APRIL MOVIE THON 2: Requiem for a Gringo (1968)

April 30: How the (Not) West Was Won — A Western not made in America.

In the United Nations that is exploitation cinema, I love the connections that are built. It may seem unexpected, but the line between Japanese samurai cinema and the Italian Western are incredibly direct. Yojimbo is A Fistful of DollarsRequiem for a Gringo has elements of Harakiri.

Directed by Eugenio Martin (Horror Express) and José Luis Merino, this film is also known as Requiem for Django because, well, in 1968 every movie it seemed was about Django. The Django in this film is also known as Ross Logan and he’s hunting down a gang — while dressed in a leopard skin! — using astronomy to plan his attack during an eclipse. He also knows how to play the gang’s personalities and desires against one another, which is a step beyond the traditional Italian Western hero who may go in guns blazing.

He can also precict storms, which is a strong skill to have in the West.

He puts Porfirio Carranza (Fernando Sancho) and his men — Tom Leader (Rubén Rojo), Ted Corby (Carlo Gaddi) and Charley Fair (Aldo Sambrell) — at odds with one another. Meanwhile, the stories of two women — Alma (Femi Benussi, So Sweet, So Dead), who is supposedly the property of Carranza but is already sleeping with Leader but she knows she’s trapped in a gang of maniacs, and Nina (Marisa Paredes), a young woman constantly pursued by Corby and trying to stay pure for just one more day — take more of a center stage than in other Eurowesterns.

I love how this genre bends and flexs to accept new ideas, even if we live within the constant Western cycles of murder and revenge.

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