Saturday, September 30, 2023

From the WAI! vault

Tex turns 75


Tex Willer is the main fictional character of the Italian comics series Tex, created by writer Gian Luigi Bonelli and illustrator Aurelio Galleppini, and first published in Italy on 30 September 1948. It is among the most popular characters of Italian comics, with translations to numerous languages all around the world. The author took inspiration from Sardinia, where he grew up as a kid. The fan base in Brazil is especially large, but it is very popular also in Finland, Norway, Greece, Turkey, Croatia, France, India, Serbia, Bosnia, Israel and Spain.

The Tex Willer series is an Italian-made interpretation of the American Old West, inspired by the classical characters and stories of old American Western movies.

Tex is depicted as a tough guy with a strong personal sense of justice, who becomes a ranger (even if living in Arizona) and defends Native Americans and any other honest character from exaction and greed of bandits, unscrupulous merchants and corrupt politicians and tycoons.

Native Americans are portrayed in a complex way, emphasizing positive and negative aspects of their culture. The same can be said of the American authorities, like the U.S. Army, the politicians, the businessmen, the sheriffs or the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Tex had a son, named Kit (who became a ranger too), with a Native American woman, named Lilyth, the daughter of a Navajo Chief (she later died of smallpox). Later, Tex himself went on to become the Chief of the Navajo tribe.

Tex is not only featured in a monthly comic book series, but also in a special series called Tex Albo Speciale (sometimes called Texone, meaning big Tex, because of their bigger size). The Texone have around 240 pages and some artists known outside the Tex universe have been involved, like Jordi Bernet, Joe Kubert and Ivo Milazzo.

Happy Birthday 75th birthday Tex Willer.

Little Known Spaghetti Western Actors ~ Giuseppe Barcella

[These daily posts will cover little known actors or people that have appeared in more recent films and TV series. Various degrees of information that I was able to find will be given and anything that you can add would be appreciated.]

Giuseppe Barcella was an Italian actor who had only two film credits. Both films starred Mino Reitano so that maybe his only connection to being in films.

His only Spaghetti western was as the sheriff in 1971’s “Tara Poki”.

BARCELLA, Giuseppe [Italian] – film actor.

Tara Poki – 1971 (sheriff)

Franco Nero’s idea on his appearance in “Django Unchained”

 Fandom Wire

By Nishanth

September 9, 2023

“It haunted him”: Quentin Tarantino Shut Down Original Django Actor’s Idea for $426M Jamie Foxx Movie That Led to One Wet Dream for Western Fans.

Quentin Tarantino’s tribute to the Spaghetti Western genre came in the form of the Jamie Foxx starrer Django Unchained. The film follows Foxx as the titular Django, a freed slave a few years before the American Civil War, who becomes a bounty hunter and searches for the love of his life. The film was a huge success, earning over $426 million at the box office.

While the film has a star-studded cast with actors like Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, and Samuel L. Jackson, true blue Western fans were elated when they saw the original Django, Franco Nero make a cameo appearance. The actor has only two scenes but his impact is amazing. Nero once mentioned that he had a totally different idea for his cameo, which could alter the course of the narrative.

Django Unchained was the second film in Quentin Tarantino’s series of revisionist history films, where he looked at key moments in world history and added his own sense of poetic justice to them. The other entries in his series were Inglorious Basterds and Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.

Tarantino mentioned that he wanted to look at slavery but not in the usual dramatic way. He chose to set the film in the Deep South of America and add a Spaghetti Western style to it. In an interview with the Telegraph, he said,

“I want to do them like they’re genre films, but they deal with everything that America has never dealt with because it’s ashamed of it, and other countries don’t really deal with because they don’t feel they have the right to.”

The director has always been inspired by Spaghetti Westerns, which is seen in his films from time to time. He used many musical pieces composed by Ennio Morricone, the composer behind Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy. One of Tarantino’s inspirations was director Sergio Corbucci’s films, especially the original Django, which starred Franco Nero. He was also inspired by Corbucci’s Il Grande Silenzio.

