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Western films, from silent to today

Cjamango (1967)

Sean Todd is Cjamango, who wins a small fortune in gold in a poker game and loses it just as quickly when bandits led by Tiger and Don Pablo burst into the saloon and shoot up the place, leaving most of the patrons dead or wounded.

But by the time Cjamango sets out to recover his winnings, the bandits have had a falling out and one has made off with all the gold.

Don Pablo and his band of Mexican bandits have taken over a town after telling its occupants that a young boy in their midst has the plague, causing them to evacuate. Tiger and his cowboys reside on a nearby ranch/fortress.

Caught in the middle are Hernandez, the drunken snitch who set up the saloon job; Pearl, his lovely, dark-haired daughter; and Manuel, the young boy who really doesn’t have the plague, but who was badly burned when his father was killed by Don Pablo in a jealous rage over Pearl.

There’s a msyterious all-in-black stranger named Clinton who keeps turning up, too. He passes himself off as a whiskey salesman. Everyone, including Cjamango, suspects he might be something more.

Review:

Nice looking Spaghetti with a plot that’s … well, a mess, almost from the word go. Three minutes in, a Mexican bandit is wagering that fortune in gold against Cjamango’s meager poker winnings, which makes no sense.

From then on, having the plot make sense seems of less important than guiding the viewer from one blood-letting after another until you’d think both of the bandits had an inexhaustable supply of minions to sacrifice in the name of their feud.

Pearl floats from one bandit camp to another for no good reason, especially since she’s harassed whenever she visits Don Pablo’s camp. Her father is gunned down by Tiger’s men, even though she’s supposed to be aligned with Tiger. Later on, she might take longer dying than any heroine in Spaghetti history.

As for Cjamango, he’ll remind you a lot of the Clint Eastwood character from the Sergio Leone films. The plot might remind you of “Fistful of Dollars,” too. But Clint Eastwood would have ridden off into the sunset after he discovered the gold Tiger had hidden. Cjamango hangs around, winds up losing the gold to Clinton, who turns out to be a federal agent, but saves young Manuel.

Directed by:
Edoardo Mulargia

Cast:
Ivan Rassimov … Cjamango
as Sean Todd
Livio Lorenzon … Don Pablo
Piero Lulli … Tiger
Helene Chanel … Perla Hernandez
Giusva Fioravanti … Manuel
Gino Buzzanza … Hernandez
Mickey Hargitay … Clinton
Ignazio Spalla … Mexican gambler
Fed Coplan … Ramon
Nio Musco … Sancho
Remo Capitani … Paco

Score:
Felice di Stefano

Runtime: 90 min.

Memorable lines:

Don Pablo’s henchman “It’s better to get rid of the snake (Cjamango) before he can hurt you.”

Hernandez, about his daughter: “She’s bad medicine. All the men go crazy over her. She’s got them by the nose, even Don Pablo.”

Tiger’s henchman: “Don Pablo’s men are coming.”
Tiger, smiling maniacally: “It’s about time we had a showdown with that bunch of peacocks.”

Other Tidbits:

After retiring from acting, Ivan Rassimov became director of a publishing house for comic books and novels, a position he held until his death in 2003. He also appeared in a number of Italian cannibal films.

Piero Lulli, who plays one of the warring outlaw leaders here, appeared in 35 Spaghetti Westerns, beginning with “Buffalo Bill, Hero of the Far West”
in 1964. One of his last film appearances was in “My Name is Nobody.”

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