Following the lead of Fistful of Dollars and Yojimbo, many spaghetti westerns had a coffin-maker character. Giurò... e li uccise ad uno ad uno (Gun Shy Piluk) was the only movie in the genre to feature the elderly coffin maker (Edmund Purdom), Piluk, wielding an 'infallible gun' in pursuit of the killers of his son.
This movie is probably most similar to ultra-low budget spaghetti westerns like Pistol for a Hundred Coffins (1968). It follows a serial/comic book mysterious avenger plot similar to the early Italian Zorro movies or westerns like Starblack (1965) and The Last Gun (1964). The good and the evil are identifiable on sight - this is not a the murky moral twilight of most euro-westerns - in those other movies violence is justified politically, by being on the side of the oppressed. In this movie, this pole orienting the viewer is missing. However,like those early pre-Leone movies it has a bizarre enthusiasm that is enjoyable in and of itself, even if the movie itself is simply silly.
Pistol for a Hundred Coffins, with its goofy madmen escaped from an insane asylum, is reminiscent of the portrayal of the mentally ill in poverty-row American horror movies of the 1930s and 1940s. Similarly, Gun Shy Piluk is evocative of American b-westerns from the 1930s, especially the hoe-down scene. These movies can have a rawness to their aesthetic that is really intriguing; to some degree, Gun Shy Piluk also has that quality. To think that it was made in the late 1960s is a little startling.
Piluk's son, the sheriff, has been shot in the back by Sebastian Mason (Dan Harrison), who with his brothers dominates the town. He is feuding with Wyler and his three sons, stealing his water in an attempt to get hold of the Wyler's land. After a new sheriff (Peter Holden) arrives in town, the Masons murder Wyler. The sheriff sets out to investigate while at the same time wooing Piluk's daughter, Margaret (Micaela Pignatelli). Meanwhile, Piluk is carrying out his revenge, slowly killing of the Mason's men one after the other. He then rides into with his cart, claiming that he has found by the side of the road. Each has a bullet hole between the eyes. . .
There are a few typical spaghetti elements, such as trick weapons and a town dominated by brutal, crude frontier "aristocrats." The opposition of the Wylers and Masons beings to mind Fistful of Dollars (1964) and Django (1966), with the new sheriff between them.
Guido Celano was a prolific actor, but he only directed one other film, the 1966 euro-western Cold Killer. Fabio Testi, who appeared in a number of classic Italian pulp movies, has an uncredited role.
This is one of the few euro-westerns (The Outlaw of Red River, 1965, comes to mind as another) that actually has cattle in it.
(I watched a washed, fullscreen Dutch VHS with poor sound quality. There is a high quality French DVD available, but it is only French langauage.)
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