Sergio Corbucci’s films were one of the foundations of the Spaghetti Western genre along with Sergio Leone’s films starring Clint Eastwood. Django spawned many unofficial sequels and iterations of the classic character. 

Quentin Tarantino has mentioned that he was a huge fan of the original Django and admired lead actor Franco Nero since the age of fourteen. The duo reportedly met in 2009, where Tarantino expressed his admiration and deep knowledge of the Django lore.

Franco Nero mentioned about the meeting in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter,

“We had lunch in Rome and he told me all the story, that he first saw Django when he was 14, when he was working in a video store. He knew practically all my work, he recited lines from my movies, and the music from my movies. He knew almost all of them.”

Tarantino finally pitched the idea of Django Unchained to Nero in 2011. While the actor agreed to feature in the film, he mentioned that he had his own idea for a Django film. He said,

“My idea is that Jamie Foxx, through the movie, had a vision of a horseman dressed in black, coming toward the camera. It haunted him. Until the very end, then there’s the horseman — that is me — and the camera pulls back and there’s a young black boy, and a black mother, who looks up and says “That’s your father,” and I would give him some advice, like “Fight for freedom,” or something like that. Quentin said he would think about it, but in the end, he didn’t go for the idea.”

As mentioned, Tarantino chose to go with his iteration which eventually made it to the final cut. Nero stars as a Mandingo owner who meets Jamie Foxx’s Django on Leonardo DiCaprio’s estate. He has a nice callback to his original character, which became a subtle yet impactful part of the film.

Spaghetti Western Locations for “Bad Man’s River”

 We continue our search for locations for “Bad Man’s River”. This scene was filmed at Daganzo de Arriba, Spain. The scene shifts from Duarte’s camp to the King gang trying to cover Fiero’s automobile with wooden boards and planks to make it as bulletproof as they can under the supervision of Montero.

This scene was filmed at Daganzo de Arriba, Spain.

For a more detailed view of this site and other Spaghetti Western locations please visit my friend Yoshi Yasuda’s location site:  and Captain Douglas Film Locations

Friday, September 29, 2023

Spaghetti Western Trivia – “Wonderful Like” (Swinger’s Paradise) western scene


One of the ten most popular films of the year at the British box office in 1964

A group of drifting youths find themselves in the Canaries involved in the filming of an episodic desert movie. They reckon a few song-and-dance numbers would liven things up.

Sections include the Western, Peplum Romans & Teenage Beach movies.

The movie was filmed in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria city, and the "desert" scenes shot on Maspalomas sand dunes on Gran Canaria Island, Canary Islands, Spain.

YouTube trailer link:

 [submitted by Michael Ferguson]

Little Known Spaghetti Western Actors ~ Ciccio Barbi

 [These daily posts will cover little known actors or people that have appeared in more recent films and TV series. Various degrees of information that I was able to find will be given and anything that you can add would be appreciated.]

Alfio Francesco ‘Ciccio’ Barbi was born in Turin, Piedmont, Italy on January 19, 1919. As Ciccio Barbi he appeared in nearly 70 films from 1943’s “L'ultima carrozzella” directed by Mario Mattoli and starring Aldo Fabrizi and Anna Magnani.

A reliable character actor, he began his career in avant-garde theater and fortobustas, where he worked with Erminio Macario and Totò, moving into Italian cinema in the early 1940s,

After taking part in about sixty films between 1951 and 1962, he switched to television in the early sixties, appearing frequently in episodes of the historic ‘Carosello’. In 1968 he appeared in the drama “La freccia nera” directed by Anton Giulio Majano and in Franco Brusati's film “Tenderly”, in minor roles. He starred in his last film on the big screen in 1977’s “Orazi e Curiazi 3 – 2” directed by Giorgio Mariuzzo which starred Elio Pandolfi and Francesco Mulè.

Barbi also worked as a voice dubber on over a dozen Italian films.

