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My Name is Pecos (a movie review)

If you follow the Rubber Axe webzine’s stuff, you know that lately I’ve been reading and writing reviews of the spaghetti western publications (for example, here) put out by Mike Hauss and that somehow aroused my interest in watching a few more of them.

Not that I haven’t watched any, obviously, Leone’s “Dollars” trilogy is a scalp on my beaten belt, but that was quite a long time ago and except the “For a Fistful of Dollars” I can’t really remember the story of the other two movies (which reminds me I need to re-watch them soon). Not that I would write a review of these foundations of spaghetti western genre, it was done to death by now.

Rudolf holding the Blu+DVD combo of Pecos double feature

But with a quite a vast reservoir of movies to choose from, I’ve decided to finally open my up-to-now sealed copy of Wild East Productions Blu Ray + DVD combo release of My Name is Pecos / Pecos Cleans Up, party inspired by Mike’s intervie with Robert Woods, who plays the role here.

The movie is formulaic, that’s for sure, with the main loner type of a hero, but compared to Eastwood’s “Man with No Name” this one is actually chatty. Not much, but anyway.

Robert Woods as Pecos Martinez

Pecos (Robert Woods) is a Mexican guy who we see walking through a sandy land, with a saddle on his shoulder and I could actually feel his thirst. Fortunately there’s some settlement in the distance – with a frightened Mexican family and clad-in-black pistollero who not only offers our Pecos a water, but also propose to sell him a gun. See, that’s the thing, Pecos is actually without one.

The unnamed gunslinger learns fast not to try be coolest kid on the block, as he’s gunned down by Pecos after demanding to know his name. Well, you learn that you learn (lol) Pecos’ name, but you’re already dead then. Nice.

Pier Paolo Capponi (under the pseudonym Norman Clar) as the villain Clane.

The main story deals with twice stolen money (they came from the robbery, then robbers’ got double-crossed by the innkeeper intening to keep the lot for himself) and – although we learn about it as we watch the movie – Pecos’ revenge against Clane, the ruthless boss of the gang of outlaws terrorising the little town, which, by the way, in the final frames (when Pecos leaving the town) kind of reminded me of E. L. Doctorow’s Welcome to Bad Times (with just a handful of people actually living in the town). Probably just my hazy rememberance of the book, but I’ve considered it quite interesting…the town was probably not that big, but the inhabitants were really just a handful. Maybe the result of the gangsters’ shooting people left and right? Yeah, maybe.

Those bastards really don’t think twice about gunning someone down, whether a man, woman or a child (now, you wouldn’t see that in US westerns, would you?), but – and that’s actually one real weakness of the movie – quite inexplicably leave the main protagonist alive after beating him up, obviously this mistake will cost them dearly, but c’mon…that’s jus wouldn’t happen, especially when we see other unfortunate folks haven’t been that lucky.

Gravedigger Morgan, played by Umberto Raho.

The interesting character here, though, is the card-reading gravedigger, who is a real piece of shit and his demise is also quite of WTF variety (really, wouldn’t you just run when let go and not to try to get lucky with your small pistol against a seasoned gunfighter? You decide!), but a script is a script, no question asked.

The finale got me little disappointed, mainly by the outcome of the dynamite blast dispatching those two bandits holding Nina, the Mexican girl from the saloon helping Pecos, I’d expect they would be blast to pieces, all three of them, so that was little of meh. The final quick dispatch of the main villain was also litle lacking, hovewer, who can say this can’t happen this way?

Robert Woods, here in the main role of Pecos Martinez, is a known spaghetti western actor, with roles in the movies like Five Thousand Dollars on One Ace, Man from Canyon City, Seven Guns for the MacGregors, Johny Colt or probably the best known Black Jack and quite a few more.

The main villain John Clane was portrayed by Pier Paolo Capponi, among his other appearances you can find his role in Commandos, The Awful Story of the Nun of Monza, The Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion or Seven Blood-Stained Orchids.

Beautiful Cristina Iosani as Nina.

Mexican girl Nina got her beauty look from the eye-catching Cristina Iosani, who got only a few film credits in her acting career (one could ask why), with roles in Navajo Joe, Last of the Badmen, May God Forgive You… But I Won’t, Sartana Kills Them All and The Taste of Revenge.

Cristina Iosani (Nina) and Lucia Modugno as Mary Burton.

In this movie she was joined also with her acting colleague from Navajo Joe, Lucia Modugno (here in the role of Mary Burton, a doctor’s daughter), and this nice lady could be seen also in peplum Ursus in the Valley of the Lions, Bava’s The Girl Who Knew Too Much, Danger Diabolik or Operation White Shark.

The scene stealing gravedigger was portrayed by Umberto Raho, with his roles spreading from peplums (Queen of Nile, Gold of Rome, Duel of Champions) through shwashbucklers (Charge of the Black Lancers, Seven Seas to Calais) through gothic (Castle of Blood, Long Hair of Death) and eurospy (Operation Counterspy, Mission Bloody Mary), giallos (The Bird with the Crystal Plumage) to spaghetti westerns (Pecos Cleans Up, Bang Bang Kid, Halleluja for Django) and many more.

Giuliano Raffaeli (right) as Dr. Burton.

Good doctor Berton has his incarnation in Giuliano Raffaelli (or was it the way around?), and his acting career is somewhat similar to Umberto Raho, him being in classics like Blood and Black Lace, not so classic Hercules Against the Moon Men, sci-fi War Between the Planets, and westerns like Sugar Colt, Fistful of Diamonds or And God Said to Cain.

It’s really nice how can you discover actors in same movies, Nina’s sister Lola, who was portrayed by Corinne Fontaine, was also in Operation Counterspy, The War of the Planets, but also in 7 Golden Women against Two 07: Treasure Hunt or Goldsinger.

And last, but in imporance definitely not the least – good old George Eastman as a evil outlaw henchman here. And I think any self-respecting movie enthusiast, especially on the B-side of movies (and Italian to boot) would know some of his famous appearances, like Antropophagus, Absurd, 1990: The Bronx Warriors, Hands of Steel and many others, and if we talking spaghettis, Django Kills Softly, Un poker di pistole, Django, Perpare a Coffin, Bastard, Go and Kill, Amigo, Stay Away, The Call of the Wild or a comedy western The Three Musketeers of the West.

It would be criminal not to mention a soundtrack, The Ballad of Pecos, written by Coriolano Gori and performed by Robert Smart, is absolutely delightful and shameless rip off of The Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun”, but that’s just adds to the charm.

The movie might not be special, but it’s not boring, the action is a-plenty and if viewed as a stand-alone movie, not compared to some classics of the genre, is quite enjoyable. I’m glad I have it in my collection. You should have it too.

Available at: http://www.wildeast.net/

Rudolf Schütz

A father to two little perpetuum mobiles called kids, Rudolf is a main force behind The Rubber Axe webzine, a bookworm, musick lover and a movie fan - not to mention his virgin forays into the comics and board/card games.

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