Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

June 16, 2020

Dean Reed in “Buckaroo: The Winchester Does Not Forgive” (Italy, 1967)

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BUCKAROO: THE WINCHESTER DOES NOT FORGIVE (Italy, 1967)

starring DEAN REED with Livio Lorenzon

directed by Adelchi Bianchi (his last film, of only 4 directorial efforts, the previous being LOST SOULS from 1959, with Jacques Sernas and Virna Lisa, which did get a US release)

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BUCKAROO was Dean Reed’s first European film and his first Euro-western (right before GOD MADE THEM, I KILL THEM! and a few years before ADIOS SABATA, the only one of his Euro-westerns to get a US theatrical release), and the role of Hal/Buckaroo was a great breakout role for him in European genre films. He enters the film gradually as the main plot gets locked into gear (although his bravado performance of the theme song during the credits certainly makes it clear whose film this is!) and gradually takes control, with Reed never losing his inimitable laid-back charm. The villain is played with gusto by Livio Lorenzon, well-known from many roles in sword and sandal and costumed-adventure films earlier in the 60’s (some of which have been reviewed here), there’s a secondary villain working for his own purposes, the sheriff is corrupt, and near the end of the film an ironic twist from the past is divulged, to add even more satisfaction to the climax.

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I had not seen any of the four films directed by Adelchi Bianchi prior to this, but he’s quite impressive, keeps the camera moving, frames shots in a way to imply more than what’s being depicted on-screen (one wonders if he has any background in still photography, with his gift for framing), and gives Reed a good bit of space as a performer.

Also, the film is set in the world of mining (as is the great 1968 THE RUTHLESS FOUR, with Van Heflin, Gilbert Roland, George Hilton, and Klaus Kinski, one of my top-five Eurowesterns), which gives it a distinctive feel.

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The film builds tension masterfully, and it’s easy to see why Reed went on to star in a number of westerns while in Europe (though not as many as I would have liked) after making such a strong introduction here. Undoubtedly, films such as this also played well in Latin America, where he had a large fan base.

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We need to remember that for all intents and purposes this was Dean Reed’s first starring role of any significance….from what I’ve seen of his two Latin American features made in 1965, he’s not having to carry the film. In BUCKAROO, from his early scenes, when he decides to stay and help a down-on-his-luck miner and then stands down the corrupt sheriff who suggests he leave the area, it’s clear that Reed was remembering the advice of his acting coach and mentor Paton Price, back in Hollywood six or seven years previously, who’d emphasized how film acting was about totally being present in the moment in the scene, losing oneself in that filmic moment and bringing everything one had to it….Reed understood that this was his one chance to establish himself as an actor and film personality on a new continent, and you can feel that self-discovery here in BUCKAROO.

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Presently, there are NO reviews of Buckaroo on the IMDB! It’s nice to know that in 2020 one can still discover gems such as this….and in a first-rate print.

If you’re not already a fan of Reed, I’d hope you would be after watching BUCKAROO, and there is a link to the film below. It runs 88 minutes, so settle back and let it take you away….

For more reading, here are two reviews on the KSE blog of other Dean Reed films:

my review of Reed’s 1969 film DEATH KNOCKS TWICE

my review of Reed’s 1970 film THE CORSAIRS

In the coming months, I hope to have a write-up on his 1968 turn as Zorro (!!!!) in a Franco & Ciccio vehicle, though I’m watching it in untranslated Italian, so I’m taking my time and watching it more than once….VERY entertaining, and Reed is a great Zorro, though this blond from Colorado does not look the way one usually expects Zorro to.

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single from 1976 on the East German “Amiga” label

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Dean Reed’s 1959 Capitol single “I Ain’t Got You” (b-side of A Summer Romance):

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Dean Reed guest stars on a 1961 episode of the BACHELOR FATHER  TV show….and sings….in fact, he sings the same song four times (!!!) and introduces the competitors at a majorette competition! Between the second and third time he sings the song, there is a lounge-y version of the soundtrack from the man who did the show’s music, John(ny) Williams—-that’s right, film composer John Williams, back in his TV days. A shame that “Twirly, Twirly” is not one of Dean Reed’s better Capitol records, but it fits the plot, which is no doubt why he was brought in to sing it.

