Captain Conroy's family dies in a fire, the result of a battle between lawmen and the cohorts of outlaw gunslinger Johnny Ringo. Though Ringo is presumed dead in the fire, Conroy does not believe it and sets out to track down the gunman. Meantime, Sam Bodie takes a job as a gun salesman and hires fast gun Clyde Smith to demonstrate his weapons. Smith is such a good shot that people begin to believe he is the legendary Johnny Ringo, escaped from the fire presumed to have killed him. Only Ringo's girlfriend Bea knows for sure who the real Johnny Ringo is, and she's not saying... for now. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
WHO KILLED JOHNNY RINGO? is a Spanish spaghetti western somewhat bizarrely filmed in Germany, hence the presence of popular star Lex Barker who was a huge hit in Germany at the time with his Winnetou series of German westerns. Despite the western setting and the gun-toting action, this doesn't have many of the tropes or indeed the feel of a typical western; at some times it's more of a mystery story with a whodunit aspect to the narrative.
Mistaken and double identities are the main themes here. What's arresting about the film is that it opens with a massive huge action spectacle in which a building is burnt down and a number of characters killed. It then slows down for the rest of the running time, only to pick up at the climax. Barker is an acceptable presence but Marianna Koch is the real scene-stealer. I notice that the film was retitled WHO KILLED JOHNNY R? in some territories, perhaps to avoid confusion with the same year's KILL JOHNNY RINGO, an Italian western. Ringo was a real-life character, as it happens.
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