Hey there creeps! As you certainly know, what with ya hangin’ on my every word and such, I am a fan of Italian genre sin-ema. Give me a gut-munchin’ Zombi flick or some sort o’ Sicilian supernatural romp and I’m happier than a bat in blood! Well ,those beautiful and intelligent folks over at Blue Underground caught wind of my love for these kinds of flicks and they sent me a lil’ title by the name o’ COMPANEROS…wait a minute? A western???
Now admittedly, being a well-rounded ghoul, I have indeed seen a few spaghetti westerns in my day…in fact Sergio Corbucci’s DJANGO is one o’ my personal fav-o-rite flicks…so upon engaging in extensive research (involving and limited to reading the case the Blu-ray came in) I unearthed the arcane knowledge that not only was COMPANEROS die-rected by ol’ Calamitous Corbucci, but the film starred both Django himself Franco Nero as well as his voluminous mustache. So, we are already off on the right foot fiends!
As I prick up an eerie ear I can hear you call across the aether; “Oh Danny XIII, please…please tell us what COMPANEROS is all about!”…well you either said that or you are singing “Lucy Says” from FLASHBEAGLE to yourself in the shower (and knowing you, it’s probably the latter)…but I am undaunted! COMPANEROS tells the tale of Yolaf “Swedish” Peterson (Nero); an arms dealer who comes to conduct a lil’ business with el generalissimo corrupt-o Mongo (José Bódalo) right in the middle of a revolution down Mexico way. The only problem with said transaction is that the bread to seal the deal is locked up tighter than a hummingbird’s tweet in a bank vault the combination to which is only known by one Professor Xantos (Fernando Rey). Yolaf, the great humanitarian that he is, offers to spring the Prof., but Mongo trusts him as much as you would a fox that really digs escabeche de pollo in a henhouse, so he sends along Vasco (Tomas Milian) to make sure the whole deal is kosher. Of course hijinkery ensues, but you’ll have to watch the damn movie yerself to see what I mean!
A few things about COMPANEROS really made it stand out to me besides the whole DJANGO connection. One, it’s a whole helluva more lighthearted than the westerns that ol’ SC is known for. I mean c’mon, DJANGO drags his own damn coffin behind him for the duration of his movie (granted there’s more to that than just bleak nihilism), and THE GREAT SILENCE ain’t really known for its chuckle factor either, but COMPANEROS contains more than its fair share of gallupin’ guffaws. Secondly, Jack Palance is in this film, and he is completely and utterly over the top (I know, not a real shocker, but trust me…this makes his turn in HAWK THE SLAYER seem subtle). Ya see, ol’ Jack plays a character named John; and while his name is generic, everything else about him is not; from his wooden hand to his pet hawk to his constant pot smokery, he steals every scene he is in and is worth the price of admission alone!
So there ya have it my ghoulies; COMPANEROS is a keeper! Fun characters mixed with a lighthearted tone (with just a touch of socio-political postulating…that whole revolution thing is a definite allegory to the Vietnam war that was raging at the time) and a Ennio Morricone score (forgot to mention that one before now…but that damn earworm of a theme song will be stuck in yer noggin’ for days!) make for an entertaining night in front of the ol’ tube (plus the extra features those rascally devils over at BU saw fit to include such as interviews, a commentary and yer standard trailers and stills make it even more worth it!). So mosey on over here and pick up a copy today!