Movie Fan Man: Cinema Connoisseur

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

Addio George Hilton

by Tony Nash

(all opinions are of the author alone)

Hello to all my followers, those I’m following, and all curious visitors,

Nearly 48 hours ago it was announced that the Uruguayan-Italian actor George Hilton has passed away at age 85. The news was confirmed by his romantic partner Gabriela in a post on Facebook. The cause of death has not been revealed as of yet, but Gabriela has stated that Hilton had been unwell for some time and was battling something. Gabriela’s fond farewell to the man she loved is moving and poetic, something I think all people in love should receive.

I must admit my fascination and admiration of George Hilton has only been within the last couple of years. I recall in my early college years (man, to feel old at 32) having seen Los Desesperados (The Desperate Desperadoes/A Bullet for Sandoval) and not thinking much of it or Hilton. When I finally got a region free Blu Ray player, tired of being limited in what was available here in the States, one of my earliest purchases was the Hilton Western Il Tempo degli Avvoltio (The Time of Vultures/Last of the Badmen) on Blu Ray from Germany. Hilton was both perplexing and amazing for me in the film, and I found myself thinking Why haven’t I noticed him before? and realizing the talent he possessed. More films with him including Il Dolce Corpo di Deborah (The Sweet Body of Deborah), C’e Sartana…..Vendi la Pistola e Comprati la Bara (I Am Sartana, Trade Your Pistol for a Coffin), Lo Strano Vizio della Signora Wardh (The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh), and La Coda della Scorpione (The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail), all of which I enjoy very much.

As I had stated in my Actor/Actress Spotlight of him earlier in the year here, Hilton could overdo his performances at times, but after seeing him in so many films, I realized he never went to a level that could be deemed silly, and these performances often times worked in the film’s favor, showing Hilton’s dedication to his craft and wanting to do the best he could with the role given to him. Probably the most grossly underrated of these performances was that of Insp. Ugo Moretti in Torino Violenta (Violent Turin/Double Game) in 1979. Viewed as the worst Euro-Crime film ever made, Hilton actually gives a very fine performance as the good cop gone bad, finally snapping at the horrid rise of crime in his city, and looking to frame two rival gangs for his crimes. Hilton himself gave praise to the Turin film crew for their professionalism and would gladly work with them again.

I knew Hilton was having some heath issues, and became worried after seeing his Arrow interviews for Sartana and Scorpion’s Tail, something clearly affecting his speech and aging. He was still very much in control of his faculties and as coherent as ever, but it was clear an illness or stroke of some kind affected him profoundly, and not as full of life and vigor as before. A few weeks ago Daniel Carmego, who did the recent documentary on Hilton’s life and career, sent me a very nice comment on my About page, thanking me for the nice write ups I was doing on Hilton and his films. Here is what he wrote to me:

Hi Tony, nice to see your pieces about George Hilton and his films. He is an actor who deserves it – Daniel Carmego

Now I’m not normally one to associate anything to the supernatural and such, though I am more in touch with my sensitive side, but when I learned of Hilton’s passing I looked back on that comment and got a little misty-eyed, thinking maybe it was really Hilton himself asking Carmego to convey his thanks to me. Now I could be totally wrong with this, having felt a pang learning an actor I admire had passed away (I felt something similar when Tomas Milian passed away), but I’m content in thinking this little idea might be possible.

Andare con Dio George, you will be missed, but never forgotten.

Check under my Western and Euro-Crime pages for my writings on Mr. Hilton.

Here’s Gabriela’s tribute to the man she loved

(I hope she’s OK with people spreading the word)


Filed under: Film: Special Topics

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