Movie Fan Man: Cinema Connoisseur

Traditional, Artsy, Genre-Within-Genre: A Little Something for Everyone


To all My Followers, those I’m Following, and all Curious Visitors,

HAVE A HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m Thankful for my family, my parents, and my closest friends.

From Tony Nash, MOVIE FAN MAN

Filed under: Uncategorized


by Tony Nash

(Foreign Language Horror 2 Part 2)

(All Opinions are of the Author Alone)

(Spoilers Ahead)

(Review is of the Spanish language version)

Al Otro Lado del Espejo (The Other Side of the Mirror) (1973) R ****1/2

Emma Cohen: Ana Oliveira

Howard Vernon: Senor Oliveira, Ana’s Father

Robert Woods: Bill, the Jazz Trumpeter (as Robert Wood)

Ramiro Oliveros: Miguel Ferrera, Theater Director

Alice Arno, Carla, Ana’s Friend

Philippe Lemaire: Pipo

Francoise Brion: Tina

Wal Davis: Arturo Braun

Written & Directed by: Jess Franco (as Jesus Franco)

 Synopsis: Ana, sheltered all her life by her strict but loving father, hopes to marry a budding archeologist documenting the original peoples of the island of Madeira. This hope is shattered when, believing seeing her in her bridal dress will soften his feelings, Ana sees through a large mirror that her father has hung himself. Painful memories force Ana to break her engagement
and leave her family’s home to recover, only to be haunted by vivid visions of her father’s suicide through mirrors, and bizarre compulsions to kill all men falling in love with her. Is her father still dominating her life from beyond the grave, or is there something forbidden looming in the air?

At the Mansion of Madness: The Other Side of the Mirror / Al otro lado del  espejo (1973)

Jess Franco, cinema’s erotic and exploitation auteur, gives viewers the closest thing he would ever get to arthouse style filmmaking with a unique blend of Erotic Drama and Psychological Horror. A young woman suffers a terrible tragedy when her loving but overprotective father kills himself days before she is set to get married. Deciding she needs a fresh start and a new perspective on her relationships with men, she breaks up with her fiancé, leaves the family’s Madeira Island estate in the care of her aunt, and heads off to Lisbon where she puts her piano training to use as a jazz club’s band singer and pianist. When visions of her dead father being appearing in mirrors, the young woman begins to wonder if the man is still dominating her life from the beyond, or if what she viewed as his secret tenderness toward her was really something far darker, something which could destroy her. Franco doesn’t push his normal boundaries with this brief plot excerpt, but he makes up for that in giving his audiences snippets of subtext and ambiguity that makes viewers decipher what he’s trying to tell them. The main question he puts to fans is whether the lead character Ana is suffering from a mental breakdown after seeing her father had killed himself, or is something sinisterly supernatural going on that no one has the power to put a stop to.

Madeira, an island off the coast of Portugal, and one of Jess Franco’s favorite locations, gets shown off in great detail in this film. The island’s architecture, greenery, lakes, etc., are all on display in all their beauty. What makes Franco’s Erotic Horrors different is that he doesn’t make his landscapes foreboding places where bad things can happen, but lush exotic environments that otherworldly forces invade to suit their own needs.


Emma Cohen, a sort of forgotten Spanish actress in spite of a fairly prolific career, gives a once in a lifetime performance as the central character Ana. Cohen plays Ana as a woman torn between the complex but loving relationship she enjoyed with her father and the desire to freely see the world her father protected her from. Her attempts at going about finding true love in a way that won’t entirely hurt her father seem to work, only for Ana to receive a devastating blow when she finds the man has hung himself in his study. Cohen takes Ana into a brooding place, unsure if she feels guilty for not giving her father enough time to adjust to her getting married, or if something else is in the air. A move to the capital of Lisbon seems to lift Ana’s spirits as she finds success as the lead singer and pianist of a Jazz Club band, and also finds an easygoing flirtatious fling with the band’s unhappily married trumpet player. Cohen then begins taking Ana down the rabbit hole of the blurring of nightmare and reality when she sees a vision of her hanging father in a mirror and then sees herself murdering the trumpet player with an ancient dagger. At first thinking she’s still feeling some effects of trauma, Ana shrugs it off, only to become more disturbed when she learns the trumpet player was found stabbed to death in the park they rendezvoused at the night before. While she recovers thinking the incident a mere coincidence, Ana soon worries her father might still have a hold of her when she has another vision of him and then sees herself killing her theater director friend after he asked her to play Medea in his revolutionary new staging of the Euripides play.

Upon finding out her director friend was indeed stabbed to death on the theater stage, Ana attempts suicide, but is saved by a friend. Relocating back to the island of Madeira, but not her childhood home, Ana seems finally on the mend. When the male end of a partying swinger couple genuinely falls for her is when she realizes the moment of truth: her father had incestuous desires toward her, and he’s been possessing her body, forcing her to kill the men who would take her away from him, and finally beckons her to join him in the afterlife. Cohen gives the closest thing to a Method Acting performance that would be seen in a Jess Franco flick, giving her all in the part of Ana, and bringing a nice amount of depth and personality to the character. This normally isn’t seen much in Franco’s films though the actors could give signals in the simplicity of their performances, but Cohen adds a nice bit of spice that gives a special feel to the film.

Howard Vernon, Jess Franco’s favorite actor, gives a short but memorable and important performance as Ana’s father Oliveira. Little is known of the gentleman, other than that he’s an expert on the history and people of the island of Madeira. On the surface he comes off as merely a very overprotective widowed father trying to keep his daughter safe, and thinks no man is good enough for his little girl. Unfortunately, the man’s love seems to be nearing obsessiveness as he is against a fairly good young man who can make his daughter happy, and eventually hangs himself in his study, seemingly unable to handle his daughter growing up. Vernon shows his underrated talent at full force here, mimicking to near disturbing perfection the face of a suicide by hanging, bulging eyes and tongue included. Credit has to be given to Vernon for maintaining that look for long enough to use as still footage later. Days after his death, Oliveira begins haunting his daughter through visions of his hanging corpse through mirrors and his disembodied voice calling to her from beyond. What is initially thought of as him continuing to assert his parental nature from beyond the grave is really much more devious and perverse, as one of the visions reveals that Oliveira had secret incestuous desires for his daughter where he’s shown holding her in a not so fatherly embrace.

