22 June, 2009

The Return of Miles Deem

The Man...

Demofilo Fidani aka Miles Deem, the most prolific director of Italian Westerns, would probably be pleased to note that two of his Spaghetti epics from 1970 recently appeared on US DVD for the first time. The rarely seen ONE DAMNED DAY AT DAWN, DJANGO MEETS SARTANA and Arrivano Django e Sartana... è la fine [onscreen title on this slightly letterboxed Italian print which suffers from some occasional combing and has a TV station logo in the lower right corner. I enjoyed the hell out of it and appreciated finally being able to acquire this obscurity on DVD].Quel maledetto giorno d'inverno... Django e Sartana all'ultimo sangue aka ONE DAMNED DAY... is a rather nice, letterboxed French print DJANGO ET SARTANA with sharp focus and pleasing color.

Fidani's no-budget aesthetics are certainly welcome in my territory and he remains a favorite of this blog. These are fun, if minor, projects, featuring "Hunt Powers" [rn Jack Betts] as Django, but costumed in a prominent black hat and matching frock coat which one associates with Gianni Garko's more familiar Sartana. Future Italian superstar/hunk Fabio Testi plays Sheriff Ronson, secretly Sartana, but acts more like Franco Nero in the original Django. Ronson arrives in the lawless Black City and is immediately told to move on to Redtown. This crazy, color-coded west is brimming with the director's trademark absurdities. It all works just fine in the charmingly screwy universe of Maestro Fidani.

Both features utilize the same plots, supporting casts, exterior (Italian; Fidani never shot in Spain) locations, sets, costumes, musical scores and even camera angles. The villain in ARRIVANO, played by the late, great Gordon Mitchell, is a grizzled outlaw who plays cards with himself in a mirror, curses his reflection [take that, Jacques Lacan!] and acts like a hyperactive windup toy before Sartana turns him into a pile of dead meat. Gordon always does the job and this is one of his more entertaining turns. He really seems to be enjoying himself. The strangest element in this one is the outlaw hideout which from the outside looks like just a small shack built into the side of a quarry while the unmatched interior is a rather lavish warren of archways, surreal bric a brac and odd alcoves. Stuntmen Dean Stratford [Dino Strano] and Dennis Colt [Benito Pacifico] were Fidani regulars and go way over-the-top as the bloodthirsty killers in need of dispatch. ARRIVANO... is credited to Dick Spitfire, yet another amusing Fidani beard.

You can enjoy both films, along with 8 other Italian produced Sartana titles as part of Videoasia's SARTANA: THE COMPLETE SAGA, 3 DVD set. Hey, it's only 15 bucks! Many of the other titles are letterboxed and it's an overall good deal.

Below is the imdb Fidani Spaghetti Western filmo... Let's hope that more of his quirky homemade Spaghetti shows up on DVD.

  1. Per una bara piena di dollari (1971) (as Miles Deem)
    ... aka A Barrel Full of Dollars
    ... aka Coffin Full of Dollars (USA)
    ... aka Nevada Kid (USA)
    ... aka Showdown for a Badman (USA)
  2. Era Sam Wallach... lo chiamavano 'così sia' (1971) (as Miles Deem)
    ... aka His Name Was Sam Walbash, But They Call Him Amen (USA)
    ... aka Savage Guns (USA)
  3. Giù la testa... hombre (1971) (as Miles Deem)
    ... aka Ballad of Django
    ... aka Doppia taglia per Minnesota Stinky
    ... aka Fistful of Death
    ... aka Strange Tale of Minnesota Stinky
  4. Il suo nome era Pot (1971) (also as Slim Alone) (also as Dennis Ford)
    ... aka Django Always Draws Second (UK)
    ... aka Hero Called Allegria (USA)
    ... aka His Name Was Pot... But They Called Him Allegria (USA)
    ... aka Il suo nome era Pot, ma lo chiamavano allegria! (Italy)
    ... aka Lobo the Bastard (USA)
  5. Arrivano Django e Sartana... è la fine (1970) (as Dick Spitfire)
    ... aka Django and Sartana Are Coming... It's the End (USA)
    ... aka Django and Sartana's Showdown in the West (USA)
    ... aka Django and Sartana... Showdown in the West (USA)
    ... aka Final Conflict... Django Against Sartana (USA)
    ... aka Sartana If Your Left Arm Offends, Cut It Off (USA)
  6. Quel maledetto giorno d'inverno... Django e Sartana all'ultimo sangue (1970) (as Miles Deem)
    ... aka Django e Sartana
    ... aka One Damned Day at Dawn... Django Meets Sartana!
  7. Giù le mani... Carogna (1970) (as Lucky Dickinson)
    ... aka Down with Your Hands... You Scum! (USA)
    ... aka Reach You Bastard (USA)
    ... aka The Django Story (USA)
  8. Inginocchiati straniero... I cadaveri non fanno ombra! (1970) (as Miles Deem)
    ... aka Dead Men Don't Make Shadows (USA: TV title)
    ... aka Stranger That Kneels Beside the Shadow of a Corpse (USA)

  9. ...e vennero in quattro per uccidere Sartana! (1969) (as Miles Deem)
    ... aka Four Came to Kill Sartana (USA)
    ... aka Sartana, the Invincible Gunman (USA)
  10. Sedia elettrica (1969) (as Miles Deem)
    ... aka The Electric Chair (International: English title)
  11. Passa Sartana... è l'ombra della tua morte (1969) (as Sean O'Neal)
    ... aka Meet the Sign of the Cross
    ... aka Sartana and His Shadow of Death
    ... aka Shadow of Sartana... Shadow of Your Death
  12. Ed ora... raccomanda l'anima a Dio! (1968)
    ... aka And Now... Make Your Peace with God (International: English title)
  13. Straniero... fatti il segno della croce! (1967) (as Miles Deem)

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Tom B. said...

You can't beat the price for all of these Sartana films, some widescreen and some full screen. Lots of fun here.

Smjango said...

The Electric Chair is a crime film, not a western. Also, his last western Anything for a Friend (1973) is missing from the list.

I love Fidani's westerns. His habit of recycling footage, actors, sets, situations etc is not unlike the way Jess Franco works. They are a world of their own. Joe D'Amato made one western, Pokerface, almost completely out of alternate/leftover footage of various Fidani films.

Robert Monell said...

films, some widescreen and some full screen. Lots of fun here.

I was surprised how many were in widescreen prints. I hadn't seen about half of these and it was worth it for the two Fidani titles alone.

Nzoog Wahlrfhehen said...

The Django and Sartana film with Fabio Testi is, so far, the Fidani I like least. Maybe a good release like this one would make me change my mind.

Robert Monell said...

It's not as interesting as the other DJANGO vs SARTANA in the set. The print is slightly letterboxed and much better in terms of video quality than the previous VHS versions. This may be as good as it gets.