I happened to run across
this collection of Sartana flicks on Ebay, that were packaged together for
German consumption. Most of the titles are indeed Sartana outings, no matter
how tenuous, with a couple of non-ringers thrown. The German disturbing company,
Deutsche Austrophon GmbH, actually only included four Sartana outings in their
"Sartana Collection" DVD box-set 6 pack (July 19, 2018). They
apparently had run out of 'official' Sartana movies, so they looked around for
similar films. Too fill out the rest of their box-set they tossed in “Find a
Place To Die” (starring Jeffrey Hunter) & “Aquasanta Joe” (Ty Hardin): two
very non-Sartana Italowesterns that they had access to. Neither film cried out
the name Sartana in any way! It reminded me of the earlier DVD release “Revenge
of Sartana”. This obscure title was a Sartana film that was not an actual
Sartana film. It had been magically retitled. It was a bogus Sartana.
Most collectors will recall
a collection of cobbled together spaghetti westerns on Blue-Ray, released as
"Westerns Unchained" (VideoAsia - Alchemy - Millennium, December 4,
2012), This outfit had unceremoniously crammed 25 Spaghettis on to a single
disk! The horror! It was their quick attempt to cash in on the wake of Tarantino's
“Django Unchained”, that was taking audiences by storm. In their haste, they
even forgot to audio-dub one of their titles into English, leaving it in
Italian only (Execution). To the bewilderment of their buyers. Amongst the
Spaghetti's listed on the back of the packaging was one “Revenge of Sartana”.
Strangely this title would have stood out like a sore thumb to most collectors.
It was a Sartana title, that most would not have recognized. And once viewed,
it was apparent why. It was not a Sartana film in any stretch of the
imagination. VideoAsia had simply made a rip of the earlier South African DVD
from Southern Video, “Revenge of Sartana”. This release had very little
distribution outside of a few devout fans. Southern Video had somehow gotten
hold of a copy of the extremely rare “Murieta” (Warner Bros, 1965). This
US/Spanish western was actually about the exploits of Mexican bandit Joaquin
Murieta, not Sartana. It didn't even star Gianni Garko to comfort the viewer.
Collectors had been
clamoring for “Murieta” for years.
Naushad at Southern for some reason just retitled their print of “Murieta”.
They knew the name Sartana sold. This deceptive move worked in two ways. It
kept WB unaware, and gave Southern a new title to sell. At the time, 2010, on John
Nudge’s Spaghetti Western Forum Board, which the owner of Southern was a casual
member. There he reasoned that it was a good marketing move. Some agreed,
others grumbled. Yes members wanted to see “Murieta”, but not under these
circumstances. Southern's thinking was why not hustle a couple of extra copies
on to unsuspecting viewers, and no one would be the wiser. Not WB in the least.
Now, back to the Deutsche Austrophon GmbH "Sartana Collection". Most
of the German collectors that purchased this item would have realized that the
final two titles were not in fact Sartana films. The listed titles were a dead
giveaway: “Find a Place To Die” & “Aquasanta Joe”. Purchasers may have
owned previous DVD releases of some of the real Sartana films, as these things
warrant, and would have been on the lookout for ones they didn't have. They
would have been happy to add these new releases to their growing DVD library,
and replace their old VHS copies. Which we would and did. But, couldn't
Deutsche Austrophon have done a better job of gathering together a group of
actual Sartana films, or reduced the disk amount, and not been so sneaky. But
then the most collectors were happy to have a new "Sartana
Collection" to watch.
By Michael Ferguson
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