Comanche Blanco Review
From The Spaghetti Western Database
Comanche Blanco - 1967 - Dir: José Briz - Cast: William Shatner, Joseph Cotten, Perla Cristal, Rosanna Yanni - See Database Page
Most people of this planet (and several others I suppose) know William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk from the TV series Star Trek, but he was also one of the American TV-actors who tried his luck in the Italian genre industry. Many critics have ridiculed his excursion to 'Italy' and his double adventure as both rapist and lover of 'Italian beauty' Rosanna Yanni, all this in the faint hope to make an Eastwood like career move. It's sometimes called the ultimate litmus test for Shatner fans: if you like this one, you may call yourself a genuine Shatner junkie.
A few remarks first: those of you with any notice of the Latin language group, will have noticed that the original title, Comanche Blanco, is Spanish. Technically this is not a spaghetti western but a paella western. Furthermore Rosanna Yanni is not Italian but Argentine. The film tells the story of two half-breed twin brothers (white father, Comanche mother), Johnny and Notah, who were both raised by the Indians. Johnny has decided to live as a white man, Notah has peyote-induced visions in which he leads the Comanche once again to glory (a clear reference to the incidents among the Sioux concerning the Sun Vow ceremony that eventually led to Wounded Knee). Johnny is almost hanged for crimes Notah has committed, such as an attack on a stagecoach and the rape of a female passenger. He is offered a job in the town where he and his brother have decided to meet within a few days to settle the score once and for all ...
Awfully shot and badly written, the film still manages to entertain as one of the genre's utmost oddities. The best thing about it, is Cotton - in the last of his three European westerns - as a wise and knowing sheriff who tries to maintain the peace. Shatner is no match for him but he delivers the expected one-liners with bravery (Cotton: I noticed that your horse has no brand. Shatner: You'll find no brand on me either). To see him in war-paint and thrust a tomahawk is truly a unique film experience. Argentine beauty Yanni, who made a career as a heroine in European horror movies, may not be the greatest of actresses, but her screen persona is so strong that we even accept that she falls for the spitting image of her rapist. The other actors, looking very Spanish and talking with strong accents, all do their job decently, without making much impression. The action scenes are rather well executed, but the director has an almost laughable predilection for shots between the eyes. And oh, for what it's worth: a homosexual friend of mine told me that Shatner looked great with war-paint (and a naked upper part of the body).
Reviewed version: The film is part of the 3DVDs/9Films box of St. Clair Vision. The transfer is full-screen and very poor; the colour palet often changes from too yellow to too green in one and the same scene and - even worse - white turns to pink from time to time, nearly damaging my already reduced eyesight. Luckily the film was awfully shot in the first place.