Adios, Gringo AKA Adiós gringo (1965)
R2 - Japan - Imagica/SPO Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Jari Kovalainen (1st January 2006).
The Film

Some of the biggest leading men in Italian cult cinema - like Tomas Milian, Franco Nero and Maurizio Merli - are the ones that people are keen to see on the screen, but there are some other good actors like Ray Lovelock, Luc Merenda, Anthony Steffen, Gianni Garko, Fabio Testi and especially Giuliano Gemma, who should be quite familiar to those who are into Spaghetti westerns. Gemma (also billed under his alias “Montgomery Wood”) often brought a strong presence, quick gun handling, a strong sense of humour and his almost 'boyish charm' to the screen, making him at least one of my favourite actors in the Italian Spaghetti westerns. Everytime when he´s on the screen, you don´t exactly know what to expect; it could be some funny one liner, an emotional and serious scene, or a quick action scene - where Gemma is slinging his gun, or fighting against five men, depending on the film. I think these type of qualities made him such a used actor in the Italian westerns.

In “Adios, Gringo” Gemma plays Brent Landers, who at the start of the film buys some cattle from his old friend Gil Clawson (in the English dialogue called as “Jack Dawson”) (Nello Pazzafini), from the old cattle driving days. When Landers brings the cattle into town, it´s apparent that they were stolen from a man called Clevenger (Germano Longo). Landers thinks that they´re his - since the deal is paid and done - but Clevenger doesn't believe him. In his rage Clevenger tries to kill Landers, so Landers has no choice but to shoot him. Even though the action is clearly self defence, the lynch mob from the town is already eager to judge Landers on the spot, so he has to flee. To make things even worse, Clevenger´s daughter puts a bounty over his head. Now Landers has to find Clawson, and clear his name.

All the basic ingredients of good Spaghetti westerns are here; the leading man falsely accused and seeking revenge, and the supporting characters where some are bad and some are good. It´s the old “good versus bad” once again. When Landers saves a molested girl named Lucy Tillson (Ida Galli) during his journey, the “rich landlord” Clayton Ranchester (Pierre Cressoy) is also introduced, when his son Avery (Massimo Righi) is one of the suspects of this molesting, and also a stagecoach robbing. To tie in some of the lines from the story, the leader of the gang where Avery belongs is an old friend of Landers, one Gil Clawson..

Director/co-writer Giorgio Stegani (here billed as “George Finley”) seems to have done more writing than directing, but he has done a few films during his career (maybe the best known is “Beyond the Law AKA Al di là della legge (1968)” with Lee Van Cleef). Here he does a fairly good job, creating a solid western with good performances by the actors. This doesn´t go in the “Westerns Hall Of Fame”, but it´s an entertaining piece of work, and the story has enough good plot changes to keep it interesting. A few good firefights are included, and Gemma is good as usual - providing a character that can be lethal when pushed too far, but at the same time a righteous man, who is trying to clear his reputation. Other characters that widen the story are Sheriff Tex Slaughter (Jesús Puente) and Dr. Barfield (Roberto Camardiel), where especially the Sheriff has to listen to his own conscience, since in the end there´s a hefty price for handing over Landers to the other county´s sheriff (the strong influence of Ranchester in the town doesn´t help either).

There are several examples where Italians could create good westerns with a basic screenplay, great craftsmanship, and a few talented and trusted actors. You might not always have “classics”, but you usually have entertaining and interesting movies, and “Adios, Gringo” is one of those. And with Giuliano Gemma onboard, you can´t go that wrong.

Video

Japanese “Imagica/SPO Entertainment” has released many Spaghetti westerns on DVD, which are unavailable in other regions, or those other releases are inferior to the Japanese ones. So if you´re looking for the good selection of Spaghetti westerns, look also at the land of the rising sun. “Adios, Gringo” is presented in its OAR of 2.35:1, and it´s Anamorphic. The source material has been in fairly good shape, creating strong colors and black levels. I have to say, though, that in some scenes the colours looked a bit oversaturated, but it´s hard to say for sure since I don´t know how this originally looked in the theatres. The problems on the disc are mainly due to the encoding of the DVD, since the edge enhancement is quite evident, and so is the line shimmering. Many scenes that have some camera movement tend to get restless during the pans and tilts, at least if you take a closer look. That being said, this DVD probably looks fairly good on 4:3-TV´s, but when it comes to the bigger screens, the problems are probably more visible. The image is quite clear though, and there is no extensive amount of film artifacts, mainly only here and there (and more during the opening credits). I have to say though, that these few problems didn´t bother me that much, and seeing this in its OAR and Anamorphic is half of the victory. The disc runs 93:25 min (NTSC), is coded “R2”, and it´s using a “single layer”-disc. There are 20 chapters. Note, that there are no proper end credits, but you have black screen with music for a couple of minutes.

Audio

The disc includes two audio tracks: English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono and Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono. It also has optional Japanese subtitles. Since there are no English subtitles, I fully listened only to the English audio, which was quite good. It´s not perfectly clean, but dialogue is clear and music strong. When I sampled the Italian track, it had more background noise in the form of “hiss”, and the dialogue is more muffled. No big complaints on the audio front though.

Extras

As usual in the Japanese Spaghetti westerns-releases by “Imagica”, in the “Main menu” you can find “Staff” and “Cast”, which means Cast & crew biographies; all in Japanese. When we move to the “Extras”-menu, you can find Photo gallery, which includes 37 photos. This section is very nice, including posters, lobby cards, B&W pr-photos and Japanese press books. “Column”-section includes 3 Reviews, all in Japanese. Finally there´s an Italian theatrical trailer, which runs 3:53 minutes. Not much in terms of extras, but at least something.

Overall

Another Spaghetti western-release from Japan, which is probably the best choice to see this film at this point, and it´s also English friendly. The disc has a few problems, but it has the OAR of 2.35:1, and the disc is Anamorphic. Note, that this is also released as a part of the “Macaroni Western Bible - Re-born 9” box set, with “Long Days of Vengeance AKA I Lunghi giorni della vendetta (1966)”, and “The Price of Power AKA Il Prezzo del potere (1969)”, both starring Giuliano Gemma.

This DVD is available at CDJapan.

The Film: Video: Audio: Extras: Overall:

 


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