Saturday, November 28, 2009


Director - Gian Rocco 1967
Cast: Nicolette Machiavelli (Lulu), Claudio Camaso (Red), Marisa Solinas (Rosy), Yorgo Voyagis (Carlos), Walter Barnes (the General), James Martin (Sheriff), Gaspare Zola (Jean), Elvira Cortese (Elvira), Franco Bucceri (Doctor), Ivan Scratuglia (Roger), Silvana Bacci, Brunello Maffei, Franco Scala, Alberto Hammermann, Isabella Guidotti.
Screenplay by Giovanni Gigliozzi, Brunello Maffei, Vittorio Pescatori, Gian Rocco
Photography by Gino Santini
Music by Giovanni Fusco, Gianfranco Plenizio
Directed by Gianfranco Plenizio
Editor Mario Salvatore
Set Design Alessandro Manetti
Costumes Piero Gherardi
Assistant Director Guido Leoni
Production Manager Giovanni Vari
Produced by Columbus Cinematografica
Distr. Lady Film
Prod. Reg. 4189
Someone got the bright idea that Sardinia could stand-in for the Texas/Mexico border area just as well as Spain, so that was where this Western was made. Unfortunately, no one had a bright idea for the script, nor was a particularly bright director found to helm the film.
Carlos and Jean were two officers in the army of Austrian Archduke Maximilian, the Emperor of Mexico. It was 1867, and the two were sent undercover to find out about arms smuggling by Mexican revolutionaries along the border with Texas. They flagged down a stagecoach for a ride into town, and soon met a young woman seeming to travel alone. She was Lulu, and when a band led by a Mexican named Red attempted to rob the coach, it became apparent that she packed a .45, which had been holstered in a garter around her thigh.
Okay, the set up wasn't bad. Carlos and Juan left the coach and it continued into town. Now things got odd.
In a scene reminiscent of SE SIE VIVO SPARA, four Americanos jumped a Mexican man, beat him up, and then dragged him down the street to seat him on a horse inorder to hang him from an archway. Lulu stepped off the coach, saw the brutality, and fired one shot, cutting the rope. The Mexican galloped away on the horse.
Now, it would be expected that four men stopped from either fulfilling a justified execution, or four villains stopped from having a little fun, would want to have a discussion with whomever spoiled their plan of action. Not in this movie. The next thing shown was Lulu no longer on the street, and the four Americanos finding a second Mexican to attack. Getting a new rope from a plump woman who happened to have a one under her apron, the four men tossed it over the archway and pulled the second Mexican to his death. Suddenly, a band of Mexican revolutionaries led by the General arrived. Taking an instant dislike to the sight of four Gringos hanging a Mexican, the General saunters over to investigate. When one Americano pulled his gun, the General shot it out of his hand. But, after finding out that the hanged man was Miguel, whom the General thought of as a traitor, the Mexican apologized for his hasty action and walked away.
These were only two of the first scenes to generate an "Huh?" from viewers. Later on, the General was in the saloon having a drink when he heard a woman screaming outside. Rushing to the door, he fired his gun, only to discover and feel badly about having killed a woman.
There was the sequence which kept interrupting Red's assault upon Jean in an effort to rape Rosy, with a scene of Lulu bathing her horse on the beach and being approached by Carlos. The intercutting of these two scenes made no dramatic sense, though perhaps it was an effort to disguise how inane an effort Red was making in his lustful action. It was hard to tell if the filmmakers intended the back and forth change in the music track - from dramatic to romantic and then back to dramatic - to be as silly as the result was.
It would seem that these filmmakers were attempting to make a Sexy Comedy rather than an action-packed Western, which would explain all of the peek-a-boo looks at star Nicoletta Macchiavelli's clevage, the unfulfilled lustfulness of young Marisa Solinas, and those two sexy saloon girls who can't seem to get anyone's attention. That plus the drunken doctor who dropped his gun during the town's battle with Red's gang and the fact that Lulu and Carlos use the battle as a chance to finally go to bed together. It was perhaps the nonsensical nature of this movie which resulted in it having only a limited distribution, and being one of the more obscure Italian Westerns. Spain did not have to worry about Sardinia replacing it as the favored locale for European Westerns.
Casting Walter Barnes as a Mexican revolutionary was an unusual choice, and not a particularly good one. Barnes seemed willing to commit himself to whatever the filmmakers wanted. Unfortunately, what they wanted was probably as confusing to them as it appeared to be to him.
None of the cast came off particularly well. Nicholette Macchiavelli was not able to show any more acting ability than what she had shown in UN FIUME DI DOLLARI (U.S.: THE HILLS RUN RED) or NAVAJO JOE, and those performanaces got her pegged as beautiful but without talent. Claudio Camaso - the brother of Gian Maria Volonte - again portrayed so crazed a villain that, when seen with the knowledge of his subsequent real life murder and suicide, one couldn't help but wonder if any acting was involved.
Easily the highlight of this movie would be for fans of the midget, Arnaldo Fabrizio, who appeared with Mark Forest in MACISTE L'EROE PIU GRANDE DEL MONDO, (U.S.: GOLIATH AND THE SINS OF BABYLON). Here he appeared as what was supposed to be Lulu's baby. Actually, he was a little man who used the closed curtains on his crib to spy on the card hands of men with whom Lulu played poker. Carlos figured out the ruse at about the same time Lulu realised that Carlos' parrot was doing the same thing.


  1. The card game scene is one of the all-time must see scenes in Spaghetti western history. A talking parrot giveing clues to his master vs a midget disguised as a baby helping out Lola. Any of these westerns with talking parrots should be avoided at all costs.

    1. The first Italian western with a talking parrot?

  2. Unfortunately my copy has only the Spanish language (I understand a few words now and again--cerveza, muerto, gracias etc.) so this movie was REALLY confusing to me. I did like seeing Ms. Machiavelli taking a bath though.