L'Oro dei Bravados Review
Shortly before the beginning of the Civil War, two men, Chapagua and Doc, stumble upon a stash of gold. They decide to bury the gold in the hills and blindfold each other in turns, so one man knows only half the way and will need the other to get to the hiding place. After the war, a beautiful woman (of the devious kind) comes between the two friends and they’ll also have to deal with a crazy gunslinger, a fat bandido, and a dodgy army captain ...
At first sight L’Oro dei Bravados (or Chapagua’s Gold) is a fairly characteristic spaghetti western of the treasure hunt kind, set against the background of the Civil War or its immediate aftermath; the script alternates swift, violent action with more light-hearted scenes and provides enough changing alliances and double crosses to keep things moving. To spice things up, there’s also a femme fatale who pushes her best foot forward (don’t miss the scene with that soapy leg) and easily wraps all men around her little finger. It’s all there, but still ...
Only halfway through we discover where the two partners found the gold (no, not in an abandoned Confederate fort) and the script feels disjointed in several parts. Giancarlo Romitelli is officially listed as director, but according to several people involved into the making of the movie, it was directed by screenwriter Renato Savino; the movie is so incoherent (it occasionally feels like a patchwork movie) that it’s my idea that the two men both shot scenes that were later assembled. In an interview, Ardisson admitted that they had to shoot so many riding scenes (in order to get the movie at full length) that the horses were tired most of the time (*1). After the one-hour point (when all the ideas for twists and turns had dried up, so it seems) we get indeed 10-15 minutes of horse riding - in all possible directions. The needlessly protracted finale would have suited a Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis western parody better – only there’s no Dino to sing a song, nor a Jerry to make us laugh.
In the end L’oro dei Bravados is middling effort. It’s a low-budget affair with an incoherent script, but those swift shootouts aren’t bad and it has a good cast of familiar spaghetti western faces. Ardisson may not be the most memorable of all spaghetti western heroes but he does his job quite well and Ricky Boyd (as the lunatic), Marco Zuanelli (as the fat bandido) and Piero Lulli (as the army captain) all put up their own show. But the movie definitely belongs to Linda Veras, who is tantalizingly sexy as the duplicitous lady who uses all her charms plus a small bottle of ether and a Derringer to seduce, stupefy and kill (if necessary).
- (1) See: Marco Giusti, Dizionario del western all’italiana
- Boby Lapointe, who plays a Tuco type of Mexican, was a French singer-songwriter; he is virtually unknown outside the French-speaking world (Giusti admits that he has no idea who he could be) but he was a respected colleague and a good friend of stars like Jacques Brel, Charles Aznavour and Georges Brassens. He was also a mathematician who developed a binairy system (the bibi-binary)
Dir: Giancarlo Romitelli (or Renato Savino) – Cast: Giorgio Ardisson, Linda Veras, Boby Lapointe, Marco Zuanelli, Piero Lulli, Ricky Boid, Rik Battaglia, Osiride Pevarello, Pasquale Basile, Umberto Di Grazia – Music: Luis Enriquez Bacalov