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Western films, from silent to today

Black Killer (1971)

Two strangers, James Webb (Klaus Kinski) and Bud Collins (Fred Robsahn) arrive in Tombstone, a town ruled by the O’Hara brothers. The Mexican clan is scheming to buy up, or steal, all the land around Tombstone. They’re also killing sheriffs at a staggering rate.

Collins guns down three men in self defense and is black-mailed into being marshal by a judge who offers a long prison sentence as an alternative.

Soon, he has another reason to clean up Tombstone. The O’Hara clan kills his brother Peter, savagely beats Bud and gang rapes Peter’s Indian wife, Sarah, leaving them all for dead.

As soon as they recover, Collins and the Indian gal set out on the vengeance trail, determined to bring the O’Hara brothers to justice and prove that their saloon owning brother named Ramon is part of their scheme. Oh, and there’s a pretty dancehall girl named Conseula to try to rescue as well.

As for Webb, he watches the action unfold, with a six-gun hidden in several of his many books, all the while looking for a way to turn a profit.

Review:

Decent score, spotty plot. And a really strong tie to a film released in 1972 named “A Bounty Killer for Trinity” and directed by someone using the name Oskar Faradine.

How strong a tie? Well, the villains are the same. They wear the exact same clothing. Some of the scenes are lifted straight from one film and placed in the other, including a badman shooting from a barrel, a barroom fight, the kidnapping of a saloon girl and, most noteably, an explosion that blinds a key character.

In this film, he’s blinded by a arrow with a stick of dynamite tied to it, shot by the Indian girl; in “Bounty Killer,” the dynamite is attached to an arrow fired by bounty hunter Jeff Cameron’s crossbow!

This is the marginally more entertaining of the two because we’re introduced to Peter and his Indian bride Sarah before the attack, which helps draw us into the story at least a little. And while Kinski’s character does little but walk around a hotel room and observe the action — for some reason hiding behind a red curtain much of the time — he is involved in a bit of a twist at the end.

There’s also a funny scene in which Sarah sends Peter to bed and promises to join him once she gets ready. She eventually walks into the bedroom wearing an old maid’s nightgown, much to Peter’s dismay. You see, he’s gotten used to her sleeping in the nude. Sarah, in turn, explains she was just trying to be more like an American girl. Peter’s response: Try that during the day, not at night.

Directed by:
Carlo Croccolo

Cast:
Klaus Kinski … James Webb
Fred Robsahm … Bud Collins
Antonio Cantafora … Ramon O’Hara
Marina Rabissi … Sarah Collins
as Marina Mulligan
Enzo Pulcrano … Pedro O’Hara
Calogero Caruana … Miquel O’Hara
as Ted Jones
Tiziana Dini … Consuelo
Gerardo Rossi … Peter Collins
Jerry Ross
Dante Maggio … Judge Wilson
as Dan May
Antonio Danesi … Ryan O’Hara
Carlo Croccolo … Deputy Fred

aka:
Assassino Negro

Runtime: 92 min.

Memorable lines:

Peter Collins, waiting for his Indian wife to join him in bed, looking at a string of fish hanging above said bed: “Sarah, how long do these fish have to hang? They smell, you know?”
Sarah: “They’re there for a purpose.”
Peter: “I know you don’t like evil spirits, but I’m sure they don’t smell as bad.”
Sarah: “Don’t take them down, Peter. Please don’t. I know you don’t believe in them. Go ahead and laugh at me, but please don’t take them down. I have a feeling something bad is going to happen. Really, I do.”
(Peter takes down the fish; something bad soon happens.)

Town leader: “This is the 10th time it (the sheriff’s job) has been offered to you, yet you refuse it. Think of the extra money you’re missing.”
Deputy: “Five more bucks, plus all the other extra benefits. Including room and board, and a five-minute future.”

Trivia:

Names matter not: The Mexican outlaws have the last name of O’Hara; the Indian bride is named Sarah.

Oh, my: The pretty saloon girl Consuela adds little to the plot, but she gets naked fairly frequently, something that doesn’t happen often in Spaghetti Westerns.

Familiar face: Klaus Kinski appeared in more than 20 Spaghetti Westerns, many in cameo appearances. This time, he’s around from start to finish.

Director Carlo Croccolo made two other Spaghetti Westerns, one starring 1950s sexpot Mamie Van Doren, who dons a badge in Sheriff Was a Lady (1965).

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