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Western films, from silent to today

Vengeance for Vengeance (1968)

Vengeance for Vengeance (1968) poster Gianni Medici is Shalako, a drifter with a fast gun who drifts into a town ruled by Maj. Bower (John Ireland) just in time to see one of the major’s adversaries lynched.

The sheriff warns Shalako he might not want to hang around. No problem, Shalako says, since the town seems quite unfriendly.

But before he can ride off into the sunset, he’s been seduced by a lovely lady (Loredana Nusciak) who later reveals herself to be Ann Bower, the major’s wife.

She saw Shalako stand up to the major’s top gun and figured he might be her way out of a loveless marriage. Besides, she says, the major only wants her for the 10 small bags of gold she inherited from her father.

Perhaps, but the major punishes Ann for her indiscretion, first having her whipped, then beating her to death. Now Shalako is apparently the only person who knows where the gold is hidden.

The major wants that information and his two top gun hands, Jeb and Pico, are determined to help him get it.

Shalako wants the major to pay for Ann’s death. He finds allies in a saloon owner named Baker and his pretty daughter Sandy.

Review:

Spaghetti fans would be well advised to focus on the action and not think too much about the plot this time around.

Let’s see, Ann Bower knows Shalao for all of about 24 hours before sharing with him the location of her gold? Or did he just make a lucky guess about where it was?

And in one of the film’s sillier scenes, the two flee to the former home of Ann’s late father. Shalako scolds her for guiding them to such an obvious hiding place, whereupon Ann assures him no one will find them there.

Guess who shows up about 10 seconds later? That’s right, the major. With all of his henchmen.

And don’t even bother trying to figure out Conny Caracciolo’s character. She helps nurse Shalako back to health at one point, doesn’t spend a second of screen time mourning the slaying of her father, but is then ready to work with Maj. Bower — whose men killed her father — to find Shalako. Huh?

Gianni Medici is suitably dour and deadly in his only Spaghetti starring role. And there are a couple of whippings to spice up the affair.

Directed by:
Mario Colucci (as Ray Calloway)

Cast:
John Ireland … Maj. Bower
Gianni Medici … Shalako
as John Hamilton
Loredana Nusciak … Ann Bower
Gianni Milito … Pico
Giovanni Ivan Scratuglia … Jeb
Giuseppe Lauricella … Baker
Conny Caracciolo … Sandy Baker
Remo Capitani … Sheriff
Nino Musco … Storekeeper
Claudio Ruffini … Red
Mauro Mannatrizio … Priest

Runtime: 95 min.

aka:
Revenge for Revenge
Vendetta per vendetta

Memorable lines:

Townsman #1, as Shalako prepares to ride off: “He wasn’t here long. Only a day or two. Funny kind of man.”
Townsman #2: “Maybe it’s because of the filthy whiskey they’ve got here. Burns their guts. Worst I ever had.”

Maj. Bower: “What’s your name?”
Shalako: “Shalako.”
Maj. Bower: “What kind of name is that?”
Shalako: “It’s mine.”

Mrs. Bower: “My life is in your hands, but why should that count? It seems that none of you respect anything but your fists. When I saw you fighting Jeb, I believed that I’d finally found a real man.”

Maj. Bower to Shalako: “I don’t talk about honor to bastards like you.”

Maj. Bower, when Pico advises him to kill Shalako: “I like revenge. But maybe I like gold more.”

Baker, whose daughter is prowling around at Bower’s fiesta: “I’ll go see what Sandy is up to.”
Bower, referencing his typical take of Baker’s saloon income: “Why don’t you do that? Before somebody takes 30 percent of her.”

Sandy Baker: “You haven’t understood me at all. I don’t like to be in a position of inferiority.”
Maj. Bower: “Whatever that means. Why did you come here?”

Trivia:

This marked the only starring role in a Spaghetti Western for Gianni Medici, who goes by the name John Hamilton for this outing. A year later, he’d star in “Fangs of the Living Dead,” in which Anita Ekberg inherits a castle, only to find it inhabited by vampires. He’s the fiance who rushes to her rescue.

Gianni Medici and Loredana Nusciak were husband and wife in real life. Spaghetti fans will best remember Nusciak for her starring role as Maria, opposite Franco Nero, in 1966’s “Django.”

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