Thursday, 25 August 2011

3 Bullets for Ringo (1966)

3 Bullets for Ringo (3 colpi di Winchester per Ringo, AKA Three Graves for a Winchester) won’t appeal to all spaghetti western fans. The key to enjoying this movie is to release that although it certainly looks like a spaghetti western that’s not quite what it is.

The hero of this movie, Ringo, isn’t really a western hero. He’s more akin to the heroes of an Italian Hercules or Maciste movie. Like the heroes of peplums he is in effect a superhuman hero, someone with powers beyond those of ordinary mortals.

It takes a while to figure this out, but then you notice that twenty bad guys just fired at Ringo and they all missed, then he drew his two six-shooters and shot all twenty bad guys. Without reloading. In fact even though he fires literally thousands of rounds during the course of the movie Ringo never once reloads his guns. Of course six-shooters with unlimited ammunition supplies are seen in some early B-westerns and western serials, but this movie takes it to an extreme. It could be annoying, but then the penny drops that realism plays no part in this movie and that it’s really more like a fantasy film.

Director Emimmo Salvi actually started his brief career making peplums and when you find that out it pretty much confirms the suspicion that what he’s doing here is a peplum with six-guns.

The plot is also filled with absurdities which make more sense if you treat it as part spaghetti western and part heroic fantasy. Ringo Carson (Mickey Hargitay, best known today for having been married to Jayne Mansfield) and Frank Sanders (Gordon Mitchell) are gunslingers on the wrong side of the law.

The difference between them is that Ringo is basically good and it’s his destiny to become a True Hero. Frank on the other hand is much more tempted by the Dark Side of the Force. Their partnership breaks up over a woman. Jane Walcom chooses Ringo and Frank rides off into the sunset but their paths are destined to cross again. Ringo becomes the town sheriff and establishes law and order but the peace is threatened by the machinations of the corrupt and generally wicked banker Daniels who wants to get his hands on various parcel of land that he suspects contain gold. Among the people whose land he wants to steal is Ringo’s mum. There’s also the complication that Ringo’s father-in-law is a shady businessman who is involved in Daniels’ scheming.

In a battle with renegade soldiers Ringo is struck a blow on the head that leaves him blind. The doctor tells the family that the only possible way he could recover his sight would be by being dealt another blow on the head. This medical pronouncement will prove to have major Plot Significance. This battle also results in the return of Frank Sanders who takes over as sheriff, but he is the evil sheriff as opposed to Ringo’s good sheriff. Somehow the blind Ringo must find a way to stop the triumph of evil.

It’s all very silly, with outrageous coincidences and impossible feats of gunslinging prowess and more-than-human bravery. You’ll either find this too ridiculous to bother with or you’ll find a way to not only accept but to embrace the silliness. If you can do that then it’s an enjoyable enough romp. And the six-barreled dynamite cannon is fun.

The acting is two-dimensional but it hardly matters. Mickey Hargitay at least seems to be enjoying himself. There’s an enormous amount of action, all of which is very cartoonish. This is a movie that makes no concessions to realism. There’s no gore at all. The body count though is incredibly high, another clue perhaps that what we’re seeing is not meant to be taken at all seriously.

As an added attraction there’s a voodoo ceremony that makes no sense whatever in the context of the plot but gratuitous voodoo ceremonies are something I have no problem with.

The DVD from Wild East Productions presents the movie in its correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio and generally looks pretty good.

Definitely not one of the classics of the spaghetti western genre but while it’s a bad movie when judged by any conventional standards it’s kind of fun if you’re in the mood for some slightly tongue-in-cheek action fun.

1 comment:

venoms5 said...

I didn't like this one at all. Salvi's WANTED JOHNNY TEXAS was better but not by much. His sword and sandal movies are pretty bad, but hilarious. His VULCAN, GOD OF FIRE (and a few other akas) is the "best" of the bunch. It has to be seen to be believed.