Cjamango Film Review
From The Spaghetti Western Database
Dir: Edoardo Mulargia
Cjamango is a film seemingly made from disparate ideas from other films. The central premise of a town with two bosses and a lone outsider playing them against each other is obviously lifted straight from A Fistful of Dollars and the character of Cjamango, has more than a passing resemblance to Eastwood's Man with no Name character. Especially in the opening saloon scene where he is sporting a poncho. But there are also obvious nods to Corbucci's Django too. Rassimov's character quickly replaces the poncho with a cape and the name itself is an obvious variation on the man made immortal by Franco Nero the previous year. Fistful is also recalled in the role Pearl plays as protector of local orphan, Manuel (Giusva Fioravanti); mirroring in some ways the parts of Marisol and Jesus from that earlier film. And just for good measure, Mickey Hargitay seems to be wearing Lee Van Cleef's costume from For a Few Dollars More. All in all then, it would be fair to sum up the whole affair as derivative. It certainly is anything but groundbreaking or original but it would be wrong to dismiss it completely on those terms. There are many very good spaghettis that get most of their ideas from previous productions. It is pretty much par for the course in genre film making and always has been. Cjamango should be judged then for what it is. And, on those terms, despite a few faults, it's not half bad.
Much of the film's charm can be attributed to Ivan Rassimov. This was his first lead role, in anything as far as I can tell not just in a Spaghetti, but he carries it off with real confidence and is already exhibiting the qualities that would go on to cement him as a firm favourite among genre film fans. Rassimov does the strong, taciturn type well and is athletic enough to be convincing in an action role. It is unfortunate however, that his performance is somewhat spoiled by an illfitting english dubbed voice. Cjamango is not the first film to suffer from such a fate (Django springs to mind) but it is always a shame when an otherwise solid performance gets lessened in this way and makes you wonder who was in charge of casting the voice actors on some of these films. The guy who does the voice for Rassimov sounds about twenty years older.
Cute kid not withstanding, most of the film is pretty solid, if not outstanding. It is probably best described as one of those films which is unlikely to over impress but is a decent enough picture which gives enough rewards to merit the time spent watching it. Mulargia's direction is ok but the film does seem to jump around somewhat, giving me the impression it was rushed through the editing process. But this is a minor criticism. As I said earlier, the film has no great pretentions to anything loftier than an entertaining programme filler and that's what it delivers on. It did reasonably good box office business in its day too; surprisingly squeezing into the top 20 Spaghetti Western box office performers back in 1967 and posting numbers similar to those of Requiescant and $10,000 Dollars Blood Money. These latter two films have stood the test of time somewhat better than Cjamango it must be said but with Koch Media's good looking new release now available you could do a lot worse with any spare hour and a half you may find yourself with.
The aforementioned Koch Media release was the one I saw the film on and it is of the sort of standard in terms of picture and sound quality which we have come to expect from this excellent German company. 2.35:1 ratio with Italian, German and English audio options plus some nice extras which unfortunately only have italian audio with german subs. Well worth the purchase price though for any fan. --Phil H 14:55, 6 August 2009 (UTC)