Fasthand Film Review
Mi chiamavano Requiescat... ma avevano sbagliato (Fasthand) - See Database Page
Released in 1973, this late entry has a familiar setting, both in time and place: it's set in the Deep South, in the aftermath of the Civil War, a setting often used by Italian western directors. A Union official called Mulligan (*1) is captured by a group of renegades Southerners, led by a man known as Machedo, who first torture and maim him (he is shot repeatedly through his shooting hand) and then leave him to die, tied to poles in an abandoned fort. A couple of years later the bandits are trailed by a man dressed in black, who watches their evildoings from a distance, biding his time, waiting for the right moment to set his trap...
This must be one of the most violent spaghetti westerns of them all, but it's not a favorite among genre aficionados because of the unusual nature of the violence. Instead of the ritual build-ups and swift shootouts, we get protracted - and often very unpleasant - scenes of torture and humiliation. In one scene the protagonist is spat at for minutes by the bandits until his face, clothes and hair are all covered with saliva; another man has ink poured down his throat and a third person is tortured with the help of branding irons and also has his genitals squeezed repeatedly. The movie rivals Fabio Questi's Django Kill in sheer brutality and masochism, but lacks the flamboyant style and ironic touches of Questi's notorious classic.
According to Marco Giusti (*2), the film was partly shot on locations used for Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars; those locations were in a state of collapse, but that's exactly why they were selected: they help creating the image of a war torn country and a society in disarray. It's one of the movie's few blessings; the story is a rather lame revenge tale and muscle man (and former Peplum actor) Alan Steel is obviously ill at ease in a western setting. William Berger does his thing as the psychologically unstable bandit, but looks a bit blasé. Admittedly there are a few redeeming qualities, notably the spooky finale, set in the dilapidated western town. It raises the question whether Mulligan survived his first encounter with the bandits: while facing Machedo, he appears in places he cannot be. Is this a reference to Django the Bastard? Or is Machedo's madness simply getting the better of him? Anyway, this custom-made, prosthetic hand that allows Mulligan to use his gun, is a nice touch. I also liked Gianni Ferrio's disorienting jazzy score - some might sustain that it doesn't fit the genre (many actually have) but I found it refreshing to hear a completely different score for a change.
- (1) I watched the Italian version; the database tells me that for some reason he was called Madison in the English language version and I also read an article in which he was called Morrison
- (2) Marco Giusti, Dizionario del western all'italiana
Dir: Mario Bianchi - Cast: Sergio Ciani [Alan Steel], William Berger, Gilberto Galimberti, Celine Bessy, Frank Braña, Francisco Sanz, Fernando Bilbao, Wilma Truccolo, Ettore Ribotta, Sergio Dolfin, Stefano Oppedisano, Francesco D'Adda - Music: Gianni Ferrio
Special note on the title:
The original Mi chiamavano Requiescat ... ma avevano sbagliato. Both the database and Italian author Marco Giusti (!) have it wrong. Literally it says: They called me Requiescat ... but they made a mistake. Requiescat is taken from the Latin phrase Requiescat In Pace (R.I.P.), May He Rest In Peace (it's obvious to which mistake the title refers). In the database the movie is called Lo chiamavano ... He was called ... (the author was probably thinking of Lo chiamavano Trinità, the original title of the first Trinity movie); Giusti uses the plural form - requiesCant - of requies (to rest, repose), which makes no sense in this context