|Index||10 reviews in total|
1963...Sergio Leone had done 1 film as credited director..."Colossus of
Rhodes"..; Clint Eastwood was still best known as "Rowdy Yates" on
"Rawhide". Duello Nel Texas was released in Italy in Sept.
1963...Filmed in Northern Spain....using the set that would later be
used as the town in FOD & FAFDM. Ricardo Blasco ..directed 8 other
films..a couple of Zorro movies...most of his work was as Second Unit
Director or Assistant Director. Massimo Dallamano, the cinematographer,
went on to be director of photography on both Fistful Of Dollars and
Richard Harrison..had appeared in 1 previous "pre-spaghetti" Western..."El Sabor de la Venganza" (1963) (Gunfight at High Noon (USA) )....& went on to play Ringo in "$100,000 for Ringo"....Rocco in "Vengeance" (.Joko invoca Dio e muori).. & starred in "I'll Forgive You, Before I Kill You" .... .."Aquasanta Joe" & others. Gunfight at Red Sands is also noteworthy for being the first Italian Western to feature a Ennio Morricone score...& if my instincts are correct......a collaboration w/ Bruno Nicolai.
Harrison is Ricardo..a/k/a "Gringo"......who returns from an unsuccessful campaign fighting w/ guerillas in Mexico...& now just wants peace.......to discover that his adoptive father has been killed & the family's gold stolen. So he's gotta..avenge his father..& get the gold back.
This is Harrison without the stubble..not quite the antihero...an avenger...but not "The Stranger"...although he has been away for 4 years.
As for Ennio Morricone's first Western score.....parts of it are quite nice...others are just...OK...Hollywood-style stuff, as requested by the film's producers. ..Of course, early Morricone is very interesting...the title song (A Gringo Like Me) is a different version than the one that's become somewhat familiar...an earlier version w/ a different vocalist. He is also credited as musical director under the name of "Leo Nichols"...which for me is too close to Bruno Nicolai..that I suspect that to be a mistake..& Nicolai to be the true musical director.
The Italian Western was still very much an American Western imitation..but we see the SWlike quirk here & there..a lot of "roots" of what was to come in many films....the weird villain type (giggling..twitching guy)............& there's gold..Mexican revolutionaries...a corrupt sheriff who hates Mexicans....more than a few killings..a couple of not very well done fistfights..a final showdown that's OK.......minor red herrings & misdirection..pretty straightforward. Good bit early..the shootout w/ the Federales...although it does come off as too theatrical. Check out the scene early on when a jeep drives by in the background. Rest of the cast ranges from pretty awful to pretty good... nice turn by Sara Lezana as Lisa..who gets to show off some action chops that a year later became traditionally not done by women in SW.
Gunfight At Red Sands is really a PRE-Spaghetti Western....in tone... & spirit....dramatically & musically. It has more in common with the Hollywood knockoffs produced in Italy pre '64...but SW devotees will definitely notice & appreciate the elements of future films that are there...
The style hadn't arrived yet......nor the twinkle in the eye..but something quite unique and wonderful was just about to be born.
Spaghetti Western? Maybe an Antipasto Western.
GUNFIGHT AT RED SANDS(US title)may well be the first of the so-called "spaghetti westerns" predating A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS by a year.Richard Harrison is effective as the hero,Gringo,who is not the sort of plains superman that future heroes of this genre would become but a family man who is eager to the right thing by his murdered father but does not strive to become a grim angel of vengeance to do so.Early staples of Italian western convention are already in place like the twitching henchman,good/bad girl and above all the soaring music and theme song.Good stuff and worthy of seeking out.
I had the chance of watching this great movie the other
Everybody told me that it was a great "spaghetti-western",
I really believe it is.
And I´ll tell you why. The movie plot is very intriguing,
rhythm is unbeatable, and it´s a story it could have happened
somewhere in the west last century. It´s just wonderful,
And by the way it´s also one of the first spaghetti-westerns.
The great performances of Richard Harrison, Mikaela, Daniel Martín, and
rest of the cast make this movie absolutely delightful.
And to boots the main title song called "A gringo like me"
one of the best pieces I´ve heard in a western of this
"Put your hand on your gun...don´t you trust anyone, there´s
just one kind of man that you can trust, that´s a dead
or a gringo like me...".
An avenging stranger (Richard Harrison) seeks vengeance against killers
who have murdered his father . He guns down a gang of ruthless outlaws
in revenge for the murder of his family . He returns a little town
called Carterville where rules steadily a sheriff (Giacomo Rossi
Stuart) and a Saloon owner (Barta Barri) . At the saloon the starring
meets his old flame (Mikaela) .
