Sunday, 19 August 2012

If You Meet Sartana Pray for Your Death (1968)

If You Meet Sartana Pray for Your Death, is a competent, enjoyable, but highly derivative Spaghetti Western.

Gianni Garko plays the title character, pretty much a clone of Clint Eastwood's Man with no Name from his work with Sergio Leone, complete with a face full of stubble and a cool, indifferent attitude towards his adversaries.

The plot is also reminiscent of Leone's "A Fistful of Dollars" with Sartana playing two rival gangs off against each other to get his hands on a box of stolen gold, and as well as borrowing for story ideas and characters, director Gianfranco Parolini also lifts many of Leone's visual ideas, in particular, juxtaposing extreme close-ups with lengthy long shots.

However, none of this ever tops it's source material, lacking Leone's knack for over-the-top grandeur and sadism, and it fails to create something new from the basic Spaghetti Western blueprint, such as the grimy weirdness of Sergio Corbucci's "Django".

Even Klaus Kinski, although charismatic as ever in his role as a hired killer, fails to completely light up the screen, coming across as a little restrained and not as much fun to watch as normal.