Ringo, the Face of Revenge Review
From The Spaghetti Western Database
|Two vagabonds save the life of a Mexican and discover he has a tattooed map on his back. A second treasure map (tattooed on another man's back) is needed to find the gold. The three are joined by a mean, lean cardsharp, who has been eavesdropping on them and also wants a slice of the cake. A fair adventure movie with a good cast (Fajardo steals the show in a rare positive role as a comical sidekick) but the narrative is a bit of a grab bag. The film also features one of the most melodramatic death scenes you'll ever see in a spaghetti western.|
Ringo, the Face of Revenge (Ringo, il Volto della Vendetta)
In spite of the title, this is not a revenge movie, but an adventure movie of the treasure hunt type, with various fortune seekers, tattoed treasure maps, changing alliances and double-crossings. There's no character modeled after Giuliano Gemma's Ringo either, the Ringo from the title, is a shabby vagabond, down on his luck since the day he was born.
Two drifters, Ringo and Tim, come to the rescue of a Mexican called Fidel, who's persecuted by three bandits. They spend their last three bullets to save him, in the hope for a reward (a man who's pursued by three others must be rich), but all they get from him, are two measly dollars. After they have saved him for a second time, Fidel tells them how he and his friend Sam Dellinger once took care of a mortally wounded man who - in return - had given them a treasure map. The two destroyed the map and tattooed half of it on their backs, so they would need each other to get to the gold. Ringo, Tim and Fidel decide to cooperate and go looking for Dellinger, who has become the sheriff of a border town. They're joined by Trikie, a cardsharp who had overheard their conversation ...
Treasure maps tattooed on people's backs sound like a perfect recipe for hostilities: it would be very enticing for both men to kill the other one and copy his tattoo, but spaghetti western scripts and logic were never a harmonious combination, so let's not split hairs. The premise of the treasure hunt seems interesting enough for ninety minutes of straightforward, uncomplicated fun, but the narrative is unfocused and eventually becomes too much of a grab bag. There's a little bit of tragedy, a little bit of comedy, even a little bit of romance and more than just a little bit of murder and mayhem. The constant scheming keep things lively, and thanks to those Spanish locations and De Masi's fine score the movie has this special, instantly recognizable spaghetti western atmosphere, but it feels a little like a missed opportunity. It's not bad, but it could've been better.
Steffen is quite jovial in this one (he performs his rollover trick in a hay-loft for the occasion), but it's Eduardo Fajardo who easily steals the film as the semi-comical sidekick Tim, a sympathetic (eventually pathetic) old-timer. Frank Wolff is also quite good as the sneaky Trikie, constantly scheming and eavesdropping on others. The first half is relatively light-hearted - even if the body count is fairly high - but things get more serious en route, especially after a lovely señorita (Alejandra Nilo) has joined the group. We meet her in a small Mexican village, where she is chased by the locals who want to burn her as a witch after our heroes have wiped out a local gang of bandidos. She had lived with one the bandits, but he was a good man, even if he was a bandit, she had no choice, etcetera. Anyway, she's eye candy and predictably everybody has an eye on her, including Tim, and the upswing of his libido leads to a dramatic conflict with her new lover: his friend Ringo.
This melodramatic turn also leads to a philanthropic ending, a reference to both The Magnificent Seven and those movies in which greedy fortune seekers or mercenaries eventually conclude that the riches they were about to steal, belong to 'the people'. Abhorred by all the violence and greed, Ringo rides off with his lovely señorita, donating the gold to those who have never besmeared their hands for the possession of it. It's a nice gesture, but you wonder how these two are going to manage with only a few measly dollars in their pockets. But as said, logic and spaghetti westerns never were a harmonious combination ...