Al otro lado del espejo (1973)

Robert Woods, another of the many American actors who went to Europe and became stars, has a brief but necessary role in his debut Franco film as Bill, Ana’s Jazz Band Trumpet Player. While a married man, Bill is unhappy because of his wife’s substance issues and longs to begin a fresh new romance. Initially happy to have the occasional fling with Ana, Bill realizes he’s genuinely falling in love with her, though tries not to push things as Ana has told him what brought her to the city. When Bill becomes the first victim of Ana’s depraved father’s beyond the grave machinations is when the ball begins to roll and tragedy looms over anyone who falls in love with Ana. 

DeVilDead : Critique du film MIROIR OBSCENE, LE (AL OTRO LADO DEL ESPEJO)  (1973) et du DVD Zone 2

DeVilDead : Critique du film MIROIR OBSCENE, LE (AL OTRO LADO DEL ESPEJO)  (1973) et du DVD Zone 2

Like with much of Jess Franco’s 1970’s work, multiple edits and cuts of his films were made, one of the international market, and one to appease the censors of General Franco run Spain. Usually the international edited version, whether German or French language, was Franco’s preferred cut of the film as it allowed him to do more he wouldn’t have been able to do in his native Spain, but surprisingly Otro Lado del Espejo was Franco’s favored cut of this particular film. The 2nd most popular edit is the French language version titled  Le Miroir Obscène, and features new scenes with Franco’s 2nd Muse Lina Romay. Romay plays Ana’s sister in the French cut, and it is her character, not Howard Vernon’s father character, that secretly desires a sexual relationship with Ana. As with the father character in the Spanish cut, Lina Romay’s sister character kills herself when Ana decides to get married, her method being to stab herself in the stomach and pelvis with a long poker. The French cut pretty much follows the pattern of Franco’s preferred Spanish cut, the only difference being it’s the sister, not the father, who calls Ana from beyond the grave to give in to their incestuous desires and possesses her to kill all the men who would try to steal her from her. :: Voir le sujet - [M] [Critique] Le Miroir obscène

Surreal, Artful, Hypnotic, Erotic, and everything in between, Franco’s Al Otro Lado del Espejo is the director at his most personal and artistic, successfully blending the materials that would make him famous/infamous world over and the visions he secretly wished to present onscreen. 

(As bizarre as this will sound, I actually recommend people check this Franco flick out. He doesn’t go over the top in terms of nudity and sex scenes, and is more interested in the interactions of the characters and the surreal visions of his leading lady Ana. The core of the subject matter is pretty adult for sure, but he plays with it ambiguously throughout the film, only getting explicit briefly in one of the very last scenes of the film. Emma Cohen’s performance is really worthwhile in the film and shows how underrated and underappreciated she is as an actress. I’ve seen the whole of the Spanish cut and some of the French cut, and while I understand why Franco preferred the Spanish version of the film as it kept more to the films he really wished he could’ve done more of, the French cut is still interesting in that it presents a sister/sister forbidden romance that was rarely touched in films dealing with Oedipal type subject matter. The French version I can’t recommend as it contains quite a few scenes of Lina Romay having sex with various partners to lure Emma Cohen’s character to the dark side, and of course such scenes are not for everyone’s taste, but is worth seeking out if you’re interested. Mondo Macabro did an excellent job with the restoration of the Spanish cut in visuals and audio, and is totally worth checking out.)

All images courtesy of Images and their respective owners

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For the French language cut



Filed under: Film: Analysis/Overview, Film: Special Topics


To All My Followers, Those I’m Following, and All Curious Visitors,


Tony Nash, Movie Fan Man

Filed under: Uncategorized

Bitter Jealousy, an Ancestor’s Revenge, Ghosts of the Past, and an Amoral Statue

by Tony Nash

(Foreign Language Horror 2 Part 1)

(All Opinions are of the Author Alone)

(Possible Spoilers Ahead)

(Review is of the original Italian language version)

Italian Poster (from IMDb)

Un Angelo per Satana (An Angel for Satan) (1966) **** PG-13

Barbara Steele: Harriet Montebruno / Maddelena Montebruno / Belinda

Anthony Steffen: Roberto Merigi / The Sculptor

Claudio Gora: Count Montebruno

Mario Brega: Carlo Lionese

Marina Berti: Ilda, the Housekeeper (as Maureen Melrose)

Ursula Davis: Rita, the Maid

Vassili Karis: Dario Morelli, the Teacher (as Vassili Karamesinis)

Aldo Berti: Vittorio, the Gardener

Betty Delon: Barbara Lionese

Halina Zalewska: Luisa

Written by: Giuseppe Mangione & Camillo Mastrocinque, from a story by Luigi Emmanuele, adapted from the novel by Antonio Fogazzaro

Directed by Camillo Mastrocinque

Synopsis: Roberto Merigi, an aspiring artist who also restores damaged and aged art pieces, is hired by Count Montebruno to repair a once thought lost statue of an ancestor. He finds out quickly that the locals aren’t happy with his assignment, believing the statue to be cursed by a jealous ancestor of the Montebruno’s. Merigi soon finds himself smitten with the Count’s niece Harriet who’s just returned from her studies in England, who bears a striking resemblance to her great aunt Maddelena who modeled for the statue. Not long after, a series of tragedies befall the community, and the locals believe the curse is at work while Merigi is certain something very human is at work.

