Thursday, September 17, 2009


Original Title: Vado… l'ammazzo e torno
Year: 1967
Director: Enzo G. Castellari
Writer: Tito Carpi (screenplay), Giovanni Simonelli (screenplay), Enzo G. Castellari (screenplay)
Genre: Western

imdb synopsis:
A gang of bandits rob a train of it's one million dollar gold shipment. Once the gang's leader makes off with the pot he's pursued by a bounty hunter, a banker, and a lone bandit. Once word gets around about the missing shipment of gold mayhem ensues.

We're jumping in our Delorean and travelling from the 80s all the way back to the 60s for a much earlier Castellari film here. On the success of The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, many Italian directors started releasing copy-cat westerns to get in on a little of that bank.

Also called Any Gun Can Play here in the US, Go Kill and Come Back was Castellari's first credited Spaghetti Western. Very simply, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly - grit - cinematography + comedy = Go Kill and Come Back. It's not quite that simple, of course. In fact, it is quite entertaining. Western stereotypes (the loner, the handsome, the mexican bandito) team up with one another, double cross each other, ride, swing and punch their way into getting their share of a stolen chest containing $300,000 in gold.

This story borrows quite heavily from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (or possibly something older I don't know about?) to weave this story together. It is by no means the epic that is the Leone classic, but it was definitely enjoyable for what it was. Lots of scheming by the characters made it pretty solid story. The characters lack the grittiness and "Spaghetti Sweat" (as the hosts of The Gentlemen's Guide to Midnite Cinema have dubbed it) of more classic Spaghetti Western types, but are fun to watch regardless.

Edd Byrnes plays the handsome banker Clayton who is on the hunt for the stolen loot. George Hilton plays a handsome Eastwood Stranger type, a bounty hunter who follows his targets around and increases their bounties as they commit more crimes - pretty funny! And then we have Gilbert Roland as the Mexican John Wayne look-alike, bandido Monatero. All three play their roles very well, as they need to - their characters' interactions are the driving force of the film.

The Stranger is introduced in a fantastic opening sequence with three coffins for three wanted men. I won't say more for fear of ruining the cool little sequence, but if you don't see a pretty Eastwood when he tips back his hat, you may need to watch some Leone again!.

The characters in this movie, while borrowing from the gritty story and characters of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, were much cleaner with some well groomed facial hair and white teeth. Not quite the same feeling. Also, for better or worse, the fight scenes were over the top and with the accompanying music were comedic.
Clayton even fought in the old-timey 'put-up-your-dukes' style and uses awnings as trampolines!

In Leone's film, the characters show their wounds and cracked lips and imperfections, but here even after beating the shit out of one another, we don't even see so much as a bruise.

There's a decent soundtrack (some nice, fiting organ music in one scene) and some really cool camera shots (that I'm always a sucker for) really added to the fun of Go Kill, and Come Back.
There were some neat camera angles behind a firing pistol, and some really well lit and focused shots. You can already see Castellari's playfulness and experimentation in his direction in this film. No slow-motion yet, but the high/low angles, the working with various forms of lighting, reflections (the spilled wine is awesome!) and the camera placement on moving vehicles or simply showing two characters at once adds some style.

It was fun, but certain elements made this film start to lean toward an American style as opposed to European. The fist fighting for instance was very reminiscent of the older American Westerns. Not sure if this is exactly a complaint, but I do like my Spaghetti's moody and European!

The story gets a touch repetitive for me as it goes on, as if there are some fight scenes and such thrown in there for the sake of action. By the time I hit the bathhouse scene, I was wanting things wrapped up.

This one is worth seeing, especially if you're a fan of Spaghetti Westerns or want to see some early Castellari work. Solid story, enjoyable (comedic) fist fights, quite a bit of gun play all help out. It may not be the most original story (came out only one year after The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly), but what can you do?

6.25 out of 10

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