The Americano (1955)
Most movies I seem to pick up get lost in the ever growing pile on the shelf. But give me a Glenn Ford western I haven’t seen since I was a young boy watching Sunday afternoon television matinees and I’m all over it.
This time out Glenn is appearing in a western with a different locale that takes pieces of other popular film plots of the genre and twists them together for a diverting 85 minutes of fun and adventure.
Glenn is on his way to Brazil with 3 Brahma bulls he has sold to a local rancher played by Frank Lovejoy. Upon his arrival in a small village no one seems to want to talk to Ford. They close their doors at the mere mention of his contact’s name. It almost seems like Glenn has stepped into Jonathan Harker’s shoes as he asks for the whereabouts of Castle Dracula.
Stepping up to lead Glenn through the wilds of the jungle is the films highlight. Cesar Romero. He’s unshaven, a supposed outlaw and as colorful as can be. Very much like a Dan Duryea character in an Audie Murphy western. He’s thoroughly enjoying himself.
En route to Lovejoy’s sprawling ranch Glenn encounters Ursula Thiess and her small time operation. It seems that rich landowner Lovejoy would like one of two things, either she marry him or be forced off her property so he can dominate the territory. Now we seem to be moving into a Shane scenario.
It won’t be long before Glenn realizes what’s going on and with the attractive Thiess to serve and protect you can be sure where his sympathies will be lying.
While no classic and with plenty of jungle stock footage, this is a very entertaining “western”. Surprisingly it’s directed by the king of self promotion, William Castle. Yes that Castle. The one who gave us The House On Haunted Hill among many other thrillers of the late fifties.
Glenn encounters snakes, pirahna and the cleavage of Abbe Lane as a Brazilian temptress while tramping through the jungle trail.
But it’s Cesar Romero who shines brightest when he’s on screen. Every now and then you’ll see a character that you take a liking to and wish that a spinoff might be built around him or her. I couldn’t help but think that this time out with Cesar.
This was apparently a troubled production that ran out of money while down south but was eventually pulled together and released by RKO. Thanks to the folks over at Olive Films for rescuing this rare Ford title from obscurity and releasing it on blu ray.