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April 23, 2019, 01:41:40 PM

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Topics - Ringo

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The plot: Ten year old Roy Blood sees his poor father killed by a gunman hired by the rich Barrett family. He kills the gunman and rides off with his silver saddle. Roy grows up to be a notorious gunslinger played by Giuliano Gemma. He inadvertently gets involved with a young boy who turns out to be a Barrett, and must put his hatred aside in order to protect him from a kidnapping plot.

Released in 1978, you could make a case for this being the very last film of the SW cycle. Surprisingly, it isn't a sentimental "end of the west" type movie, but a fairly old-fashioned adventure. The opening scene is the highlight, but the rest of the film moves along at a good pace. There are some very good action scenes, including a really well-done gun/fistfight in a saloon and a nifty battle involving hand-made grenades.

However, there is the matter of Roy's relationship with little Thomas Barrett Jr... You guessed it, the kid can't act to save his life, and the movie plunges into sappiness and "cute" humor pretty often. (I was anticipating a romantic subplot between Roy and the personality-free Barrett daughter; thankfully, it was not to be). But it is a necessary part of the movie, even if Roy's hatred of the Barretts should have played into their relationship a little more. If Fulci's "Four of the Apocalypse" was a prequel showing how one of our cold-blooded heroes could have gotten that way, this is showing how they might be redeemed.

Giuliano Gemma is good, as usual, although he doesn't bring enough of the (necessary in this case) "tortured anti-hero" aspect to the role. Geoffrey Lewis shows up as a corpse-robbing Tuco-lite named Two Strike Snake, and walks a thin line between funny and annoying. The music is the same as Four of the Apocalypse; some gnarly guitar and harmonica with a hippie theme song. You like it or you don't; I like it.

If you're wondering where I got to see this movie, I simply ordered it from one of those DVD-rom exploitation sites. My copy is, predictably, a mess, copied off a fullscreen VHS with burnt-in Greek subtitles. Given the popularity of its director and star, I can't think of any reason why this hasn't gotten a proper DVD release. A shame, as Silver Saddle is worth seeing, despite its flaws.

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