Dig Your Grave Friend... Sabata's Coming (1971)

Abre tu fosa, amigo, llega Sábata... / Sei già cadavere Amigo... ti cerca Garringo

poster for Dig Your Grave Friend, Sabata's Coming

When going through the over 175 spaghettis I currently have, when it's time to watch one, it's never an easy choice. There's so many options... watch something not yet seen that's in most people's top 20s, watch some obscure but highly regarded film, watch an unknown quanitity, or watch something with a reputation as a waste of celluloid. At its best, I'm greatly entertained, perhaps even thinking about the film for the next few days, at its worst, if I stay awake, I regret that it was 90 minutes of my life I won't get back. I'm getting older, so that seems to have more importance than it did 20 years ago. But part of my existence now entails writing these reviews for you, our fine readers, so I'll eventually watch them all, for better or worse.

Anyways, the other night, it was "pick something random by pointing to it with your eyes closed". And so it was Juan Bosch's Dig Your Grave Friend... Sabata's Coming, a movie I knew nothing about and was a bit suspicious of from the get-go, being one of those very unofficial sequel movies, which are usually not known for greatness. As the movie started, and the bad dialog and low-budget feel became obvious from the beginning, I thought it was gonna be another stinker. It wasn't great, but it turned out to be somewhat enjoyable.

Richard Harrison

Richard Harrison as Steve MacGowan

Richard Harrison plays a Confederate soldier returning from the war, named Steve MacGowan. To his horror, when he gets home, he finds that his father was killed by the henchman of a local evil rancher named Miller (Alejandro Ulloa) because he didn't want to sell his land to Miller. Steve teams with a Mexican bandit on the run named Leon Pompero, played by (who else?) Fernando Sancho. After Steve kills Miller's henchman, Miller decided to hire Sabata (Raf Baldassarre) to hunt down the two. Things get even more complicated when Steve and Leon kidnap Miller's bride-to-be on the way to see Miller. She's a bit hostile at first, but eventually falls for Steve, and helps them out. Sabata catches up to them finally, they're captured but get away and eventually take down Miller and Sabata in a final showdown.

Fernando Sancho

Fernando Sancho actually plays a bandito who's not a ruthless bastard, for a change.

So, as I said before, this was a super low budget affair, nothing stood out in the way of music, acting, direction or cinematography, and at times the dialog was atrocious. But the chemistry between Sancho and Harrison (coupled with the fact that Sancho was playing a very likable character, for a change), as well as some fast pacing, made it watchable. It did have a "buddy film" feel at times, but it wasn't plagued by the comedic aspect of those films that make them so unenjoyable to me. The biggest downer in this was Sabata. He was a morally bankrupt, kind of evil bastard, and not too bright, either. This was made worse by Baldassare's craptacular acting, which left a whole lot to be desired.

 

Raf Baldassare as Sabata

Raf Baldassarre as Evil Bastard/Poorly Acted Sabata.

As I've pointed out in other reviews of low-budget spaghettis, a sure indicator of low-budget is the FMR, or Fake Mustache Ratio (formerly FMQ, or Fake Mustache Quotient).. At the time of this writing, Drummer of Vengeance is still in the lead for FMR, but this one is a close second:

A piece of black tape for a mustache

When tied by budgetary restraints, a thin piece of black tape can always fulfill your fake mustache needs. I didn't say fulfill them well, though.

There was also a guy in a barfight scene that looked like his beard was about to come off in the fight. But seriously, as far as the low-budget/questionable quality westerns go, this wasn't too bad. The chances of you seeing it, however, are quite slim, as there is no DVD of this available, as far as I know. I watched an old VHS rip that was taped off of Dutch television. Not anything memorable, but not a complete waste of time, either, and good if you like to see Sancho play a (sort of) good guy for a change.

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