A Recollection of the Past (from Genre Grinder)

1966 closed one chapter of Italian cinema and opened the door of another. Gothic Horror had been very popular from the late 50’s, but the genre would soon fade away to more modern set Horror, and the quickly rising favorite new Western genre. The Gothic style Horror thankfully went out with a bang with two solid films: Mario Bava’s Operazione Paura (Kill Baby Kill) and Camillo Mastrocinque’s Un Angelo per Santana (An Angel for Satan). The latter made film history thrice for not only being one of last Gothic Horror films in Italy, but also one of the last Black & White genre films in Italy and lead actress Barbara Steele’s farewell to her tenure in Italy. The film is a solid mixture of the popular tropes of the supernatural, local legends slowly becoming to be believed as fact, and certain parties using the fear of the locals as cover for their nefarious deeds.

The Possessed Heiress Surveying the Locals (from The Bloody Pit of Horror Blog)

Director Camillo Mastrocinque’s decision to shoot the film in Black & White is a mix of aesthetic choice and necessity. With playing up the ghost story and possession story, Mastrocinque wanted to focus on mood and atmosphere, and Black & White evokes that perfectly. Most Italian Horror films of the time were shot in Black & White anyway, so Mastrocinque going back to what made the genre popular to start with is very fitting.

Harriet Being Possessed (from Twitter)

Barbara Steele, in her swansong to the Italian Horror films that made her famous, gives one of her finest performances as the innocent and pure Harriet Montebruno, and an evil ancestor named Belinda looking to destroy her. Steele slyly goes from persona to persona, being the rationale and unaware of the harm being done to her Harriet one minute to the sadistic and hate filled Belinda another. As Belinda, Steele plays the part up as a woman who, because no one ever loved her, would use the hate that brewed within her to kill all the love she saw around her. Steele even adds an interesting and nice little bisexual lesbianism to the character, suggesting the possibility that Belinda secretly desired the cousin Harriet bears a strong resemblance to, but at the same time hated the woman for having what she couldn’t. The part harkens back to Steele’s debut in Italian Horror with Mario Bava’s La Maschera del Demonio (Mask of the Demon/Black Sunday), in which she played another innocent woman made the pawn in a wicked ancestor’s scheme for revenge, though the former was most certainly supernatural while the latter could be either, nicely bringing Steele’s career in Italy full circle.

The Sculptor Merigi (from The Bloody Pit of Horror Blog)

Anthony Steffen, as he was rising to stardom via the Italian Westerns, took a little side trip to appear in his one and only Horror film as Barbara Steele’s romantic interest Roberto Merigi. Merigi is an artist hoping to make a living as sculptor, but is content at the moment to bring pieces that have been damaged in one form or another back to life. When he meets Harriet, Merigi’s otherwise mundane life quickly gets more to offer for him, and he made a few attempts to woo her. One night n a fevered frenzy, Merigi learns the of the curse brought about the wickedly jealous Belinda, and soon finds the curse coming to life all around him as Harriet goes through bizarre personality changes, and the otherwise peaceful locals become more and more unhinged. Steffen, infamous for being something of a wooden actor, uses this to his advantage as Merigi is an outsider who is looking in at the events around him, and his outsider status allows him to see the happenings more objectively, which will prove useful in clearing Harriet of wrongdoing.

The Brute Carlo (from Cineraglio)
Harriet’s Uncle the Count (from KinoLexx)
The Doomed Couple (from The Bloody Pit of Horror Blog)
The Creepy Vittorio (from IMDb)

A slew of Italian character performers including Claudio Gora and Italian Western regulars Mario Brega, Aldo Berti, and Greek-Italian Vassili Karis help make up the remaining characters in the little hamlet. Gora’s character holds quite a bit of importance in that he may know more than he’s telling in regards to the curse and what credence it truly holds to the community. Brega and Berti are two of the brutish members of the community who are generally only tough looking but are normally harmless and kind, but when the Count orders the restoration of the statue, things begin to downward spiral, and the once kind denizens begin to lose their minds.

The Statue That Started Everything (from The Bloody Pit of Horror Blog)

Craftsman filmmaker Mastrocinque creates one of the grand finales of Italian Gothic Horror with a piece that ties the supernatural, the moody atmosphere, the tension, and multi other tropes all together in a homogenous mixture that both pays tribute and acts as a grand opus to everything that made the genre what is was and kept it popular for the period it thrived in. The Queen of Italian Horror Barbara Steele may have been saying goodbye to the country that made her popular, but she would continue to act for another 20 to 30 years, her time in Italy prepping her for other types of roles she would receive later. US Blu Ray Distributor Severin Films did a magnificent job in restoring this rarely seen piece of Italian Horror, offering up a clear crisp image that highlights the black & white contrasts, and offers the option of the original Italian audio (which is the better track IMO) with translated English subtitles and the rarely heard English dub track.

( I highly recommend giving this film a look along with Mario Bava’s Kill Baby Kill as they are the best examples of how to finish out a genre film run properly, as when those kinds of films are done, they keep the possibility of a comeback in interest alive. As said above, star Barbara Steele gives a career defining performance in the film that sums up all the work she’d done in Italy at the time. The atmosphere, score, story, and the cast all make the film worth checking out.)

All images courtesy of Images and their respective owners

for more information

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Filed under: Film & TV: Potpourri, Film: Analysis/Overview, Film: Special Topics


by Tony Nash

(All Opinions are of the Author Alone)

Actor Profile (from IMDb)

By 1956-57, The Three Stooges were nearing the end of their 20 year short film career. In 1955 Shemp Howard, the older brother of Boss Stooge Moe and the first Columbia era Third Stooge Curly (who tragically passed away 4 years earlier after suffering a series of strokes), suddenly and tragically passed away of a heart attack while in the passenger seat of car driving home from seeing a boxing match (in spit of all his phobias, Shemp was an avid lover of the sport), leaving the trio without a third. Columbia pictures had some shorts in the can with Shemp still to be released, which gave everyone the time to find the new third Stooge.

