Adios Gringo Review
From The Spaghetti Western Database
This was the fourth Gemma western of 1965, and the fourth hit. Adios Gringo even beat the two Ringo movies at the box office, ending third on the list of most successful westerns of the year, behind For a Few Dollars More and that other Gemma vehicle, One Silver Dollar. With four movies in the box-office Top 5, 1965 was definitely Gemma's year.
In Adios Gringo he is Brett Landers, a cowboy falsely accused of stealing cattle. He is forced to shoot a man in self-defence but promises to come back in order to prove that he is an honest man. His only lead is the name of the man who sold him the cattle in the first place, Gil Clawson, a former acquaintance turned bandit. While following the man’s footsteps, he saves the life of a woman who was raped after a stagecoach robbery and left behind, tied naked to four poles, to die from thirst and sun-glare. It turns out that one of the rapists – and stagecoach robbers – is the son of the mightiest man in the region, who’ll do everything to protect the perverted young man. One of the good-for-nothings teaming up with the pervert, is of course Gil Clawson.
The opening, with the false accusation and the accused surviving a lynch mob, seems to have influenced the Clint Eastwood western Hang ‘m High, that also has the theme of the brutally raped and tortured woman. Although the actual rape is not shown and Stewart’s naked body is hidden from view by Gemma’s stature when he approaches her, the sequence is quite nasty. In some other spaghetti westerns the suggestion is made that women might like these things ('deserve it'), here rape and torture are used to underline how bad the villains are. There’s never any suggestion made that it can be excused, quite on the contrary: a few hints are made at the hypocrisy of men, who tend to blame the victim of a rape rather than the rapists.
Adios Gringo was Giorgio Stegani’s first of three westerns as a director. He had co-written the script of One Silver Dollar and also been assistant-director to Giorgio Ferroni (in the previous year, he had also been assistant-director to Gérard Oury on the immensely successful Bourvil-De Funès comedy Le Corniaud). In his home country Gemma used his Italian name for the first time (instead of the Americanized pseudonym Montgomery Wood) and the whole publicity campaign was built around his personality. it’s probably as much his film as Stegani’s. This seems to have led to an excess of fistfights (giving Gemma the opportunity to show all physical and athletic abilities) and an extended role for Gemma's good friend Nello Pazzafini, who gets more screen time than main villain Righi.
While Gemma shows little of the cynical attitude of the spaghetti western hero, the violence is more graphic than in his previous movies. A man is nailed to a wall by piercing his hand and the traditional fistfight between Gemma and Pazzafini is remarkably crude. But Adios Gringo was based on an American pulp novel (by the author Henry Whittington) and it's therefore no wonder that it’s one of the more Americanized spaghetti westerns. The characters are clichéd, but Cressoy is nevertheless quite convincing as the patriarch, authoritarian, despotic, but not without a consciousness. Righi is well-cast as the piece of vermin: he looks as trustworthy as a ferret near a rabbit hole. There’s a good Roberto Carmadiel too, cast against type as a wise doctor instead of the usual comical sidekick. Benedetto Ghiglia’s score is both lively and lovely, but the cheesy theme song (Gringo, Gringo, pom, pom, pom) is nearly hilarious.
Gemma is falsely accused of being a cattle thief; while looking for the man who can proof his innocence he saves the life of a woman who was raped and left for dead in the desert. One of the more americanized spaghs from the early days
Cast: Giuliano Gemma, Ida Galli (Evelyn Stewart), Nello Pazzafini, Pierre Cressoy (Peter Cross), Roberto Camardiel, Massimo Righi (Max Dean), Jesus Puente, Germano Longo - Director: Giorgio Stegani - Music: Benedetto Ghiglia