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A Man Called Blade (1977) More at IMDbPro »Mannaja (original title)

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Release Date:
13 August 1977 (Italy) See more »
A bounty hunter arrives in a mining town and is hired to track down the missing daughter of the town's crippled mayor and learns she has been kidnapped by the mayor's corrupt right-hand-man and a band of outlaws he is secretly working for. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
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User Reviews:
The spaghetti western genre goes out with a bang... See more (20 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)
Maurizio Merli ... Mannaja
John Steiner ... Valler
Sonja Jeannine ... Deborah McGowan (as Sonya Jeannine)
Donald O'Brien ... Burt Craven
Salvatore Puntillo ... Johnny Johnny - the impresario
Antonio Casale ... Dorman - bandits' head (as Nino Casale)
Enzo Fiermonte ... The government Envoy
Rik Battaglia ... Gerald Merton - Mannaja's father (as Rick Battaglia)
Aldo Rendine ... The Fat Passenger in the Stagecoach
Sergio Tardioli ... The Saloon Barman
Sofia Lombardo ... Mannaja's Mother (as Sophia Lombardo)
Philippe Leroy ... McGowan
Martine Brochard ... Angela
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Enzo Maggio
Nick Alexander ... Dorman - Bandits' Head (voice: English version) (uncredited)
Domenico Cianfriglia ... Valler's Man (uncredited)
Alberto Dell'Acqua ... Valler's Man (uncredited)
Ottaviano Dell'Acqua ... Rioting Miner (uncredited)
Bruno Di Luia ... Stagecoach Guard (uncredited)

Michael Forest ... Blade (voice: English version) (uncredited)
Nello Pazzafini ... Valler's Man (uncredited)
Riccardo Petrazzi ... Valler's Man (uncredited)
Claudio Ruffini ... Valler's Man with Whip (uncredited)
Franco Ukmar ... Valler's Man (uncredited)
Frank von Kuegelgen ... Valler's Man (voice: English version) (uncredited)
José Yepes ... Valler's Man (uncredited)

Directed by
Sergio Martino 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Sergio Martino 
Sauro Scavolini 

Produced by
Luciano Martino .... producer
Original Music by
Guido De Angelis 
Maurizio De Angelis 
Cinematography by
Federico Zanni 
Film Editing by
Eugenio Alabiso 
Production Design by
Giacomo Calò Carducci 
Costume Design by
Marisa Crimi 
Makeup Department
Mirella Ginnoto .... hair stylist
Dante Trani .... makeup artist
Production Management
Pietro Innocenzi .... production manager
Furio Rocchi .... production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Massimo Manasse .... assistant director
Art Department
Adriano Tiberi .... property master
Sound Department
Raffaele De Luca .... sound
Bruno Moreal .... sound mixer
Stefano Piermarioli .... sound recordist
Special Effects by
Dino Galiano .... special effects (as Cataldo Galliano)
Riccardo Petrazzi .... stunt coordinator
Camera and Electrical Department
Alberto Anzellotti .... key grip
Roberto Belli .... gaffer
Sebastiano Celeste .... camera operator
Giorgio Garibaldi Schwarze .... still photographer (as Baldi Schwarze)
Mario Pastorini .... assistant camera
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Luisa Buratti .... wardrobe mistress
Editorial Department
Sante Discepoli .... assistant editor
Giuseppe Romano .... assistant editor
Other crew
Evi Farinelli .... production secretary
Mirella Malatesta .... publicity secretary
Luigi Padovani .... riding master
Riccardo Petrazzi .... weapons master
Luciano De Ambrosis .... voice dubbing: John Steiner (uncredited)
Vittoria Febbi .... voice dubbing: Martine Brochard (uncredited)
Sergio Fiorentini .... voice dubbing: Enzo Fiermonte (uncredited)
Michele Gammino .... voice dubbing: Antonio Casale (uncredited)
Pino Locchi .... voice dubbing: Maurizio Merli (uncredited)
Renato Mori .... voice dubbing: Donald O'Brien (uncredited)
Giorgio Piazza .... voice dubbing: Philippe Leroy (uncredited)
Serena Verdirosi .... voice dubbing: Sonja Jeannine (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Mannaja" - Italy (original title)
See more »
Brazil:101 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »

Did You Know?

Hot air machines were used to create the foggy environment in the film. The noises and the wind that the hot air machines made, drove the two Great Danes that played Voller's dogs in the film, crazy and their leashes were getting tangled around John Steiner's body and made it impossible for him to continue acting.See more »
WolfSee more »


Why did Burt Craven betray Blade?
What is Mannaja about?
What is Mannaja?
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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful.
The spaghetti western genre goes out with a bang..., 20 June 2008
Author: chaos-rampant from Greece

By 1977, the spaghetti western was already on its death throes and if I'm not horribly mistaken, Mannaja is the last major release in the genre. These latter day spaghetti westerns are all visibly different from the 67-71 ones in that they tried to push the envelope in different ways. Ironically the vast amount of tired, quickie Django and Sartana clones that sprung in the late 60's weren't the final nail in the coffin. It seems that after westerns like Mannaja the genre had nowhere to go, having explored every nook and cranny of the old west and milked every bit of potential in the process.

Sergio Martino was not a regular spaghetti western director. He made his name through a series of fantastic giallo thrillers in the early 70's (All the Colours of the Dark, The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh etc) but he was generally a genre director who dabbled with anything that came his way. As a testament to his talent, he was usually successful, often with stunning results. He had tried his hand on the western once more in the Anthonio De Steffen vehicle Arizona Colt Returns, which was a pleasurable entry but business as usual for the most part. Mannaja is markedly different in that it strives for more. It has ambition and the means to pull it off.

Strangely, Mannaja takes its cue from Enzo G. Castellari's incredible Keoma (or as it was retitled for commercial purposes, Django Rides Again) from one year earlier. Maurizio Merli's Mannaja bears more than a passing resemblance to the dirty and grim looking Keoma played by Franco Nero, there are several beautiful slo-mo shots, a dream-like atmosphere in places, it's quite brutal (a hand is chopped, a woman is whipped, a man gets an axe in his head, old ladies and other innocent bystanders are shot and killed) and the score is very weird by spaghetti western standards and it can be as annoying as Keoma's (although I didn't mind the latter). Just as Keoma, it doesn't shy away from taking risks and luckily it pays off, no least thanks to Martino's skillful directing. There's visual awesomeness to be found throughout the movie. Striking compositions are enhanced by great set design lending a gritty feeling to everything from the dilapidated town to the dirty clothes to the muddy streets. Nature plays a big part in how the movie looks: rain, mud, fog are all used to great effect, the last shootout in the fog adding a surreal, ghost-town quality to it. The look of the first half hour reminded me of Altman's McCabe and Mrs. Miller for some reason, with a dash of Django. It also appears to be very much influenced by the work of Sam Peckinpah, whom Sergio Martino himself cites as an inspiration. Generally it's equal parts gritty and atmospheric and with enough budget to hold everything on the seams.

Maurizio Merli made his name in the Italian movie business by playing violent Dirty Harry-esquire cops in polizioto crime flicks and was quite successful as a genre actor. He can play the mean machine effortlessly and it's a real pleasure to watch him as a badass bounty hunter here. A real shame that he didn't do more westerns and even more so that he passed away 4-5 years after making this one. The rest of the cast all turn in fine performances.

Mannaja might have come during the twilight of the spaghetti western but it's easily one of the best it has to offer. A must-see for fans.

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