The Popular Buddy Hackett (from TCM)
The Last Third Stooge Joe De Rita (from Stooges Wiki)

Initially Moe and Larry wanted rising comedian Buddy Hackett to join up with them, and Columbia boss Harry Cohen was alright with the idea, but Hackett would politely turn the offer down, wanting to focus on perfecting his stand-up act and was getting steady guest star work on TV. Before he was a regular, comic relief player Joe De Rita was asked by Larry (they were both from South Philadelphia PA) to consider joining them, but he was under contract to Darryl Zanuck and 20th Century Fox, and while Fox execs were willing to loan De Rita out, Harry Cohen was at the height of his cheapness and wouldn’t pay Fox their asking fee. Cohen and his partners, in their frugalness, finally foisted upon Moe and Larry Columbia contract player Joe Besser.

The Final Stooges Opening (from A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE)
Besser with Abbott & Costello (from Issuewire)

Joe Besser actually got his rise to fame from working as the comic foil for comedy team legends Abbott & Costello in both their films and their short lived TV series, usually as an irritating neighbor or a gofer for the villains. In spite of his rising popularity, Besser couldn’t have been more different than what Moe and Larry would want from a partner. Besser’s stick was often as an easily startled whiner prone to childlike tantrums and fits, and would often engage either the bad guys or comics he would act as the foil of in arguements that would go nowhere and end up in endless repetition. During the first filming with Besser, he openly refused to allow Moe to slap him or have pies thrown in his face, Larry having to play mediator and tell Joe he would take the hits (this explained Larry’s calloused cheeks in the last years of his life).

Besser With Moe and Larry (from Pinterest)

Stooge fans of the period, and the fans that would come to love them from the 1970’s onward, were shocked and baffled by Besser, a Stooge not wanting to get hit or have pies thrown at him was unheard of. What made the Stooges work so well was the physical comedy the engaged in, and for a comedian who engaged primarily in verbal banter and spats, this was completely alien to Besser. Besser did win some points with fans for being the first Stooge to defend himself and try to (with minor success) hit Moe back and being something of beautiful chick magnet, but this would really be the only things fans found endearing to him. In an interesting bit of irony, Besser would actually work alongside Shemp Howard in the Abbott & Costello film Africa Screams before Shemp would take over for Curly.

One of the Many Strange Besser Era Plots (from Dailymotion)

Poor decisions by Columbia, as well as Besser’s out of place comic style, proved to be what would permanently cast Joe was the Black Sheep Stooge. Cohen, the writers, and Producer-Director Jules White began putting The Boys in very stupid, ridiculous, and plain god-awful stories that would even make filmmakers like Ed Wood look like geniuses. From the sister reincarnated as a horse to them heading into space encountering man eating Amazons from Venus and Martians looking to take over the Earth, the Stooges had sadly and unfairly hit rock bottom. Also not helping cases was a few storylines where Moe and Larry were made into heavies picking on Besser ( I found those to be the most disgraceful shorts), Besser convincing Moe and Larry to slick back their hair to appear more like gentlemen, and some really awful attempted remakes of both Curly and Shemp era shorts. The only good Besser shorts were A Merry Mix-Up and Fifi Blows Her Top both of which were well written and performed.

One of Besser’s Better Moments (from YouTube)

Now before anyone starts to wonder if all Stooges fans think Joe Besser is a terrible comedian/actor in general, you’re in for a nice surprise. Besser was a fine comic and actor in many other shows and films, particularly his work with Abbott & Costello, and a plethora of voice work for 70’s era Saturday morning cartoons. Stooges fans are only critical of his time in the trio because he entered into it when Columbia was unashamedly cutting corners and being ridiculously cheap with the material, secretly getting ready to pull the rug out from Moe and can the act, and poor Besser right in the middle of it. Besser’s reluctance to be a bit more open to the physical comedy of the group only added to fan frustration, although Besser would take some physical stuff towards the end of his tenure with Moe and Larry. Today’s fans of The Stooges hold no ill will towards Joe, but are of agreement his era of the group has the poorest material, the majority of his shorts not watchable.

Joe in His Later Years (from WorthPoint)

I hope everyone enjoyed reading this little piece. I was stuck on what to write on this blog for a long time. Like many Stooge fans I have nothing against Besser and his comic style, but do believe he was not the right choice to be part of the act. Stan Laurel believed fully no comic should ever get embarrassed by what they do on camera, and Besser unfortunately was very self conscious of the kind of comedy The Stooges did, not heeding Stan’s comment. Definitely give any non Stooge Besser material a chance, he’s not that bad, he’s really good with Abbott & Costello.

All images courtesy of Images and their respective owners.

Filed under: Film & TV: Potpourri, Film: Actor/Actress Spotlight


by Tony Nash

(All Opinions are of the Author Alone)

One of Spain’s Western Villages (from Pinterest)

Hello to My Followers, those I’m Following, and All Curious Visitors,

As an aspiring filmmaker and writer, I’m always thinking about who’d be great in a film I really wanna make. During the Golden Age of Hollywood and Golden Years of Italian and Spanish Genre Cinema, it was common to have a repertoire of players, in major, supporting, and minor roles. This is another dream of mine, to have a company of players to do my Italian Western ideas, and here’s a few I hope you’ll agree with being in the genre


from Allure

You need at least one huge name in your repertoire, and for me that would be Kristen Stewart. The West had it share of strong women, and Stewart would fit into that role like a glove.


from BZFilm

Famous for, and proud of, being Charles Bronson’s Doppelganger, Robert Bronzi has the right face and vibe for being in a Western, and not just because he looks like Bronson. ‘Nuff said. He’d work as both the Anti-Hero and the Main Villain.


from Showbiz Cheat Sheet

The Aussie Androgynous Beauty is perfect for the underused Strong Female Lead in the Italian Western. Again, she’d fit everything for the Heroine, Standard and Anti, Villainess, and Redemption Seeking characters. I’d especially love to have her play a character who’s gender is a mystery to both the audience and other characters, never knowing whether the individual is man or woman. Granted we’d have to use CGI and Digital Wizardry to remove all of her tattoos as no one had them back in those days, unless they were in Traveling Circuses, but she definitely fits the Western mold.


