Texas, Adios Review
Italian director Ferdinando Baldi dabbled in many genres during the sixties and seventies, including the “sword and sandal” peplums, crime dramas and giallo murder mysteries. He even ventured head-on into the early world of 3D with 1981’s execrable Comin’ at Ya. Among Baldi’s numerous spaghetti westerns was Texas, Adios (1966) starring Franco Nero who, at that time, was one of Italy’s hottest stars.
Released hot on the heels (or spurs) after Sergio Corbucci’s massive hit Django, which starred Nero as the titular coffin dragging gunslinger, Texas, Adios finds the star for once playing a heroic sheriff by the name of Burt Sullivan. The story, concocted by Baldi and co-writer Franco Rossetti, concerns a straightforward tale of vengeance. It emerges that Sullivan’s father was murdered during his childhood by Cisco Delgado (José Suárez), an unscrupulous land owner who is now causing unrest down in Mexico. After waiting an exorbitant amount of time, the Texan sheriff finally decides it’s time to settle a score, so heads south of the border with his younger brother Jim (Alberto Dell'Acqua). Once in Mexico, the duo begin their search and get caught up with a band of revolutionaries, lead by determined Hernandez (Luigi Pistilli) who plans to end the tyranny of Delgado.
Texas, Adios doesn’t push the well-tested formula very much, though for an Italian western it does exhibit more Hollywood influences than usual. The violence has been noticeably toned down in this case, sans the anticipated glut of exploding squibs. Instead characters are more likely to fall during the plentiful gunplay clutching their body, but often with barely a wound visible. Sticklers may also balk at the guns that seemingly never run out of bullets. Numerous other well-worn clichés are present and correct. For example, check out a scene where our hero enters a tavern and dares to mention a certain name, at which point the music suddenly stops and all the punters turn and stare menacingly. This film doesn’t hold a candle to any of Sergio Leone’s ultra-stylish work, particularly his notable “Dollars” trilogy, or for that matter Corbucci at the top of his game. Similarly, the lively score by Antón García Abril is no match for the esteemed compositions by Ennio Morricone. Perhaps the less said about Don Powell’s truly dreadful theme song the better.
The film is partially redeemed by some striking location work, shot in the Spanish province of Almeria, and vividly brought to life by Enzo Barboni’s excellent photography. The DOP had worked on Django earlier that year and expertly makes full use of the widescreen frame, utilising some adept camera angles. Barboni (sometimes credited as E. B. Clucher) would later become a director himself during the 1970s, famed for sending up the genre with his slapstick Trinity westerns starring Terence Hill.
Nero has never been the greatest actor, though he does have considerable presence. That charisma is certainly stretched in Texas, Adios, as he’s lumbered with some lousy dialogue and not even the saving grace of some cool quotable lines. Similarly, Suárez makes for a bland adversary who lacks any truly memorable moments. In a script that offers very few surprises, it does at least manage to incorporate one unexpected early twist. Despite the film’s lean running time and sporadic bursts of action, the overall effect is underwhelming.
A DVD of Texas, Adios has previously been available in the UK on a double bill with Enzo Castellari’s Keoma - a late addition to the genre that also starred Nero. Arrow Video’s US Blu-ray release of the film comes in an enticing set along with the far superior cult favourite Django. It’s worth noting that, despite both being Italian westerns, these films are otherwise unconnected in terms of story and characters. Presumably due to licensing agreements, Arrow’s UK release is standalone (Argent Films released Django on BD in the UK during 2013).
The film has been transferred in 2K from the OCN and the results are a mixed bag. The 1080p presentation preserves the original Ultrascope widescreen image of 2.35:1 and, for the most part it looks glorious, with vibrant colours. Plenty of detail can be observed in the landscape, such as rocks and foliage, plus in materials that form the buildings. Fine detail is also noticeable in garments worn by the characters, like wear and tear in Nero’s coat. Skin tones for the most part look natural as well. Although a great deal of effort has clearly gone into removing imperfections, I should add a caveat to mention that it’s not quite flawless. There are several instances where damage is quite evident, wavering across the entire top portion of the frame, albeit only for a few brief seconds at a time.
There are two audio choices: the original mono soundtrack in English or Italian (with newly translated subtitles). As with other Italian films of the era, dialogue was spoken in English and later dubbed in post. No issues were noted with either audio option, which is free from any background hiss and crackle. English SDH have been included.
Audio commentary with spaghetti western experts C. Courtney Joyner and Henry C. Parke.
The Sheriff is in Town (20:19): A brand-new interview with Franco Nero from Italy’s Freak-O-Rama Video Productions. Nero has “wonderful memories” of making Texas Adios, considering it more of a Hollywood movie in style compared to other spaghetti westerns. In this absorbing interview he talks of growing up in the mountains, learning to ride a horse as a boy and handling weapons – though he’s staunchly anti-guns outside of the movies. There are some great anecdotes, such as how John Wayne advised him on choosing the best horse and his time spent with Clint Eastwood.
Jump into The West (33:46): A new interview with co-star Alberto Dell'Acqua. The stuntman and actor talks of early days as a circus performer with other family members, inevitable accidents along the way and how he got into the movie business.
That’s My Life Part 2 (9:19): An interview with co-writer Franco Rossetti.
Hello Texas! (16:24): a newly filmed appreciation by Spaghetti Westerns scholar Austin Fisher. A fascinating analysis of the genre, with Fisher explaining how the Italian western evolved over time.
Gallery: Original promotional images including stills, posters, lobby cards and video sleeve artwork from the Mike Siegel Archive.
Original trailer: “A movie of ruthlessness, cruelty & apprehension…a story of Texan revenge” declares the trailer, along with some bold claims suggesting this is the best western ever made.
A fully illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing by Howard Hughes, and original reviews (first pressing only & not available for review).
Texas, Adios is released on Blu-ray by Arrow Video on 10th December 2018.