June 27th, 2020


Beware Sartana's Brand of Generosity

Gianni Garko, the original Sartana, returns with a moustache in 1970's Have a Good Funeral, My Friend . . . Sartana Will Pay (Buon funerale amigos!... paga Sartana). Very generous of him and I can confirm he lavishly spends on coffins throughout the film taking this bit established in Yojimbo to decadent levels. Yet this film is a return to a more grounded, satisfying storytelling after the previous entry, Sartana's Here . . . Trade Your Pistol for a Coffin, drove the series' slightly coy sadism into self-parody. This one even has a sweet hint of a suggestion of romance for Sartana.

The plot isn't wildly different from previous entries--Sartana, the mysterious, preternatural gunman with gadgets is hunting people down having something to do with some kind of land swindle.

Among his enemies this time are a corrupt banker and the Chinese owner of a saloon, Lee Tse Tung (George Wang). For the latter, the film's climax turns out surprisingly to be a melee, taking Sartana out of his trick shot element. Tse Tung wields an anachronistic Japanese sword against Sartana but it leads to the cool image of Sartana wielding a katana when he naturally turns the tables.

There's less emphasis on Sartana's ability to hide his guns and escape certain death and more focus on him intimidating people with his presence. He also seems to have a soft spot for Abigail (Daniela Giordano), a young woman mixed up in the bogus land deal.

Two thirds of the way through the movie there's a particularly nice action sequence when four outlaw brothers are randomly introduced and very quickly dispatched by Sartana. They're introduced nicely, though, with music and visual composition so watching their showdown with the film's hero is really very good.

Have a Good Funeral, My Friend . . . Sartana Will Pay is available on Amazon Prime.