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Author Topic: The Forgotten Pistolero / Il pistolero dell' ave maria (Ferdinando Baldi, 1969)  (Read 11724 times)

IL COMMISSARIO

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FORGOTTEN PISTOLERO, THE 1970- aka IL PISTOLERO DEL AVE MARIA

Leonard Mann, Peter Martell, Luciana Paluzzi

A General returns home from the war only to be brutally double crossed and murdered by his scheming wife who uses any man in the vicinity to accomplish her goals. Her son Sebastian disappears, the shock of the events that night causing him to forget much of what happened. Years later, a former childhood friend, Raffael, finds him and explains all leading to an ending of familial vengeance where everybody suffers.

Ferdinando Baldi’s best western IMO, relies more on the dramatic elements lending the action scenes more punch. An operatic spaghetti oater with Shakespearean tragedy at its core. Composer Roberto Pregadio supplies one of the most beautiful spaghetti scores ever. The soundtrack has been used in various commercials over the years and was available back in the 80s on CD paired with MY NAME IS NOBODY. It's a crime that this score is not available now.

The leads are all attractive especially the women. Luciana Paluzzi is exceptionally stunning as the deceiving matriarch. The many other Spanish bar women are also very seductive. One scene reveals through dialog, the horrifying reason why Raffael cannot enjoy a woman’s touch which is hinted at several times throughout the film.

Some complain that the soap opera theatrics ruin the film but I disagree. The story is told very well and these scenes enhance the film whereas far too many spaghetti westerns are let down by a constant attack of bland action that is either poorly put together or has no real impact on the sequences in between. Here, that is not the case. After everything that has happened you really want to see Paluzzi get what's coming to her as well as her main suitor whom she originally conspired with during the opening massacre. A final reveal at the end adds a bit more drama during the final stand-off amidst the burning mansion where the last duel takes place.

The few scenes of fisticuffs in THE FORGOTTEN PISTOLERO are actually well done for a change. In far too many Italian westerns, the fist fights are terrible and hopelessly telegraphed. The stuntmen in these films tend to swing wide and the recipients will often stick their faces out in anticipation of the smack they are about to receive. Also, in nearly every Italian western, there is always a scene where the hero or villain is thrown to the ground followed by his opponent leaping down on top of him.

The characters are for the most part, are well drawn out and complex. I particularly felt sorry for the poor man who loves the young girl who is in love with Raffael even though she can never love him nor can he ever love her because of a bit of nasty business that happened during Raffael's childhood the night of the massacre and betrayal of his father. This scene may have been shot then later removed. It’s brief running time of 81 minutes suggests some footage may have been removed although all known versions run this length.

Baldi’s characters in this film, as in the following years BLINDMAN, all seem to be dressed as post apocalyptic hippies (the costumes are more extreme in the latter) which is refreshing lending the film a hip appearance.

Ferdinando Baldi would also direct one of the strangest Italo westerns ever, the musical RITA OF THE WEST (1967). A movie that has 'For Italian audiences only' stamped all over it. Baldi also did the follow-up to DJANGO, the entry that was to feature Nero reprising the role and the aformentioned BLINDMAN, an Italian take-off of the mega popular ZATOICHI-THE BLIND SWORDSMAN series in Japan. This western version starred Tony Anthony and Ringo Starr.
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LANZETTA

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It’s brief running time of 81 minutes suggests some footage may have been removed although all known versions run this length.
Yes theres some pretty abrupt editting in the finale which adds weight to this suggestion.

I love this movies,though i think that the casting of wooden Leonard Mann was a mistake but otherwise the calibre of the acting is excellent.Theres some great scenes including the elaborate ballroom flashbacks and the final duel amongst the  inferno.Best of all though is that soundtrack,surely one of the most memorable.

FORGOTEN PISTOLERO may well be Baldi's best western.I like VIVA DJANGO equally as well but that movie's obviously lacking the originality of FP.HATE THY NEIGHBOUR is pretty good too but i'd need to watch again to comment further.
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Mart85

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Love Silvanna Bacci's table dance.  Man, she's hot.

Great spaghetti western, IMO.  Donwloaded the soundtrack to it the other day. Excellent stuff. :)
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The Hunchback

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Aside from the first 20 minutes and the brilliant soundtrack I hated this.


I will be giving it another shot only because everybody else is so enthused about it and I want to see what the big deal is.
I just remember a lot of soap opera overtones in this. Not very enjoyable.
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IL COMMISSARIO

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Love Silvanna Bacci's table dance.  Man, she's hot.

Great spaghetti western, IMO.  Donwloaded the soundtrack to it the other day. Excellent stuff. :)

Where did you download the score from, Mart?
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LANZETTA

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a lot of soap opera overtones in this.
Hey you haven't been taken in by Mr Weisser have you as he makes a similar comment? ;D
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IL COMMISSARIO

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Remember, Hunch likes GOD'S GUN and that in itself speaks VOLUMES!  ;)
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The Hunchback

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a lot of soap opera overtones in this.
Hey you haven't been taken in by Mr Weisser have you as he makes a similar comment? ;D


And for once Weisser couldn't be more correct.
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LANZETTA

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a lot of soap opera overtones in this.
Hey you haven't been taken in by Mr Weisser have you as he makes a similar comment? ;D


And for once Weisser couldn't be more correct.
Well he's well known for stealing others reviews for movies he's never seen,so maybe he has a crystal ball. ;D
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paperbag

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The new dvd of this and THE UNHOLY FOUR is just great.. I love Wild East
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Vito Cipriani

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Love Silvanna Bacci's table dance.  Man, she's hot.

Hubba hubba :)

How does the Wild East DVD compare with Marketing Film's release? I've got the WE DVD on the way, and I already own the Marketing Films disc.

I'm curious as to the length of the WE DVD, as the information at ANICA suggests that the film may have existed in a longer version than the edit of the film that's contained on Marketing Films disc, and which has been most widely seen in English language territories. (I think you and I discussed this elsewhere, Mart, and didn't come up with a definitive answer.) ANICA's data suggests a running time of 2882 metres, which if I remember correctly equates to around 105 minutes; the Marketing Film release has a much shorter running time, somewhere around 90 minutes. (ANICA's data on the original German release suggests a 91 minute running time.)

(ANICA's data on the film: http://www.anica.it/arc/1969/69ag2653.thtml)

I've often wondered if the longer running time that's listed by ANICA represents a longer Italian domestic cut, and the most widely-seen cut of the film is simply a much shorter English language export edit. That would seem logical, for an Italian Western of this vintage.

Is there any hard information on this topic, perchance?
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'Society has many means of protecting itself: bureaucracy, red tape... and the revolver'

IL COMMISSARIO

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I have both the Marketing and the X Rated Kult limited release and both of those run 80 minutes. Don't have the WE one yet but considering most of their discs are ports of the foreign releases, this may be the case here, too.
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Vito Cipriani

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Don't have the WE one yet but considering most of their discs are ports of the foreign releases, this may be the case here, too.
I wouldn't be surprised either. When the disc arrives, I shall be sure to post the running time--unless someone else beats me to it, of course  :D
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'Society has many means of protecting itself: bureaucracy, red tape... and the revolver'

IL COMMISSARIO

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Great. I'd be most interested to know as this is one of my favorite SW's of all time. I can't understand why the score is still unavailable on disc at this time.
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Vito Cipriani

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Great. I'd be most interested to know as this is one of my favorite SW's of all time. I can't understand why the score is still unavailable on disc at this time.
Yes, the score is fantastic; I downloaded it a year or so ago, after it was posted on one of the numerous music-related blogs. I often listen to it on my way to work. (I think I'm right in saying that the main theme was used in the RED DEAD REVOLVER video game?)

This is one of my favourite Italian Westerns too. I also like Baldi's TEXAS ADIOS, although the first time I saw that movie (via the Aktiv tape) I really disliked it, mostly due to the terrible English dub. However, over the years it has grown on me.
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'Society has many means of protecting itself: bureaucracy, red tape... and the revolver'
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