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Se Incontri Sartana Prega per la tua Morte

If You Meet Sartana... Pray for Your Death
Sartana / Sartana - Bete um Deinen Tod

Italy / France / West Germany 1968
produced by
Aldo Addobbati, Theo Maria Werner for Parnass Film, Paris Etolie Films
directed by Gianfranco Parolini (as Frank Kramer)
starring Gianni Garko (as John Garko), William Berger, Sydney Chaplin, Gianni Rizzo, Fernando Sancho, Klaus Kinski, Andrea Scotti (as Andrew Scott), Carlo Tamberlani, Franco Pesce, Heidi Fischer, Gianfranco Parolini (as J. Francis Littlewords), Maria Pia Conte, Sabine Sun, Sergio Jossa, Antonietta Fiorito, Ugo Adinolfi, Rossella Bergamonti (as Patricia Carr), Arrigo Peri, Sal Borgese
story by Luigi De Santis, Fabio Piccioni, Adolfo Cagnacci, screenplay by Renato Izzo, Gianfranco Parolini, Theo Maria Werner (as Werner Hauff), music by Piero Piccioni

Sartana

review by
Mike Haberfelner


A "secret" gold shipment is passing the prairie - and it seems every has gotten wind of it: A gang of Mexican bandits led by Generale Tampico (Fernando Sancho), slick knife thrower Morgan (Klaus Kinski), ruthless killer Lasky (William Berger) - and a mysterious stranger called Sartana (Gianni Garko), who always seems to have an ace up his sleeve, both literally and figuratively. Thing is, after a shoot-out that leaves the gold strongbox in Lasky's hands, he has to realize it was filled with nothing but stones, and he and whoever else was allowed to know about the shipment was set up. Thing is, everybody knows the gold is real, but nobody seems to know where it is, but everybody is quick to suspect everybody else, while slick Sartana plays one against the other and soon his trail leads to local politicians Stewal (Sydney Chapman) and Alman (Gianni Rizzo) and the woman between them (Heidi Fischer) - and to a system that't rotten to the core. But that said, the more players in the game, the harder it's for him (or anyone else) to stay on top of things while everything's basically heading for disaster ...

 

Now basically director Gianfranco Parolini was more of a craftsman than a visionary, and his output was uneven at best (though even many of his worse films are entertaining at least) - but not only taking this into account, this film is darn close to being a masterpiece, and that despite the fact it shouldn't be: It's plot is pretty much made up of genre mainstays and shows its fair share of plotholes and gross suspensions of disbelief - but maybe that actually helps to make If You Meet Sartana... Pray for Your Death work like something close to pure cinema, where pictures, action and atmosphere oftentimes speak louder than words and plot and manage to involve the viewer in the on-screen action despite a lack of (narrative) understandings of the actual goings-on - which is especially evident in the first half hour or so when the audience is kept guessing about the macguffin of the piece or character motivations even, but can't help "feeling" the action. Likewise, the almost spooky finale might not make the most of sense but sure packs a punch.

Quite an awesome movie indeed, and one that would deserve a lot more recognition outside of genre fan circles!

 

By the way, despite Gianni Garko playing a character called Sartana in both films, this movie (and the ensuing series) has nothing to do with Blood at Sundown, which was/is at times also marketed as a Sartana movie.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

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