(He’s on the right) from the IMDb

This Indie Actor is a a fellow Philadelphian and a friend of mine who I met through a friend of my Mom’s. He’s been on some of the top shows like the Law & Order franchise and was one of the Antagonists to Matthew McConoughey’s hero in Free State of Georgia. Another Anti Hero and Villain perfect type. He’d also be good as the hero’s buddy. He’s raising a family at the moment, but I hope he makes a return to the screen soon.


from Blitz Qoutidano

This up in coming Italian actor has already had his share of big and supporting roles on Italian TV and recently played the lead in the remake of the Italian Crime classic Milano Calibro 9. I envision him playing either American or Mexican characters (Anti-Hero, Villain) thanks to his Southern Italian looks.


from Quien

A popular Spanish heartthrob and star, co-star of some solid films and TV, I feel this guy would mold right into the Old West Atmosphere, as either the well dressed villain or a friend of hero. He officially goes by Miguel Angel Munoz, but I feel Miguel Munoz Blanco is a solid Western name.


from IMDb

There’s always a need for good villains, and Joaquim de Almeida would do any bad guy role justice. I would also cast him as the good guy mayor or the noble older citizen.


from Life & Style

I first saw Mexican actor Eduardo Yanez in the HBO film Knockout, playing the love interest and trainer to the lead actress. He became memorable to US audiences for his role as the hold-up man scrambling for a plan in the Jamie Foxx comedy Held Up. He would be good as either the Mexican bandit main villain or co-villain, the friend of the hero, or the love interest of the damsel in distress


from Variety

Another Spanish heartthrob who would do well as either the lead or the villain.


from Survived the Shows

An Italian character actor who has done both leads and supporting roles will be good at any role you give him.


from Opentapes

Another stellar Italian actor who is skilled at both good guy and bad guy roles.

Honorable Mentions

James Blackburn, Sergio Friscia, Fausto Maria Sciarappa, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Lorenzo Crespi, Jose Manuel Poga, Francesco Siciliano

Let me know what you think of these choices, and who you think would be god in an Italian style Western.

All images courtesy of Images and their respective owners.

Filed under: Film & TV: Potpourri

Cool News I Forgot to Mention: I’m in Print!!!!

by Tony Nash

To all my Followers, those I’m Following, and all Curious Visitors,

As many of you know, I’m a big fan of the Italian Western genre, and I used to have a series on here called Western Wednesdays which many of you have noticed hasn’t been done in a long, long, time. That is because thanks to a very nice man named Mike Hauss, all my Italian Western write-ups are done for his fantastic self published Digest, called the Spaghetti Western Digest.

Cover Sample with Mike’s Logo (from Rubber Axe webzine)

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to participate in issue #1 as I didn’t get to speak with Mike until the issue was published, but I have been a proud collaborator on Mike’s work since issue #2. It’s a nice varied mix of film reviews, spotlights on specific actors, actresses, writers, directors, composters, etc, special topics, Issue 3’s one article on unmade films is very fascinating. Usually I’m not a self-promotor, but I really enjoy the efforts Mike puts in to make the Digest what it is and all the fabulous writers who contact Mike to make contributions. So many fans of the genre, including me, want to keep this going, so any help we can give Mike to keep the books selling is all worth it to bring the genre to new audiences. While its a book by fans for fans of the Italian Westerns, I believe non-aficionados will find something to enjoy with the Digests as well, so I hope any of the fine people who follow my blog will give them a read at some point. Mike is currently working on getting Issue #5 prepped for release.

Filed under: Annoucements

The Undercover Sheriff

by Tony Nash


(All Opinions are of the Author Alone)

(Spoilers Ahead)

(Write Up is of the Original Italian Language Version)

Italian Poster (from lifeatfarm)

Una Bara per lo Sceriffo (A Coffin for the Sheriff/Lone and Angry Man) (1965) **** PG-13

Anthony Steffen: Sheriff ‘Texas’ Joe Logan

Eduardo Fajardo: Russell Murdock

Armando Calvo: Lupe Rojo (Red Wolf)

Arturo Dominici: Jerry Krueger (as Arthur Kent)

Fulvia Franco: Lulu Belle

Luciana Gilli: Miss Jane Wilson

George Rigauld: Mr. Wilson (as George Rigault)

Maria Vico: Elsie, Rojo’s Woman

Lucio De Santis: Mulligan, Rojo Henchman (as Bob Johnson)

Frank Brana: David, Rojo Henchman (as Francisco Bragna)

Miguel del Castillo: Sheriff Gallagher (as Migule del Castillo)

Jesus Tordesillas: Old Man Sven

Written by: David Moreno & Guido Malatesta (as James Reed)

Directed by: Mario Caiano (as Mario Cajano)

Synopsis: ‘Texas’ Joe Logan comes to town to join up with the ruthless Mexican bandit Lupe Rojo (Red Wolf). After successfully completing an initiation that involved hunting down and killing a failing gang member, Logan slowly works his way through the ranks. Unbeknownst to his friends who think he’s gone bad, Logan is really a Sheriff working undercover to not only break-up Rojo’s ruthless band of cutthroats, but to take out a particular member who murdered Logan’s wife sometime earlier.

A Figure Stares at Lupe Rojo’s Wanted Poster (from Wikipedia)

The popular Western motif of a Lawman going undercover or seemingly gone rouge to either: bring down a dangerous and ruthless outlaw and his gang, get some personal revenge on one or many of the gang, or even a combination of all of the above gets a very interesting and entertaining spin by the Italians. The Spaghetti Western genre was in the early stages of its giant boom thanks to Sergio Leone’s Per un Pugno di Dollari (A Fistful of Dollars) in 1964 and by 1965 at least half of all genre films made and released in Italy were Westerns. Una Bara per lo Sceriffo is one of the bridges in mixing taking cues from the American Westerns and the hard hitting gritty style the Italian Western would come to specialize in. It’s not too gritty, but at the same time doesn’t feel like that much of an imitation of an American Western, giving it a unique voice all its own.

