Friday, 24 August 2012
Texas, addio (1967)
Texas, addio (Goodbye Texas) is a routine spaghetti western, neither a bad film or a good one. It’s simply average in every department.
Directed by Ferdinando Baldi in 1967, this Italian-Spanish co-production is a revenge story. Yes, another one of those.
Burt Sullivan (Franco Nero) is the sheriff of a small town in Texas not far from the Mexican border. The opening scene shows us Burt driving a bounty killer out of town, thus establishing his character as a man who believes in the rule of law. He then promptly sets off on a private mission of revenge, which undermines this initial impression just a little. His kid brother Jim manages to persuade Burt to let him tag along.
Many years earlier their father had been murdered by a man named Cisco Delgado. Now Burt has decided that it’s time justice was done. He believes Delgado is in Mexico, so that’s where they’re headed.
Once across the border they arrive at the town where Burt believes Delgado can be found. It is not a happy town. It’s also not a peaceful town. Within ten minutes of arriving they witness a mass execution and Burt kills four men in a brawl in the local taverna. The town’s sheriff (or the equivalent of the sheriff), rather reasonably in the circumstances one might think, orders Burt and Jim to return to Texas. But Burt has no intention of doing do. He’s come to find Delgado, and that’s what he intends to do.
Getting information from the townspeople proves rather difficult. Everyone is too scared to talk to them. The town is under the control of an evil rich landowner, one of the many clichés which litter this film (in fact the entire movie is composed of a succession of standard western clichés). Predictably enough the evil rich landowner is none other than Cisco Delgado.
Burt and Jim eventually find Delgado, after killing a whole bunch of other bad guys. At this point they encounter the movie’s major plot twist. In fact it’s the movie’s only plot twist. It turns out that Delgado is rather more than just their father’s murderer. Since the movie only possesses this one plot twist I won’t reveal it, except to say that it makes the matter of taking Delgado back to Texas to stand trial a bit complicated.
After that dozens of other bad guys get shot. There’s a revolution against the wicked Delgado which offers the opportunity for some fairly large-scale gun battles. Then comes the final showdown.
Baldi’s direction is entirely competent and entirely uninspired. The script is, as I’ve already indicated, nothing more than a string of clichés.
Technically it’s all very proficient but not very involving. Apart from its other flaws there is no attempt at characterisation so it’s hard to care very much about the outcome. Franco Nero appears to be too busy worrying about his pay cheque to bother with any actual acting and I can’t say I entirely blame him. The other actors are adequate enough considering the two-dimensionality of the characters they’re playing.
There’s a huge body count and there’s plenty of action. If you really love spaghetti westerns there’s nothing particularly to dislike other than the fact that you’ve seen everything this movie has to offer in countless other examples of the genre. It’s not a bad movie but it’s not one that’s likely to stay in your memory. For fans of the genre it’s maybe worth a rental or worth buying if you find it in the bargain bin but it’s certainly not worth actively seeking out.
The all-region PAL DVD from an outfit called Dixie Bell is a non-anamorphic widescreen transfer that is as average as the film.