A Christmas-time staple on Italian TV for years and only the third animated feature to emanate from Italy (after 1949's THE SINGING PRINCESS and THE DYNAMITE BROTHERS). A delightful if patchy parody of the Western that is well-suited to the rough, stylized animation on display and featuring a handful of superbly realized and voiced characters particularly the belatedly introduced laconic gunfighter hero Johnny and the land-grabbing chief villain Cattivissimo. Also on hand are damsel-in-distress Clementina, her alcoholic dog and talking cows, red-headed saloon gal Esmeralda, Cattivissimo's fat and lean henchmen (Ursus and Slim, respectively) and assorted marauding Indians. Set to a fine Western-styled score by Giampiero Boneschi, one of the film's highlights comes towards the midpoint (in a sequence drawn in silhouette) where the complex-ridden Johnny receives the mother of all beatings in his first visit to the saloon.
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