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  Adios Sabata The Gold Bug
Year: 1971
Director: Gianfranco Parolini
Stars: Yul Brynner, Dean Reed, Ignazio Spalla, Gérard Herter, Sal Borgese, Franco Fantasia, Joseph P. Persaud, Andrea Scotti, Nieves Navarro, Luciano Casamonica, Salvatore Billa, Gianni Rizzo
Genre: WesternBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: A priest in revolutionary Mexico laments the violence which has overtaken his country, and times are hard, leading him to send one of the children who frequent his church to find Sabata (Yul Brynner), a bounty hunter who is sympathetic to the priest's cause. At this moment, Sabata is in the middle of in a gambling game which involves shooting a weathervane, but as he and his opponents wait for it to stop turning, he senses rightly that they are not necessarily going to be aiming there. One hail of bullets later and he is victorious - and a revolutionary leader has a proposition for him...

Adios Sabata was not really a sequel to director and co-writer Giancarlo Parolini's earlier film, but that was such a success that thanks to some financially judicious dubbing, what was initially called Indio Black became what part of that short series, with Brynner taking over from Lee Van Cleef in the role. He was obviously cast for his fame in The Magnificent Seven, for as in that he is dressed in black, including his hat, throughout, except the costume designer had pretentions to ostentation and Yul's outfit is adorned with fancy fringes.

Perhaps he is not quite the centre of attention you might have wished, however, as he does share the screen with the very intriguing Dean Reed as a roguish gent who is intent on grabbing as much gold as he can. Reed was best known as the American country singer whose left-leaning political views had him essentially defect to Eastern Europe; sadly he is also well known for dying prematurely in mysterious circumstances. So historically if nothing else it's interesting to see Reed in action in his films, which numbered quite a few westerns among them, and fairly charismatic he was too.

Reed's Ballantine tags along with Sabata when he is sent to secure a wagonload of gold from the Austrian authorities which is to be converted into weaponry for the uprising. The chief baddie is Colonel Skimmel (Gérard Herter) who is marked out a nasty piece of work when we see him shooting Mexicans as if they were rabbits for sport, but mainly he allows his underlings to do most of his dirty work. Although he does have a model galleon in his office which has cannons that fire real bullets, one of a few idiosyncrasies that keep this amusing.

Meanwhile, Sabata has joined with some revolutionaries to escort the wagon to its destination, but find that Austrian agents have other ideas and are pursuing them with a view to preventing them carrying out their mission. And yet, not everything is as it seems... Unless it seems to you that this is a lusty adaptation of some Sergio Leone influences, with Bruno Nicolai's score sounding incredibly similar to an Ennio Morricone work, and the characters owing much to the classic trilogy of the most famous of all spaghetti westerns, complete with exploding bridges and a watch which plays a memorable tune, among other things. Not that this harms the enjoyment, this is diverting enough and the cast throw themselves into the action with some abandon, resulting in no classic, but ideal for followers of the genre.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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