Have a Good Funeral, My Friend ... Sartana Will Pay Review (Scherpschutter)
The third Sartana movie, the second by director Carnimeo. It’s a bit darker and more down-to-earth than Carnimeo's other Sartana movies, but at the same time it sends the series further down the path of parody and comic-strip violence with a set of lethal playing cards, a shooting Bible, and a Chinese casino owner quoting Confucius. There are also some horror influences: many scenes are set at night and one scene - Sartana persecuting an opponent up a church tower - seems straight out of a horror movie.
The film opens, as usual, with Sartana witnessing a massacre. A group of gold prospectors is slaughtered and (of course) the murderers are killed by our Angel of Death. He reckons the men were paid to do the dirty job and therefore starts nosing around. The odds change with the arrival of a young woman who’s in possession of papers that identify her as the lawful heiress of the property. Everybody tries to convince her that the land is worth nothing, but Sartana tells her to bide her time and not to sell her claim to anybody. But then the heiress is kidnapped by the corrupt banker Hoffman, a man who would stop at nothing …
The script - not written by Tito Carpi, Carnimeo's favorite screenwriter - is not as sinuous as in the other Sartana movies. There’s the obvious web of deceit, but the story is not too hard to follow. Garko sports a heavy moustache which gives him a real badass look, especially in the opening scene, when he tells the hired killers that he will pray for them before he sends them to hell. This is the guy we all like to think of, thinking about the character: a dark angel of death, with a glacial look in his eyes, as if hell is freezin’ over. Within the darker context the oddball jokes may work a little distracting. There’s a bizarre chase scene in which Sartana shoots his opponents as if they were pins in a bowling game, deposing the bodies in coffins. It’s probably a reference to Blondie shooting Angel Eyes in The Good, the bad and the Ugly, deposing his body (and hat) in an empty grave on Sad Hill, but it all feels a little too weird, too farciful. These Sartana movies always used grotesque humor as a counterpoint to the violence and by this time things were getting out of hand. Sartana can even locate a quotation by throwing a playing card at a closed bible ...
Some think this is the best Sartana movie (1), but I have my doubts. The opening scene is tremendous and the conclusion, turning the familiar premise of the seemingly worthless piece of land upside down, is cleverly conceived. At the same time this finale lacks some real spaghetti western action. Hoffman and Tsung Tse are good spaghetti western villains, but Sartana settles the scores with them in-doors, not in the town street. There’s a plethora of familiar spaghetti western faces, but most of them only make a brief appearance and are quickly shot or otherwise taken care of. It’s a real come-and-go, and it’s a miracle that Klaus Kinski isn’t in it with one of his "take the money and run" cameos. Cinematographer Stelvio Massi makes up for the ugly-looking sandpits and country lanes with a few remarkable angles and compositions (especially during the town scenes). Daniela Giordano looks as beautiful as ever, but her scenes are all deceptively chaste. And when she finally starts taking off her clothes, Sartana blacks out the wax-candle with one of his playing cards. Damn Sartana.
- (1) See Stanton's review of the movie: Have a Good Funeral, My Friend ... Sartana Will Pay Review
Garko perfected the Sartana look in this one with a droopy moustache and a death-dealing look in his eyes. With a script that is not too hard to follow and even makes some sense, this is also the most down-to-earth Sartana movie
Director: Giuliano Carnimeo - Cast: Gianni Garko, Antonio Vilar, George Wang, Daniela Giordano, Ivano Staccioli, Franco Pesce, Helga Liné, Luis Induni, Franco Ressel, Federico Boido, Roberto Dell'Acqua, Aldo Berti - Music: Bruno Nicolai
|The SARTANA series: