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After witnessing a brutal massacre, the legendary hero Sartana is ready to do some investigating. Almost everyone in the tiny town of Indian Creek seems eager to buy up the property left behind by the murder victims, and one of them could well be behind the killings. The sheriff himself is not above suspicion, so Sartana must uncover the culprit all on his own. Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The first Sartana (1968), by Gianfranco Parolini, is such a dark and brooding spaghetti western gem, that I can't help but wonder what could have happened to the rest of the Sartana entries in his, admittedly, more skillful hands.
Gianni Garko returns for the fourth time to play the titular black-clad anti-hero, after being replaced by the suave George Hilton for A Fistful of Lead. Garko is typically good as the amoral Sartana, in a plot that combines in typical Carnimeo fashion, mystery and action. After old prospector Benson is killed, several people try to get their hands on his land. Nuggets of gold, discovered in his burnt down shackle, suggest that the old prospector hit a motherlode. A corrupt banker and a Chinese saloon owner each will try to convince Benson's niece, now the sole heir of the property, that the land is nothing but acres of sand and therefore worth nothing. Sartana, as usual, is out for himself and will try to play everyone. Of course, things are not always what they seem. There are enough twists and turns to keep things adequately interesting plot-wise.
But plot is barely the reason I love spags. It's the pure style that I look forward, those little moments of pure cinematic gold scattered in the form of stylish shootouts, off-beat characters, weird angles and close-ups, and style-wise, there isn't enough to go around here. The production seems kind of rushed, which probably was, given the low production values. With this being the 4th Sartana entry, everyone seems to be on autopilot by now, and Carnimeo just gets things over in a workmanlinke way. Which is why I wish Parolini would have worked on the sequels. Carnimeo, never an A-list name even by spaghetti standards, seems to be more of an employee instead of an artist, just getting things on budget and on schedule for the producers.
Anyhow, suffice to say there are lots of better spaghettis out there. If you're a seasoned veteran, and need a quick spaghetti fix for a Sunday afternoon, Have a Good Funeral Amigo will do just fine. Just don't expect anything mind-blowing.
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