Ciccio died in Rome, on November 26, 1992 at the age of 73.

His only Spaghetti western film was as Armando in “I magnifici tre” (The Magnificent Three) in 1961, which starred Walter Chiari, Ugo Tognazzi and Raimondo Vianello.

BARBI, Ciccio (aka Alfio Barbi) (Alfio Francesco Barbi) [1/19/1919, Turin, Piedmont, Italy – 11/26/1992, Rome, Lazio, Italy] – theater, film, TV, voice actor.

The Magnificent Three – 1961 (Armando)

Two new Blu-ray, DVD releases “In einem Sattel mit dem Tod”, “Eine Kugel für MacGregor”


“In einem Sattel mit dem Tod”

(Hannie Caulder)



Director: Burt Kennedy

Starring: Raquel Welch, Robert Culp, Ernest Borgnine


Country: Germany

Label: Mediacs

Discs: 1


Limited edition: 777 copies

Language: German

Running time: 85 minutes


Available: September 29, 2023

“Eine Kugel für MacGregor”

(Up the MacGregors)



Director: Franco Giraldi

Starring: David Baily, Agatha Flory, Leo Anchoriz


Country: Germany

Label: Explosive Media

Blu-ray, DVD

Region: B

Discs: 1

Resolution 1080p 2K, HD

Aspect ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1, 16:9 - 1.77:1

Languages: German, English, Italian

Subtitles: German, English

Extras: trailer; gallery


Release date: September 28, 2023

50th Anniversary of the premier of “Three Musketeers of the West”

 Today marks the 50th anniversary of the premier of “The Three Musketeers of the West” directed by Bruno Corbucci and starring Timothy Brent, Pietro Tordi, George Eastman and Eduardo Fajardo. It is a comedy film that takes place at the Mexican border in the late 1800’s, the young Dart (Timothy Brent) enlists in the famous Texas Rangers. Assigned to cover the Mexican, U.S border, the boy discovers that the businessman Horatio Maurice DeLuc (Eduardo Fajardo) is in talks with General Ortega (Vicente Roca), who would give him illegally the rights to certain mining concessions. Reporting the transaction to his superiors, he along with two accomplices, Dart is able to ruin DeLuc’s plans and operations.

The film ranks 106 on the Italian earnings list bringing in 532,137 lire.


Tutti per uno, botte per tutti – Italian title

Todos para uon, golpes para todes – Spanish title

Lännen muskettisoturit – Finnish title

Les rangers défient les karatékas – French title

Les trois mousquetaires de l’Ouest – French title

Alle für einen - Prügel für alle – German title

Kataigida me karate sto Far West – Greek title

4 yperohoi Trinita – Greek title

Västerns vildaste musketörer – Swedish title

The Three Musketeers of the West – English title


A 1973 Italian, Spanish film co-production [Capitolina Produzioni Cinematografica

     (Rome), Dieter Geisier Filmproduktion (Munich), Star Films (Madrid)]

Producers: Edmondo Amati, Antonio Mazzi

Director: B. Corbucci (Bruno Corbucci)

Story: Tito Casrpi

Screenplay: B. Corbucci (Bruno Corbucci), Tito Carpi, Leonardo Martin (Leonardo

     Mendez), Peter Berling

Cinematography: Rafael Pacheco (Rafale de Usa) [Technicolor, Techniscope]

Music: Carlo Rustichelli

Running time: 95 minutes



Dart Coldwater, Jr. – Timothy Brent (Giancarlo Prete)

Dart ‘Pa’ Coldwater Sr. – Pietro Torti (Pietro Tordi)

Mac Athos/Mercathos – George Eastman (Luigi Montefiori)

Horatio Maurice DeLuc – Eduardo Fajardo

Dr. Alice Ferguson – Karin Schubert

Portland – Chris Huerta (Cris Brieva)

General Ortega – Vicente Roca

Baron von Horn - Max Turilli (Marcello Turilli)

