Return of the Holy Ghost Review

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  • Roberto Mauri


  • Vassili Karis
  • Remo Capitani
  • Craig Hill
  • Daria Norman
  • José Torres
  • Giovanni Cianfriglia
  • Aldo Berti
  • Lilian Tyrel
  • Augusto Funari
  • Omero Capanna
  • Tom Felleghy


  • Carlo Savina

Return of the Holy Ghost (Bada alla tua pelle, Spirito Santo!)

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The second part of Roberto Mauri trilogy starring Vassili Karis as Spirito Santo. However, Karis seems to play a different character, who just happens to be knick-named Spirito Santo, so maybe this is just another example of a movie that got a new title to make it look like a sequel. This time around Karis is a cavalry officer with a real name, Lieutenant Albert Donovan, and he also has some kind of family life: he has a handicapped brother, who married the girl he, Spirito Santo, is in love with (and who's in love with him). There's also a boy, but I haven't been able to find out who the father was; I have my suspicions though. Apparently Donovan is called Spirito Santo because he's always in the right place at the right time and inevitably stands up for justice in a corrupt world. We'll see that most people in this movie have either funny names or no names at all. A halfbreed Indian girl is called Suomi (Finland!), while a banker and a colonel are simply called banker and colonel.

A colorful gang, led by a bandit who calls himself Diego of Habsburg, keeps robbing the gold transports departing from Fort Phoenix. Lieutenant Donovan is asked to investigate the case and discovers that the bandits grow more frustrated with each robbery because the ingots are replaced by fakes. Diego thinks a treacherous sergeant is behind all this, but Spirito Santo reckons the affair might be more complicated. Also in suspicion are his own commanding officer and a banker played by José Torres (now who would ever trust such a character?)

Basically this sequel (or non-sequel) tells a Sartana-like story, half-serious, half-tongue-in-cheek about a stashed load of gold and the various people trying to lay their hands on it while double-crossing each other. Some of the jokes are very silly, but there's also some real spaghetti western violence. You notice the film makers had trouble reaching feature length: there's a lot of riding around and various parts seem improvised on the spot. According to the credit sequence some scenes were shot at the Elios Studios, but I haven't recognized any of the buildings or interiors. Karis is probably right when he says the town scenes were all shot at the Gordon Mitchell western town. He also pretends that some crew members helped Mitchell constructing it (1). In that case it's a bit odd that Mitchell doesn't make a guest appearance.

What to say about this movie? We're clearly in the lower regions of the genre here, so don't expect any real quality. It's uneven, cheap, occasionally tasteless (I'll get to this). The best thing about the movie, is this colorful gang of led by Remo Capitani as Diego of Habsburg. Among the gang members is a nose-picking Aldo Berti, as deranged as ever, and a rollicking Giovanni Cianfriglia playing a character named (and dressed like Italian general) Garibaldi (2). With Berti nose-picking and Capitani gorging and farting his way through it, the movie also seems to go for the honorary title of La Grande Bouffe of the Italian West. If you love your spagghies dirty and vulgar, this one might be what you were looking for.


  • (1) Marco Giusti, Dizionario del Western all'italiana
  • (2) Garibaldi is a key figure of the Italian Risorgimento, the historic movement leading to the unification of Italy. Along with Cavour, Mazzini and Victor Emmanuel he's considered as one of the "fathers of the father land". He's usually associated with the red shirts of the volunteers marching with him during the Expedition of the Thousand, which led to the conquest of Sicily, ruled by the Bourbons. Cianfriglia wears a red shirt throughout the movie and even speaks the (virtually incomprehensible) Sicilian dialect in a few scenes. There are also a couple of references to L'inno di Mameli (the hymn of Mameli), the tune that would become the National Italian Anthem.

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--By Scherpschutter

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