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: "Fistfuls of Dollars in Almeria"  ( 207 )
dave jenkins
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« : May 12, 2022, 05:12:59 AM »

For my Leone studies this week I'm reading Fistfuls of Dollars in Almeria by Terence Denman. No idea when this was first published. I have a made-on-demand copy that only lists the date on which it was manufactured (in this case 7 April 2022).

Before it was used as a location for SWs, Almeria was discovered for other kinds of films in the 1950s. Denman points to one film shot there in 1956 (released in 57) that put the place on the map in terms of later film productions. The film was called Oeil pour oeil (An Eye for an Eye) and was directed by Andre Cayatte:

Quote
A totally French production in terms of finance, but with a Spanish crew, Oeil pour oeil is a fascinating film, with several wonderful Amerian set pieces. The opening credits roll over the townscape of Almeria, with the sea in the background, standing in effortlessly for a north African city, as it could do so easily then. A scene in which the main protagonists cross a mountain pass on a dangerous aerial ropeway (especially constructed, and filmed at the Cerro de la Garibola near Santa Cruz de la Marchena in the Tabernas desert) is particularly exciting. But it's the film's final shot that is the true visual poem to Almeria. The star of the film, Curt Jurgens, is seen stumbling through the landscape near Tabernas, exhausted, parched and near death. The camera (obviously airborne in some way) pans back, revealing more and more of the stunning mountains and canyons around Tabernas. Even as a fan of spaghetti westerns, I can think of no scene in them which has this Almerian grandeur.
pp. 85, 86
This film sounds so interesting I had to look it up on IMDb. Unusually, there is a decent synopsis of the film available there:
Quote
In North Africa Dr. Walter (W) is a very skilled surgeon but lives at a distance from the hospital. In the evening a husband (H) and his sick wife come to his private home from far away. He tells them to go to the hospital. The wife dies during the operation. The other doctors think that W might have saved her. Shortly afterward a man asks W to come to a village to treat a very sick man. W goes thither in his car. The local habitants do not allow him to apply Western medical techniques, all tyres of his car are stolen, and he sees H in this village. W tells him that his wife would not have died if he had timely taken her to a doctor. W buys a lot of coca-cola and starts walking home on his feet. He refuses H's offer to show him a shortcut. But thrice he finds H sitting at the road much ahead of him. Then he accepts H's guidance = misguidance! When they have been without water for many days and W wishes he was dead, he wounds H with a knife. H is sure to die within 24 hours without medical treatment. Then H says that inhabited areas are found in a quite different direction. W starts in this direction, not followed by H. The camera rises and reveals that before W there is nothing but stone and sand.
Hmmmm. Anyone else here thinking maybe Tuco saw this film as a boy?



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