Bullets Don't Argue (1964)

Le Pistole non discutono

Directed by: Mario Caiano (as Mike Perkins) / Starring: Rod Cameron, Horst Frank, Angel Aranda, Mimmo Palmara

Mario Caiano’s early spaghetti western filmed during the same time as another extremely well-known movie starring a certain American actor wearing a dirty poncho (The sets in Rivertown were used again in this same movie). Using established-but-since-forgotten actor American Rod Cameron and an up-and-coming Horst Frank, Caiano brings his take to a genre ready to burst upon the international scene.

Pat Garrett (Cameron), the Sheriff of Rivertown, is preparing for his wedding day while the Clanton brothers Billy and George (Frank and Aranda respectively) pay a visit to their hometown by robbing the bank during the wedding ceremony. Their plan seems almost foolproof, until George’s mask slips and the bankers realize who it is, and older brother Billy doesn’t want any living witnesses. Garrett catches a lucky break when his wedding ceremony ends atthe same time that the alarm hassounded that the bank has been robbed. Finding the dead bankers, Garrett and his deputies set off after them who cross the border into Mexico. Unfortunately for Pat he goes into Mexico solo and is ambushed by the Clantons. Having lost his horse he meets up with the Goddard siblings who aid the sheriff with transport to the town where Billy and George are hiding out (turns out there’s only one town in this part of Mexico so it made it easy to locate them). Pat Garrett proves to be one tough nut, as he endures hardship after hardship in trying to apprehend the criminals and recovering the stolen money. But capturing the brothers is only the tip of the iceberg for Garrett, as Mexican bandits led by Santero (Palmara) decide to pursue Garrett and his fugitives in an attempt to get recovered money. Braving the harsh desert of the Devil’s Valley Garrett evades his pursuers long enough to reach the Goddard ranch where Santero’s gang surrounds them and lays siege to the house. The intrepid band survives the night but not until the entire ranch is put to the torch and George flees on one of the Goddard horses during the night. Garrett is left with no choice but surrender the money to Santero but George returns early morning with a little surprise and saves the day.

Bullets Don’t Argue, while being a very early example of a spaghetti western, has some good elements from American and European westerns. Rod Cameron plays the role of Sheriff Pat Garrett as an upstanding and honorable man bound by his duty to do what is right for the town he swore to protect. Horst Frank and Angel Aranda play the Clayton brothers perfectly, with Frank being the ruthless killer, Billy and Aranda isthe naive and child-like George who would follow his brother to the gates of Hell. Bullets Don’t Argue features some very well- played and written characters with (for its time) good gun fights and chase scenes with some excellent music from Ennio Morricone, working under the name of Dan Savio. I have become a fan of the early spaghetti westerns and this one is among my favorites. There are some drawbacks (such as the very American ending) but these do not take away from my enjoyment of the movie. RHV has released a solid English-friendly PAL DVD which was viewed for my review.

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