Logan Getting Grilled by Rojo and Kreuger (from AvaxHome)

Sheriff ‘Texas’ Joe Logan is quite different from the usual lawman going incognito to track down ruthless outlaws in that he’s not above or afraid of breaking a few rules to get the job done. Given that the quarry are the kind of bad guys who would kill someone at the first hint they were double-crossers or traitors, having to go outside the normal methods isn’t too out of the ordinary. This is the first of the differences as American audiences of the time would’ve been quite shocked to see a Sheriff using the tactics Logan does. The two other noticeable motifs fans will see is the big businessman or politician who uses his position to double-cross the town, revealing he’s in fact working with the bandits and of course an ex flame of the hero who’s shockingly found to be in a relationship with one of the gang members. How the screenwriters spice up these motifs is that the high-up man isn’t one of those types who came upon a get rich quick scheme that he couldn’t pass up, but was a trickster from the start, looking to fleece the town the moment he got there, a so well hidden two-faced agenda, even the head bandit is fooled. Not too much is different with the ex flame story arc, save that the woman knows the bad guy is a bad guy and seems to have lost her morality in telling what is dangerous from what is skittish and is honest, but somehow is still a good woman for the most part.

Logan Faces Off Against the Odds (from Wikipedia)
Murdock Realizes the Jig is Up (from IMDb)

The film marks the first pairing of Italian Western regulars Anthony Steffen and Eduardo Fajardo, which led to four more films together. While the Italian-Brazilian Steffen has often been criticized as a ‘Wooden Poor Man’s Clint Eastwood’, here, and in 4 films this reviewer can name straightaway, gives one of the better performances of his career. His emotions are few in the film, but there’s a stoic and hard edge about the character Joe Logan that makes him very interesting to follow him around on his quest for vengeance and justice. There’s also a solid loving and caring side to Logan as he does his best to protect his friend Wilson and the man’s daughter Jane and the concern he shows to old flame Lulu Belle when he realizes she’s gotten herself involved with a bad guy. Steffen’s screen presence is used to great effect in the film, and the lack of emotion makes him able to sneak into the gang with ease. Spanish acting legend Eduardo Fajardo, one of the top two villains of the SW genre, gives another of his solid performances here in his first time playing gunslinger Russell Murdock. Usually Fajardo was the fancy dressed aristocratic like villain or a corrupt military man, but here he’s the traditional black-clad gunman with a chip on his shoulder. The 2nd in command to Rojo, Murdock is a sadistic brute who has no problem getting his hands dirty when robbing or killing, even doing little side jobs on his own. It’s shown early on that its Murdock that Lulu Belle is courting, Logan only having a vague knowledge of it. Logan keeps a watchful eye on Murdock, more because Murdock was involved in Logan’s past, though only Logan remembers.

(Author’s Note: For some reason in the English dubbed version, the Steffen character is called Shenandoah, even though if you look clearly at the other characters’ mouths moving, they clearly refer to him as ‘Texas’ Joe Logan in one variant or another. I imagine this big change was due to the success of the James Stewart Frontier Drama Shenandoah that came out the same year.

Lupe Rojo Shows He Doesn’t Play Around (from Trailers From Hell)

Puerto Rican actor Armando Calvo, an often overlooked figure in the Italian Western genre, is as excellent a villain as Eduardo Fajardo in the role of bandit leader Lupe Rojo. Although Fajardo gets 2nd billing after Steffen, it’s really Calvo’s Rojo who ‘s in charge of the gang. Rojo is quite a bit like the traditional Mexican Bandido in that he’s ruthless and has no pity for his victims. He also has a high amount of machismo as he treats his girlfriend more like something he owns rather than a romantic partner. Calvo plays Rojo with a devious intelligence, making him a really dangerous individual to tangle with, whether he’s the intended quarry or a bonus if the intended target is riding with him. While he has a partnership with the big shot Krueger, Rojo keeps just as close an eye on him as the rest of his gang, ending petty squabbles by threatening to kill anyone who disrupts the gang’s infrastructure. Rojo’s smarts are put to the test when Joe Logan looks to get payback on one of his goons for the death of Logan’s wife, while also putting an end to Rojo’s reign of terror.

Logan Joins in on a Rojo Bunch Card Game (from Wikipedia)

While the film deals in a fairly simple plotline with no twists or surprises, it’s executed in a very well done fashion. The suspense in wondering who Logan is after and how he’ll get out of a situation when his ruse is discovered by the gang is plenty to keep audiences intrigued and entertained. The shootouts aren’t at the standard the SW genre is known for, but the few that are are choreographed well. One dimensional characters are non existent in the film, each performer bringing in a nice amount of depth and complexity to his and her role, giving audiences enough reason to cheer and root for, boo at, and feel sympathy for. Some may rightly say it’s generic, but the director, screenwriters, and cast really make the simplicity shine bright.

Original Italian Opening (from SPACETREK66)

First off, I’d like to give a special shout out and thanks to Miss MOON GEMINI herself Debbi for starting up this interesting Blogathon and for letting me be a part of it and to share some of my love of the Italian Western. I highly recommend this one as a good starting point if any fans are looking for something a little different to fair by Sergio Leone and Sergio Corbucci as it offers up a classic storyline a lot of people know and is told in a different and exciting way. There used to be a US DVD release of the film from the company Wild East, but they sadly closed up shop at the start of this year, and the DVD has since gone out of print. There is a German DVD that has both the English dub and the original Italian audio track, but unfortunately only has German subtitles.

From My Personal Collection

The Italian version offers up the better narrative in my opinion, but fans can watch whichever version best suits them. If anyone is interested in the German disc, it is Region 2, so you’ll either need to get an All Region Blu Ray or DVD player, or you can play it on your laptop as they aren’t region locked. I highly recommend the German disc as it has a nice and crisp transfer with solid video and audio. Or you can check out the film here

All images courtesy of Images and their respective owners

for more info,_Una

For those interested in the German DVD

Filed under: Film & TV: Potpourri, Film: Analysis/Overview, Film: Special Topics

Red Dead Redemption 2: The Missing Clue to Micah Being a Rat from the Start

by Tony Nash

(Spoilers Ahead)

(All Opinions are of the Author Alone)

RDR2 Fan Art (from Polygon)

Author’s Note: I knew of the RDR2 Story long before ever having actually played the game, so there will be some spoilers here. So for anyone who might be interested in playing the game, please don’t read this until you play through the game. For anyone who likes reading my thoughts on the many things I write about and not minding hearing spoilers, please continue on and enjoy.

