Arizona Colt Returns Review
A sequel to Michele Lupo’s Arizona Colt, made four years after the original. The action is again set in the town of Blackstone, but Arizona is played by a different actor, Anthony Steffen. Arizona returns to Blackstone to find out why the local authorities have put a price on his head. A dubious witness has mentioned his name in relation to a stage coach robbery and Arizona is sent to the gallows, but he survives his hanging thanks to a ingenious trick. He is then hired by a rancher whose daughter was kidnapped by a ruthless Mexican villain: Arizona releases the girl, but she has enormous surprise in store for our friend ...
The theme song, played over the opening credits, is an upbeat, wacky tune with lyrics that must be among the silliest ever heard in a western movie:
This will give many viewers the impression that we’re dealing with a comedy, but we’re not. Not really. This is one of those movies that cannot decide what it wants to be: lighthearted and funny, or gritty and mean. The comedy is often terribly unfunny and ruins some of the action: Arizona shoots four opponents but they wait seconds (for the camera to catch them) to fall off a roof or to tumble out off a hay stack. That is downright silly. Roberto Camardiel is still Arizona’s eternally inebriated side-kick, who wants two bottles instead of two glasses when he orders a double whiskey, but he does the trick a couple of times too often: these types of jokes are funny once, maybe twice, but not all the time. And then there’s Anthony Steffen. It’s not that he’s that bad, but Steffen filling Giuliano Gemma’s boots?
It’s hard to imagine two actors with a more contrasting acting style and apparently the film makers had some doubts whether fans of the first movie would accept Steffen: in the original Italian title, the character is called Arizona, not Arizona Colt, turning the sequel into some kind of semi-sequel. But sequel or no sequel, the framework of both movies is rather similar: Arizona is a prisoner early on, subsequently he is hired by the father of a girl, and finally (after being brutally tortured) he delivers the town of Blackstone from a gang of marauding bandits. The finale, set in a darkened barn, is very similar as well. Giusti calls the movie a remake rather than a sequel (*1).
When I first saw Arizona Colt Returns I thought it was terrible, horrendous. I enjoyed it a bit more this time; some of the camerawork is nice and the script - based on a story by Ernesto Gastaldi - has enough twists and duplicitous characters to keep you busy. Aldo Sambrell is once again an excellent villain and Gildo Di Marco (if you don’t know him by name, you’ll recognize him by his nose) has a nice cameo as a type called Buzzard, who changes sides in the course of the movie (like Doppio Whisky in the first movie). And the protracted shootout near the end isn’t bad; it’s not terribly original, but it offers good old Steffen the opportunity to show his traditional rollovers while shooting his opponents by the dozens.
- (1) Marco Giusti, Dizionario Del Western All'Italiana
Dir: Sergio Martino - Cast: Anthony Steffen, Roberto Camardiel, Marcella Michelangeli, Aldo Sambrell, Rosalba Neri, Gildo Di Marco, José Manuel Martin, Silvio Bagolini, Emilio Delle Piane - Music: Bruno Nicolai