Sartana Kills Them All (1971)

Lo irritarono... e Santana fece piazza pulita

poster for Sartana Kills THem All

Like the Django, Ringo, and Trinity films, the sucessful Sartana films spawned numerous unofficial sequels. Spanish director Rafael Romero Marchent's 1971 film Sartana Kills Them All is one of them. And once one ventures away from the "official" Sartana films, in this film, there's no similaritiesto the Sartana character from those films, the crafty, almost James Bond-esque badass immortalized by Gianni Garko. What makes this one a bit different is that it also has Gianni Garko in it, playing a guy named Sartana (at least in the English dub). Other than that, there is no relation to the original Sartana in any way, shape or form, as the character doesn't dress or behave like Sartana at all. And in other versions of this film, Garko's character is named Sabata or Santana (no relation to the famous Latin rock guitarist). So it's highly unlikely this was conceived as a Sartana film, so for the purposes of this review, I'm not going to even factor that in.

Garko as Sartana Sabata Santana

Gianni Garko as Sartana...or is it Sabata? ... or Santana? Take your pick.

Garko stars with Guglielmo Spoletini (billed as William Bogart) as Marcos, two best friends who happen to also be outlaws. The movie opens up rather unconventionally, as they are holed up in a house somewhere in the midst of a shootout with the law. They play cards to determine who's going to sneak off, and it turns out to be Sartana. Marcos stays behind and is arrested. They're trying to get their hands on $10,000 that's coming into town with a friend arriving by stagecoach, who was in on a robbery with them. Marcos convinces the sheriff that he can have a cut of the loot if he lets him out, and they go off looking for it, where Sartana catches up to them, and they leave the poor sheriff hanging from a tree. Unfortunately, the notorious Kirby gang gets hold of the loot first when it raids the stagecoach, eventually killing all the passengers.

It's not what you think...

No, it's not what you think.

Along the way they hook up with a beautiful gal named Maria (Maria Silva), who helps them on their quest. Maria has eyes for Sartana Unfortunately, when they catch up and kill the Kirby gang, they can't find the loot. Marcos goes into town for supplies, where he discovers the money hidden in the wagon (but he doesn't tell the others). Eventually they find out, Sartana and Marcos duke it out, and Marcos gets away, with Maria in tow, who now apparently is in love with him. She manages to double-cross and steal the money from him. When Sartana and Marcos reunite, they track her down, where they find she bought a saloon with some of the money. Then they all ride off together. The end.

Maria Silva

The beautiful Maria has eyes for Sartana... or are they for Marcos?

Now, from what I've read, this one doesn't seem to get many good reviews. Perhaps the unofficial Sartana/Garko thing is a big issue with some people. It wasn't for me, as I wasn't viewing this as a "Sartana film". I had to say that I actually found it quite enjoyable, with a few reservations. The biggest factor that made the film work for me was the chemistry between Garko and Spoletini. It was truly amazing. When you watch the film, you'd think these really were two lifelong best friends who care about each other and really enjoy being with each other. Whether it be Marcos casually blowing off the finding of Sartana in bed with his gal, them wrestling with each other, or them playing a hand of cards to make a decision, when they're on the screen together, it's fun to watch. Garko plays this role pretty lighthearted, unlike the more serious official Sartana. You really get the impression that these two enjoyed making this film and working with each other. Also, the scenes with the Kirby gang were tense, with the crippled drunken father and his unruly boys giving everyone unlucky enough to cross their path a very hard time. The acting in the film was excellent all around, in both the Italian and English dubs.

The film is beautifully shot, as one can see in the screen capture above. There's some nice camera work from Guglielmo Mancori. The soundtrack by Marcello Giombini was typical, if a bit unremarkable, and there's one of those oh-so-cheesy songs so typical to the genre called "Ride Along' by Peter Boom.

Buddies

"One is pleased about you like a farmer is pleased about horseshit.".. so says Marcos.

My reservations? It gets a bit uneven towards the later part of the film. When Marcos finds the hidden money, the first thing one hopes is that he doesn't betray his friend, and he does, which really goes against the relationship that I mentioned above. I just didn't find it believable that he would do that, and given the bond that we're led to believe they had, it's incredibly disappointing. And then when they later meet up to go find Maria, all is instantly forgiven, and it's all forgiven with Maria afterwards as well, even though she tries to get her men in the saloon to kill them. As the movie ends, they're traveling together, joking and such. It seems as though they've all forgotten the backstabbing and betrayals that just occurred. That didn't sit too well with me due to it being unrealistic to the point of stupid, and it's the one big failing of the film.

The version I watched was a fan project restoration, that had some of the English track missing in the first half hour of the film, but other than that, it was put together pretty well. I don't know much about its origin. Aside from the aforementioned mess at the end of the film, I found it quite enjoyable and worth a watch, especially for Garko fans.

The trailer:

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