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Giuliano Gemma plays a confederate soldier who returns from the war to fight one at home. Unbeknownst to him, his brother has become the infamous gunfighter "Black Jack" to defeat the local bullies. Gemma agrees to ambush and kill Black Jack, only to discover too late who the outlaw really is. With vengeance in his heart he turns on his employers, who then shoot him.Written by
Cristian Redferne <Harlock@prodigy.com>
Although not as good as Gemma's best Italian Western Day of Anger (Giorni dell'ira, I (1967)), One Silver Dollar is still enjoyable. It's a relatively early euro oater, mimicing more closely than do later productions the conventions of the American originals, and displaying few or none of the gothic cynicism and elements of parody which invaded the genre as it became more established. Gemma plays O'Hara, a ex-confederate soldier whose return to peace time life is marred when he encounters a band of crooks intending to take over a town and buy up homesteaders. After accidentally shooting his own brother, O'Hara struggles to put an end to the criminal's schemes, as well as extracting his wife who has now fallen into clutches of the ruthless gang. Directed as Calvin Jackson Padget', Ferroni's film is very effective, even if the plot is hardly original. Now and again the film suggests things to come, especially in the second half when the put upon O'Hara is by turn fooled, left for dead, beaten up, and even has his mouth filled with salt in order to make him talk all casual cruelties startling in the context of an otherwise fairly genial bad-guys-stealing-homesteaders-land' plot. Gemma is a lithe, physical hero, but a scene or two opening out his character, especially in the light of his brother's murder, would have been welcome. Hidden underneath the narrative is some discreet play with masculinity and honour: O'Hara has to make do with an emasculated six shooter, whose barrel has been sawn off by his yankee captors while the bonding between old Confederate comrades, and their ongoing humiliation, is another recurring theme. The main titles theme is one of those instantly memorable whistle mottos which are a hallmark of the genre, although on disc the sound is a bit thin and appears to be sourced from a mono master. The Australian produced DVD features the American dub in a slightly faded widescreen print. Its only through the trailer, also included, that one gets a sense of how effective the original language version would have been. Many recent Spaghetti releases include a subtitled version and this is certainly the most desirable package.
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