Cheese Valley band leader – Carlo Rustichelli

Aramirez – Leo Anchóriz (Leopoldo Fustel)

Chen Li – Li Chen (Hsueh Han)

Senor Mendoza – José Canalejas

Domingo – Fabian Conde

Juanita – Virginia Samso (Virginia Garcia)

Juan – Adolfo Thous

Esteban – Jose Luis Zalde (Jose Luis Lizalde)

Mayor of Bordertown – Juan Casalilla (Juan Cazalilla)

Sheriff of Fort Delivery – Francisco Camoiras

Fort Delivery saloon greeter - Maribel Hidalgo (Maria Hidalgo)

Baron von Grubben - Max Turilli (Marcello Turilli)

Gangsters – Giovanni Ukmar, Giancarlo Ukmar

Man whistling – Jose Jaspe (José Rivas)

Fire eater – Osiride Pevarello

Grabie – Luis Gaspar (Luis Osorio)

Lover in opening scene – Eleonora Giorgi

Tattooed cowboy - Bruno Boschetti

Circus performer – Franca Scagnetti

Square dance caller - Vittorio Congia

Square dance attendee – Gilberto Galmiberti, Margarete Horowitz, Virgilio Ponti,

     Angelo Casadei

Circus employees – Franca Scagnetti, Adriana Bruno

Circus acrobat – Franco Ukmar

With: Peter Berling, Rafael Albaicin (Ignacio Escudero), Roberto Chiappa, Luigi Leoni, Giuseppe Cozzi, Lorenzo Ramirez, Luigi Antonio Guerra, Antonio Ramis, Juan Amigo, Frank Clement (Francisco Clement), Hernando Rodriguez, Lisardo de la Iglesia

Monday, September 25, 2023

Vacataion September 25 - 28, 2023


Little Known Spaghetti Western Actors ~ Orlando Baralla

 [These daily posts will cover little known actors or people that have appeared in more recent films and TV series. Various degrees of information that I was able to find will be given and anything that you can add would be appreciated.]

Orlando Baralla was of the most active character actors in Italian cinema, on the stages since the forties, his career slowed down in the second half of the 1960's. He has around eighty film credits but only one Spaghetti western appearance as Governor Wallace in 1967’s “...e divenne il più spietato bandito del sud” (For a Few Bullets More) starring Peter Lee Lawrence. He was also a prolific character actor in fotoromanzi magazines.

He’s probably best remembered as the doctor in the 1959 Horror classic “Caltiki il mostro immortale” (Caltiki the Immortal Monster).

Orlando was married to Beatrice Fiammetta and his adopted daughter was the actress Fiammetta Baralla [1943-2013].

BARALLA, Orlando [192?, Italy -    ] – fotoromanzi, film actor, married to Beatrice Fiammetta (19??-194?), father of adopted actress Fiammetta Baralla (Beatrice Bentivoglio) (1943-2013).

For a Few Bullets More – 1967 (Governor Wallace)

Spaghetti Western Locations Then and Now – “The Price of Power”

 We see a scene where President Garfield is assassinated while visiting Dallas, Texas. The film was 1969’s “The Price of Power” starring Giuliano Gemma and Van Heflin. The townsite set was Flagstone which was built for 1968’s “Once Upon a Time in the West”. It is located in La Calahorra, Granada.

This is the same site as seen in 2022, where only a few of the brick buildings remain and the location is now a goat farm and a paved road runs right through the center of the few buildings that are left.

New Spanish DVD release “El sol bajo la tierra”


“El sol bajo la tierra”

(Dead Men Ride)



Director: Aldo Florio

Starring: Fabio Testi, Charol Lopez, José Calvo, Eduardo Fajardo


Country: Spain

Label: Mon Inter

Region: A

PAL, widescreen

Aspect ratio: 16:9

Languages: Spanish, Italian

Subtitles: None

Running time: 100 minutes


Available: September 25, 2023

European Western Comics ~ Ardito



This is a comic book collection of stories such as Drago by Burne Hogarth, Red Ryder by Fred Harman, Mark Trail by Ed Dood, Koska by Pietro Gamba, Marussia by Sergio Tarquinio, Capitan Ardito by Angelo Saccarello, Yanko by Edgardo dell'Acqua, Nyoka and Sheriff Cassidy and the story “Heart of Son” by Giovanni Sinchetto. The covers were created by Franco Donatelli, Edgardo dell'Acqua, Francesco Gamba, Sergio Tarquinio and Giovanni Sinchetto.

