Roy Colt and Winchester Jack (Italy, 1970):

The title tips its hand toward the parodistic material of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid's fatuous chumminess, the camera panning left until finding Roy Colt (Brett Halsey) and Winchester Jack (Charles Southwood), roguish outlaws, cuffing it out in the sagebrush. Southwood saves buckskin vixen Maril¨ Tolo from bounty hunters, but his nookie reward is delayed for bathing, forced by her, at gunpoint, into a freezing bathtub; Halsey, meanwhile, is off to Carson City for work, promptly knighted sheriff by bank owner Giorgio Gargiullo, who wants his shipment of gold protected, particularly from the Reverend (Teodoro CorrÓ), a belching dynamite expert out of Russia. Pinkies get stuck in gun barrels, sides of buildings come crashing down, and a map of the buried loot is stolen, Southwood and CorrÓ each getting half; Halsey rallies a posse in close-up, then a reverse zoom to reveal the empty saloon but for one soul and the punchline, bravery connected to deafness. A break from gory gialli for Mario Bava to take over this slapstick Western goof, the mildly scatological genre travesty reaching its high-low point with a whorehouse melee, a painted Isa Miranda presiding over tumult imported straight out of Dr. Lightfoot and the Girl Bombs. The scenario, tossed away and then ad-libbed, allows for visual coups to adorn the free-floating chaos, the treasure site spotted through a skull's eye socket -- the gagfest slips past Leone parody to the root, namely Aldrich's cynical view of frontier heroism in Vera Cruz and 4 for Texas. Another zoom fashions horns out of a cactus behind Southwood's head as he catches Tolo smooching Halsey, the piddling pun spiked, like the rest of the movie, by Bava's eye and feel for human treachery.

--- Fernando F. Croce

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