RDR2 Promotion Art (from Fanatical)

For anyone who’s familiar with the Old West game Red Dead Redemption, it’s learned the dubious Micah Bell had betrayed the gang headed by Dutch van der Linde and Arthur Morgan. Arthur and much of the other gang, especially Sadie Adler and John Marston had their suspicions about Micah for a long while, but never had proof to prove their doubts true.

A popular theory among fans of the game is that Micah had intentions to implode the gang from the inside long before being caught by the Pinkertons after the gang escaped the Plantation Revolution in Guarma. Most of these theories are mainly guesses, going by Micah’s personality and background, how he would contradict himself in his recollections of past criminal actions, behaving totally different when with the gang, and of course his self distance from everyone and remaining a loner. How I came to my realization that Micah was plotting the gang’s demise long before being pressured by the Pinkertons is a key piece of dialogue in the game’s opening chapter that most players and theorists have seemed to overlook.

Dutch [on his rivalry with Colm O’Driscoll]: Some things I can forgive, others I can forget. What he did to Annabelle, I can’t do neither.

Arthur: You killed his brother, Dutch.

Dutch: Yes, I did.

(From Red Dead Redemption II – Chapter 1: Colter , part 3 Outlaws from the West)

Now taking into account his unusual romance with Irish spitfire Molly O’Shea, Dutch seems to have a thing for women of the upper echelons of society with a love of adventure, danger, and excitement. I believe this woman Annabelle was of a similar background to Molly, but unlike his relationship with Molly, Dutch seemed to have really loved Annabelle, and possibly even thought about asking her to be his wife.

Arthur & Micah Shooting it Out Against the Enemy (from Forbes)

My belief, and will even call it a theory to be fair as I’m basing it on what I know from the game, is that Annabelle’s friends and family from her life before Dutch got word of her murder at the hands of Colm O’Driscoll, but instead of going after O’Driscoll, someone in the brood decided Dutch was the one who got Annabelle killed, and very likely swore to make Dutch pay. This individual or group finally found their key to Dutch’s demise in the form of outlaw Micah Bell. Bell was already known as a brutal and efficient thief and killer, so naturally he seemed the perfect person to take Dutch down.

Dutch, Arthur, John, Micah, and the Gang (from Variety)

I believe this person or group offered Micah quite a hefty sum of money to tear down Dutch’s gang from the inside because Micah had always described himself in what little dialogue he engaged in with other gang members of his preference for being quick, quiet and efficient in a job with no loose ends to worry about. Micah’s shooting up of the town of Strawberry, the Blackwater Ferry Massacre and much of the other schemes he suggests to Dutch are clearly not his usual M.O., particularly in that Micah always professed an efficient outlaw tries to bring as little attention to himself as possible, all pointing to the idea part of his job for this unnamed individual or group close to the late Annabelle is to make as much noise as possible by whatever means he can at whatever cost.

Still of the Town of Valentine (from PCGamean)

Now of course Dutch’s out of control thought process thanks to the Blackwater Massacre makes Micah’s mission a little easier, but the question still is what exactly happened to seal everyone’s fate towards the end of the main story. Micah clearly at some point decided he was gonna double-cross whoever was paying him, though those reasons remain unclear and many, ranging from Micah starting to naturally like Dutch and wanting to make him see his true potential as a criminal to Micah seeing potential in members like Arthur Morgan, John Marston, and even Sadie Adler as effective and prosperous criminals themselves and to join Micah in a new gang, or Micah simply wanting to usurp a lead role from somebody in the gang for his own reasons. It’s most likely Micah’s having been nabbed by the Pinkertons began the decline of this original job. Micah may have had to tell the Pinkertons what he was doing to avoid going to jail, and possibly this caused a powerplay between Micah’s employer and the Pinkertons and their employer Leviticus Cornwall. Originally an uneasy alliance may have been made by all involved as Micah’s inside man status benefited his employer, the Pinkertons, and Cornwall, and something Micah said or did tipped off his boss of the planned double-cross Micah had in mind, and this party’s refusal to pay him a dime, and naturally Micah unintentionally screwing up whatever bargain he made with the Pinkertons and other law enforcement types, thus making him wanted everywhere by everybody, finally had Micah snap at having failed where he always succeeded, thus leading to what eventually unfolds.

Arthur Rides Toward the Setting Sun (from The Verge)

Now I’m claiming for a single instance that this is the definitive reason behind Micah’s actions in the story and game, but it is a reason I don’t think anyone else has touched upon, and there is some validity behind the reasons I gave. I didn’t want to go too in depth as I don’t want this to be super long, and there are plenty of game aficionados who’ve done far better analysis of this than myself, but I hope everyone who reads will find it entertaining, and maybe even check out the game cutscenes to see if my theory matches up a little.

All images courtesy of Images and their respective owners.

Quotes are from Red Dead Redemption II gameplay

Here’s some YouTube videos that’ll help in understanding some of my theory

Filed under: Film & TV: Potpourri, Film: Special Topics

The 5 Films On a Desert Island Tag

by Tony Nash

(all Opinions are of the Author Alone

The Classic Desert Isle (from iStock)
  • Nominate one or more people to review the film or films of your choice. Or you can request they review something from a certain year, genre, or star. Everyone can review the same thing, or you can request each person cover something different. As long as it’s something they haven’t written about yet, you’re good.
  • Nominees are allowed to request a different pick for whatever reason no more than five times. Stuff happens. We all know it.
  • Nominees must thank the person who nominated them and provide a link their blog.
  • Nominees may nominate others to keep the tag going. Picking the person who nominated them is allowed, or they can nominate someone else. Maybe both.
  • All participants need to include these rules in their post, whether they’re nominees or picking nominees.
  • All participants should use the “Pick My Movie” banner or something similar in their posts.
  • Have fun!