Note: start watching at about 17:50 for Dean, singing “his latest hit” (as it’s announced)… otherwise, the show has not dated well and I’d not recommend watching it….although John Forsythe is a joy to watch in anything, and you might want to catch him in either of his two films for Alfred Hitchcock, THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY or TOPAZ, neither of which are typical Hitchcock.

 

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Dean Reed sings “Wandering Girl” in the 1965 Argentinian film “Mi Primera Novia” 

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Hear Dean Reed sing the theme song from BUCKAROO, in Italian, from a 1970 Soviet TV broadcast:

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Watch the classic 1967 Dean Reed Euro-western, in a beautiful print:

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And for a little context on who Dean Reed was, here is the acclaimed documentary AMERICAN REBEL: THE DEAN REED story. Reed grew up in the 1950’s just a few miles down the road in Colorado from where I grew up  many years later….

November 17, 2013

Dean Reed in “The Corsairs” (Italy/Spain 1970, dir. Ferdinando Baldi)

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THE CORSAIRS (aka Los Corsarios, aka Les Pirates d l’ile Verte—Spain/Italy 1970)

directed by Ferdinando Baldi

starring Dean Reed, with Alberto DeMendoza, Annabella Incontrera, Mary Francis (aka Paca Gabaldon)

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Director Ferdinando Baldi is probably best-known in North America for the films he made with Tony Anthony–Blindman, Comin’ At Ya, Get Mean, and Treasure of the Four Crowns–films that show a director with a good sense of humor and a skill for over-the-top visuals. Yet Baldi’s earlier work indicates that he can create understated and thoughtful films such as IN THE SHADOW OF EAGLES with Cameron Mitchell, which I happened to watch again last week, and which was a downbeat, somber meditation on the futility of war. And he’s credited with co-directing Duel of Champions with Alan Ladd (Terence Young’s is the only name on the English-language print I’ve seen of the film), one of the more thoughtful films in the peplum genre, given a lot more depth by having an actor of Alan Ladd’s caliber as star. I’ve seen 4 or 5 other of his films  beyond those listed above (Texas, Adios, for instance), but clearly, I need to investigate his work further. Surely there are some gems I have not seen.

1970’s THE CORSAIRS is a fast-moving, light-hearted swashbuckling film that exists somewhere between the Three Musketeers comedies made a few years later in the UK by Richard Lester and the lowbrow humor of a Terence Hill/Bud Spencer vehicle. It’s definitely played on a comic-book level (and the music helps to set that jokey tone) and also has the feel of the old Republic serials, with the constant set-backs and reversals and fights with a lot of broken furniture.

These kind of films need a handsome, athletic, charismatic, and self-deprecating actor to play the hero, and DEAN REED succeeds in all those areas as Alan Drake, pirate with a conscience and an eye for the ladies, a role not too different from his turn as Ballantine in ADIOS, SABATA (aka INDIO BLACK) the year before. Dean Reed fans will enjoy his performance here, as I did.

Reed also did a film two years later, “Storia di karatè, pugni e fagioli,” directed by Tonino Ricci, which I have not seen, but which seems to have a swashbuckling element to it, and which was one of Reed’s final films before his moving over to the Eastern Bloc to work.

Fans of 60s European costumed historical adventures, the kind that would have starred Guy Madison had they been made in 1962, should enjoy this film….a rather late entry in the genre…and it offers an entertaining vehicle for Dean Reed. As a fan of both that genre of film AND of Dean Reed, I was very happy with the film. It’s not without flaws (the music gets somewhat repetitive), but a film with a good sense of humor allows one to forget such flaws. A little internet surfing should turn up a copy on DVD-R…

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