The comic book was published in 1952 and issue #1 was released on May 23, 1952. It ended with #26 on November 15, 1952. It was published by CED in Milan, Italy under the direction of Franco Baglioni. Each issue contained either 48 or 64 black and white pages with color covers.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

From the WAI! vault


Little Known Spaghetti Western Actors ~ Rafael Banquells Jr.

 [These daily posts will cover little known actors or people that have appeared in more recent films and TV series. Various degrees of information that I was able to find will be given and anything that you can add would be appreciated.]

Rafael Banquells Jr. was born Rafael Banquells Núñez sometime in the 1950’s (I can find no specific date of birth), the son of actor Rafael Banquells [1917-1990] and actress Diana de Marco [1937-1998]. Rafael Banquells Jr. began his career as a child actor in the film “Ensayo de un crimen” (Essay of a Crime) in 1955. The film was directed by Luis Buñuel and Junior earned an Ariel Award nomination for Best Child Performance. Other films where Rafael Banquells Jr. participated were “Pulgarcito”, “Pepito y los robachicos” both in 1958, “Mañana será hombres” (1961) and “La alegría de vivir” (1965).

However, actor Rafael Banquells Jr.'s career was basically over when he ended up in jail in Mexico City for 8 months. The actor was accused of fraud by a security company. Because of writing and giving a bad check for an amount of 2 million pesos as a payment that had been made for uniforms that he did not deliver.

BANQUELLS, hijo, Rafael (aka Rafaelito Banquells, Rafael Banquells, Rafael Banquels Jr.) (Rafael Banquells Núñez) [195?, Mexico -    ] – director, film actor, grandson of actor Roberto Banquells Sr. (Roberto Banquells Camilleri) [1877-1950], son of director, actor Rafael Banquells (Rafael Banquells Garafulla) [1917–1990] actress Dina de Marco (Diana Zar Nuñes Jiménez) [1937-1998] brother of singer Rocío Banquells (Rocío Banquells) Núñez [1958-    ], actress Mary Paz Banquells (Mary Paz Banquells Núñez) ]195?-    ], half-brother of actress Silvia Pasquel (Sylvia Banquells Pinal) [1949-    ], uncle of actress Stephanie Salas [1971-    ].

The White Horse – 1961

Catfight College - Les Pétroleuses: Brigitte Bardot Vs. Claudia Cardinale

 Live Journal

November 23, 2007

Two of the most iconic Sixties überbabes ever go at it just a little past their prime in veteran French director Christian-Jacque's 1971 Franco-Italian western.

The title translates as "Petroleum Girls" (it's also known as "The Legend of Frenchie King"), which goofily captures the essence of the plot: busty cowgirls claw and scratch over the rights to an oilfield, spilling a few corset-fulls of sweaty cleavage and flashing a lot of frilly petticoatage along the way.

Jacque's spaghetti-western-à-la-Français stews "Cat Ballou" and "Viva Maria" into a bawdy, ballsy, tongue-in-cheek take on the girl gang legends of the Old West. The cheeky scripting, executed by a seasoned Spanish and Italian crew, makes for a surprisingly entertaining ride. And the two star belles look great in chaps, garters, and laced corsets! When watching the lead clip up top, check out the way CC's gun belt rides on her hips. I'm surprised all those slugs don't start going off just from being that close to her!

Our story begins when a train runs afoul of a legendary bandit named Frenchie King and his uniformly costumed gang of tough-but-stylish, masked ruffians. Frenchie and Co. rob the passengers — including one "Doc" Miller who figures heavily in the opening sequence — and high-tail it across the desert.