An ultra special and extra huge thanks to the Muse of for this nomination to such an interesting style post/challenge, and thanks also goes to for starting the ball rolling on the Tag.

I think all film fans have at one point or another have been asked the question of what would they like to watch if they were to be stuck on a deserted island for an extended period of time or for the rest of their lives. One variant of the question I definitely know I’ve heard is one film someone could take on a desert island, and this I feel for sure is impossible to answer even though there’s few really good films that someone could get sick of, having just one I think would cause some insanity as there needs to be some variety as films will for sure be said modern Robinson Crusoe’s only form of entertainment, and change isn’t necessarily a bad thing here, so five is a fair choice. I used to think I could never answer that question if someone asked it of me but the Muse has given me the unique opportunity to give it my best shot and I shan’t let her down.

#1. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981) – Steven Spielberg

Original Poster (from IMDb)

The film that started my love of the movies. Indiana Jones was my first childhood hero, and the adventures he had always thrilled my imagination. Spielberg and George Lucas’ recreation of the old 1930’s-1940’s serial adventure series hit all the bullseyes back when it came out in 1981 and even today it still thrills new and old audiences alike. It’s a simple story of man on a quest for the artifact of a lifetime told in a very thrilling and extraordinary way.

#2. Il Buono, il Brutto, il Cattivo (The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly) (1966) – Sergio Leone

Italian Poster (from Sotheby’s)

Steven Spielberg and the Indiana Jones films introduced me to my love of films, Sergio Leone and his Westerns solidified I was a film fan for life. Like with Raiders, GBU is a simple of story of two rogues and a villain looking for a fortune in stolen Confederate gold told in an extraordinary fashion. That the trio have to find this gold as The Civil War is waged all around them is very thrilling and leaves audiences wondering what’ll happen should it slip they’re looking for money meant for the Confederacy. Leone was nearing the peak of his prowess as a storyteller, mixing action and adventure with the occasional pathos of the futility that was “The War Between the States”. Leone had been advised by a few people, including Orson Welles, that Civil War pictures didn’t make loads of money, but thankfully Leone didn’t listen and ended up proving everybody wrong. In High School I had an obsession with this film, and while that obsession is practically gone, I still love the film and will remain my Western, Italian and American, of all time. I prefer the Italian language original of the film.

#3. 用心棒 (Yojinbo/Yojimbo/The Bodyguard) (1961) – Akira Kurosawa

Original Poster (from IMDb)

Kurosawa was my introduction to Foreign Language Cinema, and while 七人の侍 (Shichinin no Samurai/Seven Samurai) was the first Kurosawa film I ever saw, Yojimbo is my all time favorite of his work. Famously, or infamously depending on your viewpoint, remade scene for scene as Per un Pugno di Dollari (A Fistful of Dollars) by Sergio Leone, for which Kurosawa and Toho Studios rightfully sued and won – Leone’s film was still shown with Kurosawa and Toho receiving royalties, Kurosawa weaves the best version of a wandering rogue’s initial plan of playing two warring gangs against each other for his own profit taking a different turn when he decides to rescue and free the captive woman of one of the gangs. Toshiro Mifune’s performance as the world and battle weary Ronin (Samurai without a Lord) who has a heart is one of the best ever put to celluloid. This is Kurosawa at his most playful, but he still weaves in the dramatic moments that pull the viewers emotions from them to the surface (something I always admired in his work).

#4. The Wizard of Oz (1939) – Victor Fleming and King Vidor

Re-Release Poster (from Wikipedia)

A classic, and an important part of my childhood. Along with the Indiana Jones films, Oz is one I watched constantly growing up, always amazed by the sets, characters, and colors. Unlike most kids, I was never scared of Margaret Hamilton as The Wicked Witch of the West, I guess something in my juvenile mind told me that she would be getting her comeuppance and that I didn’t need to be afraid. The film became an important part of my life all over again when my god-daughter became old enough to watch it, and she too fell in love with it and the characters. I’m even sure she wasn’t scared of The Wicked Witch either.

#5. Clue (1985) – Jonathan Lynn

Poster (from Rotten Tomatoes)

I figured at least one Comedy needed to be in here and why not another from when I grew up. Clue ignited my love of Murder Mystery Who Dun-Its as well as being a fine Dark Humor Comedy and its setting primarily in the single location of the house gave it a uniqueness that has rightfully kept it a classic all these years later. The All Star Cast (well, All Star to many of us cause we saw it after many of them became stars) including many Comedy greats like Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, and Michael McKean is brilliant and effective. Tim Curry of course steals the show as the Butler who may or may not be who he says he is.


Monty Python’s Flying Circus Seasons 1 & 2 (1969-1970)

UK DVD (from Monty Python)
UK DVD (from Monty Python)

I don’t know if this is cheating, but I had to include at least one TV series on my Desert Island sojourn. I picked the British classic sketch show because I never tire of the humor of Chapman, Cleese, Jones, Idle, & Palin. The first 2 seasons are my absolute favorites as that was their best material in my humble opinion. I own those seasons on DVD from the UK (and I plan to upgrade to the UK Blu Rays), and as an owner of a Region Free/Multi-Region Blu Ray player, I needed to include at least one of the imports in my collection.

OK, now on to pick others to Tag with this interesting topic, and I know quite a few who’d be interested

Make Mine Criterion! – MMC!

Mike’s Take on the Movies

Debbi – I Found It at the Movies

Eric Binford – Diary of a Movie Maniac

Master Mix Movies

Paul. Writer and Filmmaker – The Cinema Fix Presents

Reely Bernie

Erica D. – Poppity Talks Classic Films


Silver Screenings

Jillian Atchley – The Classic Film Connection

This was really fun to do, and once again I thank the Muse for the nomination

All images courtesy of Images and their Respective Owners

Japanese writing courtesy of the IMDb

Filed under: Film & TV: Potpourri, Film: Special Topics