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Watch Out Gringo! Sabata Will Return! Review

From The Spaghetti Western Database

Watch out Gringo! (aka JUDAS... TOMA TUS MONEDAS and ATTENTO GRINGO... E TORNATO SABATA) is a 1972 Italian-Spanish western production directed by Alfonso Balcázar and Pedro Luis Ramírez.

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This film was released in 1972 and surprisingly was not another Trinity clone like so many other films from that era. There are a few light comedic scenes in the film but they are all handled ardently by the fantastic Spanish actor Fernando Sancho who plays a character named Carrancho. In this Spanish-Italian co-production Sancho steals the show as the nonviolent Mexican who is involved in a stage coach robbery with a bandit named Luke Morton (Daniel Martin) and like Luke wants the whole box of gold for himself, knowing that Luke Morgan will kill him for his share he hides the money in a cemetery in a grave (not Arch Stanton's). Luke not knowing that Carrancho has hidden the gold, shoots him to get his share of the $150,000 and leaves him for dead. On the stage a beautiful mysterious woman was travelling and Luke takes her along after the robbery, Chica (Rosalba Neri) as the woman is called is a trophy for Luke and he plans on sharing the gold with her and her alone. A man named Rayo (George Martin) rides into the town where the stage coach was robbed and sees a gallows being erected for a hanging. After garnering some information he sets out to free the man (Luciano Rossi) who's awaiting his date with the hangman after being the only man caught after the robbery and murder of the Calvary guards who were accompanying the shipment. Rayo diverts the sheriff and deputies with some dynamite and helps the bandit escape. Once well out of town Rayo questions the bandit (who is never named) about the whereabouts of Luke Morton. The bandit says he does not know anything, Rayo says " though I admit the stretching of a man's neck is a spectacle I find depressing, your still a murderer, you must be punished, bet I'm faster than you," and when he's tossed a gun and challenged to a duel by Rayo he flatly refuses, but once Rayo turns his back he goes for his gun to shoot Rayo in the back, Rayo sensing this spins and the bandit is shot dead. Image496A bounty hunter named Texas (Vittorio Richelmy) sees some vultures circling and investigates and finds Carrancho unconscious from his gunshot wound but still very much alive and helps him recover a bit. While sleeping Carrancho steals Texas' horse and rides off attempting to claim his buried gold but is foiled by a funeral party and rides into town only to run into an angry Texas. Some of Luke's men have come to town to take Carrancho (Luke has figured out he's not dead) back to Luke for some questions. One has a bead on Texas from the back and as he aims to shoot, he is shot down by Rayo who has entered the fracas. This starts a whole secession of double crosses played by the Texas, Rayo and Carrancho characters on each other as they tentatively help and try to eliminate one another in pursuit of the gold.

The Good

The cast is littered with terrific Spanish and Italian actors and they try very hard to bring some life to this tired old script, but to no avail. The cinematography by Jamie Deu Casas is outstanding and the scenes are nicely framed. The great Spanish actor Fernando Sancho does another of his fast talking, double crossing Mexican characters, here he is basically nonviolent, but is always on the take and is quick with a quip. Sancho appeared in a staggering 241 films and television productions, including; A PISTOL FOR RINGO (Italy, Spain, 1965), THE RETURN OF RINGO (Italy, Spain, 1965), THE BIG GUNDOWN (Italy, Spain, 1966) and RETURN OF THE EVIL DEAD (Spain, 1973). Sancho was born January 7, 1916 in Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain, and died after being operated on for a malignant tumor in Madrid, Spain July 31, 1990 at 74 years old.

