Thursday 7 May 2009

Deaf Smith And Johnny Ears

This movie was made in 1973 and directed by Paolo Cavara.
With the mass of spaghetti westerns that flooded the market in the 1960s and 70s some got lost and forgotten never to re-appear.
'Deaf Smith And Johnny Ears' is one of a few that I would like to see come out on DVD.
This movie sees Anthony Quinn in the role of Deaf Smith who is teamed up with Johnny Ears played by Franco Nero.
The setting is Texas in 1836 - The Alamo has fallen, the Battle of San Jacinto has been fought and Texas is thinking about joining the Union. But there are those with different ideas and the Texan President, Sam Houston, sends Smith and Johnny to find out what is going on.
When they are on scene Quinn and Nero work very well together for it is for Johnny Ears to cover up that Deaf Smith is a deaf mute.
The idea of Anthony Quinn playing a deaf mute seems a bit far fetched but watch him in action for I have never seen an actor pull off the role like he does in this film. No matter what his mood - happy, sad, worried - he conveys it all with his facial expressions.
The plot of the film is simple enough - find and stop General Morton from going to war against the legitimate Texas government. In good western tradition this is what Deaf Smith and Johnny Ears do with the aid of a Gatling gun - yes, a Gatling gun but who cares that it hadn't been invented after sitting through this western romp.
Franco Nero brings a lot to his character - sort of Django crossed with Terence Hill - with humour and good stunts. He lusts after Susie, the local prostitute (played by Pamela Tiffin) with romantic lust that causes a difference with his partner.
The two leads hold this movie together and the music of Daniele Patucchi is effective. Coupled with this is the brilliant technicolour photography by Torino Delli Colli who had worked with the likes of Fellini, Bertolucci and Pasolini and on Sergio Leone's 'Once Upon A Time In The West'.
Amongst the scriptwriters were Harry Essex ('The Creature From The Black Lagoon') and the man who had adapted 'A Streetcar Named Desire' for the screen, Oscar Saul.
This movie turns up on TCM from time to time.

1 comment:

Dominic Fox said...

Have to get this. It sounds good.