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Johnny Hamlet (1968)

Quella sporca storia nel west (original title)
PG | | Drama, Western | May 1972 (USA)
On his way back from the Civil War, Johnny Hamilton is visited in his sleep by the ghost of his father who lets him know that he has been murdered and who asks him to avenge him. Back in ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Andrea Giordana ...
Johnny Hamilton (as Andre Giordana)
...
Horace
Horst Frank ...
Claude Hamilton
Ennio Girolami ...
Ross
Ignazio Spalla ...
Guild (as Pedro Sanchez)
Françoise Prévost ...
Gertry
Stefania Careddu ...
Betty
Manuel Serrano ...
Santana
Franco Latini ...
Il becchino
Giorgio Sammartino ...
Polonio - il sheriff (as Giorgio Sanmartin)
Gabriella Boccardo ...
Emily (as Gabriella Grimaldi)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ugo Adinolfi
John Bartha
Franco Leo
Claudio Trionfi
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Storyline

On his way back from the Civil War, Johnny Hamilton is visited in his sleep by the ghost of his father who lets him know that he has been murdered and who asks him to avenge him. Back in the family ranch, Johnny finds that not only has his father been killed but that Gertrude, his mother, has married her late husband's brother Claude. The latter is now the owner of the ranch and of all the properties of the deceased. Polonius, a ruthless bandit, is supposed to have killed Johnny's father. But couldn't it be Claude...? Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Western

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

May 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Johnny Hamlet  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Loosely based on Shakespeare's "Hamlet." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Fear, Panic & Censorship (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Find The Man
Written by Francesco De Masi, Alessandro Alessandroni and Audrey Nohra
Performed by Maurizio Graf
Produced by Edizioni CAM
See more »

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User Reviews

The play's the thing
16 May 2004 | by (Rijswijk, ZH, Netherlands) – See all my reviews

This western starts of with our hero Johnny, who sports an orange brown tan and sparkling white teeth, having a nightmare about his father (of whom we only get to see his long black cape). He soon wakes up at the beach (?) where a group of traveling performers are reciting Hamlet. Johnny shoots some people (not the actors) and gets on his horse to leave. If he had stayed to get more acquainted with "the Danish play" it could have saved him a lot of trouble.

After a rip-roaring theme song that proclaims ‘A dreamer grows wise as he opens his eyes', director Enzo G. Castellari immediately sets the tone by mixing Sergio Leone's spaghetti style with that of Sidney J. Fury's "The Appaloosa". There are countless zoom shots, a loud and eclectic musical score ranging from angelic choirs to kitchen utensil sound effects, extreme closeups, minute attention to detail (we spend some time seeing an extra tying his old fashioned cowboy laces) and just about every shot seems to have something obscuring the frame, be it a chair, a staircase or an open fire. But when Johnny arrives back home to spy on his widowed mother (nicknamed 'the Queen') and witnesses her being spanked in the bedroom by her new husband Claudio, it becomes clear as water where these characters originated.

Johnny has the habit of getting into trouble everywhere he goes, but luckily each time his Clark Gable lookalike guardian angel pal shows up to save him. This man not only looks like a 1930's matinee hero, he also acts like one, laughing in the face of danger and saying ‘hopla' when jumping down on somebody's head. He has even perfected the ‘James T. Kirk Drop kick'. There are some other additions to the original text: while looking for his fathers killer Johnny is sidetracked by a subplot involving a Mexican bandit called Santanna, and I also don't remember any crucifixion scene in Shakespeare's play.

The performing troupe from the prologue reappear to help the mystery along, but although Johnny manages to bed a red haired actress, he fails to use them in his plans to compromise Claudius. His other love interest Ophelia- I mean Laura appears too briefly to lose her mind, but still ends up all wet and tragic. The comedic gravedigger actually gets a bigger part in this version, and still manages to show up in the same place as always, albeit without Yorick.

The finale does take a bit too long, as there are at least three dramatic shootouts (with an ever decreasing number of participants). Some directors never learn that prolonging a hero's suffering is pointless as long as the audience knows he will eventually get his revenge. Besides that, Clark Gable will always be there to save Johnny at the last minute. I don't suppose the real Clark ever played the part of Horatio. That versions Hamlet might have survived to ride into the sunset too.

7 out of 10

Adieu, adieu ! Remember me.


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