- Há aqui um nome que geralmente não é incluído nas listas dos melhores, mas que certamente, deve ser lembrado: Demofilo Fidani, considerado o “Ed Wood” do Western Italiano. Justa ou não a comparação, guardo na lembrança um de seus filmes com muito carinho, pois foi um dos primeiros que vi num saudoso “poeira” da minha cidade: “Django e Sartana no Dia da Vingança [Arrivano Django e Sartana, è la fine]”. Pode até ser que Fidani mereça a alcunha, pois, como Ed Wood, ele com certeza amava o cinema e trabalhava em condições precárias. O Django feito por Hunt Powers, um de seus atores prediletos, é bem diferente de Franco Nero ou Anthony Steffen. E falando em diretores ruins, Fidani perde feio, para a maioria dos pseudocineastas dos “Block-Busters” atuais.
- O cinema de hoje bem poderia fazer uma saudosa homenagem e voltar a ocupar as pradarias da Almeria, não ao estilo de “800 Balas”, que por sinal é um bom filme, mas com uma homenagem totalmente fiel às melhores produções daquele ciclo dourado. Que Tarantino e Robert Rodriguez nos ouçam! Aqueles que como eu, tiveram a sorte de estarem presentes lá, sempre com algo de novo ou uma boa reprise para ver, sentem saudades de ver todos os heróis como sempre estiveram, solitários ou no máximo a três: Ringo, Django, Sartana, Pecos, Sabata, Gringo, Trinity e seu inseparável irmão e até o último deles, Keoma. Eram e serão sempre, eternos, cavalgando em nossas memórias daqueles cinemas obscuros, muitos dos quais não resta sequer... um nome.
In the same year that saw the release of “THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY”, the trail of the “Men with no Name” was in full bloom, with many productions being made. The quality and thematic of those movies were very variable, but all of them had the same identity: to use the magic ambience of the “Western” to show the cultural effects that were changing the face of the world during the 60s. Despite the fact that many critics thought that everything about the Italian western was fake, artificial, there were a lot of significance behind the screenplays produced at Cinecittá. And the old Monument Valley in the Utah/Arizona border was temporally replaced by Almeria, in Spain, where many films were shot because many American stars started to be part of that landscape: Charles Bronson, Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, John Ireland, James Coburn, Van Johnson, Van Heflin, Chuck Connors, Tab Hunter, Jeffrey Hunter, Audie Murphy, Burt Reynolds, Joseph Cotten, Rod Cameron, Guy Madisson, Alex Cord, Jack Elam, Jack Palance, Mark Damon, Cameron Mitchell, Robert Woods, Brett Halsey, Tony Anthony, Hunt Powers and Gordon Mitchell among others, besides the absolute icons: Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef.
Italy seemed to be the Promised Land and the western achieved such a stage of poetical depth that many dared to say that movie directors like Sergio Leone were the creators of a “New Cinema”. Other “Men with no Name” came from the four corners of the Earth, riding in search of their place in history: George Hilton, from Uruguay, Tomás Millian, from Cuba, Gianni Garko, from Yugoslavia, William Berger, from Austria, Klaus Kinski from Germany and our beloved Anthony Steffen, the Brazilian/Italian actor. Yes, Brazil also had its Western star, maybe the actor who played more often the character Django.
The Italian western brought a new concept for the genre, and the impact of this innovation became very clear in the cartoonish opening credits of many films, with great use of animation together with that magnificent new style of music. The music became on of the most recognized trademarks of the genre, and some achieved great success at the time of its release. It was very common to hear people whistling the themes of the movies after the sessions. Dialogs like “How was that song on the duel?”, “Man, what a groovy soundtrack this film has!” were present everyday after people went those movies. Soon, real Spaghetti Western legends were created, like Ennio Morricone, the master of the soundtracks, a man who really changed the face of film music. His compositions are priceless, Cinema history, and his Academy Award came too late for such an unbelievable artist. Sergio Leone used to say that Morricone’s music sometimes had more to say than the dialogs of the script. Morricone was responsible for the soundtracks of all the westerns made by Leone. He also created the music for “A pistol for Ringo”, “The return of Ringo”, “Big Gundown”, “Face to Face”, “Companeros”, “The mercenary”, “Seven guns for the McGregors” among many others.
But there were many other great musicians in the genre like Bruno Nicolai, Luis Bacalov, Vasco and Mancuso, Guido & Maurizio de Angelis and Francesco De Masi (“Dio te Acompagne”), who was one of the most popular composers of the SW. He showed a great personality and creativity, creating unforgettable scores for films like “Quanto costa morire”, “Sartana non perdona”, “7 Winchester per un massacro” and “Arizona Colt”. Some great singers are also worth of note. Singers whose voices were in the same level of Frankie Lane, Ed Ames or Johnny Cash: Maurizio de Graf, Bobby Solo, Peter Tevis, Christy, Nico Fidenco, Sergio Endrigo, Don Powell, Rocky Roberts, Roberto Fia, Raoul, etc...
A big part of the power from the SW soundtracks comes from their performances in the songs. And some times, those songs were better than the films...
From the early days until its apex, the Spaghetti Western brought to the world of cinema a baroque, sarcastic and violent look. The genre was, very often, politically incorrect. Also, a very strong left winged political point of view can be seen in such movies like “A bullet for the General” and “Big Gundown”, by Damiano Damiani and Sergio Sollima respectively. Among the filmmakers, besides Sergio Leone, there were other three Sergios: Sollima, Corbucci and Garrone. All of them were real masters of the genre. Many other filmmakers can be considered of great importance: Romolo Guerrieri ($10.000 Blood Money), Duccio Tessari (A Pistol for Ringo), Frank Kramer (Sabata, Sartana), Giulio Petroni (Death Rides a Horse), Tonino Valerii (Day of Anger), Enzo G. Castellari (Keoma), Carlo Lizzani (Kill and Pray), Ferdinando Baldi (Blindman)...
There is one name that usually is not included in the lists of the best filmmakers, but certainly, must be remembered: Demofilo Fidani, considered the “Ed Wood” of the Italian Western. It doesn’t matter if that comparison is fair or not, I fondly remember one of the first films I saw on the big screen at a much missed Grindhouse of my town. It was “Arrivano Django e Sartana, è la fine”, starring Hunt Powers. Maybe Fidani deserves to be called Ed Wood of the Italian Westerns; both of them worked in precarious conditions and loved the cinema.
It’s about time to make a real homage to the Spaghetti Western, using once again the landscapes of Almeria. Not a homage like “800 Bullets”, a good film by the way, but an authentic western, true to the tradition of the Italian masters. I hope Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez are reading this article! Those who, like me, lived those glorious days, are long waiting for our missed heroes to return like they were: immortals, eternally riding in our memories, our memories of those obscure movie theaters, which no longer exist, not even… a name.