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Buffalo Bill, l'Eroe del Far West

Buffalo Bill, Hero of the Far West
Buffalo Bill, le Héros du Far West / Das war Buffalo Bill / L'Attaque de Fort Adams

Italy/France/West Germany 1965
produced by
Solly V.Bianco for Les Films Corona, Filmes Cinematografica, Gloria-Film
directed by Mario Costa (as J.W. Fordson)
starring Gordon Scott, Mario Brega (as Richard Stuyvesant), Jan Hendriks, Catherine Ribeiro, Piero Lulli, Mirko Ellis, Hans von Borsody, Roldano Lupi, Ingeborg Schöner, Feodor Chaliapin jr, Ugo Sasso (as Hugo Arden), Andrea Scotti (as Andrew Scott), Jacques Herlin, Franco Fantasia (as Frank Farrell), Ronald Parish, Luigi Tosi, Rinaldo Zamperla
written by Louis Agotay, Pierre Lévy-Corti, Luciano Martino, Nino Stresa, music by Carlo Rustichelli, cinematography by Massimo Dallamano (as Jack Dalmers)

Buffalo Bill

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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The Far West, the late 1800's: Since Yellow Hand (Mirko Ellis) has been made temporary chieftain of the Sioux, the tribe is on the warpath again, especially closing in on Fort Adams, which is led by Colonel Peterson (Roldano Lupi), himself neither a diplomat nor a friend of the red man. Buffalo Bill (Gordon Scott) tries to mediate and is given a bit of a line when White Fox (Feodor Chaliapin jr), the original chieftain of the Sioux and a personal friend of his, returns to take over again. Bill soon finds out the Sioux are provided arms from ... well, someone, and at first a local ruffian, Big Sam, is the main suspect. Actually, guns for the Indians are found in his general store and he is arrested, but flees arrest and tries to track down the real culprits on his own - and gets a bullet for it.

The real culprits are saloon owner Munroe (Jan Hendriks) and his second-in-command Red (Piero Lulli), who now try to do everything in their power to kill Bill ... but no such luck, so they kidnap White Fox's daughter Silver Moon Ray (Catherine Ribeiro) and try to blame it on the army. Bill though is quick to track down and free Silver Moon Ray - and kill Red in the process. But when he learns that Munroe is behind the weapon deals with the Sioux, he has already made his getaway ... but is shot dead by Yellow Hand, to whom he's of no further use since being a wanted man.

The Sioux attack Fort Adams, and while not wholly successful in defeating the white man as such, they take Colonel Peterson's daughter Mary (Ingeborg Schöner) prisoner, whom they under Yellow Hand's influence, want to burn to death ... when Buffalo Bill arrives to return Silver Moon Ray to her father.

The whole Indian war is finally decided by a one-on-one knifefight between Buffalo Bill and Yellow Hand ... and of course, Bill defeats Yellow Hand, but he magnanimously lets him live ...

 

When it comes to mass-produced genre movies, peplums (basically sword and sandal movies starring musclemen) reigned supreme in early 1960's Italy - but they had run their turn around the mid-1960's, and taking a page from the popular German Winnetou-movies, the Italians started to experiment with the Western genre - and eventually hit it big with A Fistful of Dollars, a film that would revolutionize the genre as such and turn Italy into the prime Western supplier of the 1960's.

Buffalo Bill, Hero of the Far West, even though released later, is much more of a transitional Western than A Fistful of Dollars: With Gordon Scott it stars one of the peplum stars (even though he never appears topless in this one), and it also adheres the same oversimplified good vs evil dichotomy, while it shares many motives with the Winnetou-series (like the white scout mediator between white men and Indians, and white men fanning Indian wars for their own benefit). On the other hand, the excessive violent of the best spaghetti Westerns as well as their moral ambiguity are virtually absent here.

But what does this say about the movie as such?

Not much of course: Taken by its own merits, Buffalo Bill, Hero of the Far West actually hasn't much to offer to get excited about, it's a Western in the tradition of the Winnetou-movies and the American B Westerns without ever reaching the heights of the top of the crop, a rather routine movie that, while not being bad in the true sense of the word, hasn't all that much to offer, either.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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directed by
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written by
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