08 February, 2007

Happy Birthday, Miles Deem...

wherever you are. AKA Demofilo Fidani he was born in Caligari Sardinia this day in 1914. He passed away in 1994. From 1967 to 1973 he made 12 or 13 totally mad, grade B- Spaghetti Westerns. It's difficult to get an exact count on his SW output since several are composites.

Fidani remains the most prolific, along with Spain's Joaquin Romero Marchent, maker of Eurowesterns. After Leone, he's my favorite above Sergio Corbucci and many more qualified candidates simply because I love homemade spaghetti and involuntary Surrealism. He was an original who built a kind of anti-aesthetic based on spinning cliches into previously unknown dimensions. One has even made it to US DVD: HIS NAME WAS SAM WALLASH, BUT THEY CALLED HIM AMEN (1972) aka SAVAGE GUNS [Great American Westerns: vol. 12, PLANTINUM]. It looks pretty good for a quick slam onto a cheap DVD set and it's more complete than some versions I've seen on VHS. AND.... it also stars the leading actor in a number of 1973 Jess Franco titles, Robert Woods [PLAISIR A TROIS, LA COMTESSE PERVERSE, among others]. I've had some chats with the genial actor who remembers his days with Fidani and Franco as wild and fun times. More about that in a future blog.

Try to locate the old video prerecord of FISTFUL OF LEAD (1971), featuring Klaus Kinski as a horseshoe playing Padre, Gordon Mitchell as an hysterical villain and Jack Betts as Butch Cassidy, notice the climactic restaging of the moving forest from Shakespeare's MACBETH! It was all lensed by Aristide Massacessi before he became the prolific exploitation director known as Joe D'Amato.

My favorite of Fidani's many onscreen akas is "Slim Alone"...

Oh yes, he became a successful medium after retiring from film directing and even wrote a book on psychic phenomena.

I'll be blogging much more about the otherworldly Signor Fidani...

(c) Robert Monell, 2006

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