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Johnny Hamlet (1968)
"Quella sporca storia nel west" (original title)

 -  Drama | Western  -  May 1972 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 270 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 10 critic

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
Edit

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?

Connections

Referenced in Red Dead Revolver (2004) 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

 
That Dirty Shakespeare Story Set in the West
6 March 2011 | by (The Divided States of Earth) – See all my reviews

The first 30 minutes of 'Johnny Hamlet' might be the most inspired in all of Spaghetti Western. The movie opens with a misty nightmare scene that immediately let's you feel the mindset of the war-struck antihero. He awakens by an actor reciting Shakespeare with the chosen text being very appropriate for Johnny's situation. After that we get a scene of Johnny finding his father's grave which is on a cemetery in a cave. The scene has a surreal feel to it and impresses with its moving camera. Then he comes home to his mother after having been away fighting in war for two years to find her having a jolly hot time with his uncle, Johnny's father's brother. Johnny is understandably flabbergasted learning that his father got killed and finding his mom living together with his uncle all on the same day. After that Johnny meets his old flame who got married while he was away. When asking her what she knows about the killing of his father she refuses to talk, out of fear apparently. That's when two guy shows up advising Johnny not to ask so many questions and a fistfight ensues. Johnny is saved by an old friend (and a good friend of his father's) who's a tough guy and enjoys this kind of thing.

And that's how this thing starts. Yes, it's an adaption of Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'. Not only is this revenge story like made for a Spaghetti Western but the film doesn't even struggle with the complex source material. The directing is inspired and clever (in those first 30 minutes I was especially impressed by the prevailing theme of melancholy) but beyond anything else it is well-written. Instead of feeling constructed the plot development feels remarkably natural with the individual characters simply following their own interests. Nevertheless this is a Spaghetti Western through and through with everything we've come to expect from films of this subgenre, including shootouts and a fine score. A bit of Spaghetti Western routine sets in after the magnificent beginning and while the action is merely competent the film thanks to its writing nevertheless manages to stay interesting until the showdown.

It's an extremely well-working mix of low-brow and high-brow cinema, if you will, with elements that fans of only low-brow cinema would call "artsy". 'Johnny Hamlet' is not only a new Spaghetti Western favorite but even an unexpected Shakespeare adaption favorite. If you are a fan of both of those "genres" I reckon this is a must-see.


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