Later, in their camp, we learn that "Frenchie" is the feisty, ass-kicking Louise (Brigitte Bardot), and her gang in reality is her four (remember that number!) sisters, all stunningly beautiful young Vadimesque women of vaguely European extraction. (Later, we're treated to them bathing in a creek.)

We share their criminal jubilation as amongst their booty they find the deed to a ranch called Little P. owned by our friend Doc Miller. This is indeed a windfall, as it means the women can finally put aside their pistol (and vibrator?) -toting ways and settle down with a man and make a home after years of poker and pillaging. They're hankering to take his boots off, fetch his pie and pipe, and, in my mind, enjoy some bustier-busting, sisterly six-way action.

Meanwhile, the pilfered train steams on to the strictly French-speaking tumbleweed town of Bougival Junction. Here, Doc Miller's discarded, empty bag falls into the hands of the rowdy, ass-whuppin' Marie Sarrazin (Claudia Cardinale).

Hold on a minute! What's this hidden in the lining of Doc's bag? Why, it's a map of that abandoned ranch just outside of town, showing where a huge deposit of oil is! Marie has only to raise some money and buy the Little P., and she and her four dumb-but-handsome, black-clad brothers (remember that number now?) can finally leave their little shack and wrangle horses legitimately ... until the feisty, ass-kicking "Doctor Louise Miller" and her four pretty sisters show up in Bougival Junction to settle on the same land, that is.

What will the domineering Marie and her wimpy bros do to counter the machinations of tough Louise and her tougher sisters?

Can the loveable, bumbling ("hey, dude, where's my pony?") town marshal — played by "Bonnie and Clyde's" Michael J. Pollard — deal with such shenanigans in such a way that no one gets killed in the crossfire, but Louise and Maria somehow end up kissing? (Pollard spends much of his time trying to learn French so he can do some-uh proper wooin'.)

Can the other lusty ladies of Bougival Junction keep their slavering menfolk at bay in the "B" storyline?

 And when do we get to see Brigitte and Claudia duke it out in their frilly unmentionables and catch a glimpse of their ... ahem ... petticoat junctions?

"Banks? I believe in beds. Money should stay where it's made." That's Aunt Amelie (the venerable Micheline Presle), the town Madam, speaking. She's not the only minor character to get lines like that, courtesy of the team of five — count em', five — scriptwriters (including writer-director Guy Casaril, who goes uncredited whether he wielded a pen or a lens on PG). The film scintillates with both funny and corny dialogue, much of it as cringe-inducing as anything Richard Maibaum wrote for Bond to say, and it's all delivered with delightfully dead-pan earnestness. There are even a few "Paint Your Wagon-y" musical numbers, anchored by Cardinale's sexy strip-down as she sings "La Fille De La Prairie" to Bardot.

The supporting cast is excellent, especially the quirky Pollard. But just as watchable are Leroy Haynes and Valéry Inkijinoff, dutifully playing such 1880s stereotypes as, respectively, Louise's Negro servant (Marquis) and Marie's Injun go-fer ("Spitting Bull"). Naturally, the two look past their allegiances and bet with each other on the outcome of the climactic catfight between their bosses. I've always said that a good catfight could make men forget their differences if only for a few minutes.

Hellcats Bardot and Cardinale manage to wring a ton of fun from both the spaghetti-western and Euro chixploitation conventions "Petroleum Girls" is liberally drenched in.

MooTGeekInfo: PG's original 1971 release was in French, but in 1973 an English dub was made and released as "The Legend of Frenchie King." My copy is an R4 DVD from Australia titled "Petroleum Girls" (and marked a "Silver Screen Classic," which strangely doesn't offend me — PG is infinitely more watchable than, say, "The English Patient"). PG's English-speaking rights are owned by K-Tel (the speed-up-hit-songs-so-you-can-cram-more-of-them-on-a-record people), so if you find a copy it'll probably be something from another part of the world, a little cut-out-binny in cheap-lookin' packaging.

The good news is that PG on DVD is available quite regularly for a few dollars via eBay or iOffer. The double good news is that the Australian version appears to be an unedited strike of the first American release, which, in turn, would appear to match the original French cut. The dubbing is actually quite well done — a decent effort was put into the voice-acting synchronization. Also intact is composer Francis Lai's wonderfully silly, electric-bass-heavy Euro-Texan soundtrack.

And, if all of that wasn't enough, this post is a MooT first! You get a "Catfight College," "Smokin' Chicks," and "Girls with Guns" entry all in one!

Spaghetti Western Locations for “Bad Man’s River”

 We continue our search for locations for “Bad Man’s River”. The scene shifts back to Duarte’s camp and a sentry on a watchtower continues to watch Fiero’s men but can only hear sawing and hammering so Duarte tells his men they are spending their last few hours making their own coffins.

This scene was filmed at Daganzo de Arriba, Spain.

For a more detailed view of this site and other Spaghetti Western locations please visit my friend Yoshi Yasuda’s location site:  and Captain Douglas Film Locations

Saturday, September 23, 2023

From the WAI! vault


Little Known Spaghetti Western Actors ~ Stefan Banovski

 [These daily posts will cover little known actors or people that have appeared in more recent films and TV series. Various degrees of information that I was able to find will be given and anything that you can add would be appreciated.]

Stefan Banovski is/was an East European actor who appeared in the 1976 DEFA western “Trini” (Death for Zapata) in the role of Isidro. He’s credited with appearing in only three films from 1973-1976. Most likely of Bulgarian decent his trail ends after his last film and I can find no reference to him afterwards.

BANOVSKI, Stefan (aka Stefan Bonowski) – film actor.

Death for Zapata – 1976 (Isidro)

“Outlaw Johnny Black” Review

 An Amusing Homage to Spaghetti Western and Blaxploitation Elements

Director-star Michael Jai White follows up 'Black Dynamite' with another wink-wink, nudge-nudge genre homage that, at 136 minutes, overplays its hand.


By Joe Leydon

September 13, 2023

Tipping their Stetsons to a passel of 1960s Spaghetti Westerns — everything from “A Fistful of Dollars” to “They Call Me Trinity” — and the sort of 1970s Blaxploitation oaters that once provided steady employment for Fred Williamson, director-star Michael Jai White and co-star (and co-writer) Byron Keith Minns have cobbled together “Outlaw Johnny Black,” a fitfully funny but uncomfortably overlong entertainment best appreciated by movie buffs who share the pair’s affection for the genre tropes and stereotypes they seriocomically recycle.

Not nearly as free-wheeling and fleet-footed as “Black Dynamite,” the 2009 satirical comedy that cast White as a Shaft-like action hero, the new film nonetheless provides more than a few good laughs, even when it seems to be taking horse opera clichés a tad too respectfully and showcases a fine cast of actors dedicated to both the silliness and the seriousness of the enterprise.

White plays the title character, a notorious gunslinger and brutally efficient martial artist who has devoted most of his adult life to seeking vengeance for the murder of his father, preacher and trick shootist Bullseye Black (played briefly but impactfully in flashbacks by Glynn Turman). Much like Lee Van Cleef in “For a Few Dollars More,” who carried the image of his late sister in his pocketwatch to inspire his score-settling pursuits, Johnny carries a picture of Bullseye in his own timepiece, to fuel his determination for retribution. But wait, there’s more: Johnny also carries with him a bullet with the name of his quarry — gang leader Brett Clayton (Chris Browning) — written upon it.

Trouble is, Johnny is repeatedly interrupted on the vengeance trail by lawmen, bounty hunters and other nuisances who want to collect the bounty on his head, or arrest him on trumped-up charges, or both. He barely escapes hanging thanks to the intercession of grateful Indians he saved from racist bullies, but nearly dies in the wilderness after his horse literally and figuratively kicks the bucket. Fortunately, he’s saved by Reverend Percy (Minns), who’s on his way to assume the open job as preacher — and claim the hand of Bessie (Erica Ash), his lovely pen pal — in the predominantly Black town of Hope Springs. Even more fortunately, when the reverend is sidetracked, Johnny is able to assume his identity and seek temporary refuge in a place where no one, not ever Bessie, has ever seen him before.

Clocking in at 136 minutes, “Outlaw Johnny Black” is replete with stretches where the passing of time and the shortage of full-throttle hilarity are keenly felt. There’s a welcome hint of “Blazing Saddles” to the scenes where Johnny interacts with members of his credulous flock — and to a wink-wink, nudge-nudge moment when someone does a Mongo and punches out a horse. But more often, surprisingly enough, “Outlaw Johnny Black” is appreciably less jokey, if not downright sincere, as it fills the gaps between laugh-out-loud funny business by focusing on the machinations of a rapacious land grabber (Barry Bostwick) who covets the oil-rich property of Bessie’s equally beautiful sister, Jessie (Anika Noni Rose).

(And yes: It’s a weird coincidence to have so soon before the theatrical release of “Killers of the Flower Moon” another movie about white villains trying to keep people of color from exerting their rightful claim to oil fortunes.)

Scattered throughout “Outlaw Johnny Black” are some savagely comical references to racist outrages that are almost shocking in their brazenness. Among the charges leveled against Johnny: “Train robbery, horse thievery and improper white women eye contact.” Later, someone expresses fear that rumors of Black men raping white women in Hope Springs may lead to violence by vigilantes. And while it may take a minute or two (or more) for some viewers to grasp the satirical intent of the filmmakers, the casting of obvious palefaces as Native Americans is a sly jab at the tradition of similar casting in classic and not-so-classic Hollywood Westerns. 

But for some viewers, the most memorable moment will be one saved for the end, when two Blaxploitation Western veterans (including one to whom this movie is dedicated) make cameo appearances to more or less pass the torch on to White. That may not make you guffaw, but it should certainly leave you with a smile on your face.

Who Are Those Singers & Musicians? ~ Paul Hagen


Paul Hagen was born on March 19, 1920, in Copenhagen, Denmark. He was the son of opera singer Anna Hagen [1893-1989 and painter Åge Falck Rasmussen [18??-1958]. He was educated at Frederiksberg Teater's student school 1944-45. In 1972 he found employment at the Royal Danish Academy of Arts. Theater, which he left in 1987.

He is best known as the pet dealer Clausen in the TV series ‘The House in Christianshavn’, which ran from 1970-77 for 84 episodes. Hagen also established himself in more than 100 supporting film and TV roles between 1952 and 1999. He almost always appeared in folk comedies and often plays in an easily recognizable manner, somewhere between the feathery and the shrewd. And the snappy, the humorous voice and the twinkle in his eye ensure that you shouldn't think he takes himself seriously at all.

Paul sang in two Danish Euro-westerns in which he also appeared as an actor.

Paul Hagen died in Langø, Denmark on May 20, 2003 at the age of 83.

HAGEN, Paul (aka Poul Hagen) [3/19/1920, Copenhagen Denmark – 5/19/2003, Langø, Denmark (pneumonia)] – producer, director, writer, actor, singer, son of opera singer, actress Anna Hagen [1893–1989], painter Åge Falck Rasmussen [1886-1958], married to actress Asta Esper Hagen Andersen [1919–2012] (1945-1955) father of actor Esper Hagen [1948–2015], married to Gurli Flindt [1921-    ] (1960-19??) father of Susanne Hagen [1960-    ], married to director, dancer Alice Martens [1936-    ] (1983-2003).

Tough Guys of the Prairie – 1970 (co) [sings: ““Praeriens skrappe drenge”]

Gold for the Tough Guys of the Prairie – 1971 (co) [sings: "Swingdoor-Susie"]