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Western films, from silent to today

Ringo Face of Revenge (1966)

Anthony Steffen plays Ringo, who’s napping on a mountaintop with his friend when a man rides by chased by three bandidos.

Deciding they must have monetary motives, Ringo borrows two bullets from his friend Tim, adds his sole remaining shell and dispatches of the bad guys. To his dismay, he finds that Fidel, the man he’s just rescued, has just two dollars in his pocket. Some reward.

But all roads lead to Silver Bell, New Mexico, where the men are reunited during a barroom poker game that turns into a brawl. Fidel is stabbed, rescued again by Ringo and Tim, and taken back to their room. This time, they learn his true value. The map to a hidden treasure is tattoed on his back.

Well, half a map, at least. The other half is tattoed onto the back of Sam Dellinger, the sheriff of a nearby town.

Seems Fidel and Sam were once inmates together when they learned the location of a small fortune in stolen gold. They decided to retrieve it together when released from prison. Since they had different release dates, the tattoos were a way of making sure both of them kept that bargain.

Now Ringo and Tm figure they’ve earned part of the loot. And a fourth man, Tricky Ferguson, worms his way into the group by promising safe passage out of Silver Bell. But can any of these men trust one another?

One thing is certain. Add a pretty dark-haired girl named Manuela to the equation and things will only get more complicated.

Review:

Once you get past the ridiculous premise of the tattoos — Ringo says he hasn’t heard a story like that in years (with a straight face) — this is a quite entertaining film, with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing and one final twist for an ending.

Frank Wolff’s Tricky Ferguson is the most interesting character, a man with a knack for getting others to do his bidding, when he isn’t double-dealing on his own.

Eduardo Fajardo turns in a solid performance as Tim, a loyal friend tormented by drink and the sight of Manuela. Franco De Masi chips in with a lively score.

Directed by:
Mario Caiano

Cast:
Anthony Steffen … Ringo
Antonio de Teffe
Frank Wolff … Tricky Ferguson
Eduardo Fajardo … Tim
Armando Calvo … Fidel
Alexandra Nilo … Manuela
Alfonso Goda … Sheriff Sam Dellinger
Natale Nazzareno … Paco

aka
Ringo: Mark of Vengeance
The Revenge of Ringo

Score: Franco De Masi

Memorable lines:

Ringo, after hearing the story of the tattooed maps: “A very interesting story. I haven’t heard one like it in years.”

Tricky: “You guys just trust ol’ Tricky. He knows how to handle these affairs.”

Pastor, as he buries Dellinger: “You were not a good sheriff. Nor even what would be called a good man. But the Lord is merciful. And who knows? He may forgive you. For this we pray. Amen.”

Trivia:

A graduate of Italian peplum films, Mario Caiano also directed “Sign of the Coyote” (1964), one of the very first Spaghetti Westerns and “Nightmare Castle” (1965), starring American beauty Barbara Steele.

Alexandra Nilo, who plays Manuela here, appeared in just 11 films in a brief career. A year later she had a brief part in another Spaghetti, as Marika Novak, who dies giving birth to “The Christmas Kid,” played by Jeffrey Hunter.

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