June 25, 2018  (Web Review)

A Pistol for Ringo/The Return of Ringo

Arrow, 195 min., in Italian w/English subtitles & English-dubbed, not rated, Blu-ray: $39.99

Reviewer rating: 3.0/4

This double feature marks the American home video debut of an entertaining diptych of spaghetti Westerns directed by Duccio Tessari and starring Giuliano Gemma (billed as Montgomery Wood). In 1965’s A Pistol for Ringo, Gemma’s titular wily gunfighter is released from jail to infiltrate a gang of Mexican bank robbers who are holding a rancher’s family hostage in their manor home. The high body count, ruthless killers, and mercenary attitudes are classic spaghetti Western, but while Ringo appears to be a heartless mercenary bidding up his services, he turns out to be loyal and has a soft spot for women and kids. The Return of Ringo, released the same year, reunites the cast but is a sequel in name only. Adapted from the end of Homer’s Odyssey, it stars Gemma as a tormented soldier who returns home from the Civil War to find his father dead and his town overrun by a Mexican gang leader who has stolen his land and his wife. He dyes his hair black and goes undercover as a peasant to infiltrate the gang, rescue his family, and avenge his father. These clever and engaging spaghetti Westerns spawned a whole series of “Ringo” knock-offs, thanks to the sense of humor, colorful characters, and offbeat touches. Extras include audio commentary on both films by spaghetti Western experts C. Courtney Joyner and Henry Parke, and archival interviews with stars Gemma and Lorella de Luca. Recommended. (S. Axmaker)