Saturday, February 28, 2009

Frank Kramer on Sergio Leone

Gianfranco Parolini: IF YOU MEET SARTANA PRAY FOR YOUR DEATH, SABATA, and RETURN OF SABATA were the antithesis of Sergio Leone's films. I can say this now because he's dead, poor soul, and I'm still here. Because he once said that my films were only saved by their gags and likeableness. He didn't think I was capable of directing actors. When Leone broke with Grimaldi's P.E.A. company, Grimaldi called me right away. Piero Lazzaro, my general organizer, was in the desert in Nevada or in Nebraska...and there was this big shed. He was with Sergio Leone, they were preparing a film. On the shed someone had written "lf you meet Sartana pray for your death". Piero told me that Sergio Leone said "That son of a bitch has even turned up here !" Get it ? "He's even exported his gags here !" That film was a big hit too. They made sequel after sequel and they were all hits for Alberto Grimaldi.


  1. Interesting, Bill.
    You know, I have to wonder about the veracity of Parolini's tale, though.
    Unless Lazzaro wrote "If you meet Sartana, Pray for your death" on the shed--I seriously doubt that ever really occurred.
    That film didn't have a US release, so it couldn't have been written by any "fan", at that time.
    Also, "the desert in Nevada or in Nebraska"??
    Perhaps, Gianfranco meant New Mexico or Utah (for ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, or MY NAME IS NOBODY).
    And further, "they made sequel after sequel and they were all hits for Alberto Grimaldi"? Really? Grimaldi had nothing to do with the Sartana films, if my memory serves me.
    I think Parolini's mind (or, memory if you'd rather) is a lot like his films: Convoluted, whacky, off-kilter, fantastical, and ENTERTAINING as can be!

  2. I agree that everything in the statement doesn't quite seem possible. While Grimaldi wasn't involved in the Sartana films, he did produce the Sabata films, including INDIO BLACK which United Artists turned into a Sabata film. - What I find interesting is how wrong GOD'S GUN looks and I think that is because Parolini wasn't working with the Italian technicians that gave all of his other Westerns their atmosphere.

  3. Bill, I think you nailed the problem with GOD'S GUN! It is the general look of the film--and the annoying presence of Garrett--that are really the weakest things about it. I think your reasoning behind the reason is..uhh..more than reasonable!
    Yes, I was aware that the SABATA films were produced by Grimaldi--and that might be what Parolini meant to say.
    But, like he does with his films...he just got carried away with telling an entertaining tale!
    Coherency be damned!
    And I do NOT have a problem with that, at all.

    Just curious...
    What is your favorite Parolini film?

    Then, it would be SABATA, followed by JOHNNY WEST, INDIO BLACK, and THE RETURN OF SABATA.

  4. There are many I've not yet watched - like I've not watched any of the Kommissar X flicks. SARTANA would be my favorite of his Westerns, though I'm tempted to put SAMSON with Brad Harris ahead of it for enjoyment. Of course, none is wackier than his war film FIVE FOR HELL featuring a commando squad equiped with a trampoline.

  5. Ah, yes! I did mean favorite Western by Parolini.
    I really like most of the Kommissar X films (especially the first one KISS KISS KILL KILL) and SAMSON is fantastic!
    Not such a big fan of FIVE FOR HELL, though I have to admit that I enjoyed the heck out of it when I first saw it about 20 years ago.