Sunday, July 30, 2017
FILM REVIEW OF "A BOUNTY KILLER FOR TRINITY" (1972)
Three things are conspicuously absent from one-time only director Oscar Santaniello's ''Bounty Killer for Trinity" (**1/2 OUT OF ****) that he co-helmed with the notorious Aristide Massaccesi, a.k.a. Joe D’Amato, who served not only as co-writer but also cinematographer. First, we don’t see those rugged, sculptured, Spanish mountains. Second, where are those ubiquitous and a Gatling guns/machine guns? Finally, the hero isn’t captured and beaten within an inch of his life. Otherwise, this made-in-Italy oater is standard-issue. The hero dresses like Lee Van Cleef’s Colonel Mortimer from "For A Few Dollars More," and he rides around with an arsenal that includes a crossbow. The crossbow is nice touch, and he gets around to using it the same way Woody Strode did in “The Professionals,” attaching dynamite to the arrows. Another nice touch is that our hero sometimes runs out of bullets during the gunfights and seems surprised by this revelation. Otherwise, this town taming western will keep you entertained if you love double-digit body counts, meatball villains, and over-the-top dubbing. Jeff Cameron, a.k.a. Goffredo Scarciofolo, who made as many as twenty Spaghettis, doesn't pack a whole lot of charisma. Little is known about Scarciofolo who made Spaghetti westerns and sword & sandal epics. According to the Internet Movie Database, Scarcifolo made his cinematic debut in 1962 in director Michele Lupo’s “Colossus of the Arena.” As long as he keeps knocking down bad guys like ten-pins in a bowling alley, Scarciofolo makes a stalwart, if not greedy hero. He insists that he get paid $2-thousand for each man that he kills along with any bounty on the dastards. He also gets a down payment of $6-thousand dollars from one of the town fathers. Interestingly, no sooner has he cleared out the bad guys in Trinity than he receives a summons to provide the same action in Carson City!
The frontier town of Trinity is as beleaguered by a rabid outlaw gang as the poor peasants were by rogue bandits in “The Magnificent Seven.” The desperate city fathers don’t immediately resort to a high-priced vigilante. Initially, they turn to the government, but the harmless old geezer sent doesn’t stand a chance against these trigger-happy hellions. The bandits promptly liquidate him without batting an eyelash. Basically, they have an inside source on the city council. Unfortunately, the identity of this quisling, Pizarro (Antonio Cantafora of “Demons 2”), is revealed almost immediately so we don’t have a chance to figure out who he is based on our own ingenuity. The Elios studio sets, Osanna Guardini’s wardrobe, and the sounds of the gunshots are distinctly Spaghetti western. One thing that I enjoy the most about European westerns are those gunshot reports. American westerns have nothing to compare with them. Sadly, the formulaic screenplay by Joe D’Amata and “Zombie Holocaust” scripter Romano Scandariato contains no surprises, and characterization is restricted to the costumes wore by each actor or actress. “Django the Bastard” composer Vasili Kojucharov’s orchestral score isn't worth searching for on either vinyl or CD, but at least it isn’t the bottom of the barrel. Nevertheless, Spaghetti western fans will find this trim, 85-minute horse opera devoid of pretentions. The interesting side note is that the town is named Trinity, presumably because Trinity suggests good memories of Terence Hill as the comic gunslinger. Although production designer Oscar Santaniello received credit as the helmer, I have the feeling that prolific veteran Aristide Massaccesi may have exert more artistry on this western.