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Tre pistole contro Cesare Review

From The Spaghetti Western Database

Death Walks in Laredo (Tre pistole contro Cesare)

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DEATH WALKS IN LAREDO (1966)
Cast:
  • Thomas Hunter
  • James Shigeta
  • Nadir Moretti
  • Enrico Maria Salerno
  • Delia Boccardo
  • Gianna Serra
  • Femi Benussi

Music:

  • Marcello Giombini

Director:

  • Enzo Peri

View Database page

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Three brothers trying to claim inheritance of their father's gold mine run into trouble with the crazy boss-man of Laredo. All the elements are in place for a great spaghetti- a cool looking gunslinger with an even cooler four barreled pistol, which shoots from the butt as well as the barrels, his brother with telekinetic/mind control abilities, and his other brother, the kung fu fighting dude with a sweet headband. There's even an eccentric, weird looking baddie who thinks he's Julius Caesar. Appropriately he's named Julius Caesar Fuller, dons a toga and has a lair full of lady servants.


The film starts with promise, as each character is introduced separately in scenes demonstrating their unique abilities to kick ass. The introduction was great and I was really digging the film at this point. The title song was of a style I don't usually care much for, but it matched the high energy level of the introductions and I was loving it. Everything is flowing awesomely and I'm pumped for what is surely going to be a new favorite in the wacky world of spaghetti.


Unfortunately the beginning is easily the best part of the movie and the film fails to deliver on the opening's promise. As things progress, the film feels more like a B-Western made for TV, with costumes, soundtrack and dialogue all leaning towards a traditional American style. This is quite disappointing, as I was hoping this would be one of those classic, strange spaghettis with a darker edge. Instead the film continually becomes lighter and sillier, with characters never taking a serious attitude about anything. Instead they're laughing and saying stupid stuff all the time, such as one of the guys jumping in the air and kicking his heels, screaming "Yippeeee!" about dinner being ready. Again, this aspect just gets worse as the film goes on. In the beginning, it comes across as a combination of bad acting and bad writing that isn't intended to be funny, and of course the result is hilarious. The highlight of this was a random cowboy, standing off to the side of the screen and telling us in a very serious manner, "That's the third stranger in 24 hours, you know what? There’s gonna be trouble. Mark my words. Real trouble." Eventually these unintentionally hilarious moments are replaced totally by unfunny goofiness.

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Except for some standard close ups, there's no camera work of any interest and also nothing in the work of the director really worth commenting on. Since I'm writing this review as part of a series on kung fu related westerns, I should mention that the martial arts scenes are completely laughable and some of the worst I've seen. This isn't a major facet of the film though, and I wouldn’t consider this an actual "kung fu western" based on these fighting scenes.


Reviewing this film is somewhat difficult, as it left me feeling mostly blank. I don't hate the movie but I don't really like it either. Overall I'm primarily disappointed. With all the bizarre elements this movie consists of, it failed to capture the real weirdness that would have made Death Walks In Laredo one of the greats. It's hard for me to even understand how it could have failed. All the right elements were present and it seems like a given, but its interesting to see how an unskilled director can completely botch a film like this.


The version viewed was a poor quality, Fullscreen Greek VHS with terrible audio and perhaps this contributed to my bad experience with the film. Certainly it didn't help with the made for TV feel which was one of the film's largest shortcomings.

Don't let my disappointment with Death Walks In Laredo keep you from checking out the film though- its still an odd enough entry in the genre to make it worth a viewing, and indeed many spaghetti fans do find it quite enjoyable.


-autephex - March 19, 2009

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