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Western films, from silent to today

Coffin for a Sheriff (1965)

Anthony Steffen plays Shenandoah, a mysterious stranger who shows up in the town of Richmond, flashes around some counterfeit money and quickly infiltrates the Lupe Rojo gang by saving one of his men during a bank robbery.

His cunning impresses the members of the Rojo gang, but Shenandoah is far less interested in robbing banks than in fulfilling his two-year long quest for vengeance.

Seems that back in Omaha, the Rojo gang robbed a stage and tortured and killed a female passenger.

That passenger happened to be the wife of Sheriff Joe Logan. And nowadays, Logan goes by the name Shenandoah.

But when the Rojo gang decides to raid the ranch of a man named Wilson, who happens to have a pretty daughter named Jane, Shenandoah risks revealing who he is to warn his friends.

Review:

An early entry in the Spaghetti field, this features a gritty performance by frequent Spaghetti star Steffen, a menacing performance by a killer named Murdock and lots of bits parts to keep things interesting.

But part of the fun is spoiled by the apparent stupidity of the supposedly notorious Rojo gang. Their newest member keeps riding off — to try to get information out of one gang member, to warn Wilson, to visit the sheriff in Richmond — and it takes forever for the gang to suspect he might be up to something.

But, hey, there’s a nice score by Francesco De Masi, including a snazzy title tune, “The Lone and Angry Man.”

Directed by:
Mario Caiano

Cast:
Anthony Steffen … Shenandoah/Joe Logan
Armando Calvo … Lupe Rojo
Arturo Dominici … Jerry Krueger
as Arthur Kent
Eduardo Fajardo … Murdock
Fulvia Franco … Lulu Belle
Jesus Tordesillas … Slim
George Rigaud … Wilson
Luciana Gilli … Jane Wilson
Maria Vico … Lupe’s woman
Lucio De Santis … Mulligan
as Bob Johnson
Miguel del Castillo … Sheriff Gallagher
Frank Brana … David

aka
Una bara per lo sceriffo
Lone and Angry Man
Tomb for the Sheriff

Score: Francesco De Masi

Runtime: 95 min.

Memorable lines:

Rojo’s woman: “What were you before? Crooked gamblers, swindlers, jailbirds, murderers, horse thieves. Only to hear you talk now, you sound more like Sunday school teachers than a gang of bank robbers.”

Lupe Rojo: “Tell us more.”
Shenandoah: “I’m beginning to get bored, Lupe.”
Lupe’s man: “Yeah, well you don’t have to worry til you begin to bore us.”

Slim: “Lulu, why you staring? You ain’t in love with him, is you?”
Lule: “It’s been so long since I’ve been in love, I can’t remember what it’s like.”
Slim: “Uh-oooh.”

Rojo’s woman, looking demented: “No, Lupe, no. I’ve always done everything
you wanted. You’ve made me help you with every dirty, rotten, disgusting thing you’ve done, for over a year now. But this is too much for me. I won’t do it. I’ll kill you before I let you hurt that girl, Lupe.”
Lupe, as one of his men prepares to shoot his woman: “No, wait. This is something I have to do alone.”

Other tidbits:

Spaghettis typically featured dark-haired beauties. You’ll find three here, including a saloon gal named Lule Belle, played by Fulvia Franco, who was Miss Italy in 1948. Luciana Gilli also had key roles in “Death at Orwell Rock” (1967), “My Gun is the Law” (1965) and “Pecos Cleans Up” (1967). And Maria Vico had a small role as a demented woman in “Doctor Zhivago” (1965).

George Rigaud plays Shenandoah’s friend, a rancher named Wilson. About
11 years later, he had a role in “Fabulous Journey to the Center of the Earth,” a remake of the classic Jules Verne story. He died in a car accident in Spain in 1984 at age 78.

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