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Western films, from silent to today

Bullets Don’t Argue (1964)

Bullets Don't Argue (1964) poster Rod Cameron is Sheriff Pat Garrett, whose wedding day is spoiled when the bank in Rivertown is robbed and two employees shot dead. Leaving his new wife behind, he heads off to find the brothers responsible — Billy Clanton (Horst Frank) and George Clanton (Angel Aranda).

The Clanton brothers figure they’re home free with the $30,000 they’ve stolen from the bank when they cross into Mexico. But Garrett decides he isn’t going to let something like a national boundary stop his pursuit and eventually catches his prey.

Getting them back to Rivertown to stand trial? That might be the more difficult part. Billy has pledged to kill him, if he gets the chance. Garrett has decided to return the hard way — through the desert — to avoid Mexican patrols because his authority isn’t recognized south of the border.

As for that $30,000 … well, it attracts the attention of a Mexican bandit named Santero (Mimmo Palmara as Dick Palmer), and he has a whole band of henchmen anxious to do his bidding so they can share the loot.

Review:

Don’t let the famous-named characters fool you. There’s nothing historical about this film. There’s nothing very Spaghetti about it either, except that it was filmed in Almeria and features actors who would become familiar faces in such films. The plot: Well, let’s just say Rod Cameron, star of so many Hollywood Westerns in the late 1940s and early 1950s, probably felt right at home.

That said, it’s not an unentertaining or badly acted film. Horst Frank, the villain mastermind in several Spaghettis to come, plays a blood-thirsty young gunman in his first outing in the genre. Vivi Bach is Agnes Goddard and Luis Duran is her younger brother Mike. They’re orphans, determined to keep their parents ranch going and willing to give Garrett refuge, even if it puts them in harm’s way.

One of the best things about the film — a rousing Ennio Morricone score that’s much more traditional than those he became known for.

Directed by:
Mario Caiano
as Mike Perkins

Cast:
Rod Cameron … Sheriff Pat Garrett
Horst Frank … Billy Clanton
Mimmo Palmara … Santero
as Dick Palmer
Angel Aranda … George Clanton
Vivi Bach … Agnes Goddard
Luis Duran … Mike Goddard
Kai Fischer … Elena
Julio Tabernero … Manny
Hans Nielsen … Rev. Alvarez

aka:
Le pistole non discutono
Bullets Don’t Lie
The Last Two at Rio Bravo

Score: Ennio Morricone

Runtime: 89 min.

Memorable lines:

George Clanton: “I’m going to bleed to death.”
Sheriff Garrett. “Nah, it looks bad, but it won’t kill you. You’re more likely to be dying of a sore throat, hanging from a tree.”

Sheriff Garrett: “I may be old, Billy, but I’m not foolish.”

Billy: “Garrett, I saw a man die of thirst. He was about your age. First, he swelled all up, you see. Then he went clean off his head. He yelled. He was yelling with his mouth open and a swollen tongue like this. He put on a real good show before he finally died.”

Trivia:

This film was apparently made side and side with “Fistful of Dollars,” by the same production team, and with a bigger budget. Guess which film turned out to be more popular and set the Spaghetti Western on an entirely new course?

One of just two Spaghetti Westerns for Cameron, who gained fame in Westerns in the late 1940s and was one of the top box office starsin the early 1950s. He was 55 when this film was released. Two years later, he appeared in his other Spaghetti, “Bullets and the Flesh.” Cameron died in 1983 at age 73. The one scandal during his career: In 1960, he divorced his wife; then married her mother.

This marked the only Spaghetti for Danish actress Vivi Bach, who was 25 when the film was released and already had a host of film credits. She died of heart failure in 2013 at age 73. In addition to her film roles, she had 12 albums and 18 singles to her credit as a singer, according to her obituary.

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