Monday, 19 May 2008

Ed ora... raccomanda l'anima a Dio! / And Now... make your peace with God!

This was my first exposure to Demofilo Fidani's western work and on this showing it may well be the last.

The first clue to what we're in for is in the credits. Rather than being produced with one eye on undemanding third world audiences – as distinct from undemanding southern Italian audiences – the film is actually an Italian-Iranian co-production. Co-star Mohamad Ali Fardin was a popular Iranian actor of the time (he subsequently became persona non grata after the 1979 revolution).

The net consequence is a disarming naïvete to the proceedings, whereby everything plays out exactly as you would expect it to, plot point by plot point, with shoot outs and brawls at regular intervals to prevent the target audiences from getting bored.

The story starts with Sanders (Jeff Cameron) and Steven Cooper (Fabio Testi) among those boarding the stage (“Thomy's Western Express”) for Denver City. En route it is held up by bandits, allowing Stanley (Fardin) to make a decisive intervention and Sanders and Cooper to demonstrate their own prowess with their six-shooters. They bond and swap backstories: Sanders is going to Denver to find the man who stole his gold, Cooper those who killed his family. On arrival, they find the town in the midst of an election, with town boss and mayor-to-be Corbett (Amerigo Leoni / Custer Gail!) and his heavy Johnson (Calilsto Calisti / Anthony Stewens) the men they are after...

The predictability of it all wouldn't matter if Fidani had more than a rudimentary grasp of character, pacing, storytelling or direction. But he doesn't, or at least not at this point in his short, if prolific, directorial career.

With this being his second western, I suspect the best strategy for anyone wanting to investigate the remainder may be to watch his first, 1967's Straniero... fatto il segno della croce! (Stranger... Make the Sign of the Cross!; Fidani clearly liked religious references in his titles, even if this one probably didn't work too well for the Iranian market), and last, 1973's Amico mio, frega tu... che frego io! (Anything for a Friend) and see if there's any improvement discernible between them.

4 comments:

R said...

I am dying to know what happens to Fardin at th end of the movie.

It is hard to imagine (but not surprising) Fardin as a lumpen cult figure in Iran in a spaghetti western.

Italian westerns had a huge video market in Iran (along with comedies and religious horror) but the true giallo pulp (Argento, D'Amato, Fulci, ...) never reached the Iranian audience. Even today other than a handful of pulp-horror fans, hardcore iranian audience is not familiar with main currents of pulp cinema.

Anonymous said...

ciao,ma dove sono i link per scaricare?

K H Brown said...

You can get the film here:

http://cinemageddon.org/details.php?id=16787&hit=1

K H Brown said...

Interesting that the spaghetti western was popular in Iran on video - was this in the 1980s, 1990s or more recently? Any ideas why Iranian audiences didn't get into the giallo or other pulp cinema?