Comedy Western Collection Review
They Call Me Trinity
Bambino and Trinity get caught up in the victimising of some Quakers by evil dandy Farley Granger. Spencer, masquerading as the town sheriff, would rather ignore the situation and wait for his gang to catch up with him, but Trinity has taken a shine to the peace loving polygamists and gets his brother up to his neck in trouble.
The first Trinity film devised a formula which Spencer and Hill would mine for years. Family fun is served up with occasional flashes of gentle wit and rampant slapstick as we follow the grumpy fat one and the clever handsome one. This formula paid gold at the box office but has not aged brilliantly. Watching it now, Trinity is just such an agreeable film that you violently want to find something that isn't quite right about it. All the baddies are rather nice and not in the least threatening and the lack of spaghetti western sleaziness renders the film too innocent for words. Even Trinity's chance of a threesome is played down for the greater good and any fights have all the edge of bingo night at the old folks home. Trinity is a rather empty diversion, but you will laugh if your brain is in neutral.
Trinity Is Still My Name
Forced to reconcile by their parents, Bambino and Trinity get mistaken for government men and are bribed by dodgy dealer and ranch owner Parker to ignore funny goings on at the local monastery. When the details of what they are meant to have forgotten become clear, Bambino sees a chance to make money and Trinity sees a chance to make things right. As before, it all must come down to a fight between the pacifist monks, with Trinity's help, and Parker's band of cut-throats.
Trinity mark 2 is again enjoyable if remarkably bland. The formula is followed well – peaceful victims of aristocratic baddies, a love interest and the golden heart of Trinity dragging Bambino to a happy denouement. We learn more about the brothers through the appearance of Mum and Dad, and the discovery of Trinity's card tricks. There is also a tremendous scene with Bambino and Trinity destroying the peace and etiquette of a posh restaurant. The film also gets a cool soundtrack from the De Angelis brothers. Trinity Is Still My Name is as fun as the original but the law of diminishing returns does start to apply as the slapstick becomes less funny and the wit strains itself at times.
My Name is Nobody
Jack Beauregard (Fonda) has grown old and wants to bow out of the wild west, but numerous enemies want him dead first. He meets Nobody, a dreamer and a guardian angel, who helps him to make history and meet an end fit for a hero. Nobody takes on his mantle as a new western hero.
Never one to miss out on a cash in, Sergio Leone produced two films building on the success of both Terence Hill and comedy westerns. Here he gets his assistant, Tonino Valerii, to direct whilst he interfered broadly in the whole affair. Valerii made some fine films in his own right, such as My Dear Killer and Days of Wrath, and the film has some great action and dramatic sequences but the comic interruptions jar throughout. When Hill is asked to do his comic shtick, it undermines the earnest efforts around Fonda and is really simply an effort to trump the the Trinity movies. The Fonda reverie about an end of an era and the slapstick comedy don't marry well, Fonda does look out of place at times and uncomfortable.
This is a pity because Nobody is brilliant when it works and Ernesto Gastaldi's script is one of his best efforts- Gastaldi inserts a couple of homages to Sam Peckinpah and thinks up some very novel set-ups such as Trinity's fishing at the beginning. My Name is Nobody is a film undermined by commercial considerations and fails to make best use of a great Morricone score, a good cast, a good director and a fine script.
A Genius, Two Partners and a Dupe
Joe Thanks has a plan but needs the help of Bill and Lucy to execute it. Major Cabot has $300000 which he is keen to keep from the government's notice and welcomes the news that the three conspirators are coming to steal it from him, but his greed is further excited when Joe seems to track gold dust into his office. Cabot agrees to return land to the Indians in exchange for the cave where he thinks the gold is. When he discovers he has been had, Cabot lays a trap for Joe using his betrayed conspirators.
Leone's last involvement with a western comes almost unheralded. His name is not on the titles despite him being producer and even directing the opening sequence. The honours are handed over to Damiano Damiani and the whole proceedings are decidedly more coherent than the previous Nobody film. Damiani uses the caper movie plot to make a few political points and the very end of the movie is to "screw America". The film itself was a troubled production with the negative being stolen and ransomed, a ransom that wasn't paid.
Hill is pleasantly engaging and his ultra cool gymnastic performance fits much better here than elsewhere in this box set. Leone seems to have interfered less in the movie and the tone is relatively constant throughout. Leone's opening to the film is a wonderful exercise in tension but almost wholly unrelated to the rest of the film. Damiani delivers some good action pieces such as the fight between Hill and Klaus Kinski, and the comic wit in the screenplay is much better realised than the first Nobody film, but the political ending sticks out like a sore thumb. Morricone's score is again distinctive and occasionally clever, such as the snatches of classical music which are woven into the chase scenes. Better direction, a consistent tone and the very existence of Patrick McGoohan make this the best film in the set.
All four films are in anamorphic widescreen, the two Trinity films are in 2.35:1, My Name is Nobody and a Genius are nearer 2.40:1. For all the discs the transfers are relatively good with the main problems visually being the quality of the original prints. All four films suffer from small print damage, some worn inserts and hairs in the frame. The print for A Genius is the worst given the loss of the original negative and some inserts are very very dark. Overall the prints are sharp enough with some darkness and occasional over emphasisied edge enhancement. For the two Nobody films, the quality is not as good as the existing German Paramount discs.
The discs are all dubbed in English and the sound shows some hissing and pops on all of them. The Genius disc seems to suffer from some synching problems especially in the whorehouse scene. The sound is ok with little distortion, but again the German Paramount discs have better soundtracks for the Nobody films.
Outside of production notes and filmographies, there is only one filmed extra which is intercut interviews with Bud Spencer and Terence Hill. Spencer looks more like God with every year that passes and Hill's squeaky cleanness is a trifle iritating as are his astonishing looks for a 67 year old. The Nobody films are again well served by extras on the German disc.
Effectively a repackage of their existing releases, this set represents all the Terence Hill films you will ever want to see plus the two Trinity movies! If you are a spaghetti western fan then this will get all the movies in one fell swoop, but I would advise the excellent German 4 disc release of the two Nobody films in preference to this.