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  Sartana's Here... Trade Your Pistol for a Coffin Different face but still deadly
Year: 1972
Director: Giuliano Carnimeo
Stars: George Hilton, Charles Southwood, Erika Blanc, Piero Lulli, Federico Boido, Linda Sini, Nello Pazzafini, Carlo Gaddi, Aldo Barberito, Marco Zuanelli, Luciano Rossi, Fortunato Arena, John Bartha, Luigi Bonos
Genre: Western, Action, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: For the fifth "official" Sartana movie producers retained director Giuliano Carnimeo but traded series star Gianni Garko for giallo regular George Hilton. Because of this, some spaghetti western fans don’t recognise Sartana's Here... Trade Your Pistol For A Coffin as a "proper" Sartana movie, but he's dressed the same, shoots the same, has the same trick-shot derringer. So why quibble?

A wagon rolls by a hill where a black-clad stranger lays down his picnic meal: bread, hardboiled eggs, wanted posters...? Yes, it's our old friend Sartana and when bandits spring from trapdoors to raid the wagon, he promptly kills them all. To the surprise of a small town sheriff, Sartana trades his reward money for an old tramp's poncho and hat (that leaves him looking like another spaghetti western hero, the Man With No Name) enabling him to sneak incognito into a desolate town called Appaloosa. At first, Sartana seems to be after Mantas (Nello Pazzafini), the Mexican bandit chief terrorizing the town, but after selflessly rescuing a captive woman (Linda Sini) and child, he strikes an unlikely alliance with him instead. Appaloosa is run by the head of General Mining Company, one Samuel Spencer (Piero Lulli, back again after the last instalment: Light the Fuse... Sartana is Coming (1971)) who claims Mantas stole the town's gold, though the outlaw maintains it was the businessman. In a confusing double bluff, Sartana strikes separate deals and offers to retrieve the gold for both villains. Whatever plan he is working is complicated by the arrival of another gunslinger in town…

Hilton makes a cool and compelling new Sartana with a couple of new character quirks including his weird fetish for boiled eggs. In a reoccurring gag he keeps laying down a breakfast meal only with a gun hidden inside his ciabatta bread! One of the series most likeable traits is that beneath his amoral, manipulative exterior Sartana is actually a fairly upstanding guy with a tendency to aid the downtrodden. Here he refuses a little boy's offer of money to rescue his mother, claiming "it's a mistake to pay a man to kill someone." Then does it for free.

Euro-horror sex bomb Erika Blanc plays Trixie, another scheming saloon girl emblematic of the series' tendency to repeat itself. Further evidence arrives in the form of the Fawcett brothers, a pair of gun-slinging siblings Sartana killed way back in the first movie: If You Meet Sartana Pray For Your Death (1968). Rather more intriguing is the arrival of Sabbath (Charles Southwood), an erudite, poetry-quoting gunslinger dressed in white who is just as flamboyant and just as deadly as our hero. His gimmick is that he never kills on a Thursday, because he promised his mother, though the lazy plot never elaborates on this. Given Sartana seems to know Sabbath, it is implied this character is a variation on the one Klaus Kinski played in I Am Sartana Your Angel of Death (1969), though Charles Southwood (possibly a pseudonym - doesn't that name sound familiar?) proves a tepid actor by comparison.

Carnimeo's direction has grown sloppy (aside from one nifty split-screen shootout) while the plot concocted by writer Tito Carpi steals even more blatantly from Sergio Leone's early work. Nevertheless, individual scenes are witty and the shootouts are as zany and entertaining as ever. Lookout for the moment Sartana shoots a rooster for waking him up. The story does not so much resolve itself as fizzle out amidst a series of messy deaths that clear the way for a gripping showdown between Sabbath and Sartana that springs a nice surprise.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


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