intiernational
NEW YORK (UPI) – The current fad to Europeans making American-style western movies with actors who would describe rain-in-the-face as a weather report and Sioux as the sweet girl of a Tin Pan Alley song classic will be detailed in an “ABC Scope” documentary July 28.
Typical of the success of such films in Europe, reported Ernest Pendrell, producer-director of “Westerns, European Style,” in an Italian movie called “Per Un Pugno Di Dollari” (for handful of dollars). It has taken in more than $3 million in Italy alone since last October, surpassing the business in that country of the internationally popular “Goldfinger.”
“In the second half of 1965, nine Italian studios are planning to shoot about 23 westerns,” Pendrell said. “They’ve got Yugoslav sheriffs, Spanish bartenders, German dancehall girls and Portuguese stagecoach drivers, to say nothing of Italian Indians.”
The desire to make the westerns “authentic” extends to the point of changing names in the credits so they will sound American, he added.
“For example,” he explained, “Vincenzo Cascino became Vince Cash, Sergio Corbucci became Sidney Corbett, and so on. It’s all done to convince European audiences that everyone in the western is American regardless of the language in which the films may be released in any given country.”
Filmed as silents
These movies, he pointed out, are filmed as “silents,” with the voices dubbed in later. Thus, there is no language barrier, during the actual filming, and the actors may talk in their native tongues while the cameras are turning.
“This also does away with foreign actors such as Mickey Hargitay having to learn how to say ‘we’ll head ‘em off at the pass’ in Italian or whatever,” the producer added.
“It’s quite an experience to be out on a sound stage at Cinecitta (Cinema City) in Rome and hear the leading man talking in Spanish, the villain in German and the heroine in French.
No Particular Relevance
“What one actor says during the shooting has no particular relevance to what was said just ahead of him, but it doesn’t matter. Whatever they say is ultimately translated to fit classic western situations – stagecoach holdups, tavern brawls, the squareoffs between the good guys and the bad guys on dusty streets, simple solutions to simple problems.”
The program also includes comment by some of Italy’s top producers and directors about this western fad. Federico (“La Dolce Vita”) Fellini, for example, thinks it is ridiculous to expect Italians to do something completely foreign to them
On the other hand, it might be pointed out that many in American actor capable defining Cellini as a stringed musical instrument has swashed and buckled his way through many a Hollywood version of Italian and French derring-do.
[submitted by Michael Ferguson]