From The Spaghetti Western Database
- Runtime: 97 min
- Release Date: 29.3.1973
Also known as
Deaf Smith & Johnny Ears (U.S.A.) | Das Lied von Mord und Totschlag (Germany) | El sordo Smith y Johnny Orejas (Spain) | Los amigos (France)
Cast and crew
- Cast: Franco Nero (Juantio Johnny Ears), Anthony Quinn (Erastus 'Deaf' Smith), Pamela Tiffin (Susie), Ira von Fürstenberg (Esther McDonald Morton), Franco Graziosi (General Lucius Morton), Adolfo Lastretti (Reverend Williams), Antonino Faà Di Bruno (Senator), Renato Romano (J.M. Hoffman), Francesca Benedetti (Mrs. Porter, brothel madam), Conchita Airoldi [as Cristina Airoldi](Rosita McDonald), Romano Puppo (Logan, Morton henchman), Franca Sciotto (Bess), Enrico Casadei (Barrett, Morton henchman), Lorenzo Fineschi (Bull, Morton henchman), Mario Carra (Corey), Luciano Rossi (Moss, Morton henchman), Tom Felleghy (Von Mittler), Margarete Horowitz [as Margherita Trestini](Mrs. McDonald), Giorgio Dolfin (brothel bartender), Fulvio Grimaldi, Paolo Pierani, Pasquale Nigro (saloon artist), Renzo Moneta (Colonel Mitchell McDonald), Mario Ingrassia (Morton henchman in barn), Mirko Bajocchi (saloon visitor), Franz Colangeli (saloon barman), Vizio Nitili (man watching artist), Goffredo Unger [as Freddy Unger], Omero Capanna
- Story: Oscar Saul, Harry Essex
- Screenplay: Oscar Saul, Harry Essex, Paolo Cavara, Lucia Drudi Demby, Augusto Finocchi
- Cinematography: Tonino Delli Colli [Technicolor, Panavision]
- Music: Daniele Patucchi
- Songs: "The Ballad of Deaf and Ears" + "Even if You're not the First One" sung by Ann Collin
- Producers: Joseph Janni, Luciano Perugia
In this unusual spaghetti western departure for exploitation filmmaker Paolo Cavara (La Tarantola dal Ventre Nero), two friends help Sam Houston work for Texas statehood. Johnny Ears (Franco Nero) and his deaf-mute sidekick Erastus "Deaf" Smith (Anthony Quinn) go after a Mexican general (Franco Graziosi) under orders from Germany to agitate the populace. The film looks terrific, thanks to cinematography by Tonino Delli Colli (Once Upon a Time in America), but is often lacking in the story department. Perhaps part of the blame belongs to co-screenwriter Harry Essex, fresh off the dreadful sci-fi flop Octaman (1971). Pamela Tiffin appears as a prostitute, and the film co-stars Tom Felleghy and Renato Romano.
N.Y. TIMES REVIEW
A 'Spaghetti Western' Without Meat (Published: July 26, 1973) "Deaf Smith & Johnny Ears," the Italian-made, English-language horse opera shot in Spain that clattered aimlessly into local houses yesterday, is as limp an example of the so-called "spaghetti Western" as has turned up in recent memory. Anthony Quinn and Franco Nero are the titular heroes who stop Franco Graziosi, as a would-be dictator, from taking Texas from President Sam Houston in 1836. They are ineffectually involved in an ersatz adventure that is neither as explosive or as funny as most movies in the genre it tries to emulate or lampoon.
The gimmick here, if you have not already guessed, is Mr. Quinn playing a deaf-mute whose "ears" are supplied by his tough sidekick, Mr. Nero. As a veteran movie vaquero, Mr. Quinn is properly saddle-weary and weath-erbeaten in a floppy sombrero and a worn, dusty Prince Albert frock coat. He is also handy with his fists, sticks of dynamite, a Gatling gun and rudimentary sign language. Unfortunately, neither he nor the action has much to communicate to a willing viewer.
Mr. Nero, handsome if unshaven, projects an overacted machismo that is pointless, especially when it is channeled toward comedy that rarely registers and Pamela Tiffin is merely naive as a pouting, babyish blond prostitute. "Deaf Smith & Johnny Ears" also has a couple of scenes in an ornate bagnio seemingly inspired by Toulouse-Lautrec, but they are no reason to visit this simulation of frontier Texas.