Rafael (Martell), has been hunted most of his life. He has been searching the land to find his childhood friend, Sebastian (Mann). Sebastian's father had been killed by his mother and her lover. Sebastian has forgotten all of his past. Rafael informs him of his father and his basically imprisoned sister. They team up and return to Mexico together to avenge the death of Sebastian's father and to free his sister.
This film is well known and unknown. It's famous soundtrack has been heard in countless movies, commercials, and TV shows. However, no one knows anything about it aside from fans. Although this film is a very normal spaghetti western, it is rather unique. It is based on Orestes. A very strange basis for a western. But Baldi pulls it off. He was a former professor in Greek tragedy.
This film, although a good movie, is not without flaws. It is too short. 77 minutes in most cuts. It can also be rather boring. Too much time is spent on the family drama aspect and not enough on action. The plot is very consistent and well structured though. Also, this film heavily resembles a soap opera. This is good and bad. It gives the film a more human feel but takes away from the excitement. Another factor that is both good and bad is how the action scenes are filmed. There are no real extended gunfights but short bursts of violence. These are edited well but get a little sloppy towards the end. The finale itself, though, is probably the best scene in any Spaghetti Western. With the burning hacienda in the background and Pregadio's excellent score to illustrate the emotional power. This scene is without a doubt, the most emotionally powerful scene of the genre. Very well filmed and will send chills up your spine. In fact, this scene alone makes the movie better. But there are some other very impressively staged scenes in this movie. There is one scene in particular that is the only scene of its kind in the genre. A high society Ball. In fact, high society is shown throughout this film and makes for several impressive sets and costumes. The heroes themselves are not rich. They are typical dirt poor avengers. There is something of a class war in this film. The heroes are poor and the villains are rich. This can possibly be interpreted as a social commentary but is not filmed that way. In fact, a large portion of the bad guys are Mexicans.
The acting is good all around. Although Leonard Mann looks like a pretty boy, he avoids this stereotype by playing it very straight. He does laugh a bit in some scenes but he is after revenge which is never a happy thing. Peter Martell really looks like he is trying. He is good in this one but his dubbing is a little off from his expessions. Luciana Palluzzi is rather puzzling in her performance. She was rather well known at the time but never really goes above or beyond in her performance here. Argentine, Alberto De Mendoza is pretty good in his performance as the main villain. He looks like someone from a Spanish soap opera.
The directing is top notch. No real character development but it is somewhat character driven. Ferdinando Baldi being the director of this film may puzzle some people. It certainly puzzled me after seeing his Blindman. It is very violent and full of dark humour. A lot less human. Here Baldi shows class. Telling a powerful and emotional story. As stated earlier, he was a professor in Greek tregedy and his earlier westerns such as this one, definitely resemble Greek tragedies. He directs the massacre scene rather well. He combines excitment, horror, shock, and emotion in one scene.
The music is the best of the genre. As I said, the main theme is instantly recognizable. Great use of whistling and orchestras. The film, Adios Sabata, copied parts of this score. At least that is my belief. That film is certainly not worthy of this one though. There is also a piece with great use of trumpets and fuzz guitar. This piece and the final piece are both featured in the Spaghetti Western themed video game, Red Dead Revolver.
A very well made gem of the genre. Not without flaws but can still be fun to watch. Definitely recommended to someone who wants to reassure their own humanity by taking a break from regular spaghetti slaughterfests. 4/5. The Forgotten Pistolero.