Sunday, 6 January 2013



A double bill of two of the first comedy spaghetti Westerns, which were a box-office smash after several years of dark, political and violent films like Faccia A Faccia, A Bullet For The General, the Leone Dollars trilogy and a couple of hundred others. In one sense they're little more than amiable pantomimes with an inexplicable obsession with thudding head injuries - it's amazing none of the stuntmen sustained cerebral haemorrhages and fractured craniums given the countless punches to the face and the top of the skull - but they're both far more likable and genially entertaining with some kind of humour to them. No-one gets seriously hurt, the villains are boo-hiss caricatures and the henchmen and minions are all idiots.

Probably the most famous of the numerous films partnering Terence Hill (Mario Girotti) and Bud Spencer (Carlo Pedersoli) was They Call Me Trinity, a faily silly caper in which the roguish blue-eyed superfast gunslinger Trinity (Hill) partners up with Bambino (Spencer), his huge bearded grouch of an outlaw brother in order to stop an evil landgrabber (Farley Granger) from getting rid of a community of pesky Mormons who have pitched up in a nearby valley, where everything climaxes in a gigantic brawl and the baddies are cheerfully sent packing. Much of it is harmless knockabout which, if it isn't laugh-out-loud funny, is at least reasonably amusing and came as a genuinely pleasant surprise after half a dozen grim and downbeat spaghetti Westerns such as Keoma. Although the PG certificate may give you cause to wonder at the BBFC's inconsistencies. Most of the violence in the film consists of countless crashing blows to the skull, punches to the face and hard slaps to the side of the head - if that doesn't count as imitable violence on a par with double ear claps (which the BBFC quite rightly take a very dim view of in children's films), then what the hell does? Especially as the movie makes it look as if you can take endless blunt force trauma to the cranium with ultimately no ill effects.

Trinity Is Still My Name is a barely connected sequel which further showcases Hill and Spencer's enthusiasm for smacking villains repeatedly around the head, along with the exciting new running gag of a farting baby. This time they're setting out to become legendary outlaws but are so good-natured they end up masquerading as federal agents and routing a bunch of gun-runners using a Catholic mission as a cover. Again, the movie climaxes with an extended brawling sequence in which no-one suffers anything more than a few bruises despite being comprehensively beaten to a pulp.

Neither movie is particularly hilarious; Spencer's reluctant gruffness is more amusing than Hill's laidback charm, and everyone else is pretty much a cardboard cutout: drunks, Mexican bandits, devout Mormons, sweaty and unshaven peasants. Decent enough, but perhaps a touch too long, and after a while you start to long for the Djangos and Sabatas rather than the Trinitys, and you wish for a note of seriousness to intrude on the halfwitted clowning and punches to the face.


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