This Chorizo Western packs violence , shootouts , high body-count and it's fast moving and quite entertaining . There is plenty of action in the movie , guaranteeing some shoot'em up or stunts every few minutes . It contains bits of campy and refreshing events with turns and twists . It's an exciting western with breathtaking showdown between the starring Richard Harrison and his enemies . Outdoor sequences shot on outskirts of Madrid , La Pedriza , Colmenar Viejo , and Hoyo De Manzanares . The producer Jose Maesso ordered to build a Western village called ¨Golden City¨ where were shot a lot of Western . Being built by Cubero and Jose Luis Galicia in charge of production sets and subsequently designed numerous Westerns . One year later , most technicians , secondary actors (Aldo Sambrell , Daniel Martin), Production ( Jolly , Constantin Film) , cameraman (Maximo Dallamano) , musician (Ennio Morricone or Dan Savio) would work in the notorious ¨For a fistful of dollars¨ that created Spaghetti. Even the main role was offered to Richard Harrison , but he turned down and explaining : Maybe my greatest contribution to cinema was not doing Fistful of Dollars, and recommending Clint Eastwood for the part.
The picture is well starred by Richard Harrison , he is top notch as the brave hero who finds many dangerous situations while attempting to avenge his family and protect his true love played by Sara Lezana . Strong and robust Richard Harrison was a magnificent muscle-man . He was one along with Ed Fury, Brad Harris, Kirk Morris, Reg Park, Mark Forest, among others, whom to seek fortune acting absurdly muscle mythological figures, but anybody topped Steve Reeves and Gordon Scott in popularity. Harrison played in Hollywood some minor roles as ¨Kronos ¨ and ¨South Pacific¨ , while shooting another inferior character in ¨Master of world (1961)¨ produced by American International , he met producer James H. Nicholson's daughter and married her within six months. Frustrated at not being able to secure meatier roles in America , Harrison jumped at the chance when offered the first character in 1961 ,¨The Invincible Gladiator¨ , which was filming in Europe along with his greatest success ¨The seven Spartans¨. He wound up settling in Italy for the next two decades. His lead role, of course, immediately typed him as another Herculean type and, to avoid being penned in too much as a muscle man, he sought characters in routine spaghetti westerns as ¨Texas the red , Gringo, Reverendo Colt, Joe Dakota ¨ , Wartime genre as ¨Leopards of Churchill and 36 hours in hell¨ and spy intrigue as ¨Master stroke and 077 challenge to the killer's¨ . Once Italy closed down film production after the muscular craze had died down, he, like others, found himself unemployed. He did manage to scrape up work in Hong Kong, but a large portion of them were bottom-of-the-barrel Ninja movies.
Screenplay with interesting premise about a gunfighter seeking justice was written by Albert Band and the same director Ricardo Blasco. The producer Jose G . Maesso with his Cia. ¨Tecisa¨ produced several Western as ¨The ugly ones , Minnesota Clay , Django , A train to Durango , Hellbenders¨ and financed various pre-Leone Western as ¨Tierra Brutal¨ and along with those Western directed by Joaquin Romero Marchent as ¨Three Implacables¨ , ¨The shadow of Zorro¨ created the birth of European Western , before Leone-boom .
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Muscle-bound peplum star Richard Harrison dons a Stetson and buckles on
spurs and six-shooters in Spanish director Ricardo Blasco's "Gunfight
at Red Sands," one of the earliest examples of Continental westerns
before Sergio Leone's "A Fistful of Dollars" kick-started Spaghetti
westerns. Some of the people behind the scenes on this oater later on
figured prominently in the Leone westerns, principally composer Ennio
Morricone using the pseudonym 'Dan Savio,' "Fistful of Dollars" lenser
Massimo Dallamano as 'Jack Dalmas,' veteran Euro-western bad guy Aldo
Sambrell of "Navajo Joe," and another "Fistful of Dollars" actor Jose
Calvo who owned the saloon between the Rojos and the Baxters in the
Leone classic. Morricone cut his teeth on Euro-westerns with this
Spanish-produced sagebrusher and the title tune that he composed with
lyricist Dicky Jones could easily qualify as the anthem for spaghetti
westerns, with lyrics like "Keep your hand on your gun/Don't you trust
anyone/There's only one man you can trust/That's a dead man or a Gringo
like me." Altogether, "Gunfight at Red Sands" ranks as a pretty fair
facsimile of the American variety with heaps of hard-riding,
fast-shooting action set against rugged desert scenery and a well-laid
out western town.