The Bad

It's plot is a much used premise that's old and shows its age here. The film has so many double crosses that I lost track and I had no emotional connect with the underdeveloped characters. The fine actor George Martin (Francisco Martinez Celerio) plays another textbook stranger character who mysteriously appears at the exact moment to benefit from some occurrence, right man at the the right moment bit, which these films had an abundance of. Martin was a fine actor who actually could turn in a fine performance when he was given a character of some depth to portray, his two turns as Clint Harrison in CLINT THE STRANGER (Italy, Spain, W. GERMANY, 1967) and RETURN OF CLINT THE STRANGER (Italy, Spain, 1972) are both noted for the fine layered performances that Martin brings to the ex-gunslinger who is trying to lay his pistols down and change his ways, but can't because of circumstances and his reputation. Martin also appeared in many other Spanish and Italian films including; A PISTOL FOR RINGO (Italy, Spain, 1965), KISS KISS - BANG BANG (Italy, Spain, 1966) and PROFESSIONALS FOR A MASSACRE (Italy, Spain, 1967). Another issue with this film is the under use of the always grinning, twitching neurotic character actor Luciano Rossi, he's never even given a name in the film and is killed off before the twelve minute mark. Rossi is afforded a book in the Fab Press series of books called 'Cinema Classics Collection,' the Rossi book is called 'A Violent Professional' (Fab Press, 2007) and is written by Kier La Janisse, the book focuses on Rossi' s career and includes a brief biography, while a small tome, it's highly recommend by this reviewer. Rossi turned in a number of fine performances in a number of quality films, he's best known for his roles in DJANGO THE BASTARD (Italy, 1969), THEY CALL ME TRINITY (Italy, 1970), THE VIOLENT PROFESSIONALS (Italy, 1973) and the Lucio Fulci horror film CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD (Italy, 1980). The ruthless character Luke Morton is mostly static after the opening stage robbery and stays confined mostly within his hideout, sending his minions out to be killed, while getting replacements as his men are killed off. The fine actor Daniel Martin (Jose Martinez Martinez) plays Luke Morton and is uninspired in the role and does a lot of macho posturing and camera mugging. Martin is best remembered for his role of Julian in the film A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (Italy, Spain, W. Germany, 1964), some of his other appearances include; MAN CALLED GRINGO (Spain, w. Germany, 1964), THE LAST TOMAHAWK (Italy, Spain, W. GERMANY, 1965), HANNAH, QUEEN OF THE VAMPIRES (Spain, USA, 1973. The co-direction on this film by Alfonso Balcazar (CLINT THE STRANGER, RETURN OF CLINT THE STRANGER) and Pedro Luis Ramirez (FAT BROTHERS OF TRINITY, Spain, 1973, SCHOOL OF DEATH, Spain, 1975) is lacking cohesiveness and the logic of the story and construction of scenes is a momentum killer. The prolific composer Piero Piccioni is credited on this film and turns in a less than imbued score.

The Ugly

Never have I ever used the word ugly when talking about the insanely beautiful Rosalba Neri, but her performance or lack of performance is ugly in terms of character depth. She has very few lines and most scenes she's involved in she sits around and just looks beautiful. Neri is best known for her two starring roles under the screen name Sara Bay in LADY FRANKENSTEIN (Italy, 1971) with Joseph Cotten and THE DEVIL'S WEDDING NIGHT (Italy, 1973).

The movie is another one of those tedious double cross films that just goes on and on. The Rayo character is looking for Luke Morgan for personal reasons and when he finds him and saves the girl, his reason is not revealed unless the girl is the reason, but she asks Rayo after he frees her "may I have the money?" Which to me would seem she was a plant to get to Luke but it's never revealed or explained. The Texas character is a weak characterization and the actor Vittorio Richelmy is another Terrence Hill lookalike who is very underwhelming in the part. Richelmy while only appearing in a total of six films did live an exciting life nonetheless after his film career sputtered out, here's what the spaghetti western expert Tom Betts had to say about Vittorio,

"Vittorio Richelmy (aka Rik Helmut, Victor R. Richelmy) was born 7/21/1940 or 7/20/1941 Turin, Piedmont, Italy. He came to Rome in 1965 to escape the boredom of Turin and see Rome. His mother’s first cousin was film actress Caterina Boratto and was shooting a film at the time. She introduced Vittorio to the director of a publishing house that made photo novellas. Vittorio was a good looking young man so he was offered a job and jumped at it. Other offers poured in and eventually he was signed to star in a film “Rosse rose” with Pier Angeli. This was followed by '36 ore all’inferno' with Rodolfo Valadier and Alain Gerard. His this third film was 'Watch Out Gringo… Sabata Will Return' followed by another Spaghetti western 'Blood River' (1973)(1972) and 'I cannoni tuonano ancora' (1975). At this point Richelmy started appearing in Italian soap photo novellas and appeared in over 340 of them. Not caring to continue on as an actor in this line of work he became a photo novella director and directed over 1500 until 2004. He retired when this magazine format fell out favor with the Italian readers. He was also a champion boat and catamaran racer, winning 5 Italian championships, two with his wife. He finished 7th in the 1986 World Cup. He now lives in Tunisia on his boat Talitha with his wife Dany."

The Verdict

The film is very tiresome, clique littered mess, the fact that such repetitious films as this were still being produced at this late stage of the spaghetti western cycle shows why the genre died, mainly because of lack of story growth, the Trinity comedic clones and the continued reuse of the familiar plot devices. The film boasts a fantastic cast that is totally wasted in their roles, excepting the always engaging Fernando Sancho. I would not have enough room to list all the film's this tired mess borrowed from as there is many, it adds absolutely nothing to the spaghetti lexicon, and really only added another nail to the spaghetti western genres coffin.

Thanks as always to the spaghetti western expert for help in this review.

Article written by Michael Hauss, author of several reviews for Monster magazine, We Belong Dead, Multitude of Movies, Divine Exploitation and blogs that includes Multitude of Movies, Theater of Guts and the SWDb. He has a love of film with particular interest in the Spaghetti Western and Horror genres. Michael lives in the United States where he resides with his daughter and their two cats Rotten Ralph and Fatty boo-boo.
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