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Western films, from silent to today

Three Silver Dollars (1968)

Three Silver Dollars (1968) poster Charles Southwood is Alan Burton, who hitches a ride on a stage to San Antonio that quickly comes under attack.

A former Confederate major riding on the stage is mortally wounded, and reveals the reason: He’s carrying one of three two-headed gold pieces that reveal the location of $2 million in stashed Rebel payroll.

Burton sets out for Sonora, where the second gold piece is supposed to be in the hands of an ex-Confederate sergeant.

But he’s going to have competition in his quest. A bandit leader known as El Condor (Mirko Ellis) was behind the stage attack and has a small army of henchmen to do his bidding.

He’s heard the tale of the hidden treasure too. And he’s already killed the sergeant in order to get his hands on one of the coins, which include code messages about the location of the fortune.

Burton finds allies in a Hondo, a young Mexican who helps him break out of jail at a key moment; and Juana, a saloon girl who yearns for the day she’ll find a man and return to the farm she used to live on in Tennessee.

Review:

Translating the script into English led to some laughable lines, but this is a pretty well done Spaghetti that offers up a couple of twists in the final five minutes you probably won’t see coming.

Hondo is on hand to bail Burton out of trouble time and again, there’s a touch of humor here and there and a solid score,.

Plus director Mario Amendola serves up a high body count and a heaping of torture scenes — one key character is buried nearly to his neck in quicksand to force him to reveal the location of one of the prized coins.

Pietro Ceccarelli plays Cincaro, El Condor’s chief lieutenant; while Ivano Staccioli has the role of Luis Garcia, a man obsessed with Juana though she doesn’t return his affection.

Directed by:
Mario Amendola
as Irving Jacobs

Cast:
Charles Southwood … Alan Burton
Julian Mateos … Hondo
Alida Chelli … Juana
Mirko Ellis … El Condor
Pietro Ceccarelli … Cincaro
Dada Gallotti … Mrs. Garland
Lorenzo Robledo …. Jack Garland
Maria Mizar … Fortune teller
Giovanni Ivan Scratuglia … Deputy sheriff
Ivano Staccioli … Luis Garcia
as John Heston
Guillermo Mendez … The Major

Runtime: 97 min.

aka:
Dai nemici mi guardo io!
Protect Myself Against My Enemies

Music: Carlo Rustichelli
Title song: “Where is My Fortune” by Ico Cerutti

Memorable lines:

Padre, after the Civil War: “Humanity has gone on fermenting mass hatred. Nowadays, alas, there’s no hope for us. Even children go boom-boom with toy pistols.”

Lawman to Alan Burton: “You’ve done your fair share to fill our mortuary.”

Alan Burton: “Hondo, that’s the second time you’ve gotten me out of trouble.”
Hondo: “Like my grandmother used to say: ‘A friend in need is the best kind.'”

Alan Burton: “What’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?”
Juana: “You wouldn’t believe it, even if I told you.”

El Condor: “What is all this? Augustine Prieto didn’t have a brother. He was a bastard.”
Alan Burton: “Bastard’s have brothers too.”
El Condor: “But you are a gringo.”
Burton: “My mother traveled around quite a bit.”

Hondo, about to free Burton from Chinese water torture: “Amigo, how did you get so wet?”
Alan Burton: “Mind if I tell you later.”

Alan Burton to El Condor: “You make one move and I’ll blow a hole in you bigger than a beer glass.”

Trivia

This marked the only Spaghetti and one of just a handful of film roles for Alida Chelli, who happened to be daughter of the film’s composer, Carlo Rustichelli. She was better known as a singer and posed for Playboy in 1978.

Pietro Ceccarelli, El Condor’s main henchman here, appeared in small roles in a number of Spaghetti Westerns. But he co-starred in the comedy Western “Pistol Packin’ Preacher” alongside Mark Damon in 1971.

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