Richard Harrison, who made several spaghetti westerns, such as "Gunfight at High Noon" (1963), "One Hundred Thousand Dollars for Ringo" (1965), "El Rojo" (1967), and "Between God, the Devil, and a Winchester" (1968), was just at home on the range as a western hero as he was in the peplum genre as a strongman. The character that he plays in "Gunfight at Red Sands" is the 'Gringo' referred to in Ennio Morricone's song. Before Gringo makes his appearance, scenarist Albert Bandwho helmed a couple of spaghettis himself, "The Tramplers" (1966) and "The Hellbenders" (1967)and writer/director Blasco lay the ground work for the action. Manuel (Giacomo Rossi-Stuart) rides into Red Sands to drink and gamble, but he drinks too much and loses everything, including a pouch of gold. During his gambling spree, he mentions that his father, sister, and he have found more than enough gold to buy the saloon. Later, three masked gunslingers surprise his dad at home, shoot him in cold blood, and steal several bags of gold from a compartment in the floor. Meantime, Ricardo (Richard Harrison) has spent the last four years fighting alongside the revolutionaries in their desperate bid to rid their country of the oppressive political regime that makes their lives so miserable. White-clad soldiers by the dozens have Pedro (Jose Calvo) and Gringo on the run. In fact, Gringo barely escapes with his life after Pedro and they splash across the Rio Grande back into Texas, but one of the troops fires a last shot and kills poor Pedro. Sickened by all this bloodshed, Gringo decides to settle down and live a peaceable life. His illusions are shattered when he rides home to find his father dead on the floor of their ranch. When Gringo launches his own investigation, he clashes with the local lawman who displays his bigotry for all things Hispanic as do several of the townspeople. Later, inquisitive Manuel discovers that Maria, a saloon hostess, has been keeping their stolen gold stashed in their safe. Manuel kills the saloon owner, escapes with the gold and a posse pursues him to the ranch. Gringo sends Manuel packing before the posse arrives. When they show up, Gringo proves that the stolen gold belonged to his father. An anti-Mexican deputy gets in a brawl with Gringo and our hero kills him in front of witnesses, providing the sheriff with a legitimate reason to lock him up.
"Gunfight at Red Sands" has several surprises and plot twists during its lean 95 minute running time. The intolerance shown toward Mexicans qualifies it as a message movie of sorts and the hero is an American who had been adopted by Mexicans and raised as one of the family. No, there are no racial epithets, but one laughing cowboy distinguishes Mexicans by their stench until Gringo roughs him up during a saloon brawl. Morricone's flavorful scores enhances the excitement and heightens the drama throughout. The dubbing appears to be rather well-done, considering that this is a Euro-western, and the performances throughout are good, too. Unfortunately, the only prints available of this landmark western are horrible public domain prints, but it is still an entertaining saga.
This is a film for people with interest in the Western genre, mostly
those who respect the European sub-genre, in the 1990's mostly
connected to Italy, Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood but nowadays also
related to director-names such as Sergio Corbucci and Sergio Sollima.
Filmed before Sergio Leone's success of the dollar-films, Duello nel Texas has several motives in common with Leone's films. The film is said to be set in the same surroundings, the film has the same composer (Morricone of course) and the film's story is set near the border between USA and Mexico. I watched it as a small kid, with enthusiasm over the action packed plot and some colorful characters. For 20 years later, I got the opportunity to see it again. No widescreen, bad colors, bad sound and a very scratchy picture. At least it was the film that I had been waiting for.
Duello nel Texas doesn't start very promising but it grows. The Morricone-music is the best of it. The main antagonists holds the film up, and everything results in a conventional but great gunfight. You can find rather independent woman here, some anti-rasism and a typical fist-fight. The plot is not as sophisticated as the ones in Leone's films, but it works good on it's own.
Duello nel Texas is a must see for the "die-hard European Western-fan".
Rating: 6 of 10.
Gunfight At Red Sands is an excellent early spaghetti western. It is
probably the best pre-1964 eurowestern I have seen.
I wouldn't be surprised if this spaghetti was the one that started it all, as far as the style goes. The other early examples of the genre I have seen seem to be lacking in the defining characteristics that make these films so great, but this movie has all of the stylistic elements in place. The ultra-bleak depiction of life in the west, a couple of oddball off-kilter characters, a great music score (by the master, Morricone, no less), some great suspense-building camera work, a dramatic showdown, and lots of rousing action really make this one stand out.
The acting in the film is very good, and definitely above-average for a eurowestern. Richard Harrison is great in the role of "Gringo." Giacomo Rossi-Stuart also does an excellent job in the role of Sheriff Corbett. All of the other players are great as well. The character "Lisa," played by Sara Lezana, is one of the strongest female characters I have seen in a western. She's every bit as tough, and can shoot as well as any other character in the story, and she has a very prominent role in the most important action scenes of the film.
The story is a very engaging one, and it moves along at a really good pace. There are no slow parts or fillers in this movie. There is also a strong element of mystery, as Gringo has to do a fair amount of detective work to figure out who murdered his father.
All in all, this is a great movie that no spaghetti western fan should overlook.
Richard Harrison is a gringo raised by a family of poor Mexican
farmers, who have recently discovered gold on their property. He
returns home from a war in Mexico to find his father shot down by three
strangers looking to take his treasure, leading to a showdown with
several local bigots and friction with the town's new sheriff.
Although definitely not the first western shot in southern Spain nor the first Italian-made western, this may have been the first real "spaghetti western" (albeit with American co-writer Albert Band), by Jolley Film of Rome, the studio that made A Fistful Of Dollars the following year.
Some say that El Sabor de la Venganza, released the same year, came before. However, I'm not entirely convinced, as this is the one that's acknowledged as the film debut of Spanish genre star Aldo Sambrell, an actor who appeared in both films.
Harrison, better known for starring in a slew of Italian sword and sandal features, is pretty good playing the sullen, lone-avenger type in this typical but entertaining flick, that benefits greatly from a fast-pace, good action, and gun-play.
This is also notable for being the first western film scored by the great Ennio Morricone. It's not his best, but there's a few good moments, including the catchy main-theme "A Gringo Like Me", featuring a truly odd vocal performance that was changed and made more mainstream for it's CD appearances!
GUNFIGHT AT RED SANDS is a good-natured spaghetti western, made just
one year before Sergio Leone's A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS helped to define
the genre as we know it today. As such, GUNFIGHT is more in line with
the kind of Hollywood westerns that were produced in the 1950s, such as
HIGH NOON: it's neither as gritty nor as dark and violent as many of
the spaghetti westerns made in the late '60s. Nevertheless, I'd
recommend it as a film definitely worth a watch, because it has much
going for it not least another effective leading man performance from
peplum actor Richard Harrison. Harrison, who made his name in equal
numbers of westerns and historical adventures, is as tough and ready as
he ever was on screen. He's no Eastwood, but he does a good job.
My biggest complaint with this movie is the score by Ennio Morricone. This guy is one of my favourite composers, thanks to his iconic work on Leone's DOLLARS trilogy, but his music here sounds twee and dated, as if it came from some '30s melodrama than a '60s western. It seems he's constrained here by the producers, and the lack of experimentation hurts the movie a lot. Still, it's not all bad. The screenplay by future trash director Albert Band breathes life into old genre staples i.e. the adopted son, the corrupt lawman, the criminal gang, the fiery love interests and the action is well-handled, with plenty of nicely-choreographed brawls, shoot-outs, and gun battles. The chief villain role goes to Giacomo Rossi-Stuart and he fits it like a glove; I never did like this actor when I saw him playing the 'good guy', much preferring him as a slimy creep. Mikaela and Sara Lezana play opposing love interests, the former fiery while the latter sweet, although astonishingly I read somewhere that Lezana was born in 1948, which made her only 15 when she appeared in this film, kissing and frolicking with Harrison surely an error?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Gunfight at Red Sands" has one of the cooler sounding Western movie
titles of the modern era. The title would have been right at home as an
episode of 'The Dakotas' which came out the same year, 1963. Though it
appears to hold an important place in the early history of Spaghetti
Westerns, the film for me was a rather run of the mill affair with it's
Euro-West flavor and unrelenting revenge theme. The opening scene in
which the Gringo's (Richard Harrison) partner Francisco was shot in the
chest by a posse shooting from behind as they gave chase may have
colored my perception about what was to follow. That sort of stuff
should have gone out with Fifties B Westerns.
That's not to say that the picture didn't offer some interesting elements. The Martinez sister Lisa (Sara Lezana) takes an active role in the action showing some skillful firearm work in the final showdown against Sheriff Corbett's (G.R. Stuart) bunch. Just before that, I thought it was cruelly ironic that the Sheriff gunned down his own girlfriend Maria (Mikaela) during the posse chase, a classic case of what goes around comes around.
Ultimately though, this one didn't strike me as anything special. At one point in the story, the Gringo is asked how he's doing and he replies - "Things are bad but they'll get better". I guess it's all a matter of perspective. Still, it was a cool title.
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