Kill Or Be Killed (1966)

Uccidi o muori / L'uomo che ussise Ringo

As any seasoned spaghetti western fan knows, there are many films released in the genre that are quite formulaic, following the typical plots, with the typical archetypes and typical music and so forth. Tania Boccia's 1966 outing, Kill or Be Killed, is formulaic to a fault.

Rod Dana

Rod Dana, in an Eastwood-like outfit, plays the violin. Or at least badly pretends to.

The film starts off with a funeral procession (involving the Drumond family) that is ambushed by the Griffith clan. Oddly, they don't shoot anyone, only the coffin being carried, which contains the body of the Drumond husband. Shortly thereafter, a stranger rides into town, goes into a bar and starts playing a violin, eventually getting into fight with one of the obnoxious Griffiths, the younger brother, named spot (poorly acted by Fabrizio Moroni). The stranger, who we come to find is named Jerry, kills one of the gang, and on the way out of town, befriends the Griffith widow, eventually getting job as a farm hand. The Griffiths aren't too happy about losing one of their men, and they come after Jerry, with the somewhat predictable results, and Spot is killed.

The rest of the film is basically the Griffiths trying to do Jerry in, even hiring a rather ineffective hitman (played briefly by Gordon Mitchell). Jerry falls in love with the widow, and (surprise!) reveals his name is really Johnny Ringo, a well-known gunslinger. However, the remaining evil bastard Griffith brother is all set to wed the widow Lisa. Can Johnny Ringo stop him?

Will you really care if he does? Probably not. This was one of those films where you know exactly what's going to happen throughout the film. It utilizes the "evil ranchers tormenting a family" plot device we know so well. Of course, Jerry tries to "get a job as a ranch hand". So did Clint the Stranger. Of course, he's trying to prevent a love from marrying some nefarious goon. So did the real Ringo. And so on. The acting in the film ranges from average, to pretty mediocre, and the cinematography and music are nothing notworthy.


In the old west, it was customary to get a high resolution/poster-sized photgraph of one's loved one. Who knew?

I can't really see any reason to recommend this one. It's not terrible like a Fidani film, it's just hopelessly predictible and unoriginal, and not worth wasting an a hour and a half on.

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