Sunday, May 10, 2009

Spaghetti Western Review

TRAIN FOR DURANGO (1968) D. Mario Caiano Cast: Anthony Steffen, Mark Damon, Enrico Maria Salerno, Dominique Boschero, Jose Bodelo, Roberto Camardiel, Tito Garcia, Aldo Sambrell. I recently saw the Jerksi releaseof this dvd and really enjoyed it. First off it's a great travelogue of spaghetti western locations; I recognized locales familiar from FAFDM and many others, all beautifully shot for maximum effect, Spain standing in for Mexico effortlessly. Second, it's a who's who of Spanish character actors; only Frank Brana seems to be missing of the stalwarts...well, so's Fernando Sancho, but most everybody else is here. Third, the leads all do a good job. Steffen is well cast as Gringo, a down on his luck Americano looking for a break south of the border. Mark Damon puts his shark-grin handsomeness to good use as the mysterious gunman who shows up from time to time to help out our heroes. And Enrico Maria Salerno was a revelation to me as Lucas, Gringo's Mexican sidekick. After seeing his performance I could totally see him pulling off the role of Tuco in GBU; he's sly, grinning, full of life, and not entirely trustworthy.
This is an early comedy western, and for once the comedy works. It has some pretty funny scenes which made me laugh aloud, comic characters who aren't just irritating, and the comedy rings true, especially the ending, which I thought was hilarious. This is one of Jerksi's best releases, and if you haven't seen it, you're missing out.