Sartana kills them All Review (Scherpschutter)

From The Spaghetti Western Database


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An uneven but entertaining mix of violence and comedy in the style of the caper movie. Garko and Spoletini are buddies who were duped by their partners in crime. While pursuing their former allies, the two friends are pursued by the sheriff and his posse

Dir: Rafael Romero Marchent - Cast: Gianni Garko, Guglielmo Spoletini (William Bogart), Maria Silva, Chris Huerta, Carlos Bravo, Carlos Romero Marchent, Alvaro de Luna, Raf Baldassarre, Cristina Iosani, Luis Induni, Andrés Mejuto, Lorenzo Robledo - Music: Marcello Giombini

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You can read the title of this movie (View Database Page) right by reading it wrong, vice and versus. The producers wanted to have 'Sartana' in the title because they had signed Gianni Garko, the man who was Sartana (like Franco Nero was Django), but Garko felt there was no Sartana character in the movie (*1). It was decided to have a pseudo Sartana in the title: SaNtana: Lo irritarono … e Santana fece piazza pulita, meaning: They irritated him … and Santana made clean slate. In France (and a few other countries) Garko became Sabata, in Spain he was called Larry Santana. In the English speaking world he would be Sartana, and kill them all.

# The plot

Santana and Marcos are two bank robbers who were double-crossed by the Burton Brothers, their partners in crime. They are persucuted by the sheriff and his posse and when they’re finally surrounded, they play cards as to know who will play the decoy, and who will get the chance to escape. Marcos wins the card play, but Santana noticed that his buddy was cheating, therefore Marcos will spend some time behind bars while Santana starts looking for the Burton brothers, who are in possession of the loot of $100,000. Marcos almost immediately escapes from jail by making the deputy sheriff his new accomplice. Other queer folk attracted by the large sum of money are a femme fatale who likes to play with fire and a family of criminal lunatics, led by the handicapped pater familias.

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# The lack of a background & a weak ending

Sartana kills them all is probably best known for the incredibly catchy theme song, Ride Along, Amigo (*2), a true earworm. For a movie of the illustrious Marchent Brothers (Rafael directed, Joaquin scripted) this is a fairly light-hearted movie; it's not a comedy, there are several violent moments, but we're far removed from the labored dramas the brothers are usually identified with. The film pays tribute to the picaresque tradition of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and overall the mix of comedy and violence works well, but in order to become absorbing, these episodic caper movies need a ‘meaningful’ background. There’s no Civil War or post-war society here to add some depth to colorful adventures of the two buddies, their allies and opponents. There's actually no background at all. The film is also disserved by an inappropriate ending.

# Eye candy & assorted villains

With his untidy hair and leather jacket, Garko’s character is far removed from Sartana, the spectral gunman dressed in black. Spoletini turns in a flamboyant performance and Silva is eye candy as the fiery Maria. The family of lunatics is absolutely wonderful: the crippled father, commanding from his wheelchair, his four deranged sons, all wearing a distinctive outfit, making them look like Long John Silver and his assorted bunch of pirates. Note that the father wears the uniform of the Confederacy, probably a reference to Joseph Cotton’s renegade officer from The Hellbenders, who also was a family father. There are more references to illustrious genre examples, the most daring (and unexpected) of all is made during the final moments, when some allusions are made on a threesome relationship à la Paint your Wagon. A reference to that movie in a spaghetti western? Well, it was a Clint Eastwood movie, and anything starring Clint was worth referring to in those days.


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Notes:

  • (1) Marco Giusti, Dizionario del Western all’Italiana
  • (2) According to the Database, it is sung by Peter Boom, a Dutch actor and singer who spent most of his life in Italy. Boom was born in Bloemendaal, Holland, in 1936, but moved to Italy at the age of 19. He worked with the crème de la crème of Italian soundtrack writers, including Morricone, Nicoli, Bacalov and Giombini. As an actor he appeared in over thirty films, always in smaller roles. He had a cameo in Enzo G. Castellari’s The Inglorious Basterds. He also did a song for the first Sabata movie, but it was not included in the soundtrack (and seems to be lost), and recorded an alternative version of Espanto en el Corazon/Corri uomo corri (released on CD), sung by Tomas Milian over the film's credits. Boom also wrote two detective novels (in Italian)

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Simon Gelten
Simon Gelten is a long time contributor to the SWDb. "I'm not as old as Tom B. but I'm working on it. I hope to catch up with him by the end of the next decade.", he says. Simon saw all movies by Sergio Leone and several by Sergio Corbucci in cinema, most of the time in Eindhoven, the city where he was born. Currently, Simon is living in Turnhout, Belgium. Simon is active within the database as both Scherpschutter and his alter ego Tiratore Scelto.
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