Drummer of Vengeance Review
From The Spaghetti Western Database
- Year: 1971 (1974?)
- Director: Mario Gariazzo/Robert Paget (uncredited)
- Music: Ennio Morricone (Hellbender's score)
- Starring: Ty Hardin, Rossano Brazzi, Gordon Mitchell, Craig Hill
A lone gunman saves a condemned man from a hangman's noose only to kill him himself. He then continues to kill several other people for the murder of his family.
This is a rather odd film. First of all, this is an Italian/British co-production. However, this film bears none of the cheap imitative quality that most other British westerns have. This is due to the fact that the director, crew, and most of the cast are Italians. The British most likely only funded the film. If they did, they didn't invest that much. This one has a very low budget feel. This is not a hindrance because the film itself is rather well made. It differs from most other revenge spaghettis because the hero is introduced in the middle of his quest. Also, unlike other revenge westerns, almost all of the killings take place within the first half hour. These are filmed in a very atypical, and refreshingly unique style. The prelude to each killing is filmed through the eyes of the victims. Also, Hardin's character uses his dead son's toy drummer to signal the draw. No doubt a reference to For a Few Dollars More. And whenever these victims are shot, a freeze frame technique quickly halts the action for a moment. He also uses several different disguises to get the drop on his targets. This was also a gimmick in 1971's Apocalypse Joe. It is a brilliant idea and adds more suspense to the film. Although this technique is used rather copiously, it achieves the desired effect of puzzling the audience. After the first thirty minutes, the pace slows down and more development and backstory is given to the characters. Also during this time, there are some well filmed set pieces. This one example contains spoilers. Craig Hill's circus comes to town. One of the attractions is an Indian who is great at throwing spears. He rides around in circles whooping and hurling his spears to outline the human target's body. The people begin to get suspicious. Then, with the last spear, he hurls it into a man in the audience and it turns out to be Ty Hardin. This scene is rather long and some might even say Leonesque. It is a great scene anyway.
The acting is pretty good. Hardin definitely plays his character well. I find it strange that Hardin appeared in any spaghettis. During this period, he was affiliated with a group of anti-semetic christians called the Arizona Patriots. He quit acting in the seventies on account of the violence of this period's films. It apparently went against his religious scruples. Maybe it was the fact that his character often goes into rants about the end of the world. Craig Hill was a rather large name in the spaghetti world. He is featured here in a cameo as a moustachioed circus manager. Rossano Brazzi is good as the treacherous sheriff.
The directing is good. This is somewhat puzzling because Gariazzo is not known for being that great a director. He directs most of the scenes very well and creates some very interesting set pieces. He definitely makes something out of nothing. The editing of some scenes is done rather poorly though. There is a torture scene where you can barely tell what is going on. This however could have been the fault of the US DVD version. It is a terrible quality DVD.
The music is a reuse of Morricone's Hellbenders score. It doesn't entirely fit the film and it is not that great a score either. Too many horns. The fact that this film uses a recycled score is also further evidence this film had a very limited budget.
A very interesting revenge spaghetti. Not like anything else. Very strangely structured but enjoyable and well made. Not for everybody but still respectable in its difference. Also, the great title is a reference to the toy drummer in case you didn't catch on. "Drummer of Vengeance."