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Ballad of Death Valley (1970)

Sartana nella valle degli avvoltoi (original title)
Smooth and lethal gunfighter Lee Calloway helps three bandit brothers escape from jail under the condition that they give him fifty percent of the stolen gold they have hidden. Of course, ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
... Lee Calloway aka Sartana
... Anthony Douglas
Aldo Berti ... George Douglas
Carlo Giordana ... Slim Douglas
Franco De Rosa ... Peter Douglas
... Paco (as Alan Collins)
... Juanita
Pamela Tudor ... Esther
... Carmencita
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Claudio Aponte
Bruno Ariè
Betsy Bell ... Saloon singer
Gaetano Imbró
Franco Ressel ... Norton
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Storyline

Smooth and lethal gunfighter Lee Calloway helps three bandit brothers escape from jail under the condition that they give him fifty percent of the stolen gold they have hidden. Of course, the treacherous sibling trio don't plan on keeping their end of the deal. Written by Woodyanders

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Genres:

Western

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Release Date:

15 August 1970 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Ballad of Death Valley  »

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Technical Specs

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(DVD)

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

A King for a Day
Written by Augusto Martelli
Performed by Augusto Martelli and Betsy Bell
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User Reviews

 
Passable Spaghetti with William Berger/Sartana facing off three vicious brothers in a sunny desert
10 April 2014 | by See all my reviews

The film deals with a cache of gold that takes on Sartana against treacherous sibling trio. This Sabata movie gets the usual Western issues , such as greedy antiheroes, violent facing off , quick zooms , exaggerated baddies and musical score with Ennio Morricone influence , among them . The dark , elegant hero named Lee Calloway or Sartana (William Berger) helps three imprisoned brothers (Wayde Preston , Aldo Berti , Giordana) break out from prison under the condition that they give him fifty percent of the stolen gold they have hidden in the desert. The film deals with a cache of gold that have hidden turning into several hands . As freelance gunman named Sartana is double-crossed and appears to chase the nasty thieves , and settles disputes by shooting . Bemusing Spaghetti Western with Sartana as a tough and stranger protagonist , he's an efficient gunslinger acting as judge , jury , and executioner . At the beginning Sartana arrives in a small town where occurs a shootout when a bounty hunter attempts to kill him and he is subsequently betrayed by powerful Norton (Franco Ressel) . Later on , Sartana is taken prisoner by the bandit brothers and suffering hitting , knocks , punches and tortures . It follows the seemingly endless adventures of Sartana in search of a cache of stolen gold . At the end takes place the inevitable confrontation , a spectacular showdown in which Sartana contends against all .

This acceptable Western contains an interesting but twisted plot , violence , double crosses , shoot'em up and results to be quite entertaining , though drags at times , balancing in ups and downs . There is plenty of action in the movie , guaranteeing some violence , crossfire or stunts every few minutes . SARTANA is a fundamental archetype in Spaghetti/Paella genre as well as James Bond in spy-genre , here William Berger-Sartana stars an entertaining SW with lots of action , gun-play and fun . As always , the mythic personage appears elegant and dressed in black and with a killer look . Sartana is the standard by which every spaghetti antihero is measured along with Lee Van Cleef's Sabata and Franco Nero's Django . It's a thrilling western with breathtaking confrontation between the protagonist William Berger against the heartless enemies formed by a trio of brothers led by Wayde Preston . There is a very odd implementation of shots in the camera work during some particular scenes as well as a lot of twists and turns , as the film approaches its climax , as in the final and the unusual conclusion . Austrian William Berger in this Sartana Western , is fine , as he ravages the screen , hit and run and kills . Fair-haired Austrian leading man Berger appeared in many Spaghetti westerns between 1966 and 1987 such as ¨La Grande Notte di Ringo¨, "They Call Him Cemetery" , "Fast hand" , ¨Noose for Django¨, "Jaider's Gang" , among others . He also played several Western as a secondary actor as he had got fame and fortune with his unforgettable co-starring in ¨Sabata¨ as the banjo man , ¨Face to face¨, ¨Keoma¨ , ¨California¨ and ¨Tex¨. He had a reputation for being a rebel and a vociferous anti-establishment figure . Berger's career was also at times interrupted by drug abuse . There appears usual actors from Spaghetti Western such as Franco Ressell as Norton , Federico Boido or Rick Boyd , Franco De Rosa and special mention to Luciano Pigozzi or Alan Collins nicknamed the Italian Peter Lorre as a doll maker ; furthermore two beauties as Jolanda Modio as Juanita and Pamela Tudor as Esther . Atmospheric Eastmancolor cinematography by Sandro Mancori in Technicolor , Techniscope , though being necessary a good remastering and filmed in Elios studios , as usual . Enjoyable musical score by Augusto Martelli , including catching songs performed by Betsy Bell who plays a Saloon Singer .

This Italian production is an exciting Sartana movie starred by William Berger , it is plenty of action , shootouts , double-crosses , twists and loads of violence and blood . Sartana himself is like a crossover between Clint Eastwood's The Man with no Name and ¨Django¨, a black-clad amoral anti-hero ; adding the special characteristics from James Bond , his quirky gadgets and elegance . Sartana character is in equal parts mysterious , cool and deadly ; he is not out there to chase the bandits like a simple bounty hunter , he is just out for money and blood . His quirky gadgets often bring to mind the other similar character , Sabata played by Lee Van Cleef and Yul Brynner . The first Sartana was ¨Gunfighters Die Harder" or "If You Meet Sartana Pray for Your Death" a trend-setting film by Gianfranco Parolini with Gianni Garco , Klaus Kinski and Fernando Sancho . The best Sartana are directed by Giuliano Carmineo , alias Anthony Ascott, he realized various with George Hilton who replaces to Garco . Hilton played more natural and roguish than Garco who was cold and peculiar . The later "Sartana" movies directed by Anthony Ascott became increasingly cartoonish and humorous . It was followed by director Alfonso Balcazar with ¨Sartana non Perdona or Sonora¨ with George Martin , Jack Elam and Gilbert Roland . Miles Deem directed two Sartanas deemed lousy and cheesy . Furthermore , a string of sequels and rip-offs with other Z-series directors. ¨Sartana in the valley of death¨ perhaps is not a Spaghetti masterpiece, but a watchable and sometimes unusual movie nonetheless .


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