13th is a Judas review by JD

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Review of Thirteenth is a Judas (1971) aka Il Tredicesimo É Sempre Giuda / The Last Traitor


A common storyline in the spaghetti western (besides the revenge motif) is the "search for the hidden gold" plotline. As with the other themes, sometimes it works well and sometimes it doesn't. Joseph Warren's (aka Giuseppe Vari) Thirteenth is a Judas, although by no means an excellent film, puts a rather interesting twist on that oft-used theme.

Donal O'Brien, no stranger to the genre, stars as Ned Carter. Ned has assembled 12 of his friends together from various backgrounds to celebrate his wedding. To his horror, when the stagecoach arrives with his bride-to-be, he finds she and the rest of the stagecoach party are all dead, apparently ambushed and shot. Ned swears to get to the bottom of this, and at first, we think this is going to turn into your typical revenge plot. Not so. It turns out that the Ross brothers, three of his friends at the party, were responsible for the murders. But no sooner than we find this out, they are all killed by some strategically placed dynamite in a hollowed-out piece of firewood.


Donal O'Brien as Ned Carter

Meanwhile, his buddy Joe and his other friend (ably acted by Dino Strano) are suspicious and trying to find out what exactly happened, as they somehow find out that the drivers of the stagecoach happened to be federal agents. It turns out that Carter's almost-father-in-law owned a rather huge but now-abandoned silver mine, which his bride had inherited. The plot thickens... A flashback scene shows several men from the group of friends back in their Civil War days, as they betray their Confederate brethren, and steal a shipment of gold, which they proceed to hide in that mine. I don't want to reveal the rest of the plot, but we find out soon enough who that traitor is, and he proceeds to wipe out most of the other friends until getting his just reward in the end.


Everyone, as usual, wants the gold.

This one was a rather hard one to summarize coherently, as there are quite a few twists, turns, and characters involved. By and large this was your average C-grade spag, nothing exceptional, although O'Brien does put on a great performance, and the rest of the cast is more or less your typical group of thugs and lowlifes we've seen in many of these films. What made it somewhat different was those aforemetioned plot complexities. At times it had me wonder where it was going, but not to the point of confusion. It was ably directed, although the cinematography and music were quite average, not giving us anything outstanding or memorable. You've probably seen (and read about on this site) many films like this; not bad, slightly entertaining, not something you'll watch again, and nothing you'll probably remember. With this one, I don't think it will matter, though, as it's not available on DVD as far as I know; I saw an old VHS copy.

by JD

This article is part of the A